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MatthewMatthew and Western Civilization

Lorin Friesen, September 2020

This is part 2 of a three-part 640-page essay that interprets Matthew 2-24 symbolically as a summary of Western civilization. This second part starts with the Renaissance and ends just before the First World War. I have included a detailed table of contents together with a historical timeline which summarizes the era in Western history that is symbolized by each passage of Matthew.

Table of Contents and Historical Timeline

Part 1

11:1-3 Absolute Truth Questions Incarnation. Scholasticism is followed by the Renaissance and the Reformation.

11:4-6 Incarnation Points to Personal Change. Humanism focuses upon human transformation.

11:7-9 Jesus Evaluates John the Baptist. Evaluating the Role that was played by Scholasticism.

11:10-15 Incarnation Evaluates the Bible. Viewing Biblical Absolute Truth as the Forerunner to Science.

11:16-19 Squabbling Groups of Children. The Reformation versus the Renaissance.

11:20-24 Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. The Final destination of the Catholic and Protestant Churches.

11:25-30 Preaching to a New Audience. Abandoning the Renaissance and the Reformation for the New Thinking of Science.

12:1-2 Plucking Heads of Grain. The Baconian Method of Science becomes an alternative to Scholasticism.

12:3-8 Evaluating the Original Followers. The mindset of Scholasticism is being compared with the mindset of the experts whom Scholasticism is quoting.

12:9-10 The Man with a Withered Hand. The rise of scientific thinking leads to censorship from the Catholic Church.

12:11-13 Saving Sheep on the Sabbath. The Baconian Method adds rigor and health to observation.

12:14-16 The Pharisees Respond. Growing scientific and Protestant thought leads to the backlash of the Counter-Reformation, which is followed by many leaving the Catholic Church.

12:17-21 A Humble Servant. Institutional suppression ensures that emerging science remains humble.

12:22-24 Healing a Blind-Mute. Growing science gains a voice and starts helping people.

12:25-26 A Divided Kingdom. The Catholic Church uses the Inquisition to root out heresies and becomes limited by the 1555 Peace of Augsburg.

12:27-29 Casting out Demons by Beelzebul. Growing scientific thought becomes increasingly independent of the Catholic Church.

12:30-32 The Unpardonable Sin. The growth of scientific thought becomes limited and controlled by existing mental networks of authority.

12:33-37 Partial Transformation. Catholic thinking becomes trapped by feelings of religious self-denial.

12:38-40 Seeking a Sign. Scientific thought will create a society that is emotionally driven by implicit mental networks.

12:41-42 Nineveh and the Queen of the South. Personal salvation will eventually replace theology, and modern technology will eventually replace emotional fervor.

12:43-45 A Spirit Passing through Waterless Places. Mechanistic science creates an emotional vacuum that will eventually be filled by new spirits such as the Divine Right of Kings and Nationalism.

12:46-50 Redefining Family. Scientific discussion turns into formal lectures and Academies of Science are founded.

13:1-2 Teaching in Parables. Analogies are used to describe and teach scientific findings.

13:3, 19 The Seed on the Path. Scientific thinking leads initially to the teaching of new habits.

13:5-6, 20-21 The Seed on Rock-like Places. Inspired by Rene Descartes, rational scientific thought leads initially to the development of grand theories.

13:7, 22 The Seed on Thorny Ground. This is followed by researchers who emphasize scientific evidence and stay away from building theories, such as Robert Boyle.

13:8-9, 23 The Good Soil. Enough scientific evidence is eventually gathered to start developing legitimate scientific theories.

13:10-16 The Role of Parables. The inadequate analogies of alchemy are eventually replaced by the proper analogies of chemistry.

13:24-6, 36-39 The Tares and the Wheat. Rational scientific thought emerges alongside attitudes of personal arrogance and superiority.

13:27-30 Wheat and Tares Coexisting. The rational thinking of scientific thought becomes policed by personal arrogance.

13:31-35 The Mustard Seed and the Leaven. The simple search for scientific evidence turns into the grand structure of scientific academia.

13:39-43 The Angelic Harvest. Looking ahead to a future time when objective, materialistic science will become transformed by an encounter with angelic existence.

13:44-46 Seeking Treasure. Paradigm-driven scientific thought emerges in the objective, while Pietism emerges in the subjective.

13:47-50 The Dragnet. Science uses statistical analysis to gather data indiscriminately in a morally neutral fashion.

13:51-52 New and Old Treasures. Using Perceiver thought to build understanding through analogical reasoning.

13:53-58 A Prophet in his own Hometown. The Enlightenment does not spread in England where it started, but rather propagates in France.

14:1-2 Herod and John the Baptist. Absolute monarchy replaces absolute truth.

14:3-5 Herod and Herodias. The rise of a military, imperial culture, led by Prussia and France.

14:6-12 The Beheading of John the Baptist. Absolute monarchy uses elegance and structure to give emotional significance to imperial decrees, as exemplified by the court of Louis XIV.

14:13-21 Feeding the Five Thousand. The French Encyclopedia is developed to feed the masses intellectually.

14:22-27 Jesus Walks on Water. Extensive theoretical research is done in France during the French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution in England is initially driven by pressing needs but lacks technical understanding.

14:28-33 Peter Climbs out of the Boat. Engineering emerges as a pragmatic discipline that gradually becomes more technical.

14:34-36 Land of Gennesaret. The Industrial Revolution transforms many aspects of society.

15:1-4 Handwashing. The traditional experts of Church and Scholasticism feel threatened by science.

15:5-6 Free Will versus Tradition. The Enlightenment and the French Revolution promote free will while rebelling from traditional authority.

15:7-11 Hypocritical Honor. The Enlightenment pursues intellectual truth that does not apply to normal life.

15:12-14 Obsolete Experts. Science ignores traditional experts as obsolete.

15:15-18 Digestion. Science evaluates knowledge carefully but ignores how this knowledge is applied.

15:19-20 A Defiling Heart. The knowledge of science becomes defiled by inadequate personal and social emotions.

15:21-23 The Syrophoenician Woman. Colonialism spreads European knowledge and culture throughout the world

15:24-28 Responding to Another Culture. European colonizers interact with colonized natives.

15:29-31 Healing on the Mountain. Humboldt introduces the research university.

15:32-38 Feeding the Four Thousand. Romantic science attempts to integrate the specialized, mechanistic science of the Enlightenment.

15:39 Coming to Magadan. Science turns into a tower of academia.

16:1-4 Discerning the Signs of the Times. Liberal Protestantism attempts to straddle fading religious devotion with growing scientific understanding.

16:5-12 The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The educated skepticism of liberal Protestantism leads to the dead-end of unteachable mysticism.

16:13-17 You are the Christ. Scientific Positivism leads to a search for integrated technical understanding within a societal context of military government.

16:18-20 The Keys of Peter. Scientific research starts to discover underlying similarities between aspects of physical nature that have been treated as distinct.

16:21-23 Jesus Predicts his Death. The incomplete development of science and technology will eventually drive incarnation through the three major traumas of nationalism, racism, and consumerism.

16:24-28 Losing and Saving the Soul. The coming Consumer Revolution will irrevocably transform society.

17:1-3 The Transfiguration. European powers achieve a brilliance that far exceeds anything seen before, led by the British Empire.

17:4-5 Building Tabernacles. European empires celebrate their achievements through a series of national exhibitions.

17:6-8 A Terrifying Voice from the Cloud. The Victorian mindset becomes overwhelmed by the personal implications of science and technology.

17:9-10 Tell No One the Vision. Protestant Christians start preaching about a rapture and a second coming.

17:11-13 Restoration versus Transformation. Victorian belief in technological progress becomes combined with social conservatism.

17:14-18 The Lunatic Falling into the Fire. The progress of Victorian technology is incapable of transforming personal behavior.

17:19-21 Moving Mountains. Einstein introduces a totally new way of thinking to physics.

17:22-23 Predicting Betrayal Again. Victorian morality becomes twisted and this twisted morality will end up betraying science and technology.

17:24-26 Paying Taxes. Church and state become intertwined, with church preaching propaganda and raising citizens for the state.

17:27 The Coin in the Mouth of the Fish. Revivalism provides an alternative to the State Church.

Part 3

Part 4

Absolute Truth Questions Incarnation 11:1-3

Verse 42 was interpreted as providing the ‘cold cup’ of a non-emotional environment to the emerging thinking of science. This interpretation fits smoothly into the beginning of chapter 11, because the first section talks about moving beyond absolute truth to the transformation of Contributor-controlled technical thought. (Just to clarify, both abstract and concrete technical thought use Contributor thought to coordinate the interaction of several cognitive modules. Jesus had the cognitive style of Contributor person. Incarnation expands technical thought to function in a manner that respects all seven cognitive modules. The mind can function one of three modes: technical thought, normal thought, and mental networks.)

Verse 1 sets the context: “When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities.” The word giving instructions means to ‘systematically order’ and this is the only time that this word is found in Matthew. Finished means ‘to bring to an end, complete, fulfill’. And when means ‘to come into being’. The English gives the idea of a simple sequence: Jesus has talked for a while; now it is time to move on. But what is really being stated is more like ‘when Jesus had finished putting together the structure, then something came into being’. And we now know how to interpret that statement. Incarnation has just finished constructing the framework for abstract technical thought, and a new form of transformative thinking and behavior have come into being. It is now time to move from developing this new form of transformative thinking to using it. Jesus is now going to teach and preach in the realm of their cities. This implies major changes in the realm of thinking, culture, and commerce.

This change can be seen in the Age of Discovery. As Wikipedia summarizes, “The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (approximately from the beginning of the 15th century until the middle of the 17th century), is an informal and loosely defined term for the period in European history in which extensive overseas exploration emerged as a powerful factor in European culture and which was the beginning of globalization. It also marks the rise of the widespread adoption of colonialism and mercantilism as national policies in Europe. Many lands previously unknown to Europeans were discovered by them during this period, though most were already inhabited.”

Exploration, exploitation, and colonization use the physical environment to encourage the development of Contributor thought. On the abstract side, exploration uses Contributor thought to gain a Teacher understanding of some unknown environment by ‘filling in the map’ with details. On the concrete side, exploitation uses Contributor thought to improve Mercy bottom lines of wealth and prestige. Colonization combines these two by building new structures of government in Teacher thought while pursuing wealth and status in Mercy thought.

I am not suggesting that this period of exploration with its associated colonization and exploitation was all good. Many evils were perpetrated in the name of God. But I am suggesting that the sovereign plan of God is realistic. It follows steps that are cognitively natural. And that means taking steps that are not always pleasant. Contributor thought had to develop, and the easiest way to encourage the development of Contributor thought is through the physical environment. The postmodern mindset that criticizes the age of Western colonization is very willing to enjoy the material benefits that were developed as a result of the Contributor thinking which emerged during this age of colonization. If someone is convinced that Western Modern progress is evil, then I suggest that such an individual return to the stinking Middle Ages, in which plague was around the corner, medicine was primitive, and most people lived on the edge of starvation.

The Age of Discovery was not just a physical endeavor. It also introduced Europe to new forms of thought, commerce, and culture. Going further, Contributor thought also developed in ways that did not require the exploitation of other cultures. The next pages will be focusing upon two primary aspects of societal transformation that were driven by internal factors rather than by the physical environment: the Renaissance and the Reformation. Wikipedia explains that the Renaissance was primarily a new way of thinking, “In some ways, Renaissance humanism was not a philosophy but a method of learning. In contrast to the medieval scholastic mode, which focused on resolving contradictions between authors, Renaissance humanists would study ancient texts in the original and appraise them through a combination of reasoning and empirical evidence.”

One might respond that the internal paths of the Renaissance and the Reformation would have been sufficient to transform Western society and trigger the Scientific Revolution without having to add the physical exploitation of an Age of Discovery. However, we will see later that both the Renaissance and the Reformation will eventually sputter to an end while more physical ways of using Contributor thought continue to develop.

I have suggested that John the Baptist represents a mindset of absolute truth. Verses 2-3 describe the relationship between the old mindset of absolute truth and the new mindset of Contributor transformation. (I am using the term Contributor transformation because modern technical thought with all of its details had not yet been developed. However, Contributor thought was starting to guide thought and behavior in the direction of transformation.) “Now when John in prison heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or shall we look for someone else?’” The word prison literally means a place of bondage. And this is only the second time that the word work is used in Matthew (it occurred once before in the Sermon on the Mount). The verb do has been used many times in Matthew, but a work ‘is a deed or action that carries out an inner desire’. This idea of goal-oriented action is a primary facet of Contributor thought. One is not just doing something, but rather performing an action in order to achieve some goal or improve some bottom line.

Going further, the term Christ was used several times in the first two chapters of Matthew, but this is the first time that it has been used since then, and this term will show up a number of times in the remainder of the book. Christ refers to the abstract side of incarnation, the aspect of Contributor-controlled technical thought that deals with general equations rather than specific situations. One of the fundamental principles of science and technology is that the Jesus of personal salvation can be combined with the Christ of general equations. And this mental expansion from Jesus to Christ has been the topic of the previous verses. This also explains why the medieval age is about to come to a complete end. Jesus saves, while Jesus Christ saves totally. Using an analogy, Jesus rescues me out of poverty and gives me food and shelter. Jesus Christ puts me on an airplane and flies me to a different continent where everyone has food and shelter.

Matthew 14 will explain why John the Baptist was imprisoned. Chapter 11 simply refers to John being in prison, but it also indicates that John is able to interact with his disciples. The implication is that absolute truth has been successfully quarantined but continues to function. And that accurately describes the situation in which absolute truth found itself in this time. It had its disciples but it had been successfully contained and tamed by both religious and secular institutions.

One can see this taming of absolute truth in the following Wikipedia definition of Renaissance humanism. “Renaissance humanism was a response to what came to be depicted by later whig historians as the ‘narrow pedantry’ associated with medieval scholasticism. Humanists sought to create a citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity and thus capable of engaging in the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions.” Notice that the absolute truth of Scholasticism is still present, but the roles are now reversed. Scholasticism no longer imprisons peoples’ minds. Instead, Scholasticism is now being viewed as the servant of the human individual.

The primary weakness of a holy book (or scholastic textbook) is that it has no direct connection to reality. Saying this more carefully, a book will be regarded as holy if it is associated with religious Mercy experiences that are holy and distinct from normal life. For instance, the Bible was written by the disciples of Jesus, and the disciples are regarded as saints who directly followed Jesus, and Jesus is regarded as the incarnation of God. (The same cognitive mechanism functions to a lesser extent with textbooks: A textbook is written by professors who directly follow the scientists who discovered the laws of nature.) But if Perceiver truth is based in holy Mercy experiences that are distinct from normal reality, than any Teacher understanding that results from studying a holy book (or textbook) will also have no connection with normal reality. Going further, studying this book will lead to the development of Platonic forms—which will also be viewed as separate and distinct from normal reality. The end result is that absolute truth can talk about a future kingdom of God, but it has no way of turning this internal vision into reality. All it can do is preach about a future heaven that can never come.

This ‘waiting for heaven in the sky by and by’ can be seen in the language of John: “Are you the coming one, or shall we look for someone else?” The word look for means ‘to await, expect’. Thus, John is locked in prison, awaiting the arrival of some coming salvation.

Incarnation Points to Personal Change 11:4-6

Jesus replies by telling John to compare his vision with the new reality. “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them’” (v.4-5). In other words, how can one know that Jesus is the Savior? Because Jesus saves. Where Jesus is present, there will be salvation.

Similarly, the goal of Renaissance humanism was to transform the individual. “Humanists believed that the individual encompassed ‘body, mind, and soul’ and learning was very much a part of edifying all aspect of the human… Humanists sought to create a citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence and clarity and thus capable of engaging in the civic life of their communities and persuading others to virtuous and prudent actions.”

The word go means ‘to transport, moving something from one destination or port to another’. Thus, one is not just moving from one location to another, but moving in a manner that indicates a change of perspective. This means that absolute truth has to go through a change of perspective in order to recognize salvation as the work of Jesus. As a Perceiver person I know what this means, because I grew up in a Mennonite household that emphasized the absolute truth of the Bible. My respect for the Bible is now even higher than it used to be, but my thinking has gone through a change of perspective. I had to stop thinking in terms of proclaiming absolute truth and waiting for some vision of heaven and start viewing real human history in terms of following a path of cognitive development.

Having gone through this shift, the disciples are supposed to report to John what they are hearing and seeing. They are supposed to shift their attention from future perfection to present reality. Instead of asking ‘Who will turn our internal Platonic forms into reality?’, they need to observe the personal salvation that is happening—and connect this personal salvation with the person of incarnation. This shift in focus can be seen in the Renaissance concept of humanism. Wikipedia describes this shift, quoting from the Cambridge dictionary of philosophy: “Here, one felt no weight of the supernatural pressing on the human mind, demanding homage and allegiance. Humanity—with all its distinct capabilities, talents, worries, problems, possibilities—was the center of interest. It has been said that medieval thinkers philosophised on their knees, but, bolstered by the new studies, they dared to stand up and to rise to full stature.” Notice how the focus has shifted away from absolute truth to current human reality.

Humanism today is viewed by Christian fundamentalists as anti-Christian. And as the quote indicates, adopting an attitude of humanism means questioning the implicit self-denial that accompanies absolute truth; one must gain sufficient confidence to believe that one can think for oneself. But Renaissance humanism was not necessarily anti-church. Instead, “Many humanists were churchmen, most notably Pope Pius II, Sixtus IV, and Leo X, and there was often patronage of humanists by senior church figures. Much humanist effort went into improving the understanding and translations of Biblical and early Christian texts, both before and after the Reformation, which was greatly influenced by the work of non-Italian, Northern European figures such as Erasmus, Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples, William Grocyn, and Swedish Catholic Archbishop in exile Olaus Magnus.”

Verse 5 elaborates the personal benefits. First, ‘blind receive sight’. The word receive sight actually means ‘to look up’. A blind person cannot his use eyes to make sense of his environment. Blind men were mentioned previously in Matthew 9:27-28, but those blind men had their eyes opened, whereas here the blind are looking up, which implies being guided by generality in Teacher thought.

Second, ‘lame walk’. Matthew 10:8 talked about the weak being given therapy. But this is the first reference in Matthew to lame, which means ‘lame, deprived of a foot, limping’. And the lame walk, which means to ‘walk around’ or ‘conduct my life’. Looking at this cognitively, the mind rests upon core mental networks. The movement of personal transformation is possible because a person can emotionally shift the weight of the mind between Teacher mental networks and Mercy mental networks. For instance, the childish mind rests upon MMNs of childish experience. The path of personal transformation replaces these childish MMNs with TMNs of rational understanding, which are in turn replaced by MMNs of Platonic forms. This kind of mental walking only becomes possible when Teacher thought acquires an independent existence. Using theological language, it requires a concept of both Jesus and Christ. The childish mind that lacks Teacher understanding is mentally lame because it is ‘deprived of a foot’. Adding the second ‘foot’ of rational Teacher understanding makes it possible to ‘walk around’ and start ‘conducting one’s life’.

Third, ‘lepers are cleansed’. This same phrase was used in Matthew 10:8. The word cleanse means ‘removing all admixture’. This is also a byproduct of Teacher thought, because Teacher thought feels bad when there is an exception to the rule. We saw this earlier with the sparrow that falls out of the group to the ground. Leper comes from a word that means ‘a scale of a fish’. Looking at this symbolically, a fish lives within the ‘sea’ of Mercy experiences. Scales imply that the skin of the fish is subdivided into many discrete fragments. Similarly, Mercy feelings naturally fragment the mind into a hodgepodge of loves and hates, leading ultimately to a symbolic version of the skin condition of leprosy. Teacher thought emotionally drives a person to cleanse this admixture and become mentally pure.

Fourth, ‘deaf hear’. In Matthew 9:32-33, a deaf man with a demon spoke, but here the deaf are hearing. This describes one primary distinction between absolute truth and rational thought. Absolute truth speaks a lot but listens very little. That is because it is convinced that it already has personal access to ultimate truth. ‘Why do I need to listen to them if I already know what is the truth?’ A mind that is guided by incarnation, in contrast, is curious. It wants to learn more because it has discovered that learning enables personal salvation. Saying this another way, when a Teacher theory turns into a TMN, then this will emotionally motivate a person to expand the theory by applying it to more situations.

Fifth, ‘dead are raised up’. This phrase was also used in Matthew 10:8. Looking at this cognitively, mental networks are coming back to life. This principle is especially true when the salvation of Jesus is extended through the general equations of Christ. This can be seen in the process of personal transformation, which constructs a concept of God in Teacher thought in order to become personally reborn in Mercy thought. It also describes the operating assumption of modern society. If we reach some dead end, then we assume that scientific research can come up with a solution that will ‘raise up the dead’.

The sixth phrase is only two words in Greek: ‘poor [are] gospelized’. And gospelized means ‘to announce good news’. This is only the second reference to poor in Matthew. The first reference was at the beginning of the Beatitudes where Jesus declared ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’. The word poor means ‘to crouch or cower like a beggar’. A society that is ruled by Mercy status is comprised of the powerful with their emotional status, and the poor who crouch and cower in the presence of such emotional might. Revolution does not eliminate this problem, because it merely changes those who have Mercy status, leaving the majority crouching and cowering. The salvation of Jesus can help the poor but it is still functioning within a general mindset of domination and submission. However, when the salvation of Jesus is supercharged by the abstract thinking of Christ, then the entire equation changes. One can see what this ultimately means by comparing modern society with the medieval world. Back then, the average person lived in poverty. Today, physical poverty is the exception in Western society, and the average person lives a comfortable lifestyle that would have been considered the lap of luxury in medieval times. This illustrates what it means to gospelize the poor. They are not just being given food and shelter, but being flown to a different mindset that is naturally free of poverty. As the saying goes, ‘give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’. (The modern world has achieved significant physical prosperity. But the postmodern emphasis upon identity politics is removing the ability to achieve mental and spiritual prosperity.)

Verse 6 concludes “And blessed is he whoever does not stumble over Me.” The word blessed was last used in the Beatitudes and means to ‘become long, large’. Stated cognitively, it describes Teacher thought opening up a person’s mind and world. The word stumble is the origin of the English word scandalize and means ‘to put a snare in the way’. It was last seen in Matthew 5:29-30 which instructed that one should remove one’s right hand or eye if it causes stumbling, indicating that partial growth at that stage is better than no growth at all.

This is a major principle when goal-oriented behavior starts saving people, especially when Jesus is expanded by Christ. In brief, new solutions will often challenge existing taboos and sacred cows. For instance, ‘Don’t build a telescope on that mountain, it is sacred’. As one business website points out, “Regardless of your company’s size, one scenario that often stops progress is the presence of ‘sacred cows’ - beliefs that go unchallenged, effectively placing blinders on the company’s leadership.” Notice how the sacred cows limit the growth and potential of goal-oriented behavior. Using the language of Matthew, if one becomes scandalized, then one will not be blessed. One of the biggest scandals that the Renaissance mindset had to deal with was the idea mentioned earlier that it is sinful to achieve prosperity. This idea that prosperity is ungodly is a natural byproduct of a mindset of absolute truth.

I am not suggesting that one should pursue growth at any cost, because that described the primary attitude of the modern world. (Notice that I said modern and not post-modern.) Instead, sacred cows need to be replaced by value. Instead of avoiding taboos, one should preserve and increase value. Absolute truth will naturally think in terms of taboos and sacred cows, because emotional experiences, people, and places in Mercy thought are being used to overwhelm Perceiver thought into knowing what is ‘true’. If these defining experiences are belittled, then the mind will start to doubt absolute truth. Thus, absolute truth may welcome the Contributor-guided salvation of Jesus, but it will shy away from the more extensive salvation of Jesus Christ, because this greater transformation will eventually threaten the very existence of absolute truth.

This leads to a major problem because Contributor thought can only function within a framework of law-and-order. Thus, it is essential that Contributor thought is not used in a way that destroys the foundation for Contributor thought. This is not just a theoretical problem, because an economic system will often be undermined or destroyed by ‘clever’ Contributor persons who discover that they can get rich by taking advantage of the system, not knowing that they are cutting off the branch upon which they are sitting.

I suggest that high-frequency trading is one current example of an economic system destroying itself. Quoting from the Wikipedia article, “A substantial body of research argues that HFT and electronic trading pose new types of challenges to the financial system. Algorithmic and high-frequency traders were both found to have contributed to volatility in the Flash Crash of May 6, 2010, when high-frequency liquidity providers rapidly withdrew from the market. Several European countries have proposed curtailing or banning HFT due to concerns about volatility.” I suggested earlier that sacred cows need to be replaced by value. When stocks are being bought and sold in fractions of a second, then the very concept of value has become meaningless.

Jesus Evaluates John the Baptist 11:7-9

Thus, I suggest that it is significant that the next section describes Jesus looking back at John. Cognitively speaking, Contributor thought is recognizing the validity and importance of the Perceiver branch on which it is sitting.

Verse 7 sets the context. “As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?” The word going away again means ‘to transport from one destination to another’. The disciples of John the Baptist are doing this transporting, implying that the followers of absolute truth are experiencing a transition in the way that they view absolute truth. The word began, which means ‘commence, rule’, may seem like a common word, but this is the only the second time that it is found in Matthew. The first time was in 4:17 when Jesus began speaking to those who were starting to see a glimmer of light after the Dark Ages.

The point is that one cannot discuss absolute truth with the followers of absolute truth until they are starting to experience a transition in the way they feel about absolute truth. I have learned this principle over the years, because I can now discuss concepts with (many) fundamentalist Christians that were taboo to mention twenty years ago.

The next phrase illustrates why I added (many) in brackets. One can often discuss absolute truth with fundamentalists when absolute truth is falling into doubt. But the more open audience is usually the crowds who surround the believers in crumbling absolute truth. This explains why Jesus speaks to the crowds in Matthew 11 about John. He is talking to the average person about absolute truth.

Jesus does not attempt to defend absolute truth, but rather asks the crowds about their perception. “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?” The word see means to ‘gaze on as a spectator’ and is related to the English word ‘theatre’. It was previously used in 6:1 to describe people doing their righteousness before people to be seen by them. A wilderness is ‘an uncultivated, unpopulated place’ and John the Baptist was out in the wilderness. Putting this together, absolute truth is accompanied by feelings of religious self-denial. Therefore, absolute truth will naturally gravitate to a wilderness that is devoid of personal activity. For the average person, this becomes a spectacle, in which personal identity temporarily leaves normal Mercy experiences and goes out to a realm of personal self-denial in order to view followers of absolute truth as a spectacle. In fact, this describes the typical church service—both Protestant and Catholic. The laity stops working once a week in order to attend a church service where they sit in a theater-like environment and observe the clergy performing religious rituals and listen to the clergy proclaiming absolute truth.

But why does the laity do this? Do they want to see ‘a reed shaken by the wind?’ Reed means ‘a reed; a reed-pen, reed-staff, measuring rod’ and this is the first time that this word is used in Matthew. All of these meanings apply to absolute truth. Absolute truth comes from the words of a book that are written by a reed-pen. Absolute truth rules over personal identity, as represented by a reed-staff. And absolute truth becomes the standard by which other facts are evaluated, indicating a ‘measuring rod’. Going further, wind represents movement within the air of Teacher thought. Shaken is used twice in the book of Matthew and means ‘to agitate, shake’. If a reed is being shaken by the wind, then this means that the standards of absolute truth are being affected by the winds of Teacher thought. Why does the average person attend the spectacle of church? Because church acts as a source of truth that does not change. Verse 7 is asking an important question because the universal laws of nature can also satisfy this need.

I have found through personal experience that an effective method for moving beyond absolute truth is being described here. My concept of God that was based in the absolute truth of the Bible often felt emotionally threatened when I was analyzing core religious concepts from a cognitive perspective. I discovered that I could respond effectively to these Teacher emotions by asking Teacher thought in my mind which method most effectively met the basic needs of Teacher thought: absolute truth or cognitive analysis? Saying this another way, a concept of God emerges within the mind when a general Teacher theory applies to personal identity. Teacher thought wants a general theory that applies everywhere. What satisfies this need more effectively? Preaching absolute moral truth, or discovering universal cognitive principles?

One can see a similar transition in Renaissance humanism. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The humanists believed that it is important to transcend to the afterlife with a perfect mind and body, which could be attained with education. The purpose of humanism was to create a universal man whose person combined intellectual and physical excellence and who was capable of functioning honorably in virtually any situation. This ideology was referred to as the uomo universale, an ancient Greco-Roman ideal. Education during the Renaissance was mainly composed of ancient literature and history as it was thought that the classics provided moral instruction and an intensive understanding of human behavior.”

Looking back, we can see that few people met the high ideals of the ‘renaissance man’. But that is not the point. What matters is that an ideal emerged that was capable of taking over the role that had been played by absolute truth.

Verse 8 asks the question again, “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing?” The word see here is the normal word and not the word used in verse 7. And people are no longer going out into the wilderness to see. The implication is that absolute truth has changed. On the side of the clergy, ideas of religious self-denial are fading. On the side of the laity, the feeling of observing a spectacle is also fading. For instance, when I was a child, the typical missionary would go to distant foreign lands in order to live and preach about Christianity in Third World settings. These missionaries would occasionally return to Western civilization and give presentations about denying self for Jesus in exotic lands. Today, most clergy are well-paid professionals and the laity typically sing songs about denying self for Jesus while sitting in comfortable, padded chairs.

The reference to a man is significant, because it indicates that people are thinking in terms of people. This Greek word is ‘the generic term for mankind’ and implies a mindset of humanism. The word dressed means literally ‘to put around’ and is only used here and in the Sermon on the Mount where it talked about God clothing the grass of the field. The word soft clothing means ‘soft, effeminate’. It is found only in this verse, in the parallel passage in Luke, and in 1 Cor. 6:9, where it is translated as effeminate.

Clothing represents social interaction. Effeminate implies the mental networks of female thought. Absolute truth is ‘put around’ using the clothing of mental networks. That is because absolute truth uses mental networks to impose ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought. Normally, mental networks are expressed in a manner that is soft and delicate, as expressed by female thought. But absolute truth does not use mental networks in such a manner. Instead, absolute truth uses mental networks to impose the hard, solid facts of emotional ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought.

Using contemporary language, the typical churchgoer attends church, not primarily to experience emotional comfort in Mercy thought, but rather for the Perceiver stability that results from the emotional Mercy experiences. If this is the case, then why not build Perceiver stability directly instead of going through the detour of experiencing religious Mercy emotions?

Jesus continues by answering his question. “Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses!” Soft is the same word used earlier in the verse, and the word wear is used once in Matthew and means ‘to bear or wear as a habit’. And the word ‘clothing’ is not in the original Greek. Thus, a more literal translation would be ‘those with soft, effeminate habits are in the realm of king’s houses’. One can see this combination illustrated by the Medici family, “an Italian banking family and political dynasty that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de’ Medici in the Republic of Florence during the first half of the 15th century.” Wikipedia explains that “The greatest accomplishments of the Medici were in the sponsorship of art and architecture, mainly early and High Renaissance art and architecture. The Medici were responsible for a high proportion of the major Florentine works of art created during their period of rule. Their support was critical, since artists generally only began work on their projects after they had received commissions. Giovanni di Bicci de’ Medici, the first patron of the arts in the family, aided Masaccio and commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi for the reconstruction of the Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence, in 1419. Cosimo the Elder’s notable artistic associates were Donatello and Fra Angelico. In later years, the most significant protégé of the Medici family was Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475–1564), who produced work for a number of family members, beginning with Lorenzo the Magnificent, who was said to be extremely fond of the young Michelangelo and invited him to study the family collection of antique sculpture. Lorenzo also served as patron to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) for seven years.”

The word ‘wear as a habit’ is also appropriate because the Renaissance court was not known for its morality, but rather for its rules of etiquette. According to the Smithsonian magazine, “Art and culture flourished throughout Europe during the Renaissance. It was the period when Michelangelo wielded his chisel, Galileo defied preconceived notions about the universe and William Shakespeare penned some of the most enduring dramatic works. It was also a period that saw the evolution of manners… Manners were a response to the violence and crude behaviors run rampant in burgeoning cities and a means of reinforcing social order and distinguishing the privileged class from everyone else. A first generation of Miss Manners-es—typically men—took up the quill. And the newly defined codes of conduct were especially important at the dinner table. Italy more or less led the cultural revolution, table manners included.”

This emphasis upon elegant—and effeminate—court behavior is described in the article on Castiglione, who wrote the definitive book on court etiquette just before he died in 1528. Wikipedia describes the ambience: “The court of Urbino at that time was one of the most refined and elegant in Italy, a cultural center ably directed and managed by the Duchess Elizabetta and her sister-in-law Emilia Pia, whose portraits, along with those of many of their guests, were painted by Raphael, himself a native of Urbino… The hosts and guests organized intellectual contests, pageants, dances, concerts, recitations, plays, and other cultural activities, producing brilliant literary works. Elisabetta’s virtue and abilities inspired Castiglione to compose a series of Platonic love songs and sonnets in her honor.”

Applying this now to Matthew 11, if one attends religious services for the emotional experiences, then secular leaders generate better emotional experiences. Using modern language, if one attends church for the emotional content, then Hollywood does a better job of generating emotional content. On the other hand, if one attends church for the sense of Perceiver knowing, then why not address Perceiver knowing directly?

Verse 9 states this conclusion. “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet.” The initial question is the same as in verse 8, but this time an answer is being given. They went out to see a prophet. A prophet provides stability for Perceiver thought and vision for Mercy thought. A prophet tells people what to believe and what will happen.

The word more than means ‘beyond what is anticipated, exceeding expectations’. In other words, the absolute truth of European Scholasticism did more than just act as a source of absolute truth. Instead, it generated results that exceeded expectations.

Incarnation Evaluates the Bible 11:10-15

Verse 10 describes how expectations were exceeded: “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You.’” ‘It is written’ emphasizes that a holy book is composed of words that do not change. The word messenger actually means ‘angel, messenger’ and is translated as angel the other nineteen times that it occurs in Matthew. This is the only time in Matthew that this word is not translated as ‘angel’.

This illustrates the hybrid nature of a holy book. On one hand, it is backed up by MMNs of personal status within Mercy thought. On the other hand, a genuine holy book contains a message that reflects the Teacher order and structure of the heavenly realm of angels. One can interpret this from a purely cognitive viewpoint as saying that the message of a holy book contains Teacher order and structure. One can also interpret this as referring to real angels, because my general hypothesis is that real angels inhabit an angelic realm that is characterized by Teacher order and structure. What matters is that rational thought can look back at the holy book that has been preached as absolute truth and observe that it contains Teacher order. This retrospective re-evaluation is illustrated by this essay.

(This also makes it possible to test whether a book that claims to be holy really is holy. A genuine holy book will contain extensive Teacher order, and a genuine book of prophecy will predict the future. For instance, many claim that the writings of Nostradamus accurately predict the future. But Wikipedia points out that “Nostradamus’s predictions are characteristically vague, meaning they could be applied to virtually anything, and are useless for determining whether their author had any real prophetic powers. They also point out that English translations of his quatrains are almost always of extremely poor quality, based on later manuscripts, produced by authors with little knowledge of sixteenth-century French, and often deliberately mistranslated to make the prophecies fit whatever events the translator believed they were supposed to have predicted.” The analysis that we are doing of the book of Matthew is far more extensive and based upon the original Greek text rather than poor mistranslations. And if this analysis is accurate, then the Bible really is an angelic book in the sense of real angels.)

A holy book is typically viewed as a source of absolute Perceiver truth, but verse 10 describes something different. What is being prepared is a way, which refers to Server sequences and Server paths rather than Perceiver facts and Perceiver truth. The word prepare is only used once in Matthew and means to ‘prepare skillfully using implements, according to a tooled-design’.

This new approach to the absolute truth for the Bible can be seen especially in Erasmus, who lived from 1466 to 1536. Quoting as usual from Wikipedia, Erasmus “was a Dutch philosopher and Christian scholar who is widely considered to have been one of the greatest scholars of the northern Renaissance. Originally trained as a Catholic priest, Erasmus was an important figure in classical scholarship who wrote in a pure Latin style. Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet ‘Prince of the Humanists’, and has been called ‘the crowning glory of the Christian humanists’. Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.”

Wikipedia describes the attitude of Erasmus in more detail: “He felt called upon to use his learning in a purification of the doctrine by returning to the historic documents and original languages of sacred Scripture. He tried to free the methods of scholarship from the rigidity and formalism of medieval traditions, but he was not satisfied with this. His revolt against certain forms of Christian monasticism and scholasticism was not based on doubts about the truth of doctrine, nor from hostility to the organization of the Church itself, nor from rejection of celibacy or monastic lifestyles. He saw himself as a preacher of righteousness by an appeal to reason, applied frankly and without fear of the magisterium. He always intended to remain faithful to Catholic doctrine and therefore was convinced he could criticize frankly virtually everyone and everything.” Summarizing, Erasmus moved beyond the attitude of absolute truth with its Mercy focus upon personal authority. But he did not respond by rebelling from established authority in Mercy thought. Instead, he attempted to re-evaluate the biblical text from a Teacher viewpoint of rational thought.

When one steps back and looks at the bigger picture, one observes that Western Christendom contained the elements that were required to discover the technical thinking of scientific thought. What was being prepared was not so much a set of doctrines, but rather a methodology—a way of thinking and acting.

Verse 11 compares absolute truth with rational Teacher thought. “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” The word woman occurs 217 times in the New Testament, but the phrase ‘born of woman’ is only here, in the parallel passage in Luke 7, and in Galatians 4:4 where Jesus is described as being born of a woman. This phrase emphasizes the source of absolute truth, because absolute truth is based in the mental networks of female thought. Cognitively speaking, it is ‘born of a woman’. The word greater means ‘large, great, and the widest sense’ which refers to Teacher generality. This is actually only the second time in Matthew that John is explicitly given the title ‘John the Baptist’, and this title is repeated in the next verse.

The word baptize means ‘submerge’. In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said that ‘I baptize you with water’, implying that a message of absolute truth involves being immersed within the waters of Mercy experience. John the Baptist added that Jesus ‘will baptize you with the Holy Spirit’. This describes two forms of personal renewal. Belief in absolute truth requires an emotional Mercy experience that is different than the emotional experiences of childhood. A person who grows up ‘believing the Bible’ (or some other holy book) will view the Bible as an aspect of MMNs of culture. Treating the Bible as a special book will only happen if one associates the Bible with a different set of emotional experiences, and Christians will usually refer to some kind of salvation experience that transformed their view of the Bible and Christianity. In contrast, the Platonic forms of the Holy Spirit emerge within Mercy thought as an indirect result of an integrated concept of God within Teacher thought. A person is baptized by the Holy Spirit when existing MMNs of culture and identity become reborn in the light of these Platonic forms. (Charismatic Christianity is examined in previous essays.)

A mindset of absolute truth has no way of evaluating systems of absolute truth. Instead, all that can be done is to state with religious conviction that my holy book is better than your holy book. However, it is possible to retrospectively use rational thought to compare one holy book with another. Jesus is doing this in verse 11 by looking back at John the Baptist and concluding that his version of absolute truth had the greatest Teacher generality.

But a holy book by its very nature is only a finite collection of words, and a limited set of words is only capable of describing a limited set of topics. Thus, Jesus concludes that “the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”. And least is the comparative form of ‘small, little’. In other words, even a small theory in the realm of Teacher thought has greater generality than a holy book. That is why I refer to the Bible as an accurate description of truth rather than the source of truth. The Bible appears to be the most amazing book ever written, but it is still only a book, and a book has inherent limitations.

Verse 12 contains a strange description: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.” The ‘days of John the Baptist until now’ would refer to a mindset of absolute truth. This was preceded by the rituals and temples of the pre-Christian world and was succeeded by the rational Teacher theories of science. The word suffers violence is only found here and in the parallel passage in Luke 16. It means ‘to use power to forcibly seize’. The word violent is the noun form of the same word and is also found only once in the New Testament. Finally, the word take by force means ‘to take by an open display of force’.

What is being described here is the contradictory and intermediate nature of absolute truth. On the one hand, absolute truth is emotionally imposed. Potent emotional experiences are used to overwhelm the mind in order to implant ‘truth’ within Perceiver thought. There is nothing subtle about absolute truth. It proclaims, pronounces, and ‘takes by an open display of force’. But on the other hand, these essays are showing that the absolute truth of the Bible can be used to construct an integrated understanding in Teacher thought. Every textbook shares this contradictory nature. An instructor uses the emotional status of the educational system to impose a textbook upon students. But if this textbook is accurate, then studying the textbook will lead to a rational Teacher understanding.

This kind of realization is essential when one is using rational thought to look back at a holy book, because one has to distinguish the content of the holy book from the mindset of absolute truth. Saying this more crudely, the Bible needs to be saved from evangelical Christianity. One does this not by attacking evangelical Christians or belittling the Bible, but rather by distinguishing the message of the Bible from the mindset of absolute truth.

Verse 13 describes the mindset that existed before the absolute truth of John the Baptist. “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.” The word law refers to a system of law, especially the Pentateuch, which are the first five books of the Old Testament. This is the first reference to the law in Matthew outside of the Sermon on the Mount.

Verse 13 includes the word ‘prophet’ twice, as a noun and as a verb. Thus, the prophets prophesied and the law also prophesied. Looking at this theologically, Christian theologians assert that the Old Testament was looking forward to the coming of Jesus the Messiah, and that the Mosaic law was a precursor to Christian ethics. This theology is then typically applied in practice by ignoring most of the Old Testament and asserting that God has forsaken the Jews. But that actually describes a Mercy-based mindset in which one replaces one source of authority with another. That leads to the tribalistic thinking of ‘Christian good; Jew bad’.

Instead, one needs to recognize that the sources of absolute truth did not believe in absolute truth. A holy book does not emerge out of nowhere. Instead, some group of people records their thoughts and experiences and succeeding generations then treat this written record as holy. Thus, a distinction needs to be made between the absolute truth of John the Baptist and the thinking that came before John the Baptist. This applies to some extent to the real John the Baptist, because he preached several hundred years after the final Jewish prophet had spoken. Similarly, Scholasticism was examining texts that had been written many centuries earlier, including the text of the Bible. And those who wrote these authoritative texts did not think in terms of authoritative texts. Using the language of Matthew, even if the people before John had prophets and a systematic law, they were still functioning at the level of prophecy and not at the level of absolute truth.

This explains why the kingdom of heaven can be taken by force ‘from the days of John the Baptist until now’. Discovering Teacher thought requires a book with structured content, combined with a mindset of absolute truth that regards this book as something that is worthy of study. The original authors before John the Baptist did not have the mindset that was required to discover the Teacher order inherent in written Scripture. One can see what this means by examining the typical Pentecostal mindset. Pentecostalism believes that God can speak today through words of prophecy. One of the byproducts of this sense of divine immediacy is flaky exegesis. Stated simply, Pentecostals and charismatics tend to have bad theology because they do not respect the written text enough.

This focus upon mindset is seen in verses 14-15. “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who is going to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” The word willing actually means ‘to desire’. Accept ‘means to receive in a welcoming way’, and ‘it’ is not in the original Greek. Thus, what is being described here is not choice but rather emotions. How will one approach the absolute truth of John? Will one embrace it emotionally, or will one reject it as obsolete or irrelevant? If one approaches absolute truth with the right attitude, then one will realize that it is Elijah, the precursor to the Messiah. Elijah means ‘Ya is God’ and this is the first reference to Elijah in Matthew. The idea of Elijah being the precursor and John the Baptist taking the role of Elijah is mentioned explicitly in 17:10. ‘Ya is God’ indicates that one is dealing here with Teacher emotions and not Mercy emotions. One is emotionally welcoming absolute truth as a description of God in Teacher thought rather than associating absolute truth with Mercy experiences of worship and adoration. This Teacher focus can be seen in verse 15, which is more literally ‘the one having ears, hear!’ In other words, if you can use Teacher thought, then use it.

Wikipedia relates that this kind of deeper rethinking was happening during the Renaissance. “A suitable environment had developed to question scientific doctrine. The discovery in 1492 of the New World by Christopher Columbus challenged the classical worldview. The works of Ptolemy (in geography) and Galen (in medicine) were found to not always match everyday observations. As the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation clashed, the Northern Renaissance showed a decisive shift in focus from Aristotelean natural philosophy to chemistry and the biological sciences (botany, anatomy, and medicine). The willingness to question previously held truths and search for new answers resulted in a period of major scientific advancements.”

Squabbling Groups of Children 11:16-19

The next section uses an analogy to predict that many people will not be able to make the transition from absolute truth to rational thought. “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not beat the breast’” (v.16-17). The word ‘generation’ was used several times in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. This is the first time that this word has been used since then. Thus, Jesus is talking about the mindset of a specific generation that lives during the transition from absolute truth to scientific understanding. Similarly, the post-World War II generation was also a transitional generation which experienced the shift from modern thought to postmodern thought. I suggested previously that the birth of science did not just require a certain mindset. Instead, it emerged as one specific mindset was being replaced by another mindset. It was born as people who were used to thinking in terms of heavenly mindset of absolute truth, Scholasticism, and the Catholic Church took their attention away from books and started to focus upon reality.

Looking at the analogy in verse 16, the word child is a diminutive form that refers to ‘a little child in training’. It was used several times in Matthew 2 to refer to the infant Jesus, and this is the first use since then. This is also the first time that the word marketplace is used in Matthew and it refers to ‘an assembly, place of assembly’. Little children sitting in the marketplace gives the impression of elementary students playing academia. Looking back, we can see that this is an accurate description of the early stages of science. Scientific research was being done at a very basic level back then, similar to the kind of experiments that are done today by young students in elementary school. But for that generation, those basic experiments were state-of-the-art. (I sometimes wonder how succeeding generations will view my writing. Will my essays be viewed as the words of a little child who is just learning how to think? And yet, what I am doing is currently state-of-the-art. I do not know of anyone else who is doing this kind of research.)

Call out means ‘to call to’ and is only used once in Matthew. The word others means ‘another of a different kind’ as opposed to another of the same kind. Thus, the children are directing their call towards others who are different. In other words, what is being described is not academic dialogue or religious interaction, but rather academia calling out to religion, or vice versa. I refer to these two because this passage is discussing the relationship between the absolute truth of John the Baptist and the rational thinking of incarnation.

Played the flute is used once in Matthew and means what it says. The word dance is only used in this parable and to describe the infamous dancing of the daughter of Herodias in chapter 14. Playing the flute and dancing are both artistic expressions, and early scientific research was artistic. Wikipedia explains that “Science and art were intermingled in the early Renaissance, with polymath artists such as Leonardo da Vinci making observational drawings of anatomy and nature. Da Vinci set up controlled experiments in water flow, medical dissection, and systematic study of movement and aerodynamics, and he devised principles of research method that led Fritjof Capra to classify him as the ‘father of modern science.’” Science was artistic because it was discovering general relationships, but it had not yet developed the mathematical tools that were needed to quantitatively analyze these relationships. The end result was a form of mental dancing. Dancing describes movement that is elegant and structured. Server actions are expressing Teacher order, but they are doing so in an emotional non-mathematical manner. Similarly, music could be described as emotional math, and playing the flute emphasizes that this structured emotion is being performed within the air of Teacher thought.

Applying this to the dialogue between absolute truth and rational thought, proto-scientific thinking is discovering Teacher order at the intuitive, emotional level of music and dancing. It calls over to the emerging Protestant believers and expects them to ‘dance to the music’. But they don’t. Looking at this literally, the typical fundamentalist Christian rejects dancing as being too sensual. Looking at this cognitively, dancing combines personal Server actions with general Teacher order. In contrast, Protestant faith declared in no uncertain terms that the Teacher order of God had nothing to do with human actions in Server thought.

For instance, according to Luther, salvation is by faith alone; one must use Perceiver thought to approach God and not Server thought. In the words of Wikipedia, “Luther came to understand justification as entirely the work of God. Against the teaching of his day that the righteous acts of believers are performed in cooperation with God, Luther wrote that Christians receive such righteousness entirely from outside themselves.” But one of the core principles of science is that one must focus upon how the natural world behaves, and one must use Server thought to perform experiments in order to understand what the natural world does. Thus, early science piped a tune, and the early Protestants refused to dance. One cannot blame them because they were both little children sitting in the assembly and acting like adults.

Moving further, sang a dirge means to ‘lament, especially audibly; wail’. And beat the breast was an expression of mourning. Protestant believers focused upon repentance, recognizing that humans are sinners in need of salvation. One can see this attitude of lamenting in the following quote: “In the Smalcald Articles, Luther summarized what he regarded to be the most important teaching in Christianity… The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace (Eph 2:8-9), through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–28). This is necessary to believe.” Notice the extensive biblical quotes, indicating a mindset of absolute truth, and the focus upon sin and iniquity, indicating an attitude of lamenting.

But instead of recognizing the need for personal transformation, science turned into objective science—a study of the natural world which ignored personal inadequacies. Similarly, there was no ‘beating of the breast’ with the popes of the Renaissance. Instead, “The wealthy popes and cardinals increasingly patronized Renaissance art and architecture, (re)building the landmarks of Rome from the ground up. The Papal States began to resemble a modern nation-state during this period, and the papacy took an increasingly active role in European wars and diplomacy. Popes were more frequently called upon to arbitrate disputes between competing colonial powers than to resolve complicated theological disputes.”

This may seem like a strange interpretation, but it is consistent with verses 18-19: “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” Notice how the absolute truth of John the Baptist is associated with the mourning of abstinence, while the transformative thinking of incarnation is associated with the piping and dancing of partying, consistent with how this illustration has just been interpreted.

Looking at this in more detail, we have interpreted eating as intellectual food and drinking as partaking of emotional experiences. Not eating describes the intellectual behavior of the emerging Protestants. On the theoretical side, they based their beliefs upon the Bible alone, without ‘feeding’ on other books. This is known as sola scriptura. “Martin Luther said, ‘a simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it’. The intention of the Reformation was to correct what he asserted to be the errors of the Catholic Church by appeal to the uniqueness of the Bible’s textual authority. Catholic doctrine is based in sacred tradition, as well as scripture. Sola scriptura rejected the assertion that infallible authority was given to the magisterium to interpret both scripture and tradition… As Luther said, ‘The true rule is this: God’s Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so.’”

Looking at the experiential side, not drinking is different than living in the desert. Living in the desert minimizes contact with the world of Mercy experiences. Not drinking avoids deriving personal nourishment from Mercy experiences. This was also a defining characteristic of the Protestant Reformation. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The Protestant Reformation during the 16th century in Europe almost entirely rejected the existing tradition of Catholic art, and very often destroyed as much of it as it could reach. A new artistic tradition developed, producing far smaller quantities of art that followed Protestant agendas and diverged drastically from the southern European tradition and the humanist art produced during the High Renaissance. The Lutheran churches, as they developed, accepted a limited role for larger works of art in churches, and also encouraged prints and book illustrations. Calvinists remained steadfastly opposed to art in churches, and suspicious of small printed images of religious subjects, though generally fully accepting secular images in their homes.”

We have interpreted demons as TMNs that drive unwanted habits. (If real demons exist, then they would influence human behavior by empowering these TMNs.) If people are being accused of having demons, then this means that these people are insisting upon behaving in ways that are socially unacceptable. I come from a Mennonite background, and the Mennonites began as part of the radical Reformation. Wikipedia explains that “The early Anabaptists believed that their reformation must purify not only theology but also the actual lives of Christians, especially their political and social relationships.” In other words, Christian faith should affect my habits and not just my doctrines. For instance, Anabaptists interpreted the Sermon on the Mount literally as actual guidelines that should be applied in real life. The end result was that “Roman Catholics and Protestants alike persecuted the Anabaptists, resorting to torture and execution in attempts to curb the growth of the movement. The Protestants under Zwingli were the first to persecute the Anabaptists, with Felix Manz becoming the first martyr in 1527. On May 20 or 21, 1527, Roman Catholic authorities executed Michael Sattler. King Ferdinand declared drowning (called the third baptism) ‘the best antidote to Anabaptism’. The Tudor regime, even the Protestant monarchs (Edward VI of England and Elizabeth I of England), persecuted Anabaptists as they were deemed too radical and therefore a danger to religious stability.”

Turning now to the other side, the same words ‘eating and drinking’ are used to describe the Son of Man. The Protestants focused upon the Bible and regarded other sources of intellectual food with suspicion. Renaissance humanists, in contrast, fed voraciously, building up massive libraries, often open to everyone. “A unique characteristic of some Renaissance libraries is that they were open to the public. These libraries were places where ideas were exchanged and where scholarship and reading were considered both pleasurable and beneficial to the mind and soul. As freethinking was a hallmark of the age, many libraries contained a wide range of writers. Classical texts could be found alongside humanist writings. These informal associations of intellectuals profoundly influenced Renaissance culture.” As for drinking, the Renaissance was noted for its art. “Renaissance art, with Renaissance humanist philosophy, spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern age.”

The response in verse 19 is ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard’. Both of these terms occur only here and in the parallel passage in Luke 7. A gluttonous man eats too much food. The word drunkard is more literally ‘a wine drinker’. Thus, the focus is not so much on getting drunk as on being attracted to wine. And wine represents MMNs of culture and social enjoyment. This is followed by ‘a friend of tax collectors and sinners’. The word friend is philos, which indicates compatible mental networks. Tax collectors and sinners were mentioned in Matthew 9:10-11, which we interpreted as civilization spreading through commercial groups such as the Hanseatic League.

These terms describe how the Italian Renaissance was typically viewed by average Europeans. The Popes of this era are known as Renaissance popes. Wikipedia summarizes that “The Renaissance papacy invokes images of a Hollywood spectacular, all decadence and drag. Contemporaries viewed Renaissance Rome as we now view Nixon’s Washington, a city of expense-account whores and political graft, where everything and everyone had a price, where nothing and nobody could be trusted. The popes themselves seemed to set the tone.” This definitely can be summarized as being ‘friends with sinners’.

The Renaissance popes had a taste for the wine of culture. “The patronage of arts and architecture was both a matter of papal policy – to increase the prestige of the institution as a whole—and the personal preferences of individual popes. Pope Leo X is well known for his patronage of Raphael, whose paintings played a large role in the redecoration of the Vatican. Pope Sixtus IV initiated a major drive to redesign and rebuild Rome, widening the streets and destroying the crumbling ruins, commissioning the Sistine Chapel, and summoning many artists from other Italian city-states. Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Library.”

Notice also the intellectual ‘gluttony’ of founding the Vatican Library. Looking at this in more detail, “Pope Nicholas V (1447–1455) envisioned a new Rome with extensive public works to lure pilgrims and scholars to the city to begin its transformation. Nicolas wanted to create a 'public library' for Rome that was meant to be seen as an institution for humanist scholarship. His death prevented him from carrying out his plan, but his successor Pope Sixtus IV (1471–1484) established what is now known as the Vatican Library.”

As for being the friends of tax collectors, the Renaissance popes were strongly connected with the Medici family who acquired their wealth through trade and banking and were famous patrons of the arts. Wikipedia summarizes that “The Medici became leaders of Christendom through their two famous 16th century popes, Leo X and Clement VII. Both also served as de facto political rulers of Rome, Florence, and large swaths of Italy known as the Papal States. They were generous patrons of the arts who commissioned masterpieces such as Raphael’s Transfiguration and Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment.”

Verse 19 concludes, ‘Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds’. This is the first time the word wisdom is used in Matthew, and it has the root meaning ‘clarity’. Vindicated means ‘to show to be righteous, declare righteous’. And a deed ‘is a deed that carries out an inner desire’. A more literal translation would be ‘but clarity is shown to be righteous by its internally motivated behavior’.

I have focused upon the Renaissance and the Reformation because these are probably the two primary new movements that emerged during this period. They both had their limitations. But they both brought clarity. The Renaissance clarified many areas of scholarship, as well as bringing clarity to the study of the natural world. This included “the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting; and gradual but widespread educational reform. In politics, the Renaissance contributed to the development of the customs and conventions of diplomacy, and in science to an increased reliance on observation and inductive reasoning.”

Similarly, the Protestant Reformation brought clarity to many theological issues. In response, the Catholic Church clarified a number of its own positions, as illustrated by the Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563. “The Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by proponents of Protestantism, and also issued key statements and clarifications of the Church’s doctrine and teachings, including scripture, the Biblical canon, sacred tradition, original sin, justification, salvation, the sacraments, the Mass, and the veneration of saints.”

The Renaissance and the Reformation also emphasized internally motivated behavior. This can been seen in the ideal of the Renaissance man. “Leonardo da Vinci has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man of ‘unquenchable curiosity’ and ‘feverishly inventive imagination.’” Similarly, Luther emphasized internally motivated behavior. Faith “changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing.”

Verse 19 says that clarity combined with internally motivated behavior will be shown to be righteous. There is a cognitive reason for this. We looked at the relationship between Jesus and Christ. A concept of Jesus is based in concrete technical thought, while a concept of Christ is related to abstract technical thought. The fundamental building block for concrete technical thought is cause-and-effect. When a knowledge of cause-and-effect is applied to MMNs of personal identity, the result is personal salvation—or Jesus. When concrete technical thought begins to function within the mind, it will express itself as internally motivated behavior. One can see this in the Contributor person who does not want others telling him what to do, but rather wants the freedom to pursue his own goals, guided by his knowledge of cause-and-effect. Going further, the fundamental building block for abstract technical is precise definitions. Mental clarity plays a major role in coming up with precise definitions. When mental clarity is combined with internally motivated behavior, then abstract technical thought is starting to expand concrete technical thought, and this combination is righteous, because abstract technical thought is guided by paradigms in Teacher thought. Saying this more simply, searching for clarity will develop abstract technical thought which will become emotionally guided by general theories in Teacher thought. Behavior that is internally motivated will translate these abstract concepts into concrete behavior, and this combination of Teacher understanding and Server actions defines righteousness.

Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum 11:20-24

We have looked at what the Renaissance and the Reformation achieved. The next section of Matthew 11 addresses the limitations of these new movements. “Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.” The word miracle means ‘power, might’. Cognitively speaking, this describes abstract thought energizing concrete thought. For instance, a worker with a tool can perform a task, while a worker with a power tool can perform a much greater task. The word done actually means ‘to come into being’. And a city is a place where many humans live and interact socially in a structured manner. Thus, these verses address the structure and human environments within which the abstract thinking of incarnation has come into being in a powerful manner. Stated more simply, Jesus is addressing the movements that have initially applied the new thinking of incarnation, such as the Protestant Reformation and the Renaissance.

The word denounce means ‘to disgrace, reproach; mock; insult’. This word was previously used in the Beatitudes in 5:11 where it talked about being insulted because of incarnation. Here, incarnation is doing the insulting. The reason is that they have not repented. Repent means to ‘think differently afterwards’. In other words, these early adopters of transformative thinking have not truly transformed their thinking. In essence, one is dealing with a case of new wine in old wine skins.

Looking at the Renaissance, “The traditional view focuses more on the early modern aspects of the Renaissance and argues that it was a break from the past, but many historians today focus more on its medieval aspects and argue that it was an extension of the Middle Ages.” Similarly, the Protestant Reformation was a continuation of medieval Scholasticism in the sense that it still based its abstract thinking in the study of special books.

Jesus then compares various locations. Verse 21 contains the first comparison: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

Chorazin means ‘the secret; here is a mystery’. Bethsaida means ‘house of fish’. Fish live in the sea of Mercy experiences. A house of fish would represent a mindset based upon a certain collection of Mercy experiences. And mysticism thinks in terms of mystery and secrets. A combination of these two corresponds fairly well to the Counter-Reformation Catholic Church. Wikipedia explains that “The Catholic Reformation was not only a political and church policy oriented movement, but it also included major figures such as Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, and Philip Neri, who added to the spirituality of the Catholic Church. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross were Spanish mystics and reformers of the Carmelite Order, whose ministry focused on interior conversion to Christ, the deepening of prayer, and commitment to God’s will. Teresa was given the task of developing and writing about the way to perfection in her love and unity with Christ. Thomas Merton called John of the Cross the greatest of all mystical theologians.” We saw mysticism earlier with the mendicant orders. This quote tells us that mysticism became emphasized more strongly during the Counter-Reformation.

As for the house of fish, the Counter-Reformation used the visual extravaganzas of Baroque art to attract the attention of the faithful. “The Catholic Church was a leading arts patron across much of Europe. The goal of much art in the Counter-Reformation, especially in the Rome of Bernini and the Flanders of Peter Paul Rubens, was to restore Catholicism’s predominance and centrality. This was one of the drivers of the Baroque style that emerged across Europe in the late sixteenth century. In areas where Catholicism predominated, architecture and painting, and to a lesser extent music, reflected Counter-Reformation goals. The Council of Trent proclaimed that architecture, painting and sculpture had a role in conveying Catholic theology. Any work that might arouse ‘carnal desire’ was inadmissible in churches, while any depiction of Christ’s suffering and explicit agony was desirable and proper. In an era when some Protestant reformers were destroying images of saints and whitewashing walls, Catholic reformers reaffirmed the importance of art, with special encouragement given to images of the Virgin Mary.” This is more constrained than the sensuality that characterized the Renaissance papacy because the appearance of religious self-denial is being conveyed, but it is still focusing upon the realm of Mercy experiences. Using symbolic language, it is a house of fish rather than a sea of fish.

We have just seen that incarnation performed many works of power during the Renaissance, and the Catholic Church played a major role in the Renaissance. But did the Church repent? Did it ‘think differently afterwards’? The Renaissance showed the power of rational Teacher thought. Mysticism embraces irrational Teacher thought, while Baroque art embraced vivid Mercy imagery. The Catholic Church did not repent, despite all of the works of power. It did not let go of irrational Teacher thought and it did not let go of Mercy-driven self-denial.

Jesus says that Tyre and Sidon, in contrast, would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. These two cities were centers of trading. Tyre means ‘rock’, while Sidon means ‘fishery or fishing town’. These names are consistent with the idea of trading, because one is interacting with fish within the sea of Mercy experiences guided by a rock of Perceiver facts. This combination describes the mindset of the explorers who were venturing out in search of new lands. They had sufficient Perceiver facts to be able to explore the New Worlds of Mercy experiences, searching for wealth by ‘fishing’ for Natives to exploit. Notice the different mindsets. Tyre and Sidon are interacting with the personal world of Mercy experiences guided by Perceiver facts, while Chorazin and Bethsaida are combining a portrayal of emotional Mercy experiences that convey religious self-denial with Teacher feelings of mysticism.

Sackcloth is a coarse fabric that was ‘a sign of mourning’. Ashes result from burning. If fabric represents social interaction, then repenting in sackcloth and ashes would mean interacting with others in a new way. (When a friend or family member dies, then one has to learn how to interact socially in a totally new way, which is effectively represented by mourning in sackcloth and ashes.)

Putting this all together, the Counter-Reformation Catholic Church responded to the new thinking of the Renaissance primarily by painting pretty pictures that focused upon the suffering Jesus and by pursuing the emotional illusion of being united with God. If the explorers of the day had experienced the level of Renaissance thinking that the Church did, it would have transformed their interaction with the rest of the world. This may sound like a far-fetched interpretation, but I suggest that something similar is happening today. What has the consumer society done with science and technology? Have consumers changed their way of thinking and learned how to function rationally? Generally speaking, no. Instead, much of this progress has been squandered upon the ‘pretty pictures’ of new-and-improved gadgets and the emotional illusion of entertainment.

Verse 22 continues, “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.” The day of judgment is normally interpreted as some future time when Jesus will come to judge the world. But the word day means ‘a day, the period from sunrise to sunset’. This can be interpreted as a literal day, or as a period of time that is illuminated by the ‘sun’ of some general Teacher theory. The word judgment comes from a verb that means ‘to separate, distinguish, judge’. This idea of separating and distinguishing was seen earlier when looking at the clarity of wisdom. And separating and distinguishing are key aspects of abstract technical thought, because they make it possible to come up with more precise definitions. In other words, a day will come that will be characterized by abstract technical thought. We currently live in such a day, and this day began with the Scientific Revolution. Thus, verse 22 is saying that when the Scientific Revolution happens, then it will be more tolerable for the colonizers and the explorers than it will be for the Catholic Church. And that is an accurate statement. Scientific thought transformed exploration and colonization while sidelining the Catholic Church.

Verse 23 mentions the second location: “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades.” Capernaum means ‘village of consolation’. Exalted means ‘to lift or raise up’. A village implies something more intimate and personal than a city. Consolation replaces negative emotion with positive emotion. Heaven represents Teacher thought, but there is no mention of a kingdom of heaven, again suggesting something more personal and less institutional. Finally, being lifted up suggests personal movement in the direction of heavenly Teacher thought. This describes the Protestant Reformation. It was more personal and less institutional than the Roman Catholic Church. It generated the consolation of feeling that one’s sins were forgiven. In the words of Wikipedia, it taught “The belief that believers are justified, or pardoned for sin, solely on condition of faith in Christ rather than a combination of faith and good works.” And it focused upon being raised up personally to the heavenly realm of Teacher thought. In the words of Wikipedia, “The universal priesthood of believers implies the right and duty of the Christian laity not only to read the Bible in the vernacular, but also to take part in the government and all the public affairs of the Church.”

But verse 23 says that this is not the ultimate destination. The word Gehenna has been used several times in Matthew, but this is the first reference to Hades, ‘referring to the invisible realm in which all the dead reside’. And descend means ‘to go down, come down’. In other words, there will be a voluntary movement down from Teacher generality to a Mercy realm filled with dead people. This accurately describes the path that has been taken by Protestant theology. Instead of coming up with general Teacher theories, the focus has been upon quoting dead experts, ‘What did Martin Luther say? How does that compare with what John Calvin said? I am a Lutheran who follows the words of Luther. You are a Calvinist who follows Calvin. They are Mennonites who follow Menno Simons. We are real Christians who follow the original Patristic Church Fathers! Don’t give us any new understanding or doctrine. We live in the realm of dead religious experts.’

I am not suggesting that Protestant theologians are irrational. On the contrary, Protestant theologians developed a form of academic thought known as Protestant scholasticism. Wikipedia describes the form of Scholasticism used by Lutheran theologians. “Scholastic Lutheran theologians engaged in a twofold task. First, they collected texts, arranged them, supported them with arguments, and gave rebuttals based on the theologians before them. Second, they completed their process by going back to the pre-Reformation scholastics in order to gather additional material which they assumed the Reformation also accepted. Even though the Lutheran scholastic theologians added their own criticism to the pre-Reformation scholastics, they still had an important influence.” Notice that there is rational technical thought. But it has still ‘descended into Hades’ because it is working within the realm of dead religious experts.

Verse 23 continues by comparing Capernaum with Sodom. “For if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.” Sodom was discussed when looking at 10:5 and we interpreted it as responding to an angelic message with a desire for an intimate relationship. In both cases, there is an angelic message, one in the form of angels delivering a message and the other in the form of the Bible. One is responding by quoting and comparing dead experts, while the other is responding with emotional intimacy.

Verse 23 is saying that if the power of Protestant faith were placed within a framework of responding to angelic truth in an intimate manner, then this combination would remain. Verse 23 is not saying that this combination is necessarily good, but rather that it is stable. And that is what one finds. Believing that one’s sins are forgiven and that one is justified by God is mentally stable when combined with studying the Bible in order to have an intimate relationship with God. But isn’t that combination the essence of evangelical Christianity? To a large extent, yes. As verse 23 says, this combination is stable. It remains. But isn’t that the point of Christianity? No. The purpose of Christianity is to become transformed by the renewing of the mind. This will result in a friendship between personal identity and a concept of God. That kind of legitimate intimate relationship is different than what is portrayed in the story of Sodom.

Verse 24 continues, “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” ‘Day of judgment’ implies a mindset guided by abstract technical thought. How has theological Christianity with its endless quoting of dead theologians faired in today’s scientific world? It has been brutalized as inadequate, obsolete, judgmental, stupid, harmful, and irrational. (However, we are seeing in these essays that the Bible does not deserve this reputation.) In contrast, responding to angelic messages—including the message of the Bible—with feelings of personal intimacy has survived quite well. The reason for this is that biblical Scholasticism invades the realm of empirical science. For instance, when the biblical scholar talks about Moses parting the Red Sea, then empirical science steps in and says that this kind of miracle is physically impossible. But when these words are interpreted as myth or as some sort of mystical mumbo-jumbo, then empirical science responds benevolently, because myth and mystical mumbo-jumbo fill the subjective vacuum that modern objective science refuses to touch.

A fundamentalist mindset of John the Baptist will find this kind of interpretation unsettling, because it crosses Perceiver categories of right and wrong, truth and error. But incarnation is not a Perceiver person. Instead, incarnation uses Contributor thought to follow plans that lead from one place to a better place. And if personal identity is to be transformed, then some cognitive method of feeling that my sins are forgiven must exist—some village of consolation is required. Thus, it is imperative to find a mechanism that continues to function in a day of judgment, even if this mechanism is inferior.

Preaching to a New Audience 11:25-30

This may sound like a strange conclusion, but Jesus says the same thing in the next verse. “At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants’” (v.25). In other words, incarnation is recognizing that there is a larger plan that involves revealing truth to childish minds.

Looking at this verse in more detail, the word time means ‘opportune time’ rather than clock time. Technical thought naturally thinks in terms of numbers such as days, years, minutes, and seconds. But one needs to think in terms of opportunities. For instance, most books on prophecy focus upon times, dates, and numbers. I have deliberately avoided attempting to decipher biblical numbers in my essays, focusing instead upon sequences, opportunities, and interactions.

The word praise does not mean ‘praise’. Instead, it means to ‘fully agree and to acknowledge that agreement openly’. Thus, verse 25 is not talking about expressing an emotional feeling but rather about agreeing with some conclusion in technical thought: ‘I fully agree with you because I see all the details’. This inclusion of all the details is conveyed by the phrase ‘Father, Lord of heaven and earth’. A concept of God the Father rules over both the heaven of Teacher thought and the earth of human space-time. For instance, theology is a form of Scholasticism which uses words to discuss written content. This can lead to a Father who is Lord of heaven. But there is no guarantee that there will be any correspondence between these words and reality. Science, in contrast, uses words to discuss written content, but it also ensures that these words are consistent with physical reality, leading to a ‘Father, Lord of earth’. Looking at this personally, I have used the same kind of cognitive analysis to analyze a number of New Testament books and have uncovered what appears to be prophetic sequences. But this is the first time that I am cognitively analyzing a book and suggesting that the resulting prophetic sequence corresponds to the physical facts of history. That describes a Father who is Lord of heaven and earth.

Hide means to ‘hide, conceal’. Wise, we just saw, is related to clarity. Intelligent means ‘to understand by synthesizing’. Revealed means ‘to uncover’. And infant is only found twice in Matthew and means ‘an infant, a simple-minded or immature person’. Wisdom provides the clarity that is needed for technical thought. Intelligence puts these pieces together to form a general Teacher understanding. This combination describes rational abstract thought. One would assume that this would provide a good foundation for the coming Scientific Revolution. Saying this more specifically, one would think that the Scientific Revolution would grow naturally out of the Renaissance and the Reformation. But something is concealing the next step from these groups. The Renaissance Church has become sidetracked by its focus upon art and mysticism. The Reformation has become sidetracked by its fixation upon the Bible. In both cases, new wine is being placed in existing wineskins. The Renaissance Church is using the Renaissance to beautify the existing wineskin of the organizational church, and is discovering more precise methods of pursuing the existing wineskin of mysticism. Similarly, the Reformation is using personal faith in God to reinforce the existing wineskin of Scholasticism. The alternative is to place the new wine into new wineskins—in simple-minded people who are not troubled by preconceptions.

This may sound like an overstatement, but I keep encountering the same principle in my research. Everywhere I turn to share mental symmetry, I find that preconceptions hide the truth from those who think clearly and intelligently. Theologians ignore mental symmetry because I am not quoting from the proper dead experts. Scientists ignore mental symmetry because I am not building upon empirical evidence. Neurologists ignore mental symmetry because I am daring to start from general theory. Philosophers ignore mental symmetry because I am suggesting that there is more to the mind than technical thought. The cognitive science of religion ignores mental symmetry because I am not starting from the theory of evolution. Christian apologists ignore mental symmetry because I am not trying to convince people. What’s left is the simpleminded. In fact, the only reason that I have gotten anywhere with mental symmetry is because I have been simpleminded. I have been too dumb to know what I am not supposed to do. For instance, my method of biblical exegesis is probably committing numerous ‘errors’ that a professionally trained translator would never commit. But I am too simpleminded to know when I am not supposed to do. Thus, I simply look at the original Greek text and discover to my amazement that it makes cognitive sense.

The end result is the ‘blank slate’ of new wine into new wineskins. Notice that one cannot start directly with a blank slate. One cannot go to a group of simple-minded individuals and get them to think. Instead, those who know how to think have to start the process, they have to discover many pieces, they have to reach a dead end, and then those are simple-minded can step in and put the pieces together. And by simpleminded, I do not mean stupid, but rather naïve, someone who does not know anything but is capable of learning. The Greek word that is used means simple-minded, not moron.

Verses 26-27 describe the new mindset that emerges. “Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. The word well-pleasing is found once in Matthew and means ‘what seems good or beneficial to someone’. The word this way means ‘in this manner, in this way’. What is being described is not the way of a Server path but rather a pattern that is being followed. Was means ‘to come into being’. In other words, this pattern became pleasing to Teacher thought. This implies that Teacher thought is starting to think in a different manner. Teacher thought is recognizing that verbal abstract theory is not enough. Teacher thought is also recognizing that mystical oneness backed up by institutional structure is not enough. Instead, what is needed is a theory within a container—wine within wineskins.

Verse 27 describes this relationship of incarnation being the container for the theory in Teacher thought. This symbiotic relationship is common today, because behind most technical specializations lies the Teacher theory of a paradigm. The technical thinking is usually logical and rational, but the underlying paradigm is emotional. Thomas Kuhn describes this relationship in his book on paradigms and paradigm shifts.

Looking at verse 27 in more detail, delivered means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’ and this same word is used to describe Judas betraying Jesus. In other words, a person like Judas who betrays others is doing something terrible, but he is also performing the necessary function of bringing some stage to an end so that the next step can be initiated. In verse 27, the Father is delivering everything to the Son. Saying this cognitively, verbal theories that reside totally in Teacher thought are being replaced by theories whose content resides in the technical thinking of incarnation—as illustrated by a technical specialization with its Teacher paradigm.

The word knows is used twice in verse 27 and adds the prefix ‘on, fitting’ to ‘experiential knowing’. This describes experiential knowledge that is accurate and appropriate. Only the Father has appropriate experiential knowledge of the Son and vice versa. Saying this cognitively, in order to truly grasp a technical specialization, one has to understand the paradigm that drives this technical specialization, because the paradigm gives coherence and unity to the various facts and skills of the technical specialization. Going the other way, in order to truly grasp the ramifications of a paradigm, one has to know the technical details of the associated specialization.

Verse 27 adds the phrase ‘and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal’. The word wills is only used twice in Matthew and means ‘to plan with full resolve’. Thus, an understanding of God the Father in Teacher thought can be extended to other areas and disciplines, but this is not a simple task. Instead, it involves carrying out a plan with full resolve. The detailed work that is involved becomes apparent whenever one attempts to translate the language of one technical specialization into the language of another.

Verses 28-30 are usually quoted out of context in a vague, emotional manner. Verse 28 begins, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Weary means ‘to labor until worn-out, depleted’. Heavy-laden is an accurate translation. Rest means to ‘give intermission from labor’. This does not describe the introduction of labor-saving devices, but rather a break from exhausting labor.

We have not mentioned the printing press yet in this essay. The printing press enabled the Reformation because it gave the average person printed material to read. One of the first books printed by Gutenberg in 1454 was the Bible. Martin Luther made heavy use of the printing press. Quoting from the history website, “As the legend goes, Luther nailed his ‘95 Theses’ to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Palmer says that broadsheet copies of Luther’s document were being printed in London as quickly as 17 days later. Thanks to the printing press and the timely power of his message, Luther became the world’s first best-selling author. Luther’s translation of the New Testament into German sold 5,000 copies in just two weeks. From 1518 to 1525, Luther’s writings accounted for a third of all books sold in Germany and his German Bible went through more than 430 editions.”

Common material for the average person was also printed, and much of this material took the form of chapbooks. “Chapbooks were commonly small, paper-covered booklets, usually printed on a single sheet folded into books of 8, 12, 16 and 24 pages. They were often illustrated with crude woodcuts, which sometimes bore no relation to the text (much like today’s stock photos), and were often read aloud to an audience… The tradition of chapbooks arose in the 16th century, as soon as printed books became affordable, and rose to its height during the 17th and 18th centuries. Many different kinds of ephemera and popular or folk literature were published as chapbooks, such as almanacs, children’s literature, folk tales, ballads, nursery rhymes, pamphlets, poetry, and political and religious tracts.”

Applying this to the idea of taking a break from exhausting labor, printed material gave people a break from the exhausting labor of concrete thought. That is because printed material uses words, and words are basic building blocks for Teacher thought. Saying this more simply, the new printed books made it possible for people to temporarily find rest in a world of ideas and imagination. This comment may not make sense to the modern individual who lives in a world that is saturated with written text. But I have experienced environments where the written word is rare and people will grab and read any printed material that is available.

Saying this more generally, the previous section has just described intellectual development passing from the experts to the naïve. When the naïve first encounter intellectual thought, they will see it primarily as a break from the drudge of normal existence.

Verse 29 continues, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The word yoke is only found in Matthew in this verse and the next verse, and it means ‘a wooden bar placed over the neck of a pair of animals so that they can pull together’. Take means ‘to raise, take up, lift’. Learn is the verb form of ‘disciple’ and means ‘learning key facts’. These terms describe a change in focus. Abstract thought is not just being seen as a diversion from concrete labor. Instead, abstract thought and concrete existence are becoming yoked together in a manner that lifts up normal existence in the direction of Teacher thought. Using a current example, instead of just watching cat videos on the Internet for a diversion, one starts reading Wikipedia in order to become intellectually elevated.

Moving further, gentle was first seen in the Beatitudes and is often translated as meek, but it actually means ‘strength in gentleness’. Humble is used once in Matthew and means ‘low-lying’. These traits do not naturally accompany absolute truth. Absolute truth announces itself with the display of open power, and it supports itself with social status. This quality was seen in verse 12 which talked about the kingdom of heaven suffering violence. Science, in contrast, is based on how the world functions. The trait of ‘strength in gentleness’ can be seen in modern power tools. One gently moves a lever in order to control the strength of a massive machine. Because such strength is being harnessed, one has to be gentle. Similarly, one also sees the idea of ‘lowliness in heart’. The heart represents MMNs of personal identity. When one is dealing with natural processes, then imposing personal status will cause a person to overlook how the world is behaving. When one is dealing with powerful natural processes, then acting like one is important is asking for disaster. Obviously, power tools did not exist back then, but scientific thinking was starting to discover the idea of natural processes that function independently of personal opinion. For instance, “Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) said, ‘If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.’”

Rest again means intermission or recreation, and find means ‘to discover, especially after searching’. In verse 28, abstract thought was providing rest. In verse 29, one is discovering rest for the soul. In other words, one becomes yoked with abstract thought in order to search for rest for the integrated mind. One studies in order to gain the feeling that everything fits together. This sense may only last for a while and may become fragmented when one returns to physical reality, but it provides a deeper break than mere relaxation. Notice that these qualities describe intrinsic motivation. One is pursuing learning for its own sake rather than pursuing some job within religion or attempting to appease some concept of God.

Verse 30 concludes, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Easy does not mean ‘easy’, but rather ‘useful, serviceable, productive’ and is only found once in Matthew. Burden refers to ‘a burden which must be carried by the individual’ and is the noun form of the word ‘heavy-laden’ that was used in verse 28. Light means ‘light, easy to bear’. The modern technological society has taught us that the technical thinking of incarnation is useful. The average person likes science because it provides laborsaving devices that are useful and productive. This would be a new concept to the average person encountering the new scientific form of thinking. The average person today easily recognizes the usefulness of scientific thinking, because our world is filled with laborsaving gadgets. In Matthew 11 this realization comes after the first stage of viewing abstract thought as a diversion and the second stage of pursuing technical thought in order to understand how things fit together.

If a yoke is useful and productive, this means that people are discovering that it is useful to yoke the experiences of daily life with the technical thinking of incarnation. This is a mental burden that has to be carried by the individual. But it is light because it is being supported by how the natural world works. Science bases its technical thinking in empirical evidence; it studies how the natural world behaves. If the world really does behave in such a manner, then a person will continually encounter situations of the world behaving in such a manner which will mentally reinforce the internal confidence that is required to hold onto technical thought. Looking at this from another perspective, it takes a lot of mental effort to hold on to a theory that does not correspond to reality. It takes much less effort to hold on to a theory that does correspond to reality.

This scientific interpretation does not necessarily rule out the common idea of coming to Jesus with one’s burdens and finding rest, because I suggest that similar cognitive mechanisms are being triggered. One is finding a mental break from physical reality in internal interaction with a concept of incarnation. One is becoming mentally yoked to a concept of incarnation because this does bring unity to the mind. And because a concept of incarnation is consistent with the structure of the mind, it is mentally useful and also easy to bear. It is useful because it helps put the mind together and it is easy to bear because it is continually reinforced the how the mind naturally functions. This interprets the evangelical idea of ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ as an internal relationship between personal identity and the cognitively natural, imaginary person of a concept of incarnation.

Plucking Heads of Grain 12:1-2

The first half of Matthew 12 discusses the Sabbath. This is the first time that the Sabbath is mentioned in Matthew and the term is used eight times in the first 12 verses. We have interpreted the end of chapter 11 as the development of abstract thought in a mindset that lives in concrete thought. That leads naturally to a discussion of the Sabbath, because on the Sabbath one temporarily stops living in concrete thought in order to focus upon a concept of God in abstract thought. This discussion of the Sabbath also provides evidence that it is appropriate to interpret the end of chapter 11 in terms of going beyond concrete thought to develop abstract thought. Keeping the Sabbath is one of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:8-10 says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” Notice that the focus is upon ceasing all forms of concrete activity. In other words, the Sabbath is an enforced version of ‘come to me, all who are exhausted and burdened, and I will give you a break’.

Verse 1 begins, “At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples became hungry and began to pick the heads of grain and eat.” The word time here means time as opportunity, and most of the references to the Sabbath in this chapter are in the plural, indicating that an opportunity has arisen for the Sabbath to be treated habitually in a certain manner. The word grainfields means ‘sown’ and is only found here and in the two parallel passages in Mark and Luke. And the word went means ‘to transport from one destination to another’. Thus, a more literal translation is, ‘at that opportune time, Jesus transported on the sabbaths through the sown and his disciples were hungry’.

One would think that hungry is a common word, but it was last mentioned in the Beatitudes where it talked about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. The implication is that people are experiencing a new feeling of intellectual hunger. Absolute truth does not generally experience intellectual hunger, because it is convinced that it already possesses ultimate truth in the form of written revelation. Saying this another way, the average fundamentalist is not intellectually curious. The appearance of intellectual hunger means that Teacher thought is functioning in a new manner.

The Sabbath is defined in the Ten Commandments in a negative manner. It is like telling a little child to sit in the corner and face the wall. The reason that a child is told to sit in the corner is so that he will think. The Sabbath is now acquiring a positive connotation, because incarnation is transporting through the sown on the Sabbaths. Saying this another way, an academic community is starting to emerge. People are not just viewing academic activity as denying self from normal activity; they are viewing intellectual thought as following technical thought apart from physical activity. This is a Sabbath, but it is a new kind of Sabbath. Going through the sown implies that this new intellectual activity is being accompanied by the sowing of intellectual food and also by a feeling of intellectual hunger.

The word pick means ‘pluck off’ and is only found here and in the two parallel passages. The word heads (‘of grain’ is implied) comes from the verb that means ‘to stand’, because a head of grain stands up. Putting this together, the disciples are finding intellectual food in ideas that stand out, and they are focusing upon these outstanding facts in an isolated manner: ‘that fact stands out; let us chew on that’. One can see this focus upon outstanding facts in the quote from da Vinci mentioned earlier, “If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.” Notice that this goes beyond a focus on authority, but it has not yet reached the stage of mathematical analysis or the formal hypotheses of the scientific method.

One can also see this focus upon facts that stand out in the Baconian method. Francis Bacon lived from 1561-1626. “Bacon suggests that you draw up a list of all things in which the phenomenon you are trying to explain occurs, as well as a list of things in which it does not occur. Then you rank your lists according to the degree in which the phenomenon occurs in each one. Then you should be able to deduce what factors match the occurrence of the phenomenon in one list and don’t occur in the other list, and also what factors change in accordance with the way the data had been ranked. Thus, if an army is successful when commanded by Essex, and not successful when not commanded by Essex: and when it is more or less successful according to the degree of involvement of Essex as its commander, then it is scientifically reasonable to say that being commanded by Essex is causally related to the army’s success.” Notice how one is looking for a fact that sticks out in the field of information and then plucking out this fact. Cognitively speaking, Perceiver thought is looking for repetition. Absolute truth uses Mercy status to impose facts upon Perceiver thought. The alternative is for Perceiver thought to gain confidence in facts by noticing what is repeated.

The Pharisees see this and respond: “But when the Pharisees saw this, they said to Him, “Look, Your disciples do what is not lawful to do on a Sabbath. The word Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. The word do means ‘to make, do’ and focuses upon Server actions. Lawful means ‘permitted, lawful’. In other words, the purists respond that this violates the accepted methodology of abstract thought.

The thinking of Bacon is contrasted with scholasticism in one blog site: “Scholasticism was based on the work of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. While many Aristotelian ideas, such as the position of the earth at the centre of the universe, had been overturned, his methodology was still being used. This held that scientific truth could be reached by way of authoritative argument: if sufficiently clever men discussed a subject long enough, the truth would eventually be discovered. Bacon challenged this, arguing that truth required evidence from the real world.” Notice the separatist and purist mindset of Scholasticism. Experts are separating themselves from reality in order to debate the nature of truth.

This is a natural byproduct of absolute truth. If truth comes from the words of special books, then truth can only be discussed adequately by those who know the words of the special books, and who know how to interpret these words in a manner that is consistent with the opinions of established experts in the special books. This must be done in order to preserve the discussion from being contaminated by outside information. For instance, discussing the Bible in an adequate fashion requires a knowledge of the Bible as well as a knowledge of how the Bible has been interpreted by theologians over the centuries. Connecting the Bible with cognitive principles and the facts of history as we are doing in this essay violates this principle of scholastic purity.

Notice also that the Pharisees do not mention the specific infraction. Instead, they talk in a generic manner of what one does on a Sabbath. This is a cognitive indication that pharisaical thought is starting to self-destruct. Absolute truth begins by focusing upon absolute truth: This is true! That is false! But thinking about absolute truth will raise the emotional status of personal identity, eventually causing the content of absolute truth to fall into doubt. In other words, someone who thinks too much about the Bible will start questioning blind faith in the Bible. What survives this questioning is methodology and the concept of absolute truth. That is because Server thought can build confidence in any set of actions merely by repeating these actions. Similarly, if the Mercy status of the source of truth starts to fade, what remains is the Mercy status of the interpreters of the source of truth. Saying this more simply, ‘This is true because it says so in the Bible’ eventually turns into ‘We are the source of truth and truth must be evaluated by following our methodology’. Using the language of Matthew, the disciples are not doing on a Sabbath what is permitted; they are violating the accepted methodology of abstract thought.

Evaluating the Original Followers 12:3-8

Jesus responds by referring to a story of David. “But He said to them, ‘Have you not read what David did when he became hungry, he and his companions, how he entered the house of God, and they ate the consecrated bread, which was not lawful for him to eat nor for those with him, but for the priests alone?’” (v.3-4). David was running away from King Saul who was trying to kill him, and he stopped in the tabernacle and ate some of the showbread. (This story is mentioned in 1 Samuel 21-22 and ends badly with David having to pretend insanity in front of a foreign king and Saul killing all the priests in revenge. I suspect that these stories in the Old Testament can also be interpreted symbolically from a cognitive perspective, but I do not have enough lifetimes to try to analyze them.)

This is the first time that read is mentioned in Matthew, and this verb is repeated again in verse 5. In other words, Jesus is redirecting their attention away from the methodology of absolute truth to the content of absolute truth. One might think that those who believe in absolute truth would discuss absolute truth. But I have discovered that this is not the case. Instead, as I mentioned earlier, most of my interactions with people who believe in absolute truth have not focused upon truth, but rather upon methodology and personal status. This transition from talking about the content of absolute truth to defending the mindset of absolute truth appears to be a sign that respect for absolute truth is starting to fade. The word hungry is the same word that was used in verse 1. The name David means ‘beloved one’, and Acts 13:22 says that God viewed David as ‘a man after my heart, who do all my will’. Jesus refers to what David did, using the same verb that the Pharisees used in verse 2. Saying this cognitively, Jesus is responding to the emphasis upon methodology by turning to the methodology used by the original experts of absolute truth—those who had a love for truth.

How did they satisfy their intellectual hunger? They ‘entered into the house of God’. Cognitively speaking, they pursued Teacher thought. The word bread has been used several times. For instance, in the Lord’s Prayer, one is told to ask for one’s daily bread. Bread represents a package of understanding. The grain of intellectual food is placed within a package and then inflated with pockets of Teacher ‘air’ produced by the ‘living organisms’ of mental organisms. This describes normal abstract thought in which Perceiver facts are accompanied by some sort of Teacher explanation.

The two words ‘consecrated’ and ‘bread’ are also used in Hebrews 9:2 to refer to the showbread of the tabernacle. This bread was baked once a week and placed in the tabernacle for God. When fresh bread was baked, then the week-old bread was eaten by the priests. In the story in 1 Samuel 21, David and his companions ate the week-old bread. The word consecrated actually means ‘a setting forth in advance for a specific purpose’. David ate this bread even though only priests were supposed to eat it. Looking at this cognitively, a mindset of absolute truth views the original sources of absolute truth as special individuals within Mercy thought. For instance, this describes how a believer in the Bible views the prophets and the apostles who wrote the books of the Bible. They are naturally seen as priests who ate the intellectual food of holy bread that was not consumed by normal people. These were followed by the commentators and the church fathers who interpreted this holy bread guided by their love of God.

But what gave these original commentators the right to interpret the holy books? Why are the church fathers also being regarded as special? If the original sources of absolute truth were truly special and different, then why is the rational thinking of the historical experts of truth—all these dead experts living down in Hades—being regarded as permissible? Going the other way, if it was permissible for the original experts of truth to interpret the content of truth guided by their love for God in Teacher thought, then why is it not permissible for the average person now to satisfy intellectual hunger by evaluating the facts? This same question could be posed today. Notice how this expands upon the idea of Capernaum descending from heaven to Hades. Jesus is pointing out that the residents of Capernaum originally resided in the heaven of Teacher thought, but have descended to the Hades of interpreting the words of dead experts.

Jesus explains further in verses 5-6. “Or have you not read in the Law, that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple break the Sabbath and are innocent? But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here.” ‘Read in the law’ implies looking at the whole system of absolute truth in a more formal manner. The word temple means ‘sacred’ and refers to the entire temple complex. This word occurred previously in the temptation of Jesus, where Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the Temple. The word priest, which was used in verse 4, comes from the same root and means ‘sacred because belonging to the Temple’. Thus, Jesus is referring to the entire system of people, places, and events that are regarded as special and holy in Mercy thought because of their association with absolute truth. The word break means ‘walking past a threshold without proper authorization’. Innocent is only used here and two verses later and adds the prefix ‘not’ to ‘the cause of, the originator of’. In other words, those who are associated with the system of holiness cross boundaries and are not regarded as originators.

Looking at this cognitively, a mental network will take ownership of behavior that it motivates. Thus, if some secular individual crosses a threshold separating secular from sacred, then that person will be held responsible—it will be assumed that that behavior was motivated by MMNs of personal identity. But when a priest performs the same actions, then that behavior is not connected with MMNs of personal identity. Instead, one mentally assumes that the priestly behavior is being guided by the TMN of a concept of God. In other words, the entire mindset of absolute truth associates the behavior of the clergy on the Sabbath within the holy locations as being associated with God in Teacher thought.

Verse 6 then makes the comparison: ‘But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here’. Temple again refers to the entire temple complex. And greater means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’, which describes Teacher generality. The Greek says literally that ‘the temple greater than is here’. Most English translations interpret this as ‘greater than the temple’ (‘something’ is not in the original Greek), but it seems to me from the Greek that this could also be referring to the presence of a greater temple. The point is that something has arrived on the scene which has greater Teacher generality than the entire system of Mercy holiness upon which absolute truth is based. (A similar statement could be made about Jesus originally replacing the Jewish system of Temple sacrifice.)

In other words, if the temple system of absolute truth regards its experts as being free of Mercy taboos and functioning within the heavenly realm of Teacher thought, then the new system of empirical study should also be treated from a Teacher viewpoint apart from boundaries in Mercy thought, because it is leading to more general results in Teacher thought than the old system of absolute truth.

Verse 7 then addresses the underlying problem. “But if you had known what this is, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.” This quote from Hosea 6 was originally mentioned in 9:13 in the context of the founding of the mendicant orders. Known refers to experiential knowledge. Mercy means ‘mercy, pity, compassion’. And sacrifice means ‘an official sacrifice prescribed by God’. Finally, condemn is used twice in Matthew and means ‘condemn, pass sentence upon’, and innocent was used two verses earlier.

Putting this together, the original problem was that the mendicant orders approached God with an attitude of self-denial and responded to others with the Inquisition. This then became official church policy. This led to a mental division between clergy and laity, in which clergy viewed themselves as connected to God in some special way while fundamentally different from the laity. This created a strong mindset of pharisaical separatism and purism. The new researchers are innocent in the sense of not being motivated by Mercy emotions. But they are being condemned by the purists because established conventions involving clergy versus laity are being violated. Stated more simply, when existing religious and academic authorities set themselves up as sources of truth, they became unteachable.

I am not suggesting that the Catholic Church at that time was unteachable. As Wikipedia points out, “Historically, the Catholic Church has often been a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation and funding of schools, universities, and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme, and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science.” But the Catholic Church did act as the official censor that decided what knowledge was or was not acceptable. As Wikipedia explains, “In 1559, Pope Paul IV promulgated the Pauline Index, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked ‘the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world’. After less than a year, it was replaced by the Tridentine Index which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index that had been criticized and had prevented its acceptance… Pope Paul IV established the Index of Prohibited Books which banned thousands of book titles and blacklisted publications, including the works of Europe’s intellectual elites. This index condemned religious texts, readings of romance, and graded authors based off their degree of toxicity. The stated aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically, culturally, or politically disruptive books.”

Verse 8 summarizes, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Son of Man describes incarnation as a product of human thought. The idea is that humans can study the world and come up with a legitimate concept of incarnation. If the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, this means that a study of the natural world (both physical and psychological) should rule over the abstract thinking of the Sabbath. This summarizes the essence of the experimental method. Wikipedia summarizes that “Though diverse models for the scientific method are available, there is in general a continuous process that includes observations about the natural world. People are naturally inquisitive, so they often come up with questions about things they see or hear, and they often develop ideas or hypotheses about why things are the way they are.”

The Man with a Withered Hand 12:9-10

The next section takes this conflict over the Sabbath to the religious environment. “Departing from there, He went into their synagogue. And a man was there whose hand was withered. And they questioned Him, asking, ‘Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?’—so that they might accuse Him.” ‘Departing from there’ implies that incarnational thinking is moving on to a new level. Jesus goes into a synagogue, which implies entering a religious context. The word withered is found twice in Matthew and means ‘dry’. Hands represent detailed manipulation. Thus, a withered hand would represent detailed manipulation that avoids contact with the ‘moisture’ of Mercy experiences.

This is the first time that the word questioned is used in Matthew, and it means to ‘ask appropriately’ or ‘ask pointedly’. Lawful means ‘permitted’, and heal is related to the word therapeutic. The question they ask is a generic one: ‘Is it permitted to perform therapy on the sabbaths?’ The word accuse is found twice in Matthew and adds the prefix ‘against’ to ‘speak in the assembly’. The other occurrence is in 27:12 where Jesus is being formally accused by the chief priests and elders at his trial.

Notice who is doing what. Jesus is entering into the synagogue, and in this synagogue is a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees are then asking Jesus if healing on the Sabbath is permitted. They are not asking this in order to learn from Jesus, but rather to formally accuse Jesus. (This implies that the health of the man with the withered hand is irrelevant to them.)

Looking at this symbolically, the new form of empirical thinking is entering the realm of religious thought and it is noticing that information is being manipulated in a ‘dry’ manner that avoids Mercy experiences. Religious leaders are then responding by asking if the abstract thinking of Sabbath should include a search for personal benefits. They are asking this question in order to bring a formal accusation against empirical thinking.

Pope Paul IV’s list of prohibited books was mentioned earlier when looking at the pharisaical mindset. The withered mindset of this pope as well as the attitude of formal accusation can be seen in the following Wikipedia quote. “Paul IV was rigidly orthodox, austere in life, and authoritarian in manner. He affirmed the Catholic doctrine of extra ecclesiam nulla salus (‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’). He used the Holy Office to suppress the Spirituali, a Catholic group deemed heretical. The strengthening of the Inquisition continued under Paul IV, and few could consider themselves safe by virtue of position in his drive to reform the Church; even cardinals he disliked could be imprisoned. He appointed inquisitor Michele Ghislieri, the future Pope Pius V, to the position of Supreme Inquisitor despite the fact as Inquisitor of Como, Ghislieri’s persecutions had inspired a citywide rebellion, forcing him to flee in fear for his life.” Pope Paul IV was also infamous for creating the Jewish ghetto in Rome, a walled enclave that could only be reached through a single gate. So much for therapy.

Pope Paul IV’s lack of therapy can also be seen in the condemnation of the Spirituali. Wikipedia explains that “The Spirituali were members of a reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church, which existed from the 1530s to the 1560s. The movement is sometimes also called evangelism… These ‘Italian evangelicals’ proposed to reform the Church through a spiritual renewal and internalization of faith by each individual, viewing the intense study of scripture and justification by faith as means to that end. ‘Central [to the Spirituali] was a renewed emphasis on the grace which God sent through faith,’ writes Church Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, ‘together with a consistent urge to reveal the Holy Spirit as the force conveying this grace – to that associates of the movement were soon characterized as Spirituali.’” That sounds like therapy.

But “Although Spirituali occupied positions of high power within the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and may have even held the sympathy of Pope Paul III, they failed to achieve much change, and more conservative ‘fundamentalist’ zelanti currents set the Church on a course of confrontation with the Protestants at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), lumping them in with them… Cardinal Carafa, who would later become Pope Paul IV (r. 1555–1559), acted to suppress the Spirituali before and after attaining the papacy, and under him many went on trial before the Inquisition, speedily exterminating the movement and ending all hope of a Protestant-like reform from within Catholicism.” Stated crudely, bring on the Inquisition for anybody who dares to suggest that the Sabbath might be related to therapy.

As can be seen from my sarcastic remarks, I find this event of history particularly hard to bear. That is because Cardinal Pole, one of the leaders of the Spirituali, lost the election to be made Pope by one vote in 1549, and the future Pope Paul IV was his archenemy. Wikipedia conjectures that “Had the movement become successful, the face of Europe would have changed, avoiding the excesses of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation and perhaps changing the political and social reasons leading to the Thirty Years war.” When Paul IV died, Roman crowds rioted, freed prisoners, destroyed inquisition records, and decapitated the statue of the pope. Wikipedia adds that “Such hostile views have not mellowed much with time; modern historians tend to view his papacy as an especially poor one. His policies stemmed from personal prejudices—against Spain, for example, or the Jews—rather than any overarching political or religious goals.”

When something like this happens in history, then one gets suspicious that the hand of Divine Providence (with a capital ‘D’ and a capital ‘P’) is intervening to ensure that the sovereign plan stays on track. This is often stated as a vague generalization, but we are now seeing in this essay how this statement would apply to Western history.

Looking at this more carefully, if God’s sovereign plan is arbitrary, then acts of divine intervention such as these are—frankly—abhorrent. But if the divine plan is following steps that are cognitively necessary, then God has to take certain steps despite the human cost. In this case, I suggest that God had to ensure that there would be a Scientific Revolution. One of the requirements was a hostile church. The ‘carrot’ of scientific inquiry would not provide enough motivation. Instead, it had to be accompanied by the ‘stick’ of religious dogmatism. The best advice for humans during such times of transition is to try to be part of the ‘carrot’ rather than the ‘stick’. Saying this more clearly, if God is ensuring that some critical historical transition will occur, then do not try to fight God—or get bitter against God. Instead, find something positive to pursue and cling to it with your entire being.

I should point out that God did not take a friendly Catholic Church and make it hostile to his plan. Instead, he hardened a Church that was already opposing his plan. Similarly, Romans 9:16-18 talks about God hardening Pharaoh. But God hardened a Pharaoh who had already demonstrated himself to be evil by enslaving the Israelites (Ex. 1:11) and killing thousands of male infants (Ex. 1:22). Similarly, Wikipedia clarifies that when Pope Paul IV was a bishop, he was appointed “papal nuncio in Spain, where he conceived a violent detestation of Spanish rule that affected the policies of his later papacy.” Thus, Pope Paul IV already was evil before he became pope. Turning to current society, I suspect that president Trump has been divinely permitted to be president in order to play the role of a Pharaoh or a Pope Paul IV, and it is even possible that his obstinacy is being divinely hardened. This also is not a matter of God taking some good man and making him evil, but rather taking a person who already was an amoral, pathological liar, and making him more set in his ways. If this is the case, then it is vital to avoid becoming polarized by his presence—either by supporting him wholeheartedly or by rejecting him vehemently. And I am addressing this to myself as well, because the way that Trump behaves utterly violates the moral standards that I am attempting to follow.

Saving Sheep on the Sabbath 12:11-13

Jesus then asks a question involving sheep: “What man will be from you who will have a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out?” (v.11). I mentioned earlier that sheep are highly social creatures and that the followers of Jesus are often referred to as sheep. For instance, John 10 describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd who calls his sheep by name, and says that his sheep know his voice. Thus, we will interpret sheep as intellectual followers.

One characteristic of sheep which was not mentioned before is that sheep produce wool and wool is a source of cloth. Wool was the oldest and most common textile of biblical times, and was used primarily for the outer garment. We have associated the outer garment with MMNs of social interaction. If the fabric for the outer garment comes from sheep, then this implies that MMNs of culture are being shaped by the followers of abstract understanding. This describes modern society, in which the academic and scientific community does not usually affect society directly, but rather influences social interaction indirectly through the followers of academia.

The word fall into is found once in Matthew. The word pit comes from the term ‘deep’. And Sabbath is in the plural, suggesting a typical response. Putting this together, a professor is finding that one of his students is intellectually stuck: he has fallen into some intellectual hole and cannot get out. Take hold means ‘seize hold of, put under control’, and was first seen in 9:25 in the context of cathedral builders taking hold of building techniques. And lifted out means ‘to waken, to raise up’. In other words, the professor will use his academic status to take control of the intellectual problem and raise up the student back to the level of Teacher order. This summarizes how a religious organization typically deals with doctrinal error. Ecclesiastical authorities will step in, take control of the situation, and try to restore order. One sees this at the highest level in a papal bull. The point is that this is happening during the sabbaths of intellectual thought.

Verse 12 then makes a comparison. “How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath.” Valuable means to ‘take all the way through’. The idea is that the difference in value may not be immediately apparent, but it becomes increasingly evident over time. Verse 12 says that a man is more valuable than a sheep, and the word man is the generic word for mankind. Looking at this cognitively, following rational thinking in an intelligent manner is more valuable than being a follower of some intellectual expert. In the short term, intellectual followers may seem more valuable, but an independent thinker has greater long-term value than an intellectual follower.

Absolute truth has primarily followers and experts—sheep and shepherds. One is either a source of truth in Mercy thought, or else submits in Mercy thought to some source of truth. The emerging scientific thought is leading to a new kind of person which is the independent thinker. That is because scientific thought is based in empirical evidence which is independent of personal status in Mercy thought. If I announce some new law of science, other people do not have to take my word for it. Instead, they can verify my statements by observing the natural world for themselves.

The word well means what is ‘attractively good’, and do refers to physical action. Jesus concludes that it is permitted on the sabbaths to do physical action that is attractively good. One can understand this chain of logic by looking at a similar situation in the military. Soldiers have typically been treated as sheep that recognize and follow the voices of their commanders. Thus, the personal comfort of a soldier took second place to following orders. For instance, the first tanks and submarines were dangerous, noisy, hot, and cramped. But commanders have learned that soldiers are more effective when they are taken care of. For instance, tanks and submarines are now far more comfortable. The goal isn’t to make the soldier happy, but to provide the soldier with attractively good actions so that he can fight more effectively. Following similar logic, Roman soldiers were fed well. And even though the tanks and submarines of WWI were primitive and dangerous, the postal system was incredible, with the British Postal Service delivering up to 12 million letters a week to the soldiers. The point is that the personal well-being of followers becomes increasingly significant as one stops thinking in terms of sheep and start thinking in terms of intelligent colleagues.

Jesus follows this statement with action in verse 13: “Then He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand!’ He stretched it out, and it was restored to health, like the other.” It may be significant that the word ‘man’ is used four times in four verses. Jesus sees a man in verse 10, he refers to the leaders as men in verse 11, he compares a man with a sheep in verse 12, and he talks to the man in verse 13. Stretch out means ‘to extend’. Jesus stretched out his hand in 8:3 in the context of reintroducing civilization after the Dark Ages, but here Jesus is telling the man to stretch out his hand and the man is responding by stretching it out.

Looking at this cognitively, technical thinking is being used to extend the reach of detailed thought. Restored means to ‘restore back to original standing’. Health means ‘sound, whole, healthy’, and this is the first of two times that it is used in Matthew. This implies that the religious system has been responsible for withering the hand, and that it is now being restored back to its original condition. It also implies that one of the hands is healthy and that this health is being extended to the other hand. In other words, Scholasticism has healed one hand of technical thought by introducing careful thinking, but it has not healed the other hand of technical thought by introducing careful doing. The new form of scientific thought is extending the health from one hand to the other hand.

We have looked at the new thinking introduced by Francis Bacon. Wikipedia describes Bacon’s desire to go beyond existing Scholasticism. “Francis Bacon (1561–1626) entered Trinity College, Cambridge in April 1573, where he applied himself diligently to the several sciences as then taught, and came to the conclusion that the methods employed and the results attained were alike erroneous; he learned to despise the current Aristotelian philosophy. He believed philosophy must be taught its true purpose, and for this purpose a new method must be devised. With this conception in his mind, Bacon left the university.”

Scholasticism had brought health to abstract thought by reintroducing Aristotelian logic, making it possible to ‘stretch out the hand’ of detailed reasoning in order to reach some logical conclusion. Bacon extended this to the other ‘hand’ of empirical data: “There are and can be only two ways of searching into and discovering truth. The one flies from the senses and particulars to the most general axioms, and from these principles, the truth of which it takes for settled and immoveable, proceeds to judgment and to the discovery of middle axioms. And this way is now in fashion. The other derives axioms from the senses and particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all. This is the true way, but as yet untried.” Notice how existing thinking is jumping directly from specific experience to general theory and then performing careful reasoning when moving from general theory. Bacon is pointing out that one should also perform careful reasoning when moving from specific experience to general theory.

The Pharisees Respond 12:14-16

Verse 14 describes the response of the purists. “But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.” This is the first time that the word counsel is used in Matthew, and it describes ‘a body of advisers in a court, a council’. Take means to ‘actively lay hold of to take or receive’. And destroy ‘implies permanent destruction’.

One can see this formal response in the Counter-Reformation. Wikipedia summarizes that the Counter-Reformation “began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and largely ended with the conclusion of the European wars of religion in 1648. Initiated to address the effects of the Protestant Reformation, the Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort composed of apologetic and polemical documents and ecclesiastical configuration as decreed by the Council of Trent.” The thinking of Roger Bacon emerged in the middle of this period. The Counter-Reformation was based in the Council of Trent, which had the primary purpose of permanently destroying the Protestant Reformation. But it also suppressed the thinking of the Renaissance. As Wikipedia explains, “The council, by virtue of its actions, repudiated the pluralism of the secular Renaissance that had previously plagued the church: the organization of religious institutions was tightened, discipline was improved, and the parish was emphasized.”

Wikipedia adds that “Throughout the 16th and 17th century, the Church continued to feel threatened by the emerging ideas by the scientists, most prominently Copernicus, Bruno, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. In response, the church deemed them heretics and attacked some of the most defiant ones including burning Bruno at the stake and denouncing Galileo’s statement and placing him under house arrest until his death in 1642.”

The Counter-Reformation also led to a re-emphasis upon Scholasticism, known as Second Scholasticism. Wikipedia describes the competition between this Scholasticism and scientific thought performed by the common person. “The golden age of Second Scholasticism was the first decades of the 17th century, at which time it was still largely in control of university curricula in philosophy. But second scholasticism started to decline under the attacks of philosophers writing in vernacular languages, such as Descartes, Pascal and Locke, and from the competition from more experimental and mathematical ways of doing science promoted by the Scientific Revolution.”

Sparknotes summarizes the indirect impact that the Counter-Reformation had upon scientific thought. “With the rise of the Renaissance, new interest sparked in reference to the physical world. In part boosted by the spirit of geographical exploration, which dominated Europe and provided many new specimens for study and experimentation, the artists and thinkers of the Renaissance were infused with the desire to know and portray reality, prompting a dramatic rise in scientific exploration… This focus on the investigation of reality naturally began to create questions regarding the accepted Aristotelian norms. However, learning institutions continued to preach the Aristotelian system and the Church reinforced the dependence on past authority, thus, to an extent, drowning out the spirit of inquiry and doubt. The Protestant Reformation, begun by Martin Luther in 1517, radically transformed the theological and political landscape of Europe. Many Europeans began to question the authority of the Church. Indeed, a large faction broke away from the Church, in doing so breaking free from the restriction of intellectual progress. The fierce censorship of the Church’s response to the Reformation, the Counter-Reformation, further pushed people from the Catholic fold and appeared to many as foolishly protective of its outdated doctrines. In this atmosphere the Scientific Revolution blossomed, and the Aristotelian system fell.” In other words, people are starting to gather facts, which is causing them to question authority. The Catholic Church is responding with a mindset of purism and submission to authority, ultimately driving independent thinkers away from the Catholic Church. Notice that the Catholic Church is acting as the ‘stick’ to accompany the ‘carrot’ of scientific progress.

Verse 15 describes this response of leaving the Catholic Church: “But Jesus, knowing this, withdrew from there. Many followed Him, and He healed them all.” The word knowing describes experiential knowledge. Similarly, the withdrawing from the Catholic Church was motivated primarily by an experiential knowledge of censorship and persecution. This withdrawing was accompanied by many followers, suggesting that many people are starting to reject the dogmatism of the Catholic Church in favor of secular scientific thinking. The word healed is the familiar word ‘therapy’. If all are being healed, this implies that the new form of empirical rational thought is having a widespread impact. In the words of Wikipedia, “The willingness to question previously held truths and search for new answers resulted in a period of major scientific advancements, now known as the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution is traditionally held by most historians to have begun in 1543, when the books De humani corporis fabrica (On the Workings of the Human Body) by Andreas Vesalius, and also De Revolutionibus, by the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, were first printed. The thesis of Copernicus’ book was that the Earth moved around the Sun. The period culminated with the publication of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687 by Isaac Newton, representative of the unprecedented growth of scientific publications throughout Europe.”

Verse 16 describes the attitude taken by these new researchers. “And warned them not to make Him known.” Warn means to ‘assign value as is fitting the situation’. Known is used once in Matthew and comes from a word that means ‘to bring to light’. And make means ‘to make, do’. Putting this together, the new scientific research that is based in doing is avoiding the light of general statements in Teacher thought in order to fit the situation. The situation was that the institutional church was suppressing independent thought. Therefore, scientific researchers are focusing upon specific results and staying away from general implications in order to avoid the wrath of the Catholic Church.

One can see this attitude illustrated by the writing of Galileo. Quoting from Wikipedia, the church “did not prohibit Galileo from discussing heliocentrism as a mathematical and philosophic idea, so long as he did not advocate for its physical truth. For the next decade, Galileo stayed well away from the controversy. He revived his project of writing a book on the subject, encouraged by the election of Cardinal Maffeo Barberini as Pope Urban VIII in 1623. Barberini was a friend and admirer of Galileo, and had opposed the admonition of Galileo in 1616. Galileo’s resulting book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, was published in 1632, with formal authorization from the Inquisition and papal permission.”

A Humble Servant 12:17-21

Verse 17 points out that there is a larger purpose: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet.” Fulfill means ‘to make full, to complete’. This implies that some step needs to be taken thoroughly and not just partially. The next verses describe an attitude of humility. We have seen that absolute truth is accompanied by a combination of submission and domination. Sources of absolute truth naturally turn into arrogant dictators. Science, in contrast, does not have to be arrogant, because people are not the source of scientific truth. Instead, personal arrogance makes it more difficult for people to recognize the facts. However, there is still a natural tendency for discoverers of natural law to regard themselves as sources of truth, partially because their followers will naturally regard discoverers of truth as sources of truth. The environment of church persecution will ensure that scientific research starts with an attitude of humility. Functioning under the thumb of the church will prevent scientists from becoming arrogant.

Verse 18 begins, “Behold, My Child whom I chose; My Beloved in whom My soul is well-pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the nations.” The word child means ‘a child under training’. This is different than the word ‘infant’ that was used in 11:25. The implication is that there has been some intellectual growth. The new thinkers have moved beyond infancy to basic learning. Chosen is found once in the New Testament as a noun and means ‘to select, choose as one’s own’. The word beloved is related to the word agape, which refers to love that is guided by divine Teacher emotions. Jesus is referred to as ‘beloved’ in Matthew when being baptized and during the Transfiguration. These terms indicate that God in Teacher thought has finally found a group of people that he can work with.

The superlative terms continue. Well-pleased combines ‘well’ with ‘to have an opinion’. It is also used three times in Matthew, here and at the baptism and the Transfiguration of Jesus. Soul is the source of the English word ‘psyche’ and refers to the integrated mind. Thus, God is not just finding pleasure in some isolated elements, but rather in an integrated mind. These various terms make sense from a cognitive perspective if one recognizes that a concept of God is based in Teacher thought. Saying this more carefully, a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general theory in Teacher thought applies to personal identity. The emerging scientific community is not just discovering Teacher theories but rather discovering sufficiently general Teacher theories at significant personal cost.

This is quite different than the typical situation today. Today, the average scientist is socially supported by a scientific establishment, and centuries of scientific success have made it obvious that science works. In contrast, the original scientific researchers had no external example to follow. Instead, they had to be internally motivated. And they had to pursue scientific thought despite being threatened, ostracized, and persecuted by the church. I have experienced something similar in my research. I am hoping that my path will lead to some sort of spiritual breakthrough, but I have no external example to follow. And I am not backed up by any scientific establishment. I should add that developing and following a theory that is rejected by the scientific community does not prove that one is right. Academia rejects many theories that need to be rejected. That is why I have gone to great lengths to test mental symmetry by comparing it with the findings of others.

Continuing with verse 18, I have mentioned that Platonic forms of the spirit emerge indirectly within Mercy thought as a result of Teacher understanding. Taking this further, a concept of the Holy Spirit will emerge within Mercy thought as a result of integrated Teacher understanding. Thus, the mention of ‘my Spirit’ is another indication that thinking has broken through to the level of integrated Teacher understanding.

The word justice is derived from ‘separate, distinguish, judge’. This is a fundamental characteristic of technical thought which functions by carefully separating and distinguishing. The word proclaim was last seen in 11:4 where the disciples of John were told to report to John what Jesus was doing. In 11:4 the technical thinking of incarnation was being reported to the absolute truth of John the Baptist. Here, the reporting is happening to the nations, a word that describes ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture’. In other words, all the outsiders that the purists in the church have rejected are going to be hearing this message.

Wikipedia describes this popularization of scientific knowledge. “One of the most important developments that the Enlightenment era brought to the discipline of science was its popularization. An increasingly literate population seeking knowledge and education in both the arts and the sciences drove the expansion of print culture and the dissemination of scientific learning. The new literate population was due to a high rise in the availability of food. This enabled many people to rise out of poverty, and instead of paying more for food, they had money for education. Popularization was generally part of an overarching Enlightenment ideal that endeavoured ‘to make information available to the greatest number of people.’”

Verse 19 describes the attitude with which this message will be spread. “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.” Quarrel is found once in the New Testament, and means ‘to confront in heated debate that results in discord’. This kind of adversarial debate summarizes the method that was being used by the established Church. Cry out means ‘to cry out with loud screaming or shrieking, especially with inarticulate (unintelligible) sounds’. One could interpret this from a negative perspective as not using Mercy emotions to overwhelm one’s opponent. One could also interpret this positively as responding to questions with rational answers.

The word streets is found twice in Matthew and means ‘street, public square, broadway’. The other occurrence was in Matthew 6:5 which talked about hypocrites who love to pray on the street corners in order to be seen by people. Thus, the emphasis of verse 19 appears to be more upon avoiding marketing and other public displays. One finds this kind of intellectual community in the British coffee house (The first British coffee shop was established in Oxford in 1651. This is later than the time period that we are discussing here, but it still conveys the flavor. It is reasonable to assume that a similar kind of interaction was happening earlier in a less public manner.) Wikipedia describes the atmosphere of the coffeehouse. “The new social space began to be used by some scholars as a place to discuss science and experiments outside of the laboratory of the official institution. Coffeehouse patrons were only required to purchase a dish of coffee to participate, leaving the opportunity for many, regardless of financial means, to benefit from the conversation. Education was a central theme and some patrons began offering lessons and lectures to others. The chemist Peter Staehl provided chemistry lessons at Tilliard’s coffeehouse in the early 1660s. As coffeehouses developed in London, customers heard lectures on scientific subjects, such as astronomy and mathematics, for an exceedingly low price.” One can find a similar flavor currently on YouTube with many excellent videos being produced and the makers of these videos interacting with their listeners in the comments. This type of democratic sharing with the public is no longer common within official academia. This is partially because scientific knowledge today has become too technical and specialized for the average person to comprehend.

Verse 20 continues. “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.” Reed means ‘reed pen, reed staff, measuring rod’. It was first mentioned in 11:7 when describing a desire for solid absolute truth. Battered combines ‘together’ with ‘to rub’, while break off means to ‘break in pieces’. This describes a different approach to apparent contradictions. When verbal facts rub against one another, systematic logic will point out the inconsistency and break the offending facts in pieces. Empirical research, in contrast, holds on to the apparent contradiction because it usually indicates the presence of inadequate understanding. Many scientific breakthroughs have started as researches have noticed the ‘reeds’ of Perceiver truth rubbing against each other slightly. (This is described by Thomas Kuhn.)

The word wick is found twice in the New Testament and means ‘flax, linen’. (It is translated the other time as ‘linen’.) Smoldering occurs once in the New Testament and means ‘to raise smoke’. And put out means ‘to quench’. Linen was often used as a fabric for the inner garment. Thus, linen could be interpreted either as a wick or as the covering for personal interaction. ‘Smoldering’ implies the partial light of an inadequate Teacher understanding. Scholastic logic has no room for incomplete theories and uses logic to extinguish them and belittle those who dare to follow such non-rigorous thinking. Scientific research, in contrast, recognizes that theories typically start as tentative hypotheses. And when a researcher comes up with a tentative hypothesis, then this potential Teacher theory needs to be explored and not shot down. Science still claims to do this today, but my personal experience says otherwise. I have found that tentative hypotheses tend to be immediately extinguished and the source of such hypotheses will then be belittled and quarantined.

This change in attitude is implied by the final phrase of verse 20: “until he leads justice to victory”. Justice was used in verse 18 and means ‘to separate, distinguish, judge’. Victory means ‘victory, particularly the results of a conquest’ and is only used once in Matthew. Lead actually means ‘throw, cast, put out, banish, bring forth’. Throwing implies movement through the air of Teacher thought, while banishing suggests that alternatives will be eliminated. In other words, contradictory facts and tentative hypotheses will be considered until a new paradigm becomes established, and then the alternatives will be banished. Thomas Kuhn describes this kind of transition happening during a paradigm shift. In a similar manner, scientific thinking will be gracious and considerate of alternative ways of thinking until technical thought gains the victory. When this victory is achieved, then science will banish non-rigorous forms of thought.

Verse 21 concludes that “in his name the nations will hope”. This is the only time that the word hope is used in Matthew. Hebrews 11:1 relates hope to faith: “Now faith is the assurance of [things] hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Romans 8:24-25 relates hope to the unseen: “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he [already] sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” Looking at this cognitively, hope describes internally generated Exhorter imagination and motivation. Exhorter thought provides the drive and vision for Contributor thought with its technical thinking. Scientific thought does not require internally generated hope today, because technology makes it externally obvious that science works. The founders of scientific thought, in contrast, had to be driven by internally generated hope, because they had not yet experienced the benefits of scientific thought. Thinking was being transformed, but the physical environment had not yet changed. But notice that it is the nations who are doing the hoping. The Scholastic universities and religious institutions do not have to hope because they already reside within luxurious halls of success. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:2, they have already received their reward in full.

Healing a Blind-Mute 12:22-24

This is then followed by another encounter with a demon-possessed man. “Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Him, and He healed him, so that the mute man spoke and saw” (v.22). Blind means ‘blind’ but mute literally means ‘blunt, dull’. A similar situation happened back in 9:32 where a mute, demon-possessed man was also brought to Jesus. We interpreted that encounter as referring symbolically to the development of guilds. Here the man is both mute and blind, and he ends up speaking and seeing rather than just speaking. Notice that in both cases, this man is being brought to Jesus, which implies that people are choosing to apply this new method of thinking rather than having it imposed on them from above.

This additional component of gaining sight makes sense in the light of the emerging empirical science. The new scientific thinking is learning how to observe the physical world in an intelligent manner. Instead of just quoting from books, experts are following their own eyes. This opening of the eyes can be seen in the new inductive reasoning of Francis Bacon. In the words of Wikipedia, “Before beginning this induction, though, the enquirer must free his or her mind from certain false notions or tendencies which distort the truth. In particular, he found that philosophy was too preoccupied with words, particularly discourse and debate, rather than actually observing the material world.”

Going further, we have interpreted demon-possessed as being driven by TMNs of unwanted habits. The guilds replaced these habits with skills taught through apprenticeship, and one of the byproducts was that the guilds gained a political voice—they began to speak. Francis Bacon’s goal was to develop new habits of action that were guided by the ‘sight’ of empirical evidence. Quoting further from Wikipedia, “Bacon considered that it is of greatest importance to science not to keep doing intellectual discussions or seeking merely contemplative aims, but that it should work for the bettering of mankind’s life by bringing forth new inventions, having even stated that ‘inventions are also, as it were, new creations and imitations of divine works’. He explored the far-reaching and world-changing character of inventions, such as the printing press, gunpowder and the compass.” Francis Bacon himself did not conduct many experiments or invent gadgets. But he set the direction for a Scientific Revolution which did perform many experiments and invent many gadgets.

Verse 23 describes the response of the crowds. “All the crowds were amazed, and were saying, ‘This man cannot be the Son of David, can he?’” A similar response happened back in 9:33 and the same English word ‘amazed’ was used, but the Greek words are different. Amazed in 9:33 means to ‘wonder at, be amazed’. But amazed in 12:23 is used once in Matthew and means ‘to displace, to stand aside from’. In other words, in 9:23 the crowds are impressed, but they are not impacted in a fundamental manner. In 12:23 the crowds are moved to a new position. Society is being changed at a fundamental level. Looking at this historically, the Scientific Revolution did create a total shift in society. Looking at this cognitively, when one starts to be guided by TMNs of rational theory, it then becomes possible to transform MMNs of identity and culture rather than just impress them.

There is also a larger crowd response in chapter 12. In 9:23, the crowds were amazed, but in 12:23 the crowds are all amazed. In chapter 9, existing norms were being violated: “Nothing like this ever appeared in Israel”. This indicates that people were thinking in terms of existing cultural MMNs. In chapter 12, a hope is being realized: “This man cannot be the son of David, can he?” This suggests that the emerging scientific understanding is creating new MMNs of Platonic possibility. The name David means ‘beloved’ and the term Son of David appears several times in Matthew. Generally speaking, this term seems to be indicative of hero worship combined with physical benefits, because King David was the Jewish hero who ruled over the kingdom of Israel.

The response of the Pharisees is also different. In 9:34 “the Pharisees were saying, ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’” In 12:24, “when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.’” Notice that two elements of Teacher thought have been added in chapter 12. First, the Pharisees are hearing before verbally responding. This tells us that something new is happening in the verbal realm of Teacher thought. And the Pharisees also give this new movement the name of Beelzebul in chapter 12. Beelzebul was first mentioned in 10:25 and means ‘lord of the flies’. This term suggests a collection of Teacher theories buzzing through the air of Teacher thought. In 10:25 the proto-Protestant movements were being denigrated as headed by a lord of the flies. In chapter 12, the lord of the flies has acquired the power to cast out demons. Thus, a transition has been made from the verbal theories of the Protestant movement to the empirical theories of the emerging scientific movement. On the one hand, neither has reached the level of an integrated Teacher understanding, but on the other hand the scientific theories have gained the power to transform habits and give sight to the blind.

A Divided Kingdom 12:25-26

Jesus responds by focusing upon the Teacher concept of kingdoms. The word kingdom, which means ‘the realm in which a king sovereignly rules’, is mentioned three times in verses 25-28. This is a Teacher concept, because every general theory rules over some domain of specific situations. But this idea of domain becomes significant when Teacher theories go beyond the realm of words to start explaining empirical evidence. That is because each scientific theory is capable of explaining a certain collection of phenomena—it has a certain domain over which it rules.

Verse 25 begins, “And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” The word divided means ‘to divide, distribute into parts’. This word is only found in Matthew in this verse and the next verse. Knowing is a less common word that means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. This would describe empirical evidence. The word thoughts is used twice in Matthew and means ‘inner passion, the emotional force driving meditation and reflection’. Thus, the focus is upon the mental networks that are determining how the empirical evidence is being interpreted.

This phrase ‘knowing their thoughts’ is found one other time in Matthew in 9:4 in the context of forgiveness of sins. The question there was whether divine forgiveness meant receiving a statement of absolution from religious leaders or becoming emotionally free of the past. Should personal identity ultimately look to MMNs of authority or should it be guided by empirical evidence? A similar dilemma exists in Matthew 12, because the choice is between the MMNs of scholastic and church authority, and the empirical evidence being generated by the scientific thought. In both cases people are being guided by empirical evidence to question existing authority; people are moving from seeing to knowing and this is unveiling inner passions.

Jesus points out that ‘every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste’. The word laid waste is used once in Matthew and comes from the term ‘wilderness, desolate area’. This does not describe destruction, but rather abandonment. Saying this statement cognitively, if some Teacher realm adopts a Mercy mindset of pitting one group against another, then that realm will be abandoned.

This describes the attitude taken by the Catholic Church in response to the Protestant Reformation. Wikipedia describes this transformation. “With the Protestant Reformation, Catholic authorities became much more ready to suspect heresy in any new ideas, including those of Renaissance humanism, previously strongly supported by many at the top of the Church hierarchy. The extirpation of heretics became a much broader and more complex enterprise, complicated by the politics of territorial Protestant powers, especially in northern Europe… In 1542 Pope Paul III established the Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition as a permanent congregation staffed with cardinals and other officials. It had the tasks of maintaining and defending the integrity of the faith and of examining and proscribing errors and false doctrines; it thus became the supervisory body of local Inquisitions. Arguably the most famous case tried by the Roman Inquisition was that of Galileo Galilei in 1633.”

Looking at this cognitively, the Catholic Church had viewed itself as a monolithic power, a kingdom of God characterized by Teacher generality. But the Protestant Reformation eliminated this Teacher universality and the Catholic Church responded by becoming divided against itself. This eventually caused many people to leave the Catholic Church. Repeating and extending a quote from Wikipedia made earlier, “Throughout the 16th and 17th century, the Church continued to feel threatened by the emerging ideas by the scientists, most prominently Copernicus, Bruno, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. In response, the church deemed them heretics and attacked some of the most defiant ones including burning Bruno at the stake and denouncing Galileo’s statement and placing him under house arrest until his death in 1642. The Scientific Revolution and its challenging of the Church’s ideas were followed by the Period of Enlightenment where people not only questioned the Church’s ideas but also began to question their authority.”

Verse 25 continues, ‘and every city or house divided against itself will not stand’. The same phrase ‘divided against itself’ is used, but in this case, the division involves cities of social structure and houses of family. Thus, what began as an institutional division between the Catholic kingdom and the Protestant kingdom has now entered the Mercy realm of social structure and family MMNs. The word stand means ‘to make to stand’. Thus, the kingdom is not just being abandoned, but rather losing its ability to take a stand. Notice that this inability to stand is happening at the local level of cities and houses; pieces of the kingdom are losing their stability.

The falling of cities can be seen in the Peace of Augsburg of 1555, “which allowed the princes of states within the Holy Roman Empire to adopt either Lutheranism or Catholicism within the domains they controlled, ultimately reaffirming their sovereignty over those domains. Subjects, citizens, or residents who did not wish to conform to the prince’s choice were given a grace period in which they were free to emigrate to different regions in which their desired religion had been accepted.” Notice that this splitting is happening at the level of states and cities.

This was eventually followed after more fighting by the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which added the principle that “Christians living in principalities where their denomination was not the established church were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in private, as well as in public during allotted hours.” The inability to stand has now reached the personal level of houses.

Verse 26 expands upon this concept of standing. “If Satan casts out Satan, he was divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” The name Satan means ‘adversary’ and is used four times in Matthew. The first time was in 4:10 at the end of the temptation of Jesus when Jesus told Satan to leave. The second and third times are in this verse. A name implies a general Teacher theory. In verse 24, the Pharisees gave the name Beelzebul to the new movement of science. Here in verse 26, the Catholic Church is acquiring the name of Satan. At a surface level, Protestants were attacking the Catholic Church and calling it Satanic. At a deeper level, the institutional church was acquiring the character of being adversarial, and it was becoming known by this name. Wikipedia describes this emerging mindset. “With the sharpening of debate and of conflict between the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation, Protestant societies came to see/use the Inquisition as a terrifying ‘Other’, while staunch Catholics regarded the Holy Office as a necessary bulwark against the spread of reprehensible heresies.” When one thinks of an institution in terms of ‘a terrifying other’, then that institution has acquired, by definition, a name of Satan.

The word cast out means ‘throw, cast, put out, banish’, and I mentioned earlier that throwing implies movement through the air of Teacher thought. This suggests that the adversarial mindset is starting to affect Teacher theory; the adversarial kingdom is adopting Teacher theories to justify its adversarial approach. We saw earlier that Pope Paul III established the Inquisition as a permanent organization in 1542. Other adversarial trends also became entrenched during this papacy. For instance, “In May–June 1537 Paul issued the bull Sublimis Deus (also known as Unigenitus and Veritas ipsa), described by Prein (2008) as the ‘Magna Carta’ for the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in its declaration that ‘the Indians were human beings and they were not to be robbed of their freedom or possessions’. The subsequent implementing document Pastorale officium declared automatic excommunication for anyone who failed to abide by the new ruling. However, it met with strong opposition from the Council of The West Indies and the Crown, which declared that it violated their patronato rights, and the Pope annulled the orders the following year with the document Non Indecens Videtur.” Summarizing, the Pope declared that Catholics should not treat the native South American natives in adversarial manner. However, when the local authorities complained that this limited their right to exploit the Indians, then the Pope caved in and chose to follow an adversarial path.

Similarly, in 1545 “The right of inhabitants of Rome to publicly buy and sell slaves of both sexes was affirmed… In 1548, Paul authorized the purchase and possession of Muslim slaves in the Papal states.” Moving forward to the next century, Wikipedia describes what the pope thought about the Peace of Westphalia signed in 1648. “The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X calling it ‘null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time’ in the bull Zelo Domus Dei.” And Wikipedia describes the adversarial mindset of Pope Innocent X. “Pamphili succeeded Pope Urban VIII (1623–44) on 15 September 1644 as Pope Innocent X, after a contentious papal conclave that featured a rivalry between French and Spanish factions. Pope Innocent X was one of the most politically shrewd pontiffs of the era, greatly increasing the temporal power of the Holy See. Major political events in which he was involved included the English Civil War, conflicts with French church officials over financial fraud issues, and hostilities with the Duchy of Parma related to the First War of Castro. In terms of theological events, Innocent X issued a papal bull condemning the beliefs of Jansenism.” Notice all the adversarial words: contentious, rivalry, Civil War, conflicts, hostilities, and condemning.

In verse 25, the cities and houses did not stand. In verse 26, the kingdom is no longer standing. One can see this change in the pope’s response to the Peace of Westphalia. He may have despised this peace but his opinion was largely irrelevant because his kingdom had lost the power that it once had.

Casting out Demons by Beelzebul 12:27-29

Verse 27 provides a comparison: “If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? For this reason they will be your judges.” On the one hand, Jesus is being accused of eliminating bad habits with the ‘lord of the flies’ of fragmented Teacher theories. But on the other hand, the once integrated Catholic hierarchy has now descended to the level of fragmented Teacher kingdoms. The word judge comes from a word that means ‘to pick out by separating’. I have pointed out that this is a fundamental characteristic of abstract technical thought. An adversarial mindset will not be followed necessarily by technical thought. But if a monolithic organization responds to opposition in an adversarial manner and becomes fragmented as a result, then the ‘sons’ of this kingdom who grow up in this fragmented environment will be mentally attracted to the superior fragmented Teacher theories of emerging scientific thought, and they will end up using the technical thinking of science to analyze their predecessors.

This new attitude in ‘the sons’ can be seen in the growing secularism that happened during the Enlightenment. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The Enlightenment constituted a new challenge of the Church. Unlike the Protestant Reformation, which questioned certain Christian doctrines, the enlightenment questioned Christianity as a whole. Generally, it elevated human reason above divine revelation and down-graded religious authorities such as the papacy based on it.”

And as the various adversaries became entrenched, adversarial thought itself was gradually replaced by a more conciliatory approach. Wikipedia describes this transition: “Contention between Catholic and Protestant matters gave rise to a substantial polemical literature, written both in Latin to appeal to international opinion among the educated, and in vernacular languages. In a climate where opinion was thought open to argument, the production of polemical literature was part of the role of prelates and other prominent churchmen, academics (in universities) and seminarians (in religious colleges); and institutions such as Chelsea College in London and Arras College in Paris were set up expressly to favor such writing. The major debates between Protestants and Catholics proving inconclusive, and theological issues within Protestantism being divisive, there was also a return to the Irenicism: the search for religious peace.”

Verse 28 describes another transition, which is the gradual integrating of the fragmented theories of science: “But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Spirit was mentioned in verse 18, but ‘Spirit of God’ is a new development which suggests that Platonic forms of the spirit are becoming interconnected by an integrated understanding in Teacher thought. Saying this another way, the lord of the flies is becoming replaced by a concept of God.

The word come upon is used once in Matthew and means to ‘precede, arrive ahead of time’. Thus, this integrated concept of God is a predecessor of what will follow. Looking ahead, we know that the integrated scientific theories of Newton were published in 1687; that describes what will follow. The predecessor is based upon what is happening at that time. Demons are being cast out by Teacher understanding and this growing understanding is giving the impression of a universal Teacher understanding.

Saying this more carefully, a distinction needs to be made between a Teacher understanding that is truly universal and one that applies universally to my environment. For instance, I have found that I can live with myself emotionally as long as I continue to make progress in Teacher thought. That is because my growing Teacher theory continues to apply to my current environment. But I find that when the growth of mental symmetry reaches an impasse, then it becomes emotionally apparent to me that I am living in a social environment that is diametrically opposed to the fundamental concepts of mental symmetry. In verse 28, people are starting to feel Teacher emotions of universality, but the truly universal theories have not yet arrived.

The reference to a kingdom of God is also appropriate because scientific thought was still combined with belief in God during this period of time. Looking for instance at Francis Bacon, Wikipedia explains that “While he advocated a very empirical, observational, reasoned method that did away with metaphysical conjecture, Bacon was a religious man, believed in God, and believed his work had a religious role. He contended, like other researchers at the time, that by doing this careful work man could begin to understand God's wonderful creation, to reclaim the knowledge that had been lost in Adam and Eve’s ‘fall’, and to make the most of his God-given talents.” Notice that Bacon’s mindset was ‘like other researchers at the time’. During the coming Enlightenment, science would become more secular, and the average person would no longer associate scientific progress with the kingdom of God. Moving to the present, one of my primary goals with mental symmetry is to show that Christianity actually has played and continues to play an essential role in developing, maintaining, and expanding scientific thought.

Verse 29 describes a general principle. “Or how can anyone enter the strong man’s house and carry off his property, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.” Strong means ‘engaging, combative strength’. Property is used once in Matthew and means ‘a vessel to contain liquid’. That is because a lot of property in Roman times was contained in various jars. Carry off means ‘to seize by force’ and was used in 11:12 to describe absolute truth as an intermediate method that uses force in Mercy thought to lay the foundation for building Teacher understanding. Bind means ‘to tie, bind’. Plunder is only used here and in the parallel passage in Mark 3 and adds the prefix ‘thoroughly’ to ‘carry off’. Looking at this symbolically, the religious and academic authorities have used physical force to enforce their Mercy status as sources of truth. This passage does not talk about the strong man being killed or destroyed, but rather bound. Similarly, we have seen in the previous verses how the Catholic Church still existed as a mighty power, but it was losing its ability to impose its will upon the population.

This binding can be seen in the papal response to the 1648 peace of Westphalia. Repeating an earlier quote, “The Holy See was very displeased at the settlement, with Pope Innocent X calling it ‘null, void, invalid, iniquitous, unjust, damnable, reprobate, inane, empty of meaning and effect for all time’ in the bull Zelo Domus Dei.” Nevertheless, the treaty still stood, indicating that the strong man had been bound. The end result of this binding was a thorough carrying off of the intellectual wealth of the scholastic and ecclesiastical experts. What used to be seen as the opinions of established experts in Mercy thought—illustrated by a number of vessels—gradually became viewed as illustrations of the Teacher theories of science.

For instance, mental symmetry has been doing a similar thorough plundering of Christian theology, because essentially all Christian doctrines have now been explained from a cognitive perspective. (It is possible that some topics have been overlooked, which is why I say essentially all. However, the list of theological topics on the site index is definitely thorough.)

If this wealth is to be thoroughly plundered, then the strong man has to be bound and not eliminated. That is because eliminating the Mercy status of the church and established authorities will cause their facts to become discredited, similar to the way that postmodern questioning has discredited the facts of authorities today. However, if the strong man is bound, then there will be sufficient Mercy status to support the absolute truth of the strong man combined with sufficient freedom to plunder this absolute truth and reinterpret it in terms of scientific theory.

I have experienced a similar juxtaposition. I grew up in a fundamentalist Mennonite household, but my Mennonite community lived as outsiders within a more secular environment. The cognitive result was a bound strong man. My Mennonite upbringing assigned sufficient Mercy status to absolute truth to cause me to treat biblical content with respect, while my secular environment gave me the intellectual freedom to analyze this biblical content. This rational analysis was encouraged by the ‘carrot’ of studying engineering, which taught me that accepting the facts can be a matter of physical life and death. If engineers ignore the facts, then bridges and buildings collapse and many people die. This rational analysis was also encouraged by the ‘stick’ of living with a schizophrenic brother whose thinking was driven by Mercy emotions. This incessant emotional pressure was so hard for me as a Perceiver person that I distinctly remember swearing as a child that I would never give in to irrational thought. Finally, learning to play the violin professionally taught me at an emotional level that it is possible to train emotions to be compatible with rational thought.

The Unpardonable Sin 12:30-32

This plundering was largely complete by the time of the Enlightenment. Quoting as usual from Wikipedia, “Scientific academies and societies grew out of the Scientific Revolution as the creators of scientific knowledge in contrast to the scholasticism of the university. During the Enlightenment, some societies created or retained links to universities. However, contemporary sources distinguished universities from scientific societies by claiming that the university’s utility was in the transmission of knowledge, while societies functioned to create knowledge.” Notice that the universities with their scholastic thinking were still regarded as legitimate conveyors of knowledge, but the scientific groups that functioned outside of the University were now being viewed as the sources of knowledge.

Verse 30 describes a polarization. “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.” This polarization began with the Counter-Reformation. Wikipedia summarizes that “With the Counter-Reformation initiated by the Council of Trent (1545-1563), positions hardened and a strict Catholic orthodoxy based on scholastic philosophy was imposed. Some humanists, even moderate Catholics such as Erasmus, risked being declared heretics for their perceived criticism of the church. In 1514 he left for Basel and worked at the University of Basel for several years.” Notice how the Catholic Church with its emphasis upon religious authority is siding with Scholasticism with its emphasis upon secular authorities. The previous paragraph described how both of these eventually became plundered by the new scientific thinking.

The phrasing suggests that this polarization happens indirectly: ‘He who is not with me is against me’. This is not a case of focusing upon the enemy, but rather upon choosing to go along with progress or not. This going along with progress can be seen in the second phrase. Gather means ‘to lead together, bring together’. Scatter is used once in Matthew and means ‘to scatter’. This gathering relates to the transition from ‘lord of the flies’ to ‘kingdom of God’. The specific breakthroughs of science are gradually being collected and integrated. There is not yet integrated understanding, but progress has moved beyond a mere collection of specific theories. The gathering is being guided by Teacher feelings of integration and order, while the scattering is being motivated by Mercy feelings of personal status.

The next two verses talk about what is known in theological language as the unpardonable sin. Verse 31 begins, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.” This verse begins with a ‘therefore’, which tells us that it follows logically from the previous section. Sin means ‘missing the mark’ and was last mentioned in Matthew 9:2-6 which discussed Catholic absolution of sins during the Crusades. Sin has not been discussed much since then, because the Catholic Church has been setting a rather low standard for behavior and has been using the strong arm of force to impose its rule rather than the voice of conscience.

This is the first time that the word blasphemy is found in Matthew and it is used twice in this verse. It means ‘sluggish to call something good (that really is good) – and slow to identify what is truly bad (that really is evil)’. Forgive means ‘to send away; release’. Verse 31 says that blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. This is not a case of God stepping in to zap someone who crosses some invisible line. That form of forgiveness was discussed and rejected at the beginning of Matthew 9. Instead, verse 31 is saying that someone who behaves in a certain manner will become stuck, unable to let go of the current situation and move on.

Platonic forms of the spirit provide ideals to follow, such as the ideal of justice illustrated by the lady holding a balance scale. But what happens if one makes an ideal out of something that inherently misses the mark? What is the cognitive result of idealizing an inverted set of morality? Think, for instance, of the ideal soldier, or the ideal criminal. The ultimate goal of the soldier is to kill, and the ultimate purpose of the criminal is to break the law. When one takes this blasphemy of inverted morality and makes it an ideal, then one becomes mentally stuck, because one is being driven by a value that inverts values; one is being motivated to become more purely impure.

This sort of contradiction will not arise when one is following Teacher thought directly, because Teacher thought will naturally eliminate exceptions to the rule. But Platonic forms of the spirit are one step removed from Teacher thought, making it possible to juxtapose elements that do not really belong together. I should also mention that blasphemy against the Spirit happens when there is partial Teacher understanding. There is sufficient Teacher understanding to generate Platonic forms of spirit, but not enough understanding to ensure that they are followed in a consistent manner.

Verse 32 goes one step further: “Whoever will speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever will speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” The word age means ‘an age, a cycle of time’ and has appeared once previously at the end of the Lord’s Prayer. To come means ‘at the very point of acting; ready, about to happen’. This is normally interpreted as referring in some vague manner to a future kingdom of God. But looking at this historically makes it clear which age is on the verge of appearing: It is the scientific age in which we currently live.

Verse 32 goes beyond verse 31 in two ways. First, words are being spoken. Second, the Holy Spirit is mentioned, and the term ‘holy’ was last used in the Sermon on the Mount. Holy means ‘different from the world because like the Lord’. A concept of the Holy Spirit emerges when an integrated Teacher understanding ties together the various Platonic forms to create what Plato called a form of the Good. (I refer to the form of the Good as a Holy Spirit with a capital ‘S’ because a concept of a universal personal being has emerged within Mercy thought. In contrast, I use a small ‘s’ to refer to Platonic forms of the spirit because they may be ideal, but they are not integrated.)

Two behaviors are also being contrasted. The first is to ‘speak a word against the Son of Man’. The word for word is logos, which we have been interpreting as the Teacher paradigm behind some system of technical thought. The ‘Son of Man’ represents the various systems of technical thought that are coming together. Verse 32 says that coming up with a paradigm that violates the general body of knowledge is not a fatal error. It is possible to move on. Saying this another way, paradigm shifts do occur.

The second behavior is to speak against the Holy Spirit. There is no mention of logos here, but one is still speaking against the Holy Spirit. One is using the words of Teacher thought to attack a concept in Mercy thought that is the result of integrated Teacher understanding. This is irrecoverable because one is using Teacher thought, the part of the mind that brings integration, to attack the results of integration.

This is a significant issue because the growing TMNs of science will ultimately come into contact with MMNs of authority, personal status, and culture. Scientific understanding will have grown sufficiently to create a reasonably strong mental concept of the Holy Spirit, but core MMNs will still remain undigested. The natural tendency will be to use words driven by these core MMNs to halt the further growth of scientific understanding. (This is explored further in chapter 10 of Natural Cognitive Theology.)

This explains why the word come upon is used in verse 28 which means to ‘precede, arrive ahead of time’. The arrival of the kingdom of God will be incomplete because it is arriving ahead of time. Looking at this more closely, scientific thought was being used to analyze physical experiences, leading to a new understanding of the physical world. However, the subjective realm of morality and religion was still being guided by the absolute truth of Scholasticism. We have seen that the Catholic Church adopted Scholasticism. But scholastic thinking was also used by Protestant Lutheran theologians, as well as most Reformed Calvinists. In addition, monarchy with its focus on Mercy status was still the dominant form of government. Thus, the Protestant Reformation may have led to the binding of the strong man of the Catholic Church, but it left intact the mindset of absolute truth with its basis in Mercy status. Therefore, it was inevitable that the growth of science would eventually hit a wall when meeting the subjective.

One can tell that this was the case because of the persecution of Anabaptists, who did attempt as a group to follow the morality of Scripture rather than be ruled by the Mercy status of religious and political authorities. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Anabaptists were heavily and long persecuted starting in the 16th century by both Magisterial Protestants and Roman Catholics, largely because of their interpretation of scripture which put them at odds with official state church interpretations and with government. Anabaptism was never established by any state and therefore never enjoyed any associated privileges. Most Anabaptists adhered to a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount which precluded taking oaths, participating in military actions, and participating in civil government.”

Partial Transformation 12:33-37

The next section addresses this problem of partial transformation. Verse 33 begins, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” This contrast involving trees and fruit was mentioned previously in 7:17-19 in the Sermon on the Mount. Trees are alive, but they stay in one place and they are large. Thus, a tree would represent the mental networks of some group, movement, or school of thought.

The word good means ‘attractively good; good that inspires’. Bad means ‘rotten, worthless’. The same English words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are used in both passages, but the Greek words are different. In Matthew 7, an intrinsically good tree produced attractive fruit, while a rotten tree produced pain-ridden fruit. In Matthew 12, both the tree and its fruit are attractively good, and both tree and fruit are rotten. In both cases, there is the rottenness of intrinsic evil, but in Matthew 12 there is only attractive goodness and no intrinsic goodness. (Intrinsic goodness will show up at a personal level in verse 35.) One of the limitations of absolute truth is that people can only judge what they see. And absolute truth also leads to the feeling that one should not think about self. Therefore, absolute truth will naturally tend to emphasize attractive goodness rather than intrinsic goodness—what appears good to others rather than what is inherently good.

For instance, my Mennonite upbringing emphasized the importance of ‘maintaining a good testimony in front of them’. Who ‘them’ were was never clarified, but one was certain that ‘they’ would be offended and would turn their backs on Christianity if I ever danced or went to a movie theater. I say this somewhat humorously, but this feeling was definitely present and strong. (On the other hand, my mother also emphasized looking at the long-term moral impact of personal choices.)

One example of a good tree with bad fruit would be warfare. Scientific developments led to improved weapons, such as the musket. The ‘tree’ of weapons technology was—and is—attractively good. But the fruit of warfare is rotten. Anabaptists have attempted over the centuries to combine a good tree with good fruit. Quoting one example from the Mennonite Encyclopedia, “In 1775 during the American Revolution, following an appeal by the Pennsylvania Assembly to assist the country and its people in such manner as is consistent with their nonresistant faith, the Pennsylvania Mennonites and Dunkers in a joint petition thanked the Assembly for its advice and its liberality in granting freedom of conscience. The petition said the Mennonites and Dunkers were ready at all times to help those in need and distress, ‘it being our principle to feed the hungry and to give the thirsty drink; we have dedicated ourselves to serve all men in everything that can be helpful to the preservation of men's lives, but we find no freedom in giving, or doing, or assisting in anything by which men’s lives art destroyed or hurt.’”

Verse 33 concludes that ‘the tree is known by its fruit’. The word known is experiential knowledge. Looking at this cognitively, a tree may generate Teacher feelings of order, structure, and generality, but the fruit of a tree will lead to experiential knowledge. Saying this symbolically, fruit usually contains liquid, and liquid represents Mercy experiences. Applying this to warfare, the science of warfare may be guided by Teacher understanding, but the fruit of warfare will lead to deeply emotional personal knowledge.

Verse 34 is more direct: “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” The term ‘offspring of vipers’ is found three times in Matthew. It first occurred in 3:7 where we interpreted it as early Christian purists heading off into the desert to practice mysticism. And verse 34 uses different words for ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Good is ‘intrinsically good’, while evil means ‘pain-ridden’. The focus here is not upon doing intrinsic goodness, but rather upon being incapable of talking about intrinsic goodness when being pain-ridden.

We have seen that the Counter-Reformation Catholic Church emphasized mysticism. Many of the mystical saints of that period pursued physical suffering as a means of achieving mystical ecstasy. For instance, “Saint Ignatius of Loyola while in Manresa in 1522 is known to have practiced severe mortifications. In the Litany prayers to Saint Ignatius he is praised as being ‘constant in the practice of corporal penance.’ He was in the habit of wearing a cord tied below the knee. St. Teresa of Ávila, a Doctor of the Church, undertook severe mortification once it was suggested by friends that her supernatural ecstasies were of diabolical origin. She continued until Francis Borgia reassured her. She believed she was goaded by angels and had a passion to conform her life to the sufferings of Jesus, with a motto associated with her: ‘Lord, either let me suffer or let me die.’ St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque (22 July 1647 October-17 October 1690), the promoter of the devotion to the Sacred Heart, practised in secret severe corporal mortification after her First Communion at the age of nine, until becoming paralyzed, which confined her to bed for four years. Having been cured of her paralysis by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, she changed her name to Marie and vowed to devote her life to the service of Mary.” Looking at this cognitively, a mind that embraces painful personal MMNs in order to achieve the Teacher overgeneralization of mysticism will not be open to scientific progress that leads to pleasant Mercy experiences, because enjoying life will be associated with rejecting God.

And Martin Luther also practiced mortification: “In The Ninety-Five Theses, Martin Luther stated that ‘inner repentance is worthless unless it produces various outward mortification of the flesh.’ He practiced mortification of the flesh through fasting and self-flagellation, even sleeping in a stone cell without a blanket.” That is because denying self is a natural byproduct of the mindset of absolute truth.

The word can in verse 34 means ‘to be able, to have power’. Thus, Jesus is not saying ‘how dare you evil people talk about goodness’. Instead, he is pointing out that a mindset that is based in pain-ridden Mercy experiences is incapable of discussing intrinsic goodness. In other words, one cannot make meaningful statements about intrinsic goodness if one is following a lifestyle of mortification. Using an analogy, one cannot paint a white picture if the only color that one has is black.

Continuing with verse 34, mouth implies that Teacher thought is not responsible for generating its own speech, but rather is a ‘mouthpiece’ for something else. In contrast, heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. Fills is used once in Matthew and means ‘more than anticipated’. This combination definitely applies to the Catholic mystics, whose writings emerged out of a personal identity that pursued physical pain with unusual fervor. But this will also happen when rational Teacher thought encounters any mindset of absolute truth. I have mentioned several times that Perceiver thought will only continue to ‘believe’ in absolute truth as long as the source of truth has much greater Mercy status than personal identity. Thus, absolute truth is invariably accompanied by an attitude of self-denial. Teacher thought looks for general theories, and Teacher thought will come up with the general theory that self needs to be denied. This general theory will then provoke additional self-denial, because Teacher thought feels good when a general theory applies to more situations. Using the language of Matthew, the Teacher mouth is expressing the overflowing of the Mercy heart.

Verse 35 describes a moral polarization. “The good man brings out of his good treasure good [things]; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure evil [things].” Good here means intrinsic goodness, while evil means pain-ridden. And brings out means ‘throw, cast, put out’, which implies moving through the air of Teacher thought. A more literal translation would be ‘the good man out of the good treasure throws good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure throws evil’.

Treasure means ‘stored-up treasure’. It was last mentioned in 6:19-21 in the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus compared treasure on earth with treasure in heaven and stated that ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’. Here too there is a relationship between treasure and personal character, but it is slightly different than what was mentioned in chapter 6. In Matthew 6 we described Mercy identity as an emergent property that results from intellectual treasure. Here, personal character is existing alongside intellectual treasure. This will happen when rational thought is developing in a general atmosphere of absolute truth. Following the content of biblical truth will lead to a good person because the content of the Bible describes a path of reaching mental wholeness, and this goodness will become intrinsically driven if a person has to follow this pathway in an environment of persecution and disapproval. In contrast, focusing upon the mindset of absolute truth will lead a pain-ridden person. These underlying biases will lead to intellectual treasure that is either intrinsically good and leads to further intrinsic goodness, or it will lead to intellectual treasure that is pain-ridden which will lead to further pain-ridden-ness.

This type of intrinsic goodness characterized many of the early Anabaptists. Quoting from the Mennonite Encyclopedia, “This way of love and nonresistance characterized the Anabaptists from the beginning. Walter Rauschenbusch says, ‘Their communities were prophetic.... They stood against war, against capital punishment, against slavery, and against coercion in matters of religion before others thought of it.’ Sixteenth-century Catholic opponents said they found among them ‘no lying, deception, swearing, strife, harsh language . . , but . . humility, patience, uprightness, meekness, honesty, temperance, and straightforwardness.... They call each other brethren and sisters.... they use no weapons of defense. . They do not go to law before judicial courts.’” (This is not necessarily the case today.) While Anabaptists placed a great emphasis on applying the content of the Bible, they also maintained an attitude of personal self-denial. This can be seen in the paragraph immediately preceding the previous quote. “Doing that which is just to others takes precedence over seeking justice for one’s self or for one’s group. Instead of going to law for the settlement of differences the Christian would rather suffer himself to be defrauded. In economic relationships the Christian community does not think in terms of buyer and seller or of management and labor, each seeking his own good; it thinks of itself as a brotherhood whose members are laborers together with God, in honor preferring one another.”

More generally, it has been suggested that there was a relationship between Protestant belief and early scientific progress. Merton put “forward the argument that the popularity of science in England in the 17th century, and the religious demography of the Royal Society (English scientists of that time were predominantly Puritans or other Protestants) can be explained by a correlation between Protestantism and the scientific values.” Similarly, “In Lenski’s view, the Reformation encouraged intellectual autonomy among Protestants, in particular the Anabaptists, Puritans, Pietists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. In the Middle Ages, there had been tendencies toward intellectual autonomy, as exemplified in men like Erasmus. But after the Reformation, the Catholic leaders increasingly identified these tendencies with Protestantism and heresy and demanded that Catholics be obedient and faithful to ecclesiastical discipline.” Summarizing, Protestantism focused more upon the content of the Bible, leading to more internal intrinsic motivation. Catholicism, in contrast, focused upon submission to authority and emphasized the mindset of religious self-denial.

Verse 36 looks forward to a future reckoning. “But I tell you that every careless word that people will speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.” The phrase ‘day of judgment’ has occurred several times in Matthew, and we have interpreted it as referring to a future era that is governed by the ‘judgment’ of technical thought. Word here refers to ‘a spoken word, made by the living voice’. And careless adds a negative prefix to ‘action that carries out an inner desire’. This describes speech that is not internally motivated.

The rest of the verse describes the kind of internal motivation that will be required. The word give means ‘to return, especially as a payment’ while accounting is actually logos. In other words, in the coming era of technical thought, speech will have to be motivated by the logos of some technical paradigm. Those who have made casual statements previous to this period will have to back up their statements with technical paradigms. This implies a re-evaluation of current academic knowledge. And this re-evaluation did happen with all words being rejected that could not be placed within some technical specialization backed up by the TMN of a paradigm.

Verse 37 summarizes, “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” The two ‘words’ in this verse are both logos, which refers to technical paradigms. Justified means ‘to show to be righteous, declare righteous’, and we have seen that scientific thought is based in the righteousness of exemplars. Saying this another way, people will be verbally declared to be scientific by the presence of technical paradigms. Condemned is found twice in Matthew and means to ‘condemn in an exact manner that is highly specific’. This describes the sort of condemnation that is doled out by technical thought, because inadequate words and ideas are rejected in a technical and detailed manner. This same word was seen earlier in the chapter in verse 7 where the scholastic experts condemned the new empirical research ‘in an exact manner that was highly specific’. Notice the reversal in roles. Previously, Scholasticism regarded scientific research as insufficiently rigorous. In the coming scientific era, scientific research will reject Scholasticism as insufficiently rigorous.

For instance, one of the basic principles of scientific technical thought is that words have consistent definitions. Ask any physicist in the world about the word ‘work’, for example, and you will get the same definition. Similarly, whenever one sees ‘work’ mentioned in a physics problem, it will have the same meaning. But we have just seen that the same Greek word logos is being translated as ‘word’ in verse 37 and ‘accounting’ in verse 36, while the word translated ‘word’ in verse 36 is actually rhema. One would never find that sort of verbal inconsistency in physics. However, this is considered normal in theology, because biblical translation is not guided by technical paradigms. Instead, translation is driven by other standards which I am probably violating by imposing consistent definitions upon Greek terms. However, these essays are showing that the New Testament makes cognitive sense when one examines it from the viewpoint of technical paradigms. This illustrates what it would have felt like to tell a scholastic expert about the coming age of science.

Seeking a Sign 12:38-40

The next section describes the response of the purists. “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, ‘Teacher, we want to see a sign from You’” (v.38). The word said actually means ‘answered’ which means that verse 38 is a response to the previous verses. So far, the interaction has been with the Pharisees, a word that means ‘separatist, purist’. Scribe means ‘writer, scribe’ which implies an expert in the content of absolute truth. This term was last seen in 9:3 in the context of forgiveness and absolution. What is new is that they are referring to Jesus as teacher. The only previous time that the Pharisees referred to Jesus as teacher was in 9:11 where they described him as ‘your teacher’ in the context of eating with the publicans and tax collectors of commerce and trade. This implies that the new form of scientific thinking has gained respect among the traditional experts.

Want means ‘desire, wish’, telling us that this is happening at the level of emotions. A sign is ‘a sign given especially to confirm, corroborate or authenticate’. This is the first time that this word is used in Matthew and it is used four times in verses 38-39. Thus, the focus of this passage is upon signs. Absolute truth will naturally think in terms of signs. That is because Perceiver truth is based in emotional experiences in Mercy thought. Thus, the scholastic experts are asking for a Mercy basis for the teaching of Jesus. This personal source of truth is demonstrated by the fact that they ask for a ‘sign from you’. Looking at this cognitively, when the scholastic experts eventually recognize the validity of scientific thought, they will approach scientific thinking with the wrong mindset. They will think in terms of ‘who is right’ rather than ‘what is right’.

Jesus responds in verse 39. “But He answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet.’” Evil means pain-ridden and has been seen several times, but adulterous is a new word used only twice in Matthew. There is a masculine and feminine version of this word and the feminine version is used in this verse, which means ‘a married woman who commits adultery’. (I know that adjectives agree with nouns but the interlinear describes it as a feminine noun and the definition given is ‘adulteress’.)

If one interprets this in terms of male and female thought, then ‘adulteress’ would mean that the mental networks of female thought are seeking another male partner. This describes cognitively what the scholastic experts are doing by coming to scientific thought. Their thinking is based upon mental networks of female thought. Hence the request for a sign. They have been married to the male thinking of medieval logic. But they see that there is a new man in town known as scientific reasoning and they have decided to get chummy. However, scientific reasoning isn’t their husband and scientific reasoning does not think in terms of signs. This mental incompatibility can be seen in the verb crave, which is a stronger version of the normal word ‘seek’. This stronger version demonstrates the more emotional form of thinking that is used by scholastic logic with its emphasis upon personal status.

Wikipedia describes this change in thinking: “Aristotle recognized four kinds of causes, and where applicable, the most important of them is the ‘final cause’. The final cause was the aim, goal, or purpose of some natural process or man-made thing. Until the Scientific Revolution, it was very natural to see such aims, such as a child's growth, for example, leading to a mature adult. Intelligence was assumed only in the purpose of man-made artifacts; it was not attributed to other animals or to nature. In ‘mechanical philosophy’ no field or action at a distance is permitted, particles or corpuscles of matter are fundamentally inert. Motion is caused by direct physical collision. Where natural substances had previously been understood organically, the mechanical philosophers viewed them as machines.” Notice how the Aristotelian focus upon the mental networks of personal agents is being replaced by a mechanistic, impersonal understanding.

A similar transition happened at a more practical level from alchemy to chemistry. Wikipedia explains that “The decline of European alchemy was brought about by the rise of modern science with its emphasis on rigorous quantitative experimentation and its disdain for ‘ancient wisdom’… Early modern European alchemy continued to exhibit a diversity of theories, practices, and purposes: ‘Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian, Paracelsian and anti-Paracelsian, Hermetic, Neoplatonic, mechanistic, vitalistic, and more—plus virtually every combination and compromise thereof.’ Robert Boyle (1627–1691) pioneered the scientific method in chemical investigations. He assumed nothing in his experiments and compiled every piece of relevant data. Boyle would note the place in which the experiment was carried out, the wind characteristics, the position of the Sun and Moon, and the barometer reading, all just in case they proved to be relevant.” Notice how alchemy is following various schools of thought, each led by its own mental networks of expertise, while science is simply gathering data and increasingly replacing and looking down on the old form of thinking.

Jesus says in verse 39 that the only sign that will be given is the sign of Jonah the prophet. Jonah is mentioned five times in Matthew, with four of these times in verses 39-41. The name Jonah means ‘dove’. Verse 40 then refers to the famous story of Jonah and the Whale: “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The purpose of this essay is not to debate whether this story actually happened or not, but rather to approach this story as an analogy—as Jesus does in verse 40. Jesus compares the story of Jonah and the Whale with the Son of Man, and says that this comparison will be a sign. The word belly ‘is a general term covering any organ in the abdomen’. The word sea monster is found once in the New Testament and means ‘a huge fish’. Fish live in the water of Mercy experiences. A huge fish would represent a large mental network within the world of Mercy experiences. In the belly of a huge fish would mean existing internally within a large mental network within the world of Mercy experiences. What is being described here is a sort of shared worldview, an implicit set of core mental networks shared by a group of people. This goes beyond MMNs of culture because it is something internal. But it is also not verbalized or analyzed because it is a fish. However, it is a big fish.

One can see what this means by looking at current society. I have mentioned that incarnation combines abstract technical thought with concrete technical thought. But science specializes while incarnation is guided by the TMN of a concept of God, and science is objective while incarnation saves MMNs of personal identity. This leaves an emotional vacuum in the universal and subjective which is filled by the ‘belly of the huge fish’—the collective mental networks that internally motivate society.

This interpretation is consistent with the following phrase ‘in the heart of the earth’. Earth refers to ‘the physical earth; the arena we live in which operates in space and time’. Objective, specialized science focuses upon studying space and time to the extent of usually asserting that nothing exists except space and time. Thomas Kuhn observed that most scientists spend most of their time solving technical puzzles, unaware that their thinking is actually motivated by the Teacher emotions of a paradigm. The word heart refers to ‘the affective center of our being’, which I interpret as mental networks of personal identity. As far as I can tell, this is the only time in the New Testament that these two common words ‘heart’ and ‘earth’ are put together.

An earth does not have a heart, and the scientific response to the Gaia hypothesis illustrates what happens when people suggest that the Earth has a heart. Wikipedia summarizes that “Several recent books have criticised the Gaia hypothesis, expressing views ranging from ‘... the Gaia hypothesis lacks unambiguous observational support and has significant theoretical difficulties’ to ‘Suspended uncomfortably between tainted metaphor, fact, and false science, I prefer to leave Gaia firmly in the background’ to ‘The Gaia hypothesis is supported neither by evolutionary theory nor by the empirical evidence of the geological record’… In a 2013 book-length evaluation of the Gaia hypothesis considering modern evidence from across the various relevant disciplines, Toby Tyrrell concluded that: ‘I believe Gaia is a dead end. Its study has, however, generated many new and thought provoking questions. While rejecting Gaia, we can at the same time appreciate Lovelock’s originality and breadth of vision, and recognise that his audacious concept has helped to stimulate many new ideas about the Earth, and to champion a holistic approach to studying it.’”

I am not suggesting that the Earth is alive. But what is alive is the various mental networks residing within people’s minds that determine how society treats the Earth, how science is applied, and the worldview within which scientific thought is placed.

Verse 40 repeats the phrase ‘three days and three nights’ twice, first with Jonah and then with the Son of Man. This tells us that three days and three nights are a critical aspect of the analogy. We have interpreted a day as a period of time illuminated by the sun of some universal understanding. (The sun of a universal understanding is more general than the logos of some paradigm, but both are theories within Teacher thought.) These three days are easy to determine and have been discussed in previous essays. The first day is the coming Scientific Revolution. This will be followed by the second day of the Industrial Revolution, which itself will be followed by the third day of the Consumer Revolution. This third day is now coming to an end as modern thought is being replaced by postmodern thought.

Remember that this section started with the scholastic experts seeking a sign. They wanted something emotional that would act as a source of ‘truth’. Modern science does not provide signs because it tends to be objective and specialized. But the emotional vacuum that has been created by modern science has been filled for three days and three nights by the belly of a huge fish—the implicit worldviews that have been provided first by the Scientific Revolution, then by the Industrial Revolution, and finally by the Consumer Revolution. Saying this another way, each age is implicitly guided by the spirit of that age. This ‘belly of a huge fish’ has provided the emotional signs that have guided those who think in terms of absolute truth. For instance, churches often think that God is leading them in some special way. But if one steps back and looks at the bigger picture, one usually sees that the church is merely following a larger social trend. What a church views as a sign from God is usually ‘the belly of the huge fish’ of current society. Going further, if one wants to understand the path of incarnation during the age of science, one has to examine ‘the belly of the huge fish’ because this is where people are being affected and larger trends are being created.

Nineveh and the Queen of the South 12:41-42

Jonah was swallowed by a big fish on his way to preaching to Nineveh. This preaching is mentioned in Verse 41. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.”

The name Nineveh might mean ‘house of fish’. The word stand up means ‘to raise up, to rise’, but is also used in other New Testament books to describe the resurrection from the dead. With means ‘with, in company with’ (when followed by the genitive case). The word men is not the normal word for mankind, but rather specifically refers to men and not women. It was used previously in Matthew to describe Joseph the husband of Mary, as well as in the parable of the house upon the rock in Matthew 7:24-26. Condemn adds the prefix ‘down, according to’ to the normal word judge that means ‘to pick out by separating’, and the first time that this version of ‘judge’ is used in Matthew is in this verse and the following verse. The word judgment is also related to ‘pick out by separating’. And the word preaching is only used once in Matthew and means ‘a proclamation’.

Putting this together, the male technical thinking of the current generation, together with the male technical thinking of Nineveh, will be brought back to life in some future time of technical thought, and the thinking of Nineveh will use technical thought to condemn the thinking of the current generation.

Before we attempt to interpret this, let us look at the reason given in the rest of verse 41. The word repent means to ‘think differently afterwards’. This is not something emotional, but rather a change in rational thought after some encounter. This change in thinking happened after the preaching of Jonah. On the one hand, the male thought of Nineveh changed its way of thinking after the proclamation of Jonah. On the other hand, the male thinking of Scholasticism is not changing its way of thinking, even after encountering the thinking of science.

What is being addressed here is a change in methodology. The underlying problem is that Scholasticism continues to use a form of logic that is based upon authorities—it is looking for signs. And it is continuing to apply this methodology even when shown by science that one should look at the evidence rather than quote the experts. This quoting from the experts will come back to life in the coming scientific age. I am not sure what Nineveh represents but it may refer to preaching a message of personal salvation, because a message is being proclaimed to a secular audience and they are responding. This message is like a dove. It is a bird within the air of Teacher thought, but it is a weak bird of innocence. Similarly, the message of salvation does not contain great intellectual order, but it does contain the essential element of personal vulnerability. This message was present during the early Reformation, but it has been largely lost by the ensuing political strife. Instead of preaching an innocent message of salvation, wars of religion are now being fought.

Verse 41 seems to be saying that this proclaiming of personal salvation will come back to life in the coming scientific era, but it will change its way of thinking, being based more in personal experience than in religious dogma. People will respond to this proclamation of repentance because of the personal transformation that does occur to those who respond to this message. This personal transformation is a form of empirical evidence. And this revived preaching of personal repentance will examine the theoretical study of religious books and quoting from religious experts and declare it to be inadequate. This accurately describes the manner in which current society has largely rejected abstract theology in favor of personal spiritual encounter.

Verse 42 refers to the story of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. “The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.” Verse 41 referred specifically to men. Verse 42 explicitly mentions a woman, indicating that female thought is being addressed. The word queen is related to kingdom and is only found once in Matthew. Rise up is a common verb that means ‘to awaken, to raise up’. The rest of the first phrase is identical to verse 41. The direction South is only mentioned once in Matthew. I have been interpreting East and West as referring to what we call Eastern thought and Western thought. For instance, the city of Babylon mentioned in the book of Revelation is built astride the river that divides East from West, representing modern culture with its juxtaposition of Western rational thought and Eastern mysticism. My guess is that North represents a ‘cold’ culture that downplays emotions while South represents a ‘hot’ culture that is more emotional. This contrast can be seen when comparing cooler ‘Germanic’ countries with hotter ‘Latin’ countries. This is a cognitively natural symbolism and there may be some correlation between climate and culture. Before attempting to interpret this analogy, we will look at the rest of the verse.

Wisdom means ‘clarity’. And Solomon means ‘his peace’, with peace meaning wholeness (both in Hebrew and in Greek). Looking at this cognitively, Solomon was a Facilitator person who was known for his wisdom. Facilitator thought evaluates situations in the light of fixed reference points. Wisdom provides fixed reference points for Facilitator evaluation, which the Facilitator person views as mental clarity. Thus, the Facilitator person will often define truth as clarity. When Facilitator thought lacks clarity, then the Facilitator person will feel muddled. Clarity is especially important when dealing with emotional situations, which explains why the Queen of the South would come to Solomon for wisdom. Wisdom that is based in the TMN of a concept of God would have a form of integrated stability. This is not a general Teacher understanding but is more like a collection of pebbles—nuggets of wisdom—like the proverbs of Solomon in the book of Proverbs.

From actually means ‘out from within’. Ends is found once in Matthew and means ‘a boundary, limit’. And earth refers to physical space and time. One can decipher what this means by understanding how Exhorter thought and Facilitator thought interact within the mind. Exhorter thought provides the motivation for the mind by finding excitement in emotional Mercy experiences and Teacher theories. This excitement can be increased by exaggerating experiences and magnifying theories. However, learning Perceiver facts and Server sequences limits exaggeration. Thus, Exhorter thought tends to find its excitement outside of the ‘space and time’ of Perceiver facts and Server skills. Facilitator thought, in contrast, acts as the censor of the mind, rejecting anything that diverges too far from known Perceiver facts and Server sequences. The end result is that the mind is naturally attracted to the boundary of known space and time. The cognitive science of religion refers to this as information that is minimally counterintuitive. For instance, a unicorn is minimally counterintuitive because it is almost like a horse, but contains the bizarre element of a single horn.

Using the language of Matthew, the Queen of the South will naturally live at ‘the ends of the earth’; the realm of emotional networks that represent the hot side of culture will find their excitement at the edge of reasonableness, where exaggeration is balanced with plausibility.

Exhorter thought hates boredom and frustration. Modern technology has shown that scientific research makes it possible to escape frustration, and that technology is capable of creating a continual stream of new-and-improved gadgets. For instance, the average person finds numbers boring. But if these numbers describe the specifications of some new and improved gadget, then these same numbers become very exciting. Saying this more generally, science and technology make it possible for the Queen of the South to come out from within the boundary of space and time to the center of rational thought. A similar principle applies to wisdom. The Exhorter person tends to find rules boring and tedious, because they limit fun and add repetitive drudgery. But suppose that these rules describe how to maneuver through the emotional jungle of life without getting stuck or lost. The Queen of the South will again come out from within the boundary of space and time. Saying this more clearly, Exhorter thought may drive a person to live at the edge of rules, but Exhorter thought can also drive a person to live at the center of wisdom, because wisdom describes rules that bring clarity to life, making it possible to avoid frustration and escape boredom.

This cognitive effect does not require integrated rational understanding but will already function at the level of the nuggets of wisdom. For instance, Solomon wrote the nuggets of wisdom contained in the book of Proverbs. Solomon’s father David was an Exhorter person who found excitement in the Jewish law. But ‘something greater than Solomon is here’ because applied science is just starting to emerge, and we have learned that applied science is capable of generating a continual stream of new-and-improved gadgets. However, the wisdom of Solomon will also arise during the scientific era, because science will avoid the emotional realm by becoming objective and specialized. Thus, wisdom will still be needed to deal with the emotional topics that science will avoid. And wisdom will continue to regard the book learning of Scholasticism as inadequate, pointing out that practical wisdom is more useful and helpful than debating words from dead experts.

A Spirit Passing through Waterless Places 12:43-45

The next section describes the failure to make a transformation involving mental networks. “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it” (v. 43). Unclean means ‘not pure because mixed’. This type of mixed motivation has been the focus of the second half of chapter 12. My hypothesis is that spirits interact with the mind by empowering mental networks. Thus, an unclean spirit would describe mixed motivation at the level of core mental networks. This mixed motivation is going out of a man, and the word man here refers to mankind.

Passes through is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to go through’. Waterless means ‘without water’, and is only used once in Matthew. One would think the word place is common, but this is the first time that it shows up in Matthew. Rest was seen in Matthew 11:28-29 and means ‘an intermission from labor’. And find means ‘to discover, especially after searching’.

Putting this all together, the medieval mindset interpreted nature in terms of the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire. (Similar schemes can be found in other pre-scientific cultures.) These elements provided the theoretical basis for alchemy. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The elemental system used in Medieval alchemy was developed primarily by the Arab alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān. His system consisted of the four classical elements of air, earth, fire, and water, in addition to two philosophical elements: sulphur, characterizing the principle of combustibility, ‘the stone which burns’; and mercury, characterizing the principle of metallic properties. They were seen by early alchemists as idealized expressions of irreducible components of the universe and are of larger consideration within philosophical alchemy.”

The four elements provide a spiritual explanation in the sense that the elements behave like mental networks and the spiritual realm interacts with mental networks. Like mental networks, each of these four elements has a natural home. For instance, fire rises because it lives up in the sky. Earth falls because its home is down below. And like mental networks, some elements are attracted to each other, while others repel each other. This animistic flavor can be seen in a quote from the Roman book Kore Kosmou as found in Wikipedia: “Of living things, my son, some are made friends with fire, and some with water, some with air, and some with earth, and some with two or three of these, and some with all. And, on the contrary, again some are made enemies of fire, and some of water, some of earth, and some of air, and some of two of them, and some of three, and some of all. For instance, son, the locust and all flies flee fire; the eagle and the hawk and all high-flying birds flee water; fish, air and earth; the snake avoids the open air. Whereas snakes and all creeping things love earth; all swimming things love water; winged things, air, of which they are the citizens; while those that fly still higher love the fire and have the habitat near it.” This kind of system can be described as a mixed or impure spirit, because four distinct elements are being mixed together to form the mental networks that drive both living and non-living behavior.

We just saw that the new scientific research is replacing these mental networks of alchemy and the elements with the dry facts of empirical research. In addition, science is eliminating mental impurity with its increasingly integrated Teacher theories, replacing the mixed nature of a hodgepodge of explanations with the purity of a consistent theoretical approach. The end result is that the unclean spirit is going out of a man.

But what are these mental networks of animistic explanation finding? Waterless places. The emotional homes, loves, and hates of mental networks have been replaced by the places of rational facts. And by ‘place’ I mean thinking in terms of physical location in which one mentally places events and objects within a mental grid that represents the various attributes of physical space. But these places are waterless because emotional Mercy experiences have been eliminated from the Perceiver facts and Server sequences. No longer is one thinking in terms of ‘snakes and all creeping things loving earth’. Instead, one is talking about a long, cylindrical object moving at a constant velocity across a horizontal surface. A mind that is used to thinking in terms of mental networks will not find any respite in such waterless places, no matter how much it searches.

Verse 44 describes the response. “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.” A theory of elements believes that everything has a home which it finds comfortable, and this describes how mental networks behave. The physical world may not be driven by mental networks, but the mind is. Therefore, a mind that is used to thinking in terms of the mental networks of the four elements will eventually return to this kind of thinking because it is comfortable—it feels like home.

In other words, a mindset of interpreting the world in terms of mental networks will itself create a mental network. And, like all mental networks, it will feel uncomfortable when faced with incompatible input, this will eventually lead to feelings of culture shock, and the mental network will respond by returning to what feels familiar. Thus, a mind that is used to interpreting the world in terms of mental networks will eventually return to this type of thinking.

When it returns, it will find ‘unoccupied, swept, and put in order’. Unoccupied is used once in Matthew and means ‘to be at leisure’. In other words, scientific thought will leave mental networks at leisure with nothing to do. That is because gathering facts regards mental networks as irrelevant. Swept is also used once in Matthew and means ‘to sweep’. Scientific research eliminates all superfluous information, sweeping the room of thought clear of irrelevant details. Put in order is related to the word ‘cosmos’ and means ‘to beautify, having the right arrangement’. This is the first time that this word is found in Matthew. The term cosmos means ‘an ordered system like the universe’ and is used in the New Testament to describe the mindset of materialism, a worldview that is based upon the order and structure of the physical universe. Scientific research replaces the mental networks of the elements (and the mental networks of Scholasticism) with a structured understanding of the ordered structure of the universe.

The problem is that scientific thought eliminates animistic and authority-based thinking without providing an alternative. There is cosmos and clean thinking, but also the leisure of mental networks with nothing to do. This dualism between physical reality and mental networks—between matter and mind—was made explicit by René Descartes, who lived from 1596-1650. Wikipedia explains that “Descartes, influenced by the automatons on display throughout the city of Paris, began to investigate the connection between the mind and body, and how the two interact. His main influences for dualism were theology and physics. The theory on the dualism of mind and body is Descartes’s signature doctrine and permeates other theories he advanced. Known as Cartesian dualism (or Mind-Body Dualism), his theory on the separation between the mind and the body went on to influence subsequent Western philosophies.”

Notice how the thinking of Descartes began with the cosmos—the materialistic order—of mechanical automatons. Automatons are figurines that use intricate clockwork mechanisms to perform sequences of behavior that appear intelligent. Descartes concluded that the physical body with its scientific mechanisms was separate from the mind with its mental networks.

We have discussed the scientific concept of physical space and have related this to the spirit traveling through waterless places. This kind of spatial thinking was introduced by Descartes. Wikipedia explains that “The invention of Cartesian coordinates in the 17th century by René Descartes (Latinized name: Cartesius) revolutionized mathematics by providing the first systematic link between Euclidean geometry and algebra. Using the Cartesian coordinate system, geometric shapes (such as curves) can be described by Cartesian equation.” For instance, one can represent a parabola by the equation y = x2, with y being the vertical direction and x the horizontal direction.

Wikipedia also describes this mechanistic thinking leading to the expulsion of the spirit of mental networks: “The mechanical philosophy is a form of natural philosophy which compares the universe to a large-scale mechanism (i.e. a machine). The mechanical philosophy is associated with the scientific revolution of Early Modern Europe. One of the first expositions of universal mechanism is found in the opening passages of Leviathan by Hobbes published in 1651. Some intellectual historians and critical theorists argue that early mechanical philosophy was tied to disenchantment and the rejection of the idea of nature as living or animated by spirits or angels. Other scholars, however, have noted that early mechanical philosophers nevertheless believed in magic, Christianity and spiritualism.” Notice the ambiguous response to mental networks. Scientific research is leading to a mechanistic view of the natural world which is creating a mental split between mind and brain as described by the dualistic thinking of Descartes. (The mind and the brain are not split, but rather interact at a very detailed level. However, scientific thought is leading to a mental division between the subjective realm of mental networks and the objective realm of mechanistic Cartesian understanding.) Some scholars view this new mechanistic thinking as the rejection of animistic spirits with their mental networks, while other scholars note that this animistic thinking has returned to fill the swept and ordered house after passing through waterless places.

Verse 45 concludes: “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.” The verb goes means to transport from one destination to another. This means that the previous mindset of mental networks becomes transformed in some manner as it returns to the mind. This transformation can be seen in the philosophy of Descartes. “In shifting the debate from ‘what is true’ to ‘of what can I be certain?,’ Descartes arguably shifted the authoritative guarantor of truth from God to humanity (even though Descartes himself claimed he received his visions from God)—while the traditional concept of ‘truth’ implies an external authority, ‘certainty’ instead relies on the judgment of the individual… This was a revolutionary step that established the basis of modernity, the repercussions of which are still being felt: the emancipation of humanity from Christian revelational truth and Church doctrine; humanity making its own law and taking its own stand.”

Notice how the mindset of absolute truth becomes transformed as a result of self-questioning. A true mindset of absolute truth has no self-image, but rather accept ‘truth’ blindly from emotional sources of ‘truth’. But when such a spirit travels through dry places, it gains self-awareness. First, mental networks usually function automatically, and a person only becomes aware of mental networks when they become questioned. For instance, people who grow up in some culture do not know that they are being driven by the mental networks of that culture. But when they visit others countries, then they become aware of their own cultural mental networks. Second, self-image is an expression of Perceiver thought. Self is related primarily to Mercy mental networks, while self-image emerges when Perceiver thought determines facts about self. A mind that thinks in terms of the places of Cartesian thought is mentally capable of forming a self-image. Putting these two factors together, the mindset of absolute truth becomes transformed into a self-image of doubt. This combination expresses itself in Descartes’s most famous statement “known as cogito ergo sum (English: ‘I think, therefore I am’)… Descartes concluded, if he doubted, then something or someone must be doing the doubting; therefore, the very fact that he doubted proved his existence.”

Takes along was last seen with the devil taking Jesus along in 5:5-8 in temptation of Jesus, and it combines ‘from close alongside’ with ‘aggressively take’. Using cognitive language, the altered mindset of mental networks is latching on to similar mental networks with which it resonates, similar to the manner that people experiencing culture shock will latch on to strangers from the same culture. The word other means ‘another of a different kind’, which implies that mental networks that would not normally interact are resonating with one another, similar to the way that a person in culture shock will find familiarity in fellow citizens who are quite different.

These new spirits are described as more pain-ridden than the original spirit. Dwell is an intensified version which means to ‘settle down as a permanent resident’. Become means ‘to come into being’ which indicates that the ultimate state is not immediately apparent. And worse is the comparative form of ‘foul, rotten’.

The reason that the final state is worse than the first is straightforward. First, an inhuman philosophy is almost always worse than an abusive philosophy. Abuse hurts people, but it still recognizes that they are people with feelings. In contrast, a mechanistic philosophy treats a human as a machine that does not have personal feelings. For instance, Descartes viewed animals mechanistically, which led to the maltreatment of animals. “Descartes denied that animals had reason or intelligence. He argued that animals did not lack senyousations or perceptions, but these could be explained mechanistically. Whereas humans had a soul, or mind, and were able to feel pain and anxiety, animals by virtue of not having a soul could not feel pain or anxiety… Although Descartes’s views were not universally accepted they became prominent in Europe and North America, allowing humans to treat animals with impunity. The view that animals were quite separate from humanity and merely machines allowed for the maltreatment of animals, and was sanctioned in law and societal norms until the middle of the 19th century.”

Second, a rational understanding of natural mechanisms adds efficiency to inhumanity. One is not just treating living beings as machines; one is also doing so in an efficient manner that makes the inhumanity more pervasive.

I am not sure why seven spirits are mentioned, but I think that one could identify the first spirit as the divine right of kings. Wikipedia explains how submission to the absolute truth of the church became transformed into submission to the absolute truth of the King in France. “The French Huguenot nobles and clergy, having rejected the pope and the Catholic Church, were left only with the supreme power of the king who, they taught, could not be gainsaid or judged by anyone. Since there was no longer the countervailing power of the papacy and since the Church of England was a creature of the state and had become subservient to it, this meant that there was nothing to regulate the powers of the king, and he became an absolute power.” (This is an accurate quote but I am not sure why French Huguenots are being mentioned together with the Church of England.)

Similarly, the monarch in England symbolized this new attitude by taking over many of the religious trappings that had represented the power of the church. “In England it is not without significance that the sacerdotal vestments, generally discarded by the clergy – dalmatic, alb and stole – continued to be among the insignia of the sovereign. Moreover, this sacrosanct character he acquired not by virtue of his ‘sacring’, but by hereditary right; the coronation, anointing and vesting were but the outward and visible symbol of a divine grace adherent in the sovereign by virtue of his title.”

The second spirit might be Nationalism. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes how Nationalism replaced monarchy: “This large unified territorial state, with its political and economic centralization, became imbued in the 18th century with a new spirit—an emotional fervour similar to that of religious movements in earlier periods. Under the influence of the new theories of the sovereignty of the people and of individual rights, the people replaced the king as the centre of the nation. No longer was the king the nation or the state; the state had become the people’s state, a national state, a fatherland, or a motherland. State became identified with nation, as civilization became identified with national civilization. That development ran counter to the conceptions that had dominated political thought for the preceding 2,000 years.” Notice how Nationalism is described as a new spirit that is similar to a religious movement. This spirit has not existed before in Western Europe, and it replaces the previous spirit that focused on the monarch.

This idea of an implicit spirit of the age relates to what was discussed earlier when discussing Jonah and the belly of a huge fish. It also relates to the Queen of the South. This implicit widespread spirit can be interpreted cognitively as a set of shared mental networks. And a cognitive analysis remains valid even if an actual spiritual realm exists with a real ‘spirit of the age’, because it appears that spiritual beings interact with human society primarily through mental networks.

Daniel 10:12-14 suggests that such a spiritual realm exists and that it is associated with various real but implicit spirits of the age. “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.” The kingdom of Persia is being described here as a living being, as is Michael, who is traditionally associated with Israel. And the message that was delivered was a description of which spirits would rule over which regions in coming eras. This is similar to our discussion of the spirit of the divine right of kings being replaced by a spirit of Nationalism.

The final statement summarizes, “That is the way it will also be with this evil generation”. That is the way means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Jesus began this section in verse 40 with this same comparative word, telling us that he is describing general patterns that will be followed. And this pattern will also apply to that pain-ridden generation. The implication is that a distinction can be made between the general pattern and being a pain-ridden generation. General patterns involve Teacher thought; they can be described using general theories. But a general pattern can express itself in different specific ways. When a society is pain-ridden in Mercy thought, then the general patterns will express themselves in ways that tend to be pain-ridden. However, if a society has healthy memories in Mercy thought, then it is possible for these the same general patterns to express themselves in ways that are pleasant and not pain-ridden.

Redefining Family 12:46-50

The final section of the chapter describes a transformation in the subjective identity of incarnation. Verse 46 begins, “While He was still speaking to the crowds, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him.” Notice the relative positions of these various parties. Jesus is speaking to the crowds; the incarnational thinking of science is interacting with the masses at a verbal level and they are listening. Personal implications then become apparent in the form of the mother and brothers of Jesus, but they are standing outside, implying that these personal implications are outside of the primary topic of conversation. The mother of Jesus was mentioned back in Matthew 2 when Jesus was an infant. This is the first reference in Matthew to the adult Jesus interacting with his mother as well as the first reference to the brothers of Jesus.

I mentioned earlier that Mercy thought is an emergent property. This was discussed when looking at the idea that ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’. In other words, if one continues to create experiences and interact socially in some manner, then MMNs of culture will eventually emerge. This describes how most cultural traditions begin. Someone decides to behave in a certain manner, this behavior is repeated, and it turns into a cultural tradition backed up by MMNs of culture.

One can also see Mercy thought emerging here as a byproduct. The previous verses have just described existing MMNs of absolute truth leaving, going through waterless places, and then returning. Verse 46 describes something related but different. The mental networks that were responsible for giving birth to scientific thought are appearing on the periphery. And they are ‘seeking to speak to him’. Seeking means ‘to seek by inquiring’.

Putting this together cognitively, scientific thought itself may consist of waterless places, but the verbal interaction between scientific thought and the crowds includes social interaction, and this social interaction will cause mental networks to emerge within Mercy thought. These new mental networks of scientific social interaction will then mentally trigger the mental networks that are responsible for creating scientific thought. Saying this more simply, if a scientist interacts with other researchers at the level of facts and theories, then there is only limited social interaction, but when a scientist interacts with the crowds, then this will involve mental networks of personal interaction, which will bring to mind the subjective identity of the researcher. Looking at this from a different perspective, a college professor does not have to learn how to interact socially, because he can remain at the abstract level of theory. Saying this crudely but accurately, a college professor does not have to learn the skill of teaching. In contrast, a schoolteacher has to learn effective teaching methods and classroom management, because he has to interact with students at the level of Mercy mental networks.

Notice that the family of Jesus is trying to speak to him. In other words, Mercy mental networks are attempting to get the attention of Teacher thought. This implies that abstract theory is having to contend with concepts such as classroom management and primary education.

Verse 47 observes that someone in the audience points out to Jesus that his family is present. “Someone said to Him, ‘Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You.’” Again we see that the interaction with the audience is forcing scientific technical thought to examine the personal emotions that have accompanied the growth of scientific thought.

We mentioned the role that coffeehouses played in early and scientific education. Continuing with the Wikipedia description of coffeehouses, “Education was a central theme and some patrons began offering lessons and lectures to others. The chemist Peter Staehl provided chemistry lessons at Tilliard’s coffeehouse in the early 1660s. As coffeehouses developed in London, customers heard lectures on scientific subjects, such as astronomy and mathematics, for an exceedingly low price. Notable Coffeehouse enthusiasts included John Aubrey, Robert Hooke, James Brydges, and Samuel Pepys.”

One sees the response of Jesus in verse 48. “But He answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’” Notice that Jesus is not providing an answer, but rather echoing the question. In other words, academic thought does not automatically provide a culture—or understand the mental networks that caused it to come into existence. More generally, Thomas Kuhn observed that those who use technical thought often are no better than amateurs when it comes to evaluating systems of technical thought.

In verse 49, technical thought uses technical thought to come up with a solution. “And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, ‘Behold My mother and My brothers!’” We have interpreted stretching out the hand as the application of technical thought, because the hands are used for detailed manipulation. The phrase stretching out the hand is not just a random phrase because the two times that it occurred beforehand were both associated with healing. In 8:3, Jesus stretched out his hand to cleanse a leper. And in 12:13 Jesus told the man with a withered hand to stretch out his hand, which was then healed when he stretched it out. In verse 49, an emotional healing occurs as a result of stretching out the hand because technical thought discovers a new culture.

Turning now to Wikipedia, the coffeehouse discussions eventually turned into public lectures. “Public lecture courses offered some scientists who were unaffiliated with official organizations a forum to transmit scientific knowledge, at times even their own ideas, and the opportunity to carve out a reputation and, in some instances, a living. The public, on the other hand, gained both knowledge and entertainment from demonstration lectures.” And Wikipedia adds that new academic communities started to emerge. “As the role of universities in institutionalized science began to diminish, learned societies became the cornerstone of organized science… National scientific societies were founded throughout the Enlightenment era in the urban hotbeds of scientific development across Europe. In the 17th century the Royal Society of London (1662), the Paris Académie Royale des Sciences (1666), and the Berlin Akademie der Wissenschaften (1700) were founded.”

Notice that these public lectures and academic communities are not based in common cultural MMNs. Instead, what binds them together is the common mindset of using technical thought to analyze the natural world. In other words, this new community is a professional community that results from the stretching out of the hand of technical thought.

The reference to mother and brothers is also cognitively significant. The typical scholar views the institution in which he was taught as a sort of mother who gave intellectual birth to him. One can see this attitude in the term alma mater, which is Latin for ‘nourishing mother’. And technical thought will naturally subdivide into technical specializations, with these specializations viewing each other as professional colleagues—brothers who share the same kind of male technical thought.

Wikipedia mentions this growing sense of academic brotherhood. “A dialogue of formal communication also developed between societies and society in general through the publication of scientific journals. Periodicals offered society members the opportunity to publish, and for their ideas to be consumed by other scientific societies and the literate public. Scientific journals, readily accessible to members of learned societies, became the most important form of publication for scientists during the Enlightenment.”

Scientific journals became popular in a period of time that is slightly later than the era that we are currently examining. But these verses are describing the initial emergence of this new form of culture, and the first scientific journals were published in 1665. “The history of scientific journals dates from 1665, when the French Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first began systematically publishing research results.”

Verse 50 outlines the requirements for being part of this new academic community. “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” The word does refers to physical action. What is being done is the ‘desire, wish’ of a father in the heaven of Teacher thought. This combination of Server actions being guided emotionally by Teacher understanding summarizes the exemplars that characterize scientific thought and scientific education. As Thomas Kuhn pointed out, science uses the Teacher equations of math, but science is learned by the doing of solving different kinds of scientific problems. Similarly, science uses the Teacher words of mathematics to describe what the natural world does.

Verse 50 adds the extra word sister to brother and mother, and this is the first mention of a sister in Matthew. The implication is that this new academic community expands to include artistic and culture expressions of female thought that reflect this new scientific understanding. For instance, a more scientific method of tuning, known as well tempered pitch, was developed. “As the term was used in the 17th century, ‘Well tempered’ meant that the twelve notes per octave of the standard keyboard were tuned in such a way that it was possible to play music in all major or minor keys that were commonly in use, and it would not sound perceptibly out of tune.”

More generally, the system of musical harmony with its keys and chords that characterizes so-called classical music was developed. “In the history of European art music, the common practice period is the era of the tonal system. Though it has no exact dates, most features of the common-practice period persisted from the mid- to late baroque period, through the Classical, Romantic and Impressionist periods, from around 1650 to 1900.” In the same way that the exemplars of science are held together by the language of mathematics, so the system of musical harmony is held together by the language of chord analysis. “The most important unifying feature throughout the period is a harmonic language to which modern music theorists can apply Roman numeral chord analysis.”

Interpreting the mention of sisters more literally, one of the characteristics of even the early popularization of science was the inclusion of women. “The publication of Bernard de Fontenelle’s Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds (1686) marked the first significant work that expressed scientific theory and knowledge expressly for the laity, in the vernacular, and with the entertainment of readers in mind. The book was produced specifically for women with an interest in scientific writing and inspired a variety of similar works. These popular works were written in a discursive style, which was laid out much more clearly for the reader than the complicated articles, treatises, and books published by the academies and scientists.” (However, women were still excluded from scientific societies, universities, and learned professions.)

Teaching in Parables 13:1-2

Chapter 13 begins, “That day Jesus went out of the house and was sitting by the sea.” We have interpreted day as referring to a period of time illuminated by the sun of some general Teacher understanding. The phrase ‘that day’ is more literally ‘in the realm of that day’, suggesting that chapter 13 is not moving forward in time, but rather dealing with the same period of time. This will assist us in our symbolic analysis.

‘House’ was mentioned twice in 12:29, and the previous verses just talked about the technical thinking of incarnation redefining the concept of family. The verb went out was previously used in 12:43-44 to describe the unclean spirit going out of a man. Here, Jesus is going out of the subjective area of a house. And sitting by the sea implies functioning alongside the realm of raw Mercy experiences. This is consistent with the concept of technical thought being implicitly guided by a spirit of the age.

In verse 2 there is a further movement. “And large crowds gathered to Him, so He got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd was standing on the beach. The word gathered together was last used in 12:30, which said that ‘he who does not gather with me scatters’. This suggests that the gathering of information has now expanded to include the crowds.

We have looked at the development of coffee houses, academic societies, and public lectures. Wikipedia explains that this was part of a larger trend. Repeating an earlier quote, “One of the most important developments that the Enlightenment era brought to the discipline of science was its popularization. An increasingly literate population seeking knowledge and education in both the arts and the sciences drove the expansion of print culture and the dissemination of scientific learning. The new literate population was due to a high rise in the availability of food. This enabled many people to rise out of poverty, and instead of paying more for food, they had money for education. Popularization was generally part of an overarching Enlightenment ideal that endeavoured ‘to make information available to the greatest number of people.’”

Moving on, Jesus gets into a boat, and a boat represents some organization that provides local stability for a group of individuals functioning in the midst of the sea of experiences. Jesus now sits down in the boat, telling us that technical thinking has found a new organizational model. This transition into greater organization was reflected in the movement from unofficial lectures to official academies and societies. “As the role of universities in institutionalized science began to diminish, learned societies became the cornerstone of organized science. After 1700 a tremendous number of official academies and societies were founded in Europe and by 1789 there were over seventy official scientific societies. In reference to this growth, Bernard de Fontenelle coined the term ‘the Age of Academies’ to describe the 18th century.”

This is the first time that the word beach is used in Matthew, which means ‘the place where the sea breaks’. If the crowds are standing on the beach, this suggests that the masses have discovered some sort of factual stability but are still heavily influenced by the waves of Mercy experiences. One can see this development in the new literacy and the focus upon education mentioned a few paragraphs earlier.

Verse 3 introduces the parable: “And He spoke many things to them in parables”. The word parable means ‘parable, comparison’ and combines ‘close beside with’ with ‘to cast’. This is the first use of the word ‘parable’ in Matthew, this word is used twelve times in chapter 13, and verse 34 even says that Jesus only spoke to them in parables. Thus, the parable is the core concept of chapter 13.

One can explain the significance of a parable by examining the role that analogies play in the development of technical thought. This essay has discussed mental networks and technical thought, but the mind can actually function in a third way as well, which I refer to as normal thought. Normal thought is based in patterns and analogies. I refer to this as normal thought because that it describes how the mind normally functions. Using the language of Matthew, normal thought thinks in terms of parables or comparisons. The role that metaphors play in language and thought was re-emphasized by Lakoff and Johnson in their book Metaphors We Live By, written in 1980.

I have mentioned several times that a system of technical thought is always limited to some specialization. It is possible to expand and interconnect technical specializations through the use of analogies, metaphors, and parables. Analogical thinking is often belittled by those who use scientific thought, but it played—and continues to play—an extensive role in scientific thought. For instance, the analogy of space-time being like a rubber sheet that is stretched by the weight of objects is the standard analogy used to illustrate Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

Similarly, the mechanistic philosophy of early science compared the universe to a machine. Wikipedia explains that “mechanists believed the achievements of the scientific revolution of the 17th century had shown that all phenomena could eventually be explained in terms of ‘mechanical laws.’” As was mentioned earlier, Descartes proposed this analogy based upon the mechanical automatons that he saw on display. Wikipedia describes Descartes’ presentation of this analogy: “I should like you to consider that these functions (including passion, memory, and imagination) follow from the mere arrangement of the machine’s organs every bit as naturally as the movements of a clock or other automaton follow from the arrangement of its counter-weights and wheels.”

A recent paper emphasizes the fundamental role that was played by analogy in early science. “Robert Hooke was the first to denote the cell using the term ‘cell’ when an image of a piece of cork under his microscope reminded him of the small rooms, or cells, occupied by monks in monasteries. Kepler developed his concept of planetary motion by comparison with a clock. Huygens used water waves to theorise that light is wavelike. Arrhenius described the greenhouse effect by referring to his experience with hot pots. In ever new variations, scientists employ experiences from everyday life to understand scientific phenomena.” A modern person who hears the word ‘cell’ will probably think of a biological cell within a living organism, but this meaning did not exist when Hooke first viewed a biological cell under a microscope. Instead, Hooke had to come up with a term by referring to an analogy from normal life.

We interpreted the previous chapter as referring to the initial stages of scientific research as well as scientific education. Analogies play a major role in both of these areas. First, analogies help researchers make sense of physical observations. For instance, imagine staring through a microscope and seeing a cell for the first time. How does one even describe what one has seen? To Hooke it looked like a miniature version of a row of cells in a monastery. A 20th century person seeing a cell for the first time would not use such an analogy, because the average person today has never seen a monk’s cell. But they were still fairly common during the time of Hooke.

Second, analogies help students make sense of technical subjects. Anyone who is trying to teach math or physics knows that analogies are essential. When a student does not understand, then the teacher will think about what the student has experienced in real life and then find an analogy within these experiences. For instance, the mathematics behind Einstein’s theory of general relativity is grotesque. But it is possible to gain a general grasp of this theory by describing space and time as a sort of fabric that is being stretched by the presence of massive objects. A black hole then becomes a rip in the fabric of space-time.

Analogies also play a deeper, more subtle role . I remember first becoming aware of the deeper role in a course that I took in engineering. This course taught that the same mathematical equations could be used to analyze electric circuits composed of resistors, capacitors and inductors, or physical systems composed of dampers, springs, and masses. That blew my mind because an electrical circuit does not look like a collection of objects bouncing around. There is no Perceiver similarity between these two, but there is a Server similarity, because they both function in a similar manner, and Server thought deals with functions. However, this Server similarity does not involve similar physical actions: an electric circuit sits there without moving, while a system of masses, dampers, and springs will move. Instead, the Server similarity involves similar sequences of mathematical analysis.

And that kind of similarity is described in the final verse of chapter 12. “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” This verse contains the doing of Server thought. But these Server actions are being guided by a general theory in the heaven of Teacher thought. And this Teacher commonality is leading to a brotherhood of relations.

This same kind of abstract analogy is being used in this essay. There is no obvious reason why the biblical book of Matthew should be connected in any way with the path of Western history. But if one analyzes them both from the Teacher ‘heaven’ of the theory of mental symmetry, one then finds that they are deeply related. This also leads to the meta-conclusion that the methodology of this essay may not appear to be scientific, but if one analyzes scientific thought and the thinking of this essay from a cognitive perspective, one notices that they are analogous.

The Seed on the Path 13:3, 19

Now that we have looked at the role played by parables, let us look at the first parable of the Sower and the Seed. Because this parable is interpreted later in the chapter, we are going to look at the original parable and the interpretation at the same time.

The parable begins, “Behold, the sower went out to sow” (v.3). Notice that the identity of the person is secondary. Instead, a sower is sowing. We have interpreted grain as intellectual food. Sowing would then be viewed as either gaining more scientific facts through research or else spreading the knowledge of science through education.

Verse 4 describes the first possible outcome: “and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up.” The word ‘seeds’ is not in the original Greek, which tells us that the emphasis is upon the process of sowing, rather than upon the content that is being sown. The word road means ‘way, road’. Literally speaking, a road is a path in which people walk. This trampling hardens the soil preventing the seed from going beyond the surface.

This illustrates the difference between a habit and an exemplar. Both describe Server actions that are repeated. But a habit describes action that I repeat; it is connected with MMNs of personal identity. An exemplar, in contrast, describes how things work. This is connected with TMNs of general understanding because many things are behaving in a similar manner, and Teacher thought is attracted to this generality of behavior.

The word ate up is only used twice in Matthew and means to ‘eat all the way down; utterly devour, leaving nothing’. The word bird means ‘winged’, which emphasizes the idea of flying through the air of Teacher thought. Verse 4 describes what happens when education encounters habits. Listeners will think that they understand the concepts, but this understanding will be very limited and not go any further. I learned what this means when teaching math and physics at an international high school in Korea. The typical Korean student who has studied math in the Korean school system can solve math easily and quickly. But whenever I threw in some sort of twist which involved walking off the trodden path, then these same students became lost. That is because solving math problems was being treated like carrying out a habit or following a recipe. The birds of existing theories devoured the seed and prevented it from growing further.

One can see a similar distinction in teachers of math. The habitual instructor will carry out some mathematical recipe on the board. If a student does not understand, the instructor will say ‘it is obvious’, and then proceed to repeat the same mathematical sequence. An effective teacher, in contrast, will respond to the student by saying ‘it is like this’ and then explain the mathematics through the use of some analogy. Notice that we have returned to the topic of analogies and parables.

Verse 4 describes the obvious problem. One attempts to explain some subject and the student says ‘I understand’. But the student does not really understand, but instead only knows how to follow a recipe, or walk along the trodden path.

Verse 19 provides the deeper explanation. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road.” The term word is logos, which we are interpreting as the Teacher paradigm behind some technical specialization. Logos only appears in Matthew 13 in verses 19-23, where it appears six times. Thus, understanding the parable of the sower and seed requires a knowledge of paradigms.

The word understand is first used in Matthew in 13:13 and it is found six times in the rest of the chapter. It means to ‘put together, i.e. join facts into a comprehensive whole’. This goes beyond learning a collection of facts to learning how these facts fit together. It is this fitting together of facts that leads to the formation of a paradigm in Teacher thought. Using an analogy, facts are like bricks, while a Teacher theory is like a building that has been constructed out of bricks.

This idea of Teacher generality is seen in the word ‘kingdom’, which refers to a certain domain that is ruled by some general Teacher theory. The student is hearing the logos of the kingdom but is not putting things together. That is because the student is thinking in terms of recipes and habits. The underlying problem is that it is not possible to convey a general theory to another person. Instead, all one can do is use words and then hope that the listeners will put these words together within their minds and gain a general understanding. But this general understanding will not emerge if a listener is thinking in terms of habits.

Continuing with verse 19, evil means ‘pain-ridden’, and as the NASB indicates, ‘one’ is not in the original Greek. Therefore, what is doing the snatching away is the concept of evil. Snatch away means ‘to take by an open display of force’. This is the third of three times that this word is found in Matthew. It was first used in 11:12 to describe violent men within a mindset of absolute truth taking the kingdom of Teacher thought by force. Absolute truth uses the open force of Mercy status to impose ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought. Similarly, verse 19 also associates open force with Mercy thought, because what is being snatched away is ‘what has been sown in his heart’.

The problem with habits is that they are vulnerable to being mentally hijacked. On the one hand, a habit is emotionally motivated by a TMN; one carries out a habit for the sake of carrying out the habit, regardless of the Mercy emotions. This allows a habit to survive pressure from Mercy emotions. But on the other hand, the TMN that motivates a habit is limited and will not grow naturally into a general understanding. Instead, it will merely motivate a person to repeat the habit. This combination makes a habit the ideal servant of pain-ridden MMNs. Using the language of Matthew, pain-ridden MMNs can use force to overwhelm any good Mercy experiences that result from the building of habits.

Going further, those who are motivated by pleasant goals in Mercy thought have no need to enlist habits, because a person will naturally be motivated to pursue pleasant goals. In contrast, following unpleasant goals in Mercy thought will require help from habits, because this kind of behavior is not natural. Going further, when one performs a habit despite unpleasant Mercy experiences, then this mentally reinforces the idea that the behavior is being driven by the TMN of a habit and not by any MMNs.

For instance, fighting as a soldier does not involve pleasant Mercy experiences. But if a soldier is trained to perform habitually before fighting, then the TMNs of military training will motivate the soldier to continue behaving under fire. And the experience of following training in combat will emotionally prove that the soldier is a professional veteran who is motivated by TMNs of habitual training and not by MMNs of personal pleasure. However, if a professional soldier thinks too much about the implications of fighting, then Teacher thought will begin to question the destruction and waste of war. Teaching a soldier to follow habits in a professional manner will ensure that any TMNs remain limited in extent, making it possible for these TMNs of habit to be placed within a greater mental context of MMNs of personal status, culture, and nationalism.

This leads to a version of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The soldier is not just being taught habits, but being turned into a person whose entire behavior as a soldier is guided by habits. This leads to the Platonic forms of the ideal soldier, who obeys orders without questioning, and carries out habits of training regardless of personal danger. This mental structure is then placed within a greater context of the MMNs of God, King, and country, and reinforced with many words.

One can see this specific transition in the development of standing armies. Wikipedia explains that “As late as the 1650s, most troops were mercenaries. However, after the 17th century, most states invested in better disciplined and more politically reliable permanent troops. For a time mercenaries became important as trainers and administrators, but soon these tasks were also taken by the state.” Looking specifically at the example of England, Oliver Cromwell formed the first professional army in England in 1645. After that, “King Charles II subsequently assembled four regiments of infantry and cavalry [which] became the foundation of the permanent British Army. By 1685 it had grown to 7,500 soldiers in marching regiments, and 1,400 men permanently stationed in garrisons. The Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 provided James II with a pretext to increase the size of the force to 20,000 men, and there were 37,000 in 1688, when England played a role in the closing stage of the Franco-Dutch War.” Prussia made its army more professional in the 1650s. Wikipedia relates that “Brandenburg-Prussia’s new army survived its trial by fire through victory in the 1656 Battle of Warsaw, during the Northern Wars. Observers were impressed with the discipline of the Brandenburger troops, as well as their treatment of civilians, which was considered more humane than that of their allies, the Swedish Army.” Prussian military training focused upon the building of habits. Frederick William I “trained and drilled the army relentlessly, focusing on the firing speed of their flintlock muskets and formation maneuverability. The changes gave the army flexibility, precision, and a rate of fire that was largely unequaled for that time period. Through drilling and the iron ramrod, each soldier was expected to fire six times in a minute, three times as fast as most armies.”

The Seed on Rock-like Places 13:5-6, 20-21

Verse 5 deals with the second possibility. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil.” Soil is the same word that is used to indicate space and time. Cognitively speaking, this refers to information being taught to students who lack the mental ‘space-time’ of Perceiver facts and Server sequences. The saying goes that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. That is because minimal knowledge makes exaggeration possible, leading to overgeneralized understanding that cannot survive contact with reality. Similarly, this location is described as having not much soil.

Spring up is only found in this parable and adds the prefix ‘out of’ to ‘rise up after completing a necessary process’. This is combined with the adverb immediately. Notice the juxtaposition. Thought is exiting the ‘soil’ of factual knowledge and immediately completing a process. But processes cannot be completed immediately. One often sees this juxtaposition in the Exhorter person, who tends to be the ‘instant expert’. He encounters a few experiences in words, mentally jumps through intuitive exaggeration to a general Teacher understanding, and then acts as if he has completed the process of learning. The word rocky gives the impression that this mental soil is full of the rocks of Perceiver truth, but this Greek word is only used in this parable, and it combines ‘rock’ with ‘outward appearance or shape’, leading to the meaning of ‘rocklike, having the appearance of rock’. Similarly, the instant expert gives the impression of having a mind that is full of Perceiver facts, but his mind is actually rock-like. The inadequate factual foundation is conveyed by the phrase ‘no depth of soil’, with soil again being the word that refers to space-time.

The resulting Teacher overgeneralization can be seen in verse 6. “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” This is only the second time that sun is explicitly mentioned in Matthew. The first time was in the Sermon on the Mount in 5:45 where it said that God causes his sun to rise on both evil and good. Risen is the same word as ‘spring up’ in verse 5 without the prefix ‘out of’. In other words, the instant experts with their appearance of factual knowledge are being followed by the development of a true general understanding.

The word scorched means ‘to burn up’. It is used four times in the New Testament, twice in this parable and the parallel version in Mark, and twice in Revelation 16:8-9, where humans are becoming scorched by fierce heat during the seven bowls of wrath. Revelation 16 appears to be describing a future time in which the ultimate overgeneralization of mysticism will eventually be overcome by mentally overloading the circuit. Saying this more clearly, it is possible to pursue the mental goal of becoming personally identified with God as long as physical reality keeps any real God far away. But if the human mind ever came into direct contact with the infinite God, then this would be like a human encountering an atomic bomb. Human existence would be vaporized. Similarly, verse 6 appears to be describing the instant experts meeting true understanding.

The word withered away was seen as an adjective in 12:10 and means ‘dry’. Symbolically, this indicates a total retreat from the real world of Mercy experiences. This happens because there is no root—no underlying mental networks to support this thinking. Putting this together, exaggerated initial expertise is encountering the real expertise of scientific understanding and is responding by withdrawing from the empirical world of real experiences.

This transition can be seen in the development of the term ‘natural philosophy’. Wikipedia summarizes that “The term natural philosophy preceded current usage of natural science (i.e. empirical science). Empirical science historically developed out of philosophy or, more specifically, natural philosophy. Natural philosophy was distinguished from the other precursor of modern science, natural history, in that natural philosophy involved reasoning and explanations about nature… Modern meanings of the terms science and scientists date only to the 19th century. Before that, science was a synonym for knowledge or study, in keeping with its Latin origin. The term gained its modern meaning when experimental science and the scientific method became a specialized branch of study apart from natural philosophy.” In other words, natural philosophy developed out of philosophy, because natural philosophy focused upon the empirical realm of physical nature. But natural philosophy was a semi-rigorous field which was eventually replaced by the more rigorous general understanding of physics.

The ‘drying up’ of philosophy started with the thinking of Descartes. Wikipedia describes the central role that Descartes played. “17th century philosophy is generally regarded as seeing the start of modern philosophy, and the shaking off of the medieval approach, especially scholasticism… The period is usually taken to start in the seventeenth century with the work of René Descartes, who set much of the agenda as well as much of the methodology for those who came after him. The period is typified in Europe by the great system-builders — philosophers who present unified systems of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and ethics, and often politics and the physical sciences too.” Notice the overgeneralization, in which great theoretical systems are being built upon a mental foundation that appears rock-like but actually contained a minimum of the ‘soil’ of factual knowledge. Descartes introduced the idea that knowledge could be discovered through rational thought, apart from any experiences in the real world. “Descartes brought the question of how reliable knowledge may be obtained (epistemology) to the fore of philosophical enquiry. Many consider this to be Descartes’ most lasting influence on the history of philosophy. Cartesianism is a form of rationalism because it holds that scientific knowledge can be derived a priori from ‘innate ideas’ through deductive reasoning. Thus Cartesianism is opposed to both Aristotelianism and empiricism, with their emphasis on sensory experience as the source of all knowledge of the world.” Thus, Cartesianism can be described as a ‘withering’ of philosophy.

Now that we have looked at the initial description in verses 5-6, let us turn to the expanded explanation in verses 20-21. Verse 20 begins, “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy.” Rocky places again means ‘rock-like’, which describes the appearance of rock and not necessarily the presence. Word is logos, and this logos is being heard. Thus, some person is hearing about some Teacher paradigm; some general theory of technical thought is being taught.

We interpreted verse 5 as the instant expert who jumps straight to Teacher overgeneralization because of a lack of detailed knowledge. This intuitive leap can be seen in the phrase ‘immediately receives it with joy’. Receive means ‘to lay hold by aggressively accepting’. And joy actually means ‘joy because of grace’, because both joy and grace share the same Greek root of xar- that is related to Teacher thought. In other words, joy describes Teacher emotion. This is only the second time that joy has been used in Matthew. The first time was in 2:10 where the Magi rejoiced exceedingly with great joy when seeing the star over the child. This suggests that a new kind of Teacher emotion is being felt which has not existed before. Scholasticism has built theories, but these Teacher theories have been colored by Mercy feelings of personal status and limited to the realm of words from books. In contrast, the natural philosophers have finally acquired enough mental building material to put together general systems.

This can be seen in the quote about natural philosophy given a few paragraphs earlier. Repeating part of this quote, “17th century philosophy is generally regarded as seeing the start of modern philosophy, and the shaking off of the medieval approach, especially scholasticism… The period is typified in Europe by the great system-builders — philosophers who present unified systems of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and ethics, and often politics and the physical sciences too.” Notice how these thinkers are moving beyond scholasticism and aggressively laying hold of the Teacher joy that a unified system generates. For instance, mental symmetry is an example of a unified system. When a person or a society discovers Teacher emotion, then there will be a natural tendency to develop grandiose systems upon flimsy factual foundations. This describes 17th-century philosophy.

Verse 21 states the long-term result. “Yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he is caused to stumble.” This is typically interpreted as the believer who becomes a Christian and then falls away when experiencing persecution because his heart never became sufficiently softened by a personal encounter with Jesus. There may be something to this interpretation, but as a footnote in the NASB points out, what is usually translated as ‘falls away’ is actually cause to stumble, which literally means ‘to fall into a trap’.

Verse 6 talks about having no root. Verse 21 adds an extra detail, saying that ‘he has no root in himself’. The additional realization is that general theories require internal content. A rock-like appearance of factual knowledge is insufficient. The word temporary is only used once in Matthew and combines ‘motion towards’ with ‘a season’. Thus, the general theory is only being found attractive for a while.

The next phrase explains why the theory is only attractive for a while. It is ‘on account of the logos’. Some paradigm of technical thought is coming along that causes the theory to lose its attractiveness. The logos is not direct responsible for the affliction or persecution but rather indirectly causes it to ‘come into being’. The word affliction is usually translated as tribulation, but it does not mean either affliction or tribulation. Instead, it is ‘used of a narrow place that hems someone in’. (This same word is used in Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14 to describe the Great Tribulation, which is more accurately ‘the great squeezing’.) Persecution means ‘the hunt to bring someone down like an animal’, and this is the only time this word is used in Matthew.

Both of these are natural byproducts of abstract technical thought. Technical thought takes grand theoretical systems and squeezes them into specializations. My hypothesis is that the Great Tribulation is a byproduct of all modern life being squeezed into different technical specializations. Abstract theory also hunts down overgeneralizations, because they are regarded as insufficiently rigorous. This can be illustrated by the way that modern scientific thought has hunted down what it regards as the non-rigorous thinking of myths, folk stories, childless stories—and biblical accounts of miracles.

The response to this theoretical questioning is not necessarily to fall away, but rather to stumble or fall into a trap: ‘How dare one use such non-rigorous thinking! This theory is obviously flawed.’ The point is that overgeneralized theories become subjected to technical questioning. A technical specialization is capable of substantial rational dialogue within that specialization. But an emotional response will typically be provoked when the paradigm itself is challenged or when insufficiently rigorous thinking is encountered. Rational discussion will then be replaced by emotional responses such as sarcasm or belittling. A grand system that exaggerates from a small collection of facts will easily provoke an emotional response from technical thought.

For instance, one can see this process of immediate Teacher joy followed questioning and rejection in the English response to Descartes’s system of Cartesianism. “In England, because of religious and other reasons, Cartesianism was not widely accepted. Though Henry More was initially attracted to the doctrine, his own changing attitudes toward Descartes mirrored those of the country: ‘quick acceptance, serious examination with accumulating ambivalence, final rejection.’”

Eventually, the English philosopher David Hume rejected all intuitive thought as insufficiently rigorous. Wikipedia explains that “The cornerstone of Hume’s epistemology is the problem of induction. This may be the area of Hume’s thought where his scepticism about human powers of reason is most pronounced. The problem revolves around the plausibility of inductive reasoning, that is, reasoning from the observed behaviour of objects to their behaviour when unobserved. As Hume wrote, induction concerns how things behave when they go ‘beyond the present testimony of the senses, or the records of our memory’. Hume argues that we tend to believe that things behave in a regular manner, meaning that patterns in the behaviour of objects seem to persist into the future, and throughout the unobserved present. Hume’s argument is that we cannot rationally justify the claim that nature will continue to be uniform.” Using cognitive language, Hume concluded that all Teacher generalizing should be rejected because it falls short of the rigorous standards of technical thought.

Giving a more personal example, the theory of mental symmetry started with Romans 12 spiritual gifts. One of the earliest promoters of Romans 12 spiritual gifts—referred to as motivational gifts—was Bill Gothard. Bill Gothard is infamous for having used overgeneralization to come up with grand systems that did not survive contact with rigorous thought. As a result, the average person has become scandalized by the teaching and organization of Gothard. (And Gothard’s ministry eventually imploded in scandal.) As Wikipedia notes, “Gothard has been the subject of much debate in Christian circles, and occasionally in mass media. Various books and articles have challenged Gothard’s teachings on legalism, law, and grace, and questioned his handling of the IBLP ministry.” However, if one peels back all the layers of fundamentalism from Gothard’s teaching, one concludes that there are some nuggets of wisdom that are worthy of further thought—such as interpreting Romans 12 spiritual gifts as cognitive styles.

Looking more generally at seed falling on rocky ground, a symbolic interpretation should not contradict the surface meaning of the text. The philosophical interpretation that we have discussed is cognitively consistent with the traditional interpretation of a person having a religious experience, getting excited about God, and then falling away when problems arise. That is because this kind of temporary enthusiasm is usually an exaggerated emotional response that is being inflated by Teacher overgeneralization. This will lead to a period of Teacher joy but the Teacher understanding will crumble when faced with the facts of reality. (This may also be the cognitive mechanism behind manic/depression.)

The Seed on Thorny Ground 13:7, 22

Continuing with the parable of the Sower and the Seed, verse 7 says that “Others fell upon the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out.” The word thorns means ‘a prickly plant, thorn’. Came up means ‘to go up, ascend’. Choke means ‘choke, throttle, strangle’. Thorns imply specific points of emotional discomfort, while ascending suggests entering the realm of Teacher generality. This idea of ascending from specific points to general understanding is consistent with the word ‘choking’, because choking blocks off the connection between head and body—it strangles the relationship between the ‘body’ of evidence’ and the thinking of the ‘head’. Putting this together, the stone-like ground was associated with Teacher overgeneralization. Here, the opposite problem is happening, which is a fixation upon details. Specific problems are being magnified, causing the mind to lose the big picture.

The more detailed explanation is given in verse 22: “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the age and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” This is typically interpreted as being sidetracked from following a heavenly God by earthly riches. And I suggest that something cognitively similar is happening if one interprets this as a description of Western history.

As with the previous steps, the process starts with hearing the logos. Worry means ‘dividing and fracturing a person’s being into parts’. This describes a mind being fractured by a focus upon details.

Age means ‘an age, era, time-span’ and was used previously in 12:32 when comparing this age with the age to come. Western society in Matthew 13 is in the proto-scientific era and about to make a transition into the scientific era. The coming scientific age will be an age of Enlightenment that focuses upon general Teacher theories. But the current age is still focusing upon specific details.

Deceitfulness is used once in Matthew and means ‘a false impression, made to deceive or cheat’. Wealth means ‘riches, wealth, abundance’. Thus, researchers are functioning under the false impression that having an abundance of data is the same as having an understanding.

The word choke is a modified version of the word used in verse 7 which adds the prefix ‘identified with’ and means ‘choked because joined with’. What is being choked is the logos. The result is not-fruit. This fruitlessness is not immediately apparent, but rather ‘comes into being’. Putting this together, paradigms in Teacher thought are being too closely connected with specific details in technical thought, and this is stifling the development of general theories.

One can see this focus upon details in the theory of corpuscularianism. Wikipedia explains that “Corpuscularianism is a physical theory that supposes all matter to be composed of minute particles. The theory became important in the seventeenth century; amongst the leading corpuscularians were Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes, Pierre Gassendi, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, and John Locke.”

Robert Boyle ‘is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist’. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes the mindset of Robert Boyle, “Boyle was one of the leading intellectual figures of the seventeenth century and an important influence on Locke and Newton. He was an experimental philosopher, unwilling to construct abstract theories to which his experimental results had to conform… Boyle, a champion of both the corpuscularian doctrine and the Baconian method of natural history, preferred to report the results of his experiments, including negative results, and frequently lamented the fact that we lacked ‘histories’ (collections of experimental results and accurate observations) in various fields of scientific endeavour… ‘His books,’ as Huygens remarked to Leibniz immediately after Boyle’s death, ‘are full of experiments’. Moreover, experiments were exactly what he was interested in, he had a certain missionary zeal in spreading the corpuscularian gospel, but he was not himself interested in detailed system building, a fact that was commonly noted.”

Descartes is mentioned above as one of the leading proponents of corpuscularianism. Descartes’s distinction between mind and body is almost literally a version of choking or strangling, because the mind, which resides in the head, is being disconnected from the body with its physical mechanisms. Notice that Descartes shows up both with the rock-like soil and with the thorns. On the side of the mind, Descartes’ lack of facts led to Teacher overgeneralization, while on the side of the body, Descartes focused upon specific facts while downplaying Teacher theory.

Summarizing what we have seen so far in the parable of the Sower and the Seed, the first problem was learning habits rather than gaining understanding. This was followed by overgeneralization, enabled by inadequate detailed knowledge. The pendulum then swung the other way, with a focus upon detailed knowledge at the expense of generalization. Notice that verse 22 provides some insight as to what is being described in verse 7. In verse 7, people are simply noticing that details are getting in the way. In verse 22, the development of scientific paradigms is making it possible to distinguish between gathering data and building theories.

The Good Soil 13:8-9, 23

This is finally followed in verse 8 by good results. “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” The word soil as usual refers to space-time. Good means ‘attractively good, good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely’. The word ‘soil’ (usually translated as ‘earth’) is used 252 times in the New Testament. As far as I can tell, it is only described as ‘good’ in this parable. Looking at this cognitively, the mind constructs a concept of earth or space-time as Perceiver facts and Server sequences become interconnected. Facts and sequences are not emotional. Thus, it does not normally make sense to refer to the earth as good, unless one is thinking of space-time as a general framework. A mental framework of facts and sequences is good in the sense that it allows the mind to move past the two errors of overgeneralization and fixating upon details. On the one hand, one comes up with general theories that explain the entire grid of information. On the other hand, one places specific situations within the grid of information. Saying this another way, a mental grid of facts and sequences eventually makes it possible to move beyond Descartes’ split between mind and body. But merely coming up with the idea of a Cartesian grid of space and time is not enough. Instead, this grid must be filled in with many factual details about space and time.

This may sound esoteric, but I have found from personal experience that thinking in terms of a mental grid is a key stage in reaching mental maturity. When such a mental grid is absent, then MMNs of culture and identity will come into direct contact with each other and poke one another, leading to a thorn-like mindset. A mental grid makes it possible to place personal MMNs within a location, avoiding the direct contact. For instance, when one meets someone different, then the natural response is to think ‘He is different than I am. He rubs me wrong. I do not like him.’ However, if one has developed a mental grid of understanding cognitive development, then each person will be mentally placed within a certain location in the map of the mind. For instance, ‘He is a Facilitator person. The Facilitator person has certain strengths and weaknesses. He has overcome some weaknesses, but still struggles with these specific issues.’

I am not sure what the numbers 100, 60, and 30 represent. What is clear is that the numbers start big and get smaller. In other words, a transition into thinking in terms of a grid of space-time will initially lead to major breakthroughs which will then be followed by diminishing returns.

One can see this concept of a grid of space-time in the theory of atomism. Wikipedia compares corpuscularianism with atomism: “René Descartes’ (1596–1650) ‘mechanical’ philosophy of corpuscularism had much in common with atomism, and is considered, in some senses, to be a different version of it. Descartes thought everything physical in the universe to be made of tiny vortices of matter. Like the ancient atomists, Descartes claimed that sensations, such as taste or temperature, are caused by the shape and size of tiny pieces of matter. The main difference between atomism and Descartes’ concept was the existence of the void. For him, there could be no vacuum, and all matter was constantly swirling to prevent a void as corpuscles moved through other matter.” Summarizing, one major difference between these two theories is the absence or presence of a grid of space-time. According to the corpuscularianism of Descartes, bits of matter are continually poking into one another in a thorn-like manner. In contrast, atomism places the bits of matter into a void or vacuum composed of space and time. In other words, even though Descartes invented the Cartesian method of placing specific points within a grid of ‘x’ and ‘y’ coordinates, he did not apply this concept to his philosophy of matter.

The more detailed explanation is found in verse 23. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” As before, the unusual combination of ‘attractively good earth’ is used. And as usual, the process begins by hearing the logos. However, in this case, the hearing is combined with understanding, which means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’. In verse 19, the mind that responds with habits is not putting facts together into a comprehensive whole, and this fragmentation is making habits vulnerable to being hijacked by kings and commanders. In verse 20, the appearance of facts is leading to overgeneralization, rather than the assembling of facts. And in verse 22, the thorns of detailed interaction are preventing the mind from putting facts together. In verse 23, the facts are being assembled. As was mentioned earlier, it becomes mentally possible to assemble facts into an integrated picture when facts are placed within a mental grid.

The resulting mindset is described as bearing fruit, a word which combines ‘fruit’ with ‘to bring’, a word used only once in Matthew. Fruit contains liquid and thus would represent some sort of ‘fruit’ within the realm of Mercy experiences. Fruit-bearing implies a kind of indirect result. Looking at this cognitively, Teacher theories based upon a mental grid are indirectly creating benefits within Mercy thought. One can see what this means by comparing this with a society of law and order. The law and order does not directly generate personal benefits. But it creates a mental and societal grid that is conducive to the generation of personal benefits.

This indirect result is shown by the verb do, which is included in the Greek but left untranslated by the NASB. A more literal rendering would be, ‘the one who hears the logos and puts facts together will bear-fruit and do, some hundredfold…’ Looking at this cognitively, creating a mental grid held together by Teacher understanding makes it possible to perform Server actions within that grid. Using an analogy, coming up with a map of some region makes it possible to travel through that region guided by this map.

A map is more than an analogy, because Dutch explorers were laying the foundation for modern mapmaking during this period of time. Wikipedia summarizes: “In the 16th and 17th centuries, Dutch-speaking cartographers helped lay the foundations for the birth and development of modern cartography, including nautical cartography and stellar cartography (celestial cartography). The Dutch-speaking people came to dominate the map making and map printing industry by virtue of their own travels, trade ventures, and widespread commercial networks. The Dutch initiated what we would call today the free flow of geographical information. As Dutch ships reached into the unknown corners of the globe, Dutch cartographers incorporated new discoveries into their work. Instead of using the information themselves secretly, they published it, so the maps multiplied freely.”

Verse 9 finishes the parable with the familiar statement “he who has ears, let him hear.” The implication is that one should approach this parable from the perspective of Teacher thought. The explanation of the parable in verse 23 does not finish with this statement, implying that people are learning to adopt the Teacher perspective of thinking in terms of paradigms. We have looked at the cognitive reason for parables, and we have also seen that the explanation of the parable of the Sower and the Seed contains an understanding of paradigms, which is not present in the original parable.

The Role of Parables 13:10-16

The intervening verses between the parable and its explanation focus upon the role played by parables, as well as the necessity of integrated understanding. We will now look at these intervening verses.

Verse 10 raises the question. “And the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Why do You speak to them in parables?’” The first step in recognizing the role played by parables is to become aware of their existence. This awareness is shown in the question of the disciples. I mentioned earlier that good educators recognize that analogies play a key role in helping students to understand complex subjects. For instance, one website for teachers states that ‘Analogies are one of the best kept secrets in education. Often used as multiple choice question items or as warm-ups to begin a lesson, analogies are use [sic] teaching and learning strategies because of their flexibility, ease of use, and tendency to force cognitive load on students.” But I have also learned that technical specialists usually view an analogy as something that is used by others and not by serious researchers. I say this because mental symmetry is based upon the analogies of normal thought, and I have been informed in no uncertain terms by several academic experts that I do not know how to think properly. And yet, we also saw earlier that analogies played a major role in the development and expansion of scientific thought. However, once an analogy becomes scientifically acceptable, then it will be viewed as an aspect of the technical specialization. For instance, the biologist who talks about a cell probably will not be consciously aware that the word cell began as an analogy to the cell of a monk.

Jesus continues in verse 11: “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” Know refers to experiential knowledge. Mysteries is used once in Matthew and means ‘a mystery, secret, of which initiation is necessary’. This is not a mystery that remains a mystery, but rather one that can be discovered by becoming an insider. ‘Kingdom of heaven’ refers to the realm of general Teacher understanding.

Looking at this cognitively, the researchers have access to direct experience; their experiments give them experiential knowledge. But a student does not have this experiential knowledge. Therefore, the only alternative is to try to explain the concept to a student through the use of an analogy. ‘I performed the experiment and saw what happened. You did not experience the experiment, but let me compare what happened with something with which you are familiar.’

However, the next verses describe analogies as an impediment to understanding rather than an aid. This puzzled me until I realized the historical context. I am using analogies to build bridges between technical specializations, guided by a general Teacher theory. For instance, this essay suggests that there is an analogy between the book of Matthew and the history of Western civilization. This analogy may appear at first glance to be utterly flaky, but we are pursuing this analogy in a semi-rigorous manner by going through most of the book of Matthew in a verse by verse manner, looking at the meanings of the original Greek text, guided by a general theory of cognition that maps in detail on to neurology, and then using cognitively natural symbolism in a consistent manner. And we are not just referring offhand to a few events in history, but rather examining Western history at the level of detail that one finds in a textbook on Western history. This is far more rigorous and in-depth than the typical sermon on the parable of the Sower and the Seed which compares this parable with four different ways of responding to the Christian message.

Placing this into the historical context, the average researcher or student during that period was using analogies at the level of today’s typical sermon. That is because today’s technical specializations with their rigorous thinking did not yet exist.

Verse 10 talks about the disciples being granted experiential knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. What inside knowledge did the disciples have that was not available to the uninitiated? My personal experience suggests a possible answer. I have found over the years that I have a secret weapon that unlocks the mysteries of the kingdom of Teacher thought, a secret weapon which the average person does not have. That secret weapon is experiential knowledge. I am not just attempting to understand the mind. Rather, I am simultaneously following two paths of deciphering the mind and developing my mind. In contrast, the average cognitive researcher studies the mind as something out there, ignoring the fact that he also has a mind. Similarly, the disciple of science back then also had experiential knowledge, because he was basing his theorizing in his own experiments. Those initial stages of science had a personal element which has been lost today, because individuals could make scientific breakthroughs using fairly simple equipment.

Verse 12 describes the outcome. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Abundance means ‘to be over and above, to abound’. In other words, someone who starts analyzing the natural world using the right approach will find that he makes one discovery after another. For instance, I have felt this way with the theory of mental symmetry, because I find that this theory, combined with the cognitive lessons that I have learned, throws light upon one subject after another. Going the other way, taken away actually means ‘to raise, take up, lift’. Thus, knowledge is not necessarily being lost or taken away. Instead, it is being lifted up to the level of Teacher theory. For instance, mental symmetry does not take knowledge away from theologians. But it does lift it up from them, in the sense of replacing their analogical knowledge with cognitive theory.

Verse 13 describes the inadequacies of analogical reasoning: “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” The word seeing means ‘to be observant’, and hearing is the normal word for listening—and the same word was used in verse 9 to tell those who have ears to hear. In other words, the analogical reasoning is practicing scientific observation and there is academic dialogue. But both of these are falling short of proper observation and dialogue. Thomas Kuhn mentioned that a person with a different paradigm will actually view the world in a slightly different way. Similarly, verse 13 is describing observation and dialogue being placed within the wrong kind of thinking. The result is a lack of understanding, which means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’.

Turning now to Western history, verse 10 referred to talking only in parables. This excessive use of analogies describes alchemy, which was still being pursued in the 17th and 18th centuries. One paper (Gentner & Jeziorski, Metaphor and thought, 1993) discusses the role that analogies played in alchemy. “The alchemists… embraced metaphor and analogy with unbridled eagerness. Their excess was both quantitative and qualitative. They used vast numbers of metaphors and they imbued them with great power. They were, as Vickers puts it, owned by their analogies, rather than owning them” (p.448).

Verse 11 refers to the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and a mystery is knowledge that is only revealed to the initiated. Alchemy claimed to have such knowledge. “The language of alchemy soon developed an arcane and secretive technical vocabulary designed to conceal information from the uninitiated. To a large degree, this language is incomprehensible to us today.” But it was actually the experimentalists with their experiential knowledge who had the inside knowledge.

Verse 12 talked about disciples of incarnation learning more while others are losing the little knowledge they do have. Similarly, alchemy began to be replaced by the experiential knowledge of science in the 17th century. Wikipedia summarizes that “The decline of European alchemy was brought about by the rise of modern science with its emphasis on rigorous quantitative experimentation and its disdain for ‘ancient wisdom’. Although the seeds of these events were planted as early as the 17th century, alchemy still flourished for some two hundred years, and in fact may have reached its peak in the 18th century.”

Verse 12 says literally that ‘even what he has will be lifted away from him’. Alchemy was initially a mixture of what we would today consider alchemy and chemistry. Wikipedia explains that “The terms ‘chemia’ and ‘alchemia’ were used as synonyms in the early modern period, and the differences between alchemy, chemistry and small-scale assaying and metallurgy were not as neat as in the present day. There were important overlaps between practitioners, and trying to classify them into alchemists, chemists and craftsmen is anachronistic.”

But the knowledge of chemistry was eventually ‘lifted away’ from alchemy, leaving alchemy with nothing. This ‘lifting away’ can be seen in the work of Robert Boyle. “Boyle appealed to chemists to experiment and asserted that experiments denied the limiting of chemical elements to only the classic four: earth, fire, air, and water. He also pleaded that chemistry should cease to be subservient to medicine or to alchemy, and rise to the status of a science. Importantly, he advocated a rigorous approach to scientific experiment: he believed all theories must be proved experimentally before being regarded as true.” Notice how Boyle is calling for experiential knowledge to be raised above the thinking of alchemy.

Verse 13 says that inadequate observation and dialogue will stop people from gaining an integrated understanding. In the words of Wikipedia, “The protoscience of chemistry, alchemy, was unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations. However, by performing experiments and recording the results, alchemists set the stage for modern chemistry. The distinction began to emerge when a clear differentiation was made between chemistry and alchemy by Robert Boyle in his work The Sceptical Chymist (1661).” Notice the lack of integrated understanding: ‘alchemy was unsuccessful in explaining the nature of matter and its transformations’. Notice also that both the alchemists and the chemists are performing experiments and observing. But the observation of alchemy is not leading anywhere.

Similarly, the ‘hearing’ of alchemy was also inadequate. “There were several problems with alchemy, as seen from today’s standpoint. There was no systematic naming scheme for new compounds, and the language was esoteric and vague to the point that the terminologies meant different things to different people.” I should add that the same individuals often performed a combination of alchemy and chemistry, but the chemistry that they carried out became increasingly separate from the alchemy that they were still doing.

The next two verses quote from Isaiah. Verse 14 says, “For them the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘with a hearing you will hear, and will not understand; Seeing you will see, but will not perceive.” The name Isaiah means ‘salvation of Yah’. The idea is that a knowledge of God in Teacher thought is bringing salvation to people in Mercy thought. The goal of alchemy was to discover universal principles that would lead to personal development and enrichment. This combination of personal salvation, enrichment, and mystical unity with God can be seen in the philosopher’s stone. Wikipedia summarizes that “The philosopher’s stone… is a legendary alchemical substance capable of turning base metals such as mercury into gold… or silver. It is also called the elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and for achieving immortality; for many centuries, it was the most sought goal in alchemy. The philosophers’ stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss.”

The word fulfilled is only used once in Matthew and means to ‘fill up completely’. This conveys the idea that alchemy is not just making mistakes, but rather fully following a mistaken path of pure analogies in order to fill up completely its errors.

The rest of verse 14 is basically a repetition of verse 13, except for the addition of the word perceive, which means ‘to see with the mind’. This is the normal word for ‘see’ used in Matthew which occurs about 150 times. (That is why I have not referred specifically to this word before.) However, in this verse, the word that is normally translated ‘see’ is translated as ‘perceive’ and a less common word is translated as ‘see’. Verse 14 says that they are observing but they are not seeing with the mind. Using the language of paradigms, they are viewing the world with the wrong set of metaphorical glasses.

Verse 15 begins, “For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears they scarcely hear.” Heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. The word dull means ‘to thicken, to fatten’. The paper quoted earlier on analogies describes the personal goals of alchemists. “A second and deeper difference between the alchemists and modern scientists is the fact that the alchemists had more complex goals. They were concerned not only with understanding the material world, but with achieving spiritual transcendence. The alchemist invested the analogy between the spiritual and material planes with dual-causal powers and might strive to purify his spirit in order to transmute metals, or strive to transmute metals in order to purify his spirit. Modern science separates personal virtue from excellence in research. This separation has its disadvantages, but it does streamline the research enterprise. Another possible difference in goals is that the alchemists were probably relatively more interested in the acquisition of power (as opposed to the acquisition of pure knowledge) than are modern scientists” (p.471). Modern science tries to be objective, ‘separating personal virtue from excellence in research’. The positive side of this is that this ‘streamlines the research enterprise’—it simplifies the Mercy goals that get involved in research. In contrast, the alchemists were being motivated by an overload of Mercy emotions—a fat heart. They were pursuing personal power, searching for spiritual purity, and trying to transmute metals, all at the same time.

I mentioned earlier that personal experience can provide a secret weapon, but this weapon will only work if one keeps one’s heart simple. Experimental science does this by limiting personal goals in Mercy thought to the realm of the experiments. Similarly, the early chemists pulled back from lofty goals such as discovering the elixir of life and focused upon more specific questions. Mental symmetry began by asking simple questions about how the mind works, but it has expended into addressing much larger questions such as the nature of the Trinitarian God. I have tried to keep my heart simple over the years by choosing to focus fully upon understanding and applying mental symmetry without being emotionally driven by other issues such as academic respect, career, personal status, marketing, or politics. I do think about these other issues, but I try to place them within the context of developing and understanding the mind rather than letting them rule my heart.

The word scarcely means ‘heavily’ and is only used here and in Acts 28:27 where this same passage in Isaiah is quoted. ‘Ears’ and ‘hearing’ are the same two words that were used in verse 9 where it instructed that he who has ears should hear. This suggests that abstract thought is being used but words are ‘heavy’; they have a lot of baggage to drag along. This overloading of words was a characteristic of alchemy. Quoting again from the paper on analogies, “The alchemists’ system of correspondences violates the ‘no extraneous relations principle’ in that cross connections of all kinds enter into the analogies. For instance, black, lead and Saturn are all linked through the chain described above; but the match between lead and Saturn was improved by the fact that both are slow and heavy. Saturn moves slowly in its orbit and was therefore thought of as massive (heavy); lead was known to be a dense (heavy) metal, which would presumably move slowly. This complex web of similarities was felt to improve the system, though it could not be applied uniformly… for the alchemists, more was always better. A rich set of interrelationships, however idiosyncratic, was felt to strengthen the similarity bond” (p.470-1).

At first glance, it may appear that this essay is committing the same error. But we are not overloading the meanings of individual words. Instead, we are adding depth to the analogies by looking at the simple meanings of many words and comparing this with the details of history. When details are compared with details, then that is the sign of a proper analogy. Quoting from the paper on analogies, “The central idea is that an analogy is a mapping of knowledge from one domain (the base) into another (the target) such that a system of relations that holds among the base objects also holds among the target objects. In interpreting an analogy, people seek to put the objects of the base in one-to-one correspondence with the objects of the target so as to obtain the maximal structural match” (p.448-9). Saying this another way, a mapping from one domain to another is one-to-one: one element in one domain maps on to one element in the other domain. In the case of this essay, each Greek word always has the same symbolic interpretation. Overloading the meaning of words maps many elements on to many elements in a haphazard manner. It appears that this one-to-one mapping is an essential characteristic of technical thought.

In addition, our analogies are being guided by an understanding of how the mind works, rather than surface appearance. This is an important distinction. “Whereas analogies map relational structure independently of object descriptions, mere-appearance matches map aspects of object description without regard for relational structure” (p.452).

Verse 15 continues, “And they have closed their eyes, otherwise they would see with their eyes.” The mind uses the eyes to build a mental map of the immediate environment. The verb closed is only used in the New Testament in this quote from Isaiah. It combines a prefix that means ‘from a higher to a lower plane’ with a word that is related to ‘mystery’. And see is the normal word that means to ‘see with the mind’. The reference to mystery may be significant given the emphasis that alchemy placed upon mysterious knowledge revealed only to initiates.

Putting this all together, analyzing the physical environment is being regarded as a lower plane within the context of mystery. In other words, physical observation is taking second place to the philosophical mysteries of alchemy. The end result is that physical observation is not causing them to ‘see with the mind’. Saying this more simply, their system of secret knowledge is preventing them from drawing mental conclusions through physical observation.

Verse 15 finishes, “Hear with their ears, and understand with their heart and return, and I would heal them.’ This regarding of physical evidence as a lower plane than the mysteries of alchemy is also preventing them from hearing with their ears. It is preventing them from using abstract thought in an effective manner. Understanding means to ‘put facts together’ and this is normally associated with Teacher thought, but verse 15 is connecting this integration with the ‘heart’ of Mercy identity. This lack of Mercy integration is preventing them from returning, which means ‘to turn, to return’. Finally, the word heal is not the usual word ‘therapy’ but instead means to ‘heal, make whole’. Putting this together, alchemy is failing in its attempt to go beyond the gathering of physical evidence to the goal of personal transformation. And it is failing in its desire to ‘understand’ with the heart as well as the head.

In a similar manner, mental symmetry combines the ‘heart’ of personal transformation with the ‘head’ of understanding how the mind functions. My goal is to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’ both as an integrated understanding in Teacher thought and as an integrated personal identity in Mercy thought. My hope is that I will ‘turn’ as an entire person and become ‘healed’. And my experience so far is that the theory of mental symmetry provides a sufficient foundation for this dual task. In contrast, the mysteries of alchemy were inadequate. They failed.

The next two verses describe the positive alternative. Verse 16 says, “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.” Blessed means ‘become long, large’ and was used in the Beatitudes. The idea is that one is entering into Teacher generality. See is the less common word that means to ‘be observant’. In other words, observation is being placed into a mental map through the eyes, and this mental map is leading to Teacher generality. Using scientific language, observation is leading to hypothesis. And if ears are hearing, this suggests that genuine academic dialogue is happening that is also being ‘blessed’ in the sense of leading to greater Teacher generality.

Verse 17 adds a larger perspective. “For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous [men] desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (As the NASB indicates, ‘it’ is not in the original, telling us that the focus is upon the seeing and hearing rather than upon the content being seen or heard.) Prophets are usually regarded as religious predictors of future reality, but there are also prophets of science. For instance, Roger Bacon has been regarded by many as a prophet of science. In the words of Wikipedia, “As early as the 16th century, natural philosophers like Bruno, Dee, and Francis Bacon were attempting to rehabilitate Bacon’s reputation and to portray him as a scientific pioneer who had avoided the petty bickering of his contemporaries to attempt a rational understanding of nature.” This essay suggests that the distinction between religious prophet and prophet of science is actually artificial, because Matthew—a book of the Bible—is prophesying in detail the path by which science will be developed.

The second reference is to righteous (‘men’ is implied), and we have defined righteousness as Server actions that reflect a general Teacher understanding. ‘Righteous’ was last used in 10:41 which talked about receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man. That chapter talked about righteousness in the context of encouraging the very first scientific researchers in a society that had no concept of science. Verse 17 conveys the idea that this righteousness has finally reappeared in the form of experimental research combined with general theory.

The word desired is a strengthened form occurring only twice in Matthew which adds ‘focused on’ to ‘passionate desire’. ‘See’ is mentioned three times in English, but two different Greek words are being used: The pioneers passionately desired ‘to mentally see what you observe and they did not mentally see’. In other words, they wanted the internal vision, but they did not get this internal vision because they did not know how to move from observation to internal vision. This reflected both mental and physical limitations. For instance, when Galileo was performing experiments on physical movement, he had to invent a method of measuring time, which he did by using a pendulum synchronized to the human pulse.

The same English word ‘hear’ is also used three times, and this accurately reflects the original Greek. This implies that earlier researchers wanted to have academic dialogue guided by adequate Teacher understanding, but did not achieve this result.

That brings us to the explanation of the parable of the Sower and the Seed, which was analyzed earlier. We can now understand why this explanation includes references to logos. That is because the intervening verses described how science went past alchemy to start thinking in terms of the paradigms of technical thought.

The Tares and the Wheat 13:24-6, 36-39

We will now skip forward to the next parable which is known as the parable of the Tares and the Wheat. It starts in verse 24. “Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven was compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.” The NASB gives the translation ‘may be compared to’ but this is corrected in a footnote to ‘was compared to’. However, the original Greek actually means ‘has become like’, and this is clarified in the definition page. ‘Has become like’ does not really make sense if one is thinking of this in terms of Jesus telling the parable, but it does make sense when interpreted from a symbolic perspective. What this means is that the technical thinking of incarnation has now acquired a different character. Incarnation has now become something that it was not before. As with the previous parable, the parable is given, there is an interlude in the form of two short parables, and then the parable is explained. As before, we will examine the parable and its explanation at the same time.

In order to interpret the parable, we have to determine its time span. If the kingdom of heaven has become like something, then how long will this new appearance last? The explanation in verses 40-41 mentions sending forth angels at the end of the age. The Greek phrase ‘send forth his angels’ occurs one more time in Matthew in 24:31, and my general hypothesis is that this verse refers to what is commonly known as ‘the rapture’ or ‘the Second Coming’, which I refer to in other essays as ‘the theoretical return of Jesus’. This is different than a physical return of Jesus, which happens later. (This is discussed when looking at Matthew 24 at the end of this essay.) In terms of the book of Revelation, the theoretical return of Jesus happens at the end of Revelation 11, while the physical return happens in the middle of Revelation 19.

The phrase ‘end of the age’ is found in Matthew in this parable and also in Matthew 24:3, the chapter which appears to be talking about the theoretical return of Jesus. (This phrase also forms the last three words of the book of Matthew, which can be interpreted as instructions to those who are reading this book, because it is talked about as something that will happen in the future.)

These two phrases suggest that the parable of the tares is describing a time span that will come to an end at the theoretical return of Jesus in Matthew 24. My best guess is that we in 2020 are on the verge of experiencing this event. The goal of this essay is not to examine prophecy that applies to our distant future, but it is necessary to determine the general time span in order to interpret the parable of the tares.

Looking briefly at the ‘rapture’, this is interpreted by those who subscribe to the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture as Christians being teleported up to heaven, followed by God raining destruction down on earth for seven years during a Great Tribulation. However, I have gone through all of the New Testament prophetic passages in the original Greek and do not find evidence for this interpretation. For instance, as was mentioned previously, the word translated tribulation does not mean tribulation but rather narrowness or squeezing. In addition, the Great Squeezing (which I suggest that we are currently living in as a result of the pervasiveness of technical specializations) needs to be distinguished from the kingdom of the beast, which appears to be a backlash that follows the theoretical return of Jesus and is described in Revelation 13 as well as 2 Thessalonians 2.

Now that we have established the context, let us look at the parable. Verse 24 says that “The kingdom of heaven has become like a man who sowed good seed in his field.” The word field means ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’ and is the source of the English word ‘agriculture’. And, unlike the previous parable of the Sower and the Seed, this parable does not mention the ‘space-time’ of soil. In addition, seed is mentioned five times in this parable while not being mentioned in the previous parable. The word seed means ‘that which is sown’. Thus, the focus is upon growing intellectual food and how this growth develops.

The explanation is given in verses 37-38: “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world.” In both the parable and the explanation, the term good means ‘attractively good’. Attractively good describes an externally generated, positive Mercy feeling. People are looking at the seed that is being sown, and being attracted to it in Mercy thought. For instance, one sees this in the way in which higher education is typically viewed today as something good and attractive. The phrase Son of Man was previously used in Matthew 12:40 to say that the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. This implies that the parable of the tares will expand upon this concept of ‘being in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’. World is cosmos and means ‘an ordered system like the universe’. This term was last mentioned in 5:14 in the Sermon on the Mount which talked about being the light of the world. (It is also used in verse 35 in the interlude between the parable and its explanation.)

The New Testament uses this term cosmos to refer to a mindset of materialism that is based upon the structure of the physical universe. Materialism contains an inherent paradox because it is a mental system based upon the assumption that the mind does not exist. This inherent paradox is also reflected in the difference between incarnation and technical thought. Cognitively speaking, technical thought is a concept of incarnation with all of the personal overtones eliminated. One can tell that these personal overtones exist, because the materialist will continually talk about ‘Nature doing’ or ‘Nature designing’, but whenever this is pointed out, then the materialist will insist that Nature is not a person, while continuing to refer to Nature as if it is a divine being. This combination of explicit technical thought combined with implicit references to Nature can be referred to as ‘the Son of Man being in the heart of the earth’, because the concept of a living incarnation is being mentally submerged within the ‘earth’ of space and time. In verse 37, the Son of Man is sowing within the field of the cosmos, and the next verse will describe what follows.

Verse 25 continues, “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.” A tare is ‘zizanium, a kind of darnel resembling wheat’. In other words, it looks like wheat, but does not produce grain like wheat. This is contrasted with the word wheat, which is ‘a generic term for any edible grain’. If grain represents intellectual food, then the learning and thinking process is being split into two streams, one that generates intellectual food and another that does not. However, there is no obvious way of distinguishing the one from the other. In addition, the tares have been sown in the middle of the wheat.

The word enemy is quite strong, and means ‘someone openly hostile, animated by deep-seated hatred’. This open hatred is contrasted with the method of the enemy, because the enemy sows the tares while the disciples are asleep and then goes away. When one is asleep one is not consciously in control of the mind. This implies that the tares are arising subconsciously apart from conscious choice, and it is not immediately apparent that the source of the tares is diametrically opposed to incarnation.

Verses 38-39 identify the various parties. “As for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil.” Two kinds of people are being described here: sons of the kingdom, and sons of the evil [one]. Sons of the kingdom describe people who are extending the realm of incarnation by adding to the body of knowledge, or by applying knowledge through technology. Evil (‘one’ is not in the original Greek) means ‘pain-ridden’. Therefore, sons of the evil would describe people who are ultimately motivated by inadequate and painful MMNs.

Looking at this personally, I have been driven over the years by two primary motivations. One motivation has been the Teacher joy that comes from expanding and applying the theory of mental symmetry. But this has been accompanied by the Mercy motivation of attempting to escape my pain-ridden existence. For instance, when I was in high school, the emotional pain of living at home with a schizophrenic brother was so intense that I vowed that I would never submit to irrational thought. Saying this more simply, one can be motivated to develop technical thought either by the ‘carrot’ of growing Teacher understanding, or else by the ‘stick’ of escaping various forms of Mercy pain. While I have occasionally been temporarily overwhelmed by Mercy pain, I have managed so far to focus upon the Teacher joy of growing discovery. That is because I have found that focusing upon the Mercy pain leads to a deep dark hole of self-destruction. I cannot go there—I dare not go there.

The enemy is described in verse 39 as the devil, and devil means ‘to slander, accuse, defame’. This is an accurate term, because being driven by a desire to avoid Mercy pain will cause a person to attack and belittle all those whom one views as the sources—or implicit accomplices—of this pain: ‘You are idiots. You do not know how to think rationally. You are incapable of coherent thought. You practice blind faith. You follow tradition. You believe in myths. You are sheeple who are destined to be cannon fodder.’ I think that one gets the picture.

It is very easy to become cynical when technical thought is limited to the physical reality of the cosmos. On the one hand, objective science ignores personal development and morality, resulting in many idiot-savants who have well-developed minds but puny hearts. On the other hand, materialism means that justice has to be served within the physical world during one’s lifetime, and if this does not happen, then all that is left is cynicism and attempting to claw one’s way to the top before one’s physical heart stops beating. Thus, it is significant that the explanation of this parable talks about the Son of Man sending forth his angels. ‘Son of Man’ adds the personal element to objective science, while angels imply that justice will eventually be served by a realm that includes the material, but goes beyond the material.

There is another more insidious reason why religion and concepts of God and life-after-death will be emotionally belittled by objective science. A TMN, like any mental network, will respond with negative emotions when it encounters information that is incompatible with its structure. Suppose that one pursues some technical specialization. This technical knowledge will become emotionally backed up by the TMN of an underlying paradigm. When a Teacher theory turns into a Teacher mental network, then a person will be emotionally driven to use this theory to explain situations, and will feel emotionally threatened when this theory cannot be used to explain situations. If science limits itself to an understanding of the physical universe, then the resulting mental networks will emotionally drive scientists to explain everything in terms of the physical universe and to emotionally belittle anything that does not fall within the physical universe.

Thus, the reason that the philosophy of materialism is dominant today could be because only physical reality exists, or it could be because scientists have only developed rational theories that are capable of explaining physical reality. This distinction is significant, because mental symmetry is capable of explaining both scientific thought and religious belief, and it can be expanded beyond the physical and the cognitive to include spiritual and angelic realms. This does not mean that such realms exist, but rather that it becomes emotionally possible to be a scientist and include topics such as God, religion, angels, spirits—and even a Biblical book prophesying about Western civilization.

Tares and wheat look the same. Similarly, one can be motivated to develop scientific technical thought either by MMNs of ‘proving that I am better than the others’ or by the TMN of the joy of learning. The difference becomes apparent when it is time to harvest the wheat. Similarly, I have found that when I give in to negative emotions, then my personal and intellectual growth stops because there is no more intellectual food.

Verse 26 describes this difference emerging. “But when the grass sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.” As a footnote in the NASB points out, the word here is grass, which means ‘a feeding place, food, grass’ and not wheat. Grass was previously mentioned in 6:30 in the Sermon of the Mount which talked about God clothing the temporary grass of the field. Sprout describes the initial stages of growth. This grass is doing or making fruit. I am not sure if this idea of fruit appearing early makes agricultural sense. But it does make cognitive sense, because the contrasting results of these two motivations will become apparent early on. One will notice that some researchers are generating fruit, while others are not. Or one will notice within oneself that it is fruitful to focus upon understanding while it is not fruitful to focus upon personal inadequacies and pain.

The word evident means ‘to bring to light’. In other words, experiencing the fruit of pursuing Teacher understanding in a positive manner will also bring to light the unproductiveness of being motivated by Mercy pain. Saying this another way, the inadequacy of being driven by feelings of intellectual superiority will become apparent when someone becomes driven by a love of understanding and achieves breakthroughs.

Wheat and Tares Coexisting 13:27-30

The rest of the parable in verses 27-30 is not mentioned in the explanation. Instead, the explanation describes what happens after the parable is finished. Therefore, we will now continue with the parable, look at the intervening verses, and then finish the rest of the explanation.

Verse 27 continues the parable: “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? From where does it have tares?’” The word landowner combines ‘despot’ with ‘house’. And slave means ‘someone who belongs to another’. Historically speaking, “The pater familias was the oldest living male in a household, and exercised autocratic authority over his extended family.” This term was used once previously in 10:25 in the context of students of absolute truth gaining the personal status to escape from a mindset of absolute truth, which is also where the word ‘slave’ was previously used. The seed is described as ‘attractively good’. This provides the impression that a breakthrough may have been achieved in the area of scientific research (the seed), but that interpersonal interaction is still at the level of personal dominance (the house).

One can see this kind of autocratic household in scientific societies. What began as researchers sharing their results over a cup of coffee turned into officially sanctioned societies. “Official scientific societies were chartered by the state in order to provide technical expertise. This advisory capacity offered scientific societies the most direct contact between the scientific community and government bodies available during the Enlightenment. State sponsorship was beneficial to the societies as it brought finance and recognition, along with a measure of freedom in management. Most societies were granted permission to oversee their own publications, control the election of new members, and the administration of the society. Membership in academies and societies was therefore highly selective.”

This contrast between attractively good seed and autocratic household helps to explain the source of the bad seed. A scientist who is mentally awake will tend to focus upon the positive Teacher emotions that result from sowing good seed. But a scientist who falls into the sleep of passivity will tend to become emotionally driven by Mercy feelings of superiority and disdain for the commoner. Saying this more bluntly, doctoral students tend to be the most teachable, while older professors typically become arrogant and unteachable.

The slaves question their master: “How then does it have tares?” The fact that they are questioning indicates two things. First, researchers have become aware that some technical thought is unfruitful. Second, researchers do not have the self-awareness that is required to understand why some technical thought is unfruitful. This lines up with Thomas Kuhn’s statement that a researcher may be a professional at performing technical thought, but an amateur when it comes to evaluating paradigms.

The response of the master in verse 28 also implies a lack of self-awareness: “And he said to them, ‘An enemy man has done this!’” As a footnote in the NASB indicates, the word ‘man’ is explicitly in the original Greek and not just implied. And enemy is the same strong word used before, which means ‘someone openly hostile, animated by deep-seated hatred’. In other words, the problem is being blamed upon people ‘out there’ who are hostile to scientific progress. And such a conclusion is technically accurate, because academic thought does have to contend with Mercy feelings of culture, status, tradition, and taboos. But a mindset of blaming the problem on ‘an enemy man’ is also ultimately driven by personal MMNs. Thus, the response to the problem ends up becoming part of the problem.

The slaves ask if they should deal with the problem: “‘The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’” Looking at this cognitively, slaves are actually more capable of recognizing and dealing with the ‘devilish’ problem of slander, accusation, and defamation than masters, because a slave is not permitted to impose his personal status upon others. (Devil means ‘slanderous’.) A master, in contrast, is tempted to deal with other ‘devils’ by becoming a ‘devil’ himself.

The landowner decides to live with the status quo. “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them’” (v.29). In verse 6, the seed on the rock-like soil withered when the sun came up, because it had no root. We interpreted that as overgeneralized theories having insufficient internal content. In verse 29, the fear is that gathering up the tares will also uproot the wheat. Applying this to the topic of scientific research, how does one maintain the rigorous thinking of technical thought in an environment driven by inadequate personal and societal MMNs? Part of the answer has been to support higher thought by instilling cultural feelings of being part of academia, as well as establishing standards that must be met in order to become regarded as officially part of academia. This helps to ensure that those who are part of academia have deep academic roots. But it also allows feelings of slander, accusation, and defamation to coexist with feelings of research. For instance, ‘You do not belong here because you are not a proper academic. His research does not meet academic standards. We do not listen to them because they are not academically trained.’

Saying this bluntly, research ends up making a pact with the devil. I am not suggesting that all researchers consciously make a Faustian ‘pact with the devil’. However, this is actually an appropriate analogy, because Faust was originally portrayed as someone who abandoned theology in order to study human wisdom, and scientific thought grew by abandoning the Scholasticism of theology. “The Faust of early books — as well as the ballads, dramas, movies, and puppet-plays which grew out of them — is irrevocably damned because he prefers human to divine knowledge: ‘he laid the Holy Scriptures behind the door and under the bench, refused to be called doctor of theology, but preferred to be styled doctor of medicine.’”

I suggest that the parable of the tares is describing something more subtle and insidious that happens as a result of abandoning theology. Objective science has transformed the study of the cosmos, but it has not transformed the researchers who are doing this study. Therefore, academia co-opts childish Mercy feelings in order to help maintain its existence. It portrays itself as a savior from the pain-ridden existence of Mercy-driven superstition and tradition, and it views its technical thinking as the sign of true intelligence. This is an implicit pact with a ‘devil’ of slander, accusation, and defamation.

And if one views this from the vantage point of a real incarnation guiding a plan of history, I suggest that there was no choice. We saw earlier that absolute truth is a hybrid form of thinking. It is based in MMNs of personal status and religious experience, but if one studies the content of absolute truth, then it is possible to build rational Teacher understanding. (This assumes that the truth being taught by absolute truth is compatible with rational understanding.) Similarly, academia is also a hybrid form of thinking which combines the ‘wheat’ of rigorous research with the ‘tares’ of academic arrogance and the belittling of non-technical forms of thought.

Verse 30 indicates that this coexistence will eventually come to an end. “Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Grow together is used once in the New Testament and combines ‘together’ with ‘grow’. The idea is that these two attitudes will become intertwined and develop in parallel. Academia will become and will him remain a combination of wheat and tares. This harvest is identified in verse 39 as ‘the end of the age’. Harvest is mentioned one other time in Matthew. This was back in 9:37-38 in the context of civilized thought starting to emerge during the Middle Ages. There are two Greek words for ‘time’. One refers to clock time and the other to time as opportunity. The word time here refers to opportune time. In other words, eventually in the future the opportunity will arise to solve the problem. But this solution will also involve a final time of harvesting, which implies the end of the current academic system.

The word harvester is only used here and in verse 39 in the explanation, where the harvesters are identified as angels. This harvest occurs in two stages. First, the tares are gathered into bundles. Bind means ‘to tie, bind’, while bundle is used once in the New Testament and is derived from ‘bind’. This implies a grouping into tribal categories guided by tribal feelings of grouping. The purpose of this grouping is to ‘burn them up’. The word burn up is a strengthened form of burn, which means ‘to burn up’ and is found in Matthew only in this parable and previously in 3:12 just before the fall of the Roman Empire. ‘Burning up’ described fire that consumes, which can be interpreted as self-destroying motivation, in which mental networks consume themselves through the frustration of ‘continually banging one’s head against the wall’. Insanity has been defined as ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. This repetitive behavior is driven by mental networks, and the repeated frustration will gradually cause the motivating mental networks to fall apart.

Jumping ahead to current history, one can see this kind of bundling of tares followed by a burning-up in deconstructionism. Deconstructionism asserts that all supposed ‘truth’ is personal opinion being imposed upon society by groups that have social status. This is a bundling of the ‘devilish’ mindset of slander, accusation, and defamation, because truth is being slandered, opposing groups are being accused, and sources of truth are being defamed. Deconstructionism self-organizes into groups bound together by similar feelings of oppression. And deconstructionism burns itself up because the people doing the accusing and defaming naturally become a new oppressive power when they succeed in defaming the existing authorities. Thus, one episode of deconstructionism naturally follows another, with each cycle exhibiting more tribalism and less professionalism, more personal opinion and less technical thought.

The parable concludes with “but gather the wheat into my barn”. Gather means ‘to lead together, bring together’. And a barn is ‘a place for putting things away’. This same phrase ‘gather the wheat into the barn’ was used in 3:12 when predicting the fall of the Roman Empire. However, there is a subtle difference between the two phrases. In 3:12 he is gathering his wheat into the barn, while in 13:30 the wheat is being gathered into my barn. In 3:12 people do not have a personal grasp of knowledge. Hence, ‘his wheat’. In 13:30 academia is following incarnation as a group at an objective level. Hence, ‘my barn’.

Notice also that the wheat is being gathered together while the tares are self-organizing into cultural bundles. That is because academic research is driven by Teacher emotions, and Teacher thought naturally leads in the direction of organization and interaction. There is also a cognitive reason why the tares have to burn up before the wheat can be gathered together. In essence, the tares act as policemen who safeguard the rigorous thinking of academia. I have learned through personal experience that whenever one attempts to interact with some technical specialization as an outsider, then what one meets first are the policemen and the mindset of policing. Thus, if true academic interaction is to happen, then the academic policemen and their mindset have to be eliminated. This can only happen if 1) the policeman reveal their true nature by descending into tribalism, and 2) the academic field has enough Teacher structure to police itself. One is starting to see both of these trends today. On the one hand, the spread of deconstructionism and postmodern thought is causing the attitude of academic arrogance to burn itself up. On the other hand, the development of the Internet makes it possible to share academic knowledge without having to go through the policemen.

The Mustard Seed and the Leaven 13:31-35

We will continue with this parable in a few paragraphs when looking at the interpretation. But now that we have established the time-frame and the general context, we can look at the intervening verses.

Verses 31-32 tell the short parable of the mustard seed. Verse 31 begins, “He presented another parable to them, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field.’” Like means ‘like, resembling, the same as’. This tells us that we are looking at an analogy. Another means ‘another of the same kind’, which suggests that this parable is looking at the same topic from a different perspective. The focus of this parable is not upon sowing or upon the seed, but rather upon ‘the kingdom of heaven’. Thus, this parable provides an overview of rational Teacher understanding. And this sowing is happening in a field rather than the ‘soil’ of space-time, which suggests that the focus is upon various academic fields rather than upon the space-time of facts and sequences.

Verse 32 describes why the analogy of a mustard seed is being used. “This is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree.” The dictionary entry on mustard explains that ‘The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds that a Palestinian farmer would sow in his field. A mustard plant reaches a height of three meters (about ten feet). This is a huge plant when fully matured and bears very tiny seeds.’ The word smaller was previously used in 11:11 to describe those who are ‘least in the kingdom’. This smallness is at the seed stage. Garden plant comes from the word ‘dig’ and means ‘a garden herb, vegetable’. And larger means ‘large, great’. In other words, when the mustard seed grows, it acquires greater Teacher generality than normal herbs and vegetables. Instead, it becomes a tree, indicating that it turns into something that it was not originally.

Trees have been discussed several times in Matthew, always in the context of either bringing forth good fruit or bad fruit. What is different about this parable is that the tree itself is being discussed without any mention of fruit. Instead, the parable ends by saying “that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” The phrase ‘birds of the air’ has occurred before and we have interpreted this as flying through the air of Teacher thought. A bird is cognitively different than a human. A bird is a theoretician who lives within the air of abstract thought, while a human integrates abstract thought with normal activity. Nest literally means ‘to pitch one’s tent’, which indicates the establishment of a temporary home. And branches comes from a word that means ‘to break’. Putting this last phrase together, the tree of academia is breaking into different specializations which are providing temporary homes for abstract thinking. This is an accurate symbolical description because the tree of Western academia has turned into a worldwide temporary home for various abstract specializations.

However, the current university system did not start as a tree. Instead, it started from the very small seed of making simple observations, like Galileo using his pulse to measure the time it takes a ball to roll down an inclined plane, or Hooke deciding to look at leaf through a magnifying glass.

But notice that there is no mention of fruit. Every time that a tree has been mentioned so far in Matthew, it has been mentioned in the context of producing fruit. Here, something that began as a tiny seed has morphed into a tree, and this tree has acquired its own reason for existence apart from generating fruit. Similarly, science began as a search for empirical data—a study of the physical world. And the goal of science was to generate the fruit of understanding and application. But science has transmogrified into a monstrous tree in which academic theoreticians can find a home. Saying this another way, the system has acquired its own reason for existence.

I mentioned earlier that science has eliminated emotions from incarnation, leaving objective, specialized, technical thought. The parable of the mustard seed describes the results of eliminating Teacher feelings of generality. Theoreticians who specialize in these various branches will acquire Teacher generality through the institution and physical buildings of a university campus. ‘That is the physics building. If you want to study physics, then you take classes in the physics building from professors of physics. But don’t expect to learn about biology in the physics building, because the professors of physics don’t know anything about biology. If you want to learn about medicine, then you have to go to the biological building and take classes from professors of biology.’

I know that people talk a lot about interdisciplinary research, but there is usually more talk than substance, and the very fact that one has to continually emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research indicates that the various birds of the air are living in tents on various branches of a tree that was not originally meant to be a tree. And when a bird living on the branch of physics knows nothing about the bird living on the branch of biology, then intellectual policemen are needed to ensure that every bird tenting on a branch is qualified to be there. And the reason that these policeman are needed is because the birds are living in tents and not homes. Their homes reside within subjective thought which objective science tries to ignore, and they are birds who focus on theory while ignoring personal application. Thus, the tares have to continue growing among the wheat.

The next parable is only one verse long. “He spoke another parable to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened’” (v.33). The only other reference to leaven in Matthew is in 16:6-12, where Jesus warns against the ‘leaven of the Pharisees’. Leaven (or yeast) is a living organism that spreads within dough and introduces pockets of air. The idea is that mental networks of Teacher understanding are gradually forming within the grain of intellectual knowledge. Jewish law prohibited the use of leaven during the Passover, and the first Passover was held when the Israelites were about to leave Egypt to follow God in the wilderness. Cognitively speaking, leaven needs to be avoided when one is about to go through a major paradigm shift, because mental networks of existing understanding will emotionally prevent a person from making the necessary paradigm shift. Similarly, Thomas Kuhn says that paradigm shifts are usually led by people who are new to the field and are typically opposed by existing experts within the field.

The reference to a woman indicates that this parable is focusing upon the mental networks of female thought. The word hid is only used in this parable, and combines ‘in’ with ‘hide, bury’. Flour is also used only in this parable and comes from the word ‘to grind’. Grinding is part of the process that must be followed to turn grain into bread. During this process, the mental networks of leaven are being introduced.

Looking at this cognitively, a theory will naturally turned into a TMN (Teacher mental network) whenever that theory continues to be used—as represented by the grinding of grain. This transition from theory to mental network will not be obvious, but will rather happen in hidden manner, which will exhibit itself as an emotional drive to continue using this theory. The presence of a TMN typically becomes apparent when the theory is questioned, because the theory will then be defended in an emotional manner. Using the language of Matthew, a woman is hiding leaven in the flour.

This is only the second verse in Matthew to mention the number three. In 12:40 three was used four times to describe Jonah being in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, and the Son of Man being three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. This suggests that these two references to the number three are related. Going further, we interpreted the Son of Man being in the heart of the earth as female thought introducing three basic kinds of mental networks through the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Consumer Revolution. Similarly, in verse 33, a woman is secretly introducing a leaven of mental networks into the dough of intellectual learning. And this is also a general result because it ends up with all of the dough being leavened. Saying this more clearly, each of these stages will leave their mark upon the system of education: the Scientific Revolution will leave the lasting legacy of following abstract Teacher understanding; the Industrial Revolution will leave a legacy of using scientific theory to create new machines and processes; and the Consumer Revolution will leave a legacy of using science and technology to create new gadgets for the average person.

The next two verses return to the idea of speaking in parables. “All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable” (v.34). This verse does not say that Jesus is using only parables, but rather that he is only using parables when speaking to the crowds. A similar distinction will naturally emerge as a result of technical specializations. I have mentioned that abstract technical thought is based in precise definitions. One of the byproducts is that each technical specialization will naturally develop its own vocabulary which is incomprehensible to the average layman. In addition, as scientific experiments become more complicated, it will no longer be possible for the average people to gain experiential knowledge by carrying out their own experiments. The end result is that the average person will only be able to learn about scientific principles through the use of analogies.

Verse 35 continues, “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.’” This verse describes two things: the method of communication, and the content that is being communicated. The mention of mouth rather than words indicates that this is describing the method of communication, rather than the thinking of the scientist doing the communicating. The scientist is translating scientific theory into analogies in order to communicate with the crowds.

Turning now to the content, utter is used once in the New Testament and means ‘to spit’. Spitting describes moisture that comes from the mouth. Symbolically, it represents an attempt to add the moisture of Mercy experiences to the mouth of Teacher words. This summarizes how analogies are being used. The layman does not have personal experience of science and also cannot understand the technical vocabulary. Therefore, the only remaining option is to use analogies to try to translate the Teacher theories of the scientist into the Mercy experiences of the listener.

Things hidden means ‘hidden’. The same word with the prefix ‘in’ was used in verse 33 to describe the woman hiding the leaven in the flour. Foundation means ‘a foundation, cast according to a blueprint’ and world is ‘cosmos’. These two words are used one other time in Matthew in 25:34 which also talks about the foundation of the cosmos. I mentioned that cosmos refers to the natural order of the universe. Thus, what are being taught through analogies are the hidden principles of the Teacher order of the physical universe. Using modern language, students are learning about the laws of the universe.

There is a cognitive reason why this explanation follows the parable of the leaven. That is because analogies as a teaching tool tend to emerge indirectly. The mind does not jump directly from technical thought to analogy. On the contrary, technical specialists are quite leery of using analogies. Instead, analogies will emerge indirectly through an emotional process. Looking at this in more detail, continuing to work with a theory causes that theory to turn into a TMN. This Teacher mental network makes it possible for the technician to become an expert. A technician uses technical thought; an expert is intuitively guided by the TMNs that lie behind the technical thinking and the technical knowledge is then used to add precision to the intuitive expertise. Teacher theories generate positive emotions when they become more general. Teacher thought will feel good when the mind discovers a situation that functions like the TMN of intuitive expertise. That similar situation is an analogy. This kind of expert analogy is not a surface analogy that is driven by Mercy mental networks of appearance, but rather a deep analogy that is driven by Teacher mental networks of similar structure and functioning. Saying this more simply, analogies naturally emerge when technicians turn into intuitive experts.

The Angelic Harvest 13:39-43

We looked at the first part of the explanation of the parable of the Tares and the Wheat. We will now skip to verse 39, which talks about the harvest and what happens after. “The harvest is the consummation of the age; and the reapers are angels.” The word consummation means ‘culmination, when the parts come together into a whole’. The second coming of Jesus is typically interpreted as the end of life as we know it, accompanied by massive destruction. A consummation of the age describes something totally different. Instead of everything falling apart, all of the various pieces are finally coming together.

That brings us to the topic of angels. The word angel means ‘messenger’ (both in Greek and in Hebrew), and this term is used in the Bible to describe either human or angelic messengers. A materialistic mindset will view angels as mythical creatures that probably do not exist, and will demand physical evidence that angels exist. Mental symmetry, in contrast, leads to quite a different conclusion. The topic of angels and aliens is discussed in other essays, as well as the relationship between angels and aliens. My hypothesis is that angels and aliens share the same kind of ‘bodies’ and come from the same angelic realm, but they belong to different societies that think and behave in different ways.

Summarizing very briefly, I chose the name mental symmetry because of the extensive symmetry that one finds in the mind. There is also extensive symmetry in the physical body because the left side of the body is (almost) the mirror image of the right side. But the interaction between the body and the mind is not symmetrical. Server thought controls the body while Perceiver thought observes the environment. Physical experiences of physical pain and pleasure cause MMNs to form within Mercy thought while Teacher words are merely vibrations in the air and Teacher emotion has to be learned. The only way to restore symmetry is to hypothesize that beings exist who are the mirror-image of humans. They use Perceiver thought to impose power upon their environment while using Server thought to observe sequences. They live in a realm in which Teacher words have inherent emotions while Mercy experiences are merely visions that float through the air. If one explores what this means, then one comes up with beings that resemble descriptions of both angels and aliens. I am not just saying this in a handwaving manner. I have explored this hypothesis for several years in as much detail as is possible with such a strange topic, and I have yet to encounter any other hypothesis that fits the facts (and stories) as well as this one. This hypothesis also fits the name of messenger, because a messenger is someone who is personally identified with a specific message in Teacher thought, just as a human is someone who is personally identified with a specific object within Mercy thought.

Saying this more simply, humans live in concrete experiences and use abstract thought for words and theories. Mirror-image messengers would live in what we call abstract thought while using human concrete thought for communication and ideas.

Applying this to verse 39, if humans and aliens/angels are mirror-images of one another, and if angels started to interact heavily with humans, then this could accurately be described as a culmination of an age, in which the parts are coming together into a whole. But why would angels be needed to do the harvesting? If humans and angels share the same mind then why couldn’t humans do the job? Because humans have avoided doing the job properly. Remember that grain is being harvested, and grain represents the intellectual food of abstract thought. Who would do a better job of evaluating abstract thought? Humans for whom talk is cheap and words are merely vibrations in the air, or angels who live in abstract thought? The answer is obvious. (Looking at this more generally, my hypothesis is that the immanent ‘second coming’ will be what I call a ‘theoretical return of Jesus’, consistent with the idea of angels ‘harvesting the grain’ of human abstract thought.)

Verse 40 continues, “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the consummation of the age.” The word just as is a comparison word that means ‘just exactly like’. And so shall is also a comparison word that means ‘in this way, thus’. These two comparison words make it clear that the consummation of the age is not the same as the gathering and burning up of the tares, but rather will function in an analogous manner. How did the gathering and burning up of the tares function? Abstract thought split into various groups, each bound together by similar grievances, with each bundle slandering truth, accusing opposing groups, and defaming sources of truth. However, every group that slandered existing authority itself turned into an authority group to be slandered.

Verse 41 begins, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels.” The Son of Man did the initial sowing of good seed. But the Son of Man then became buried in the heart of the earth for three days. The Son of Man is now emerging with his angels to do the harvesting. Saying this another way, a concept of incarnation has been reduced to technical thought through the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Consumer Revolution. A concept of incarnation will eventually re-emerge in strengthened form. But why would angelic intervention force human technical thought to reintroduce emotions?

First, human scientists assume the existence of human concrete thought. They assume that they can leave the abstract thinking of academia every day to return back to a home life in which the concrete needs of their physical bodies are met. But angels/aliens do not have such physical needs. A mental network functions invisibly as long as its needs are met, but if the requirements of a mental network are not met, then it begins to complain, forcing it to be acknowledged and pampered. If the various human messengers who assume human concrete thought met real messengers who had no need for human concrete thought, then this would force humans to acknowledge their MMNs of concrete human existence. In essence, human messengers would experience a culture shock greater than anything ever experienced so far.

Second, angelic messengers live within Teacher words. A human can speak words that have no relationship to physical reality, but angelic messengers would be ‘physically’ incapable of throwing away words in such a manner—because they live within abstract thought. Therefore, if angelic messengers met humans who misused the abstract realm of words and truth, then messengers would experience this as personal pain and would be driven by their abstract ‘bodies’ to use angelic power to impose honesty upon humans.

I know that this discussion about angels is quite a jump from quoting from Wikipedia about Western history, but surveys show that about half of Westerners now believe in the existence of aliens. And I would like to explicitly pose a question which has been gradually simmering under the surface. If only physical reality exists, then how could the book of Matthew predict the course of Western civilization so accurately? Large fragments of the book of Matthew exist that date back to the second and third centuries AD, meaning that we know for certain that these words were written before the fall of the Roman Empire.

Quoting now all of verse 41, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness.” Notice that both the angels and the kingdom of heaven are referred to as ‘his’, indicating that a personal concept of incarnation has re-emerged. This does not necessarily mean that Jesus himself will physically appear, but if messages turn into Messengers with living feelings, then the kingdom of heaven will acquire personal overtones. Saying this another way, if scientists already talk about Nature with a capital ‘N’ and implicitly ascribe attributes of divinity to the imaginary person of Nature, they would definitely start regarding Nature as a divine being if living messengers showed up.

These messengers will focus upon two problems. The first problem is a stumbling block which means ‘a snare, stumbling block, and offense’, and is the source of the English word ‘scandal’. This word has been used before and we have interpreted it as roadblocks in the development of rational understanding. These stumbling blocks or scandals will be ‘gathered together’ out of the kingdom. Previously, the tares were bound together in bundles and then burned, telling us that people were splitting into various slanderous groups, as illustrated by what is happening in today’s postmodern world. Here, the stumbling blocks are being gathered together, which implies that those who cling to childish human MMNs would find themselves gathering together to oppose the common enemy of the inhuman aliens/angels. Going the other way, angels who lived within the TMNs of abstract thought would find human stumbling blocks personally threatening, because a human stumbling block rejects TMNs of abstract theory in order to preserve childish human MMNs.

Going further, these stumbling blocks would be gathered out of the kingdom of incarnation. That is because a concept of incarnation makes it possible for mature humans to interact in a mutually beneficial manner with angels and aliens. One can understand what this means by looking at the analogous case of science and technology. Science and technology integrate the TMNs of mathematical theory with the MMNs of human experience at an objective level. In other words, humans expect science to come up with new gadgets, and when humans experience problems then they look to science to come up with solutions. This sort of interaction between human concrete thought and scientific abstract thought used to be considered miraculous and impossible, because humans in concrete thought would pray to God and angels in abstract thought and then hope to receive a response. Thanks to science and technology, abstract thought and concrete thought now interact in an integrated manner through cycles of research and development. Our discussion about angels and aliens simply adds a personal element to the interaction that already happens in research and development, just as incarnation adds a personal element to the interaction between abstract technical thought and concrete technical thought that already happens in modern society.

The second problem is ‘those who commit lawlessness’. The word commit simply means ‘to do or make’. Lawlessness adds the prefix ‘not’ to the word ‘law’, and this word has occurred once previously in Matthew 7:23 at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. We interpreted that reference to lawlessness as incarnation pointing out to those who practice objective science that they fall personally short of the rigorous standards of their research. In other words, in order to be lawless one must have a concept of law and then choose to personally reject this concept. If ‘committing lawlessness’ refers to the objective technical expert who applies his abstract reasoning to his work but not to himself as a person, then angelic visitation would automatically judge such a person, because an angel is someone who occupies a ‘body’ that applies abstract reasoning to their person.

Using an analogy, computer games make it possible to interact with imaginary persons on a computer. It is possible to deal with such imaginary persons in a lawless manner, such as using a weapon to shoot and kill anything that moves. This lawlessness would become apparent if the imaginary persons on the computer became real persons with real feelings.

Verse 42 continues, “and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Verse 30 talked about the tares being burned up. Verse 40 said the same thing but added the word ‘fire’. Verse 42 includes the word ‘fire’ but also adds the word ‘furnace’. This implies that the pressure is becoming more intense, consistent with the idea that real personal emotions are being added to cognitively generated feelings. Fire was mentioned twice in the Sermon on the Mount and it was also mentioned three times in 3:10-12 in the warning that we have associated with the end of the Roman Empire. Fire is now being mentioned again, in verses 40, 42, and 50. We have interpreted burning up as mental networks self-destructing through frustration. Fire implies that external forces are causing mental networks to self-destruct through frustration. For instance, if modern civilization came to an end, then many mental networks of personal existence would go through a fire of extensive frustration. One can see what this means by observing how people are reacting to the quarantine that is being imposed as a result of the coronavirus. (I am writing this in June, 2020.) For some people, the desire to go out and live like a normal human being has become almost irresistible. That illustrates the initial stages of what it means for mental networks to self-destruct through frustration.

Furnace is used twice in Matthew, in verse 42 and in verse 50, and means ‘furnace, oven, kiln’. Matthew 6:30 talked about the grass being thrown into the oven. A different word is used in verse 42 that means ‘furnace’. A furnace is hotter than an oven, implying that the heat of frustration will be more intense in Matthew 13 than in Matthew 6. This is consistent with the idea that the heat is being actively amplified and is not just the result of cognitive forces.

The phrase ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ occurred once before in 8:12 in the story of the centurion. We interpreted that as a prediction that secular forces would apply incarnation while religion would end up frustrated and sidelined. And we have been observing how the development of science is increasingly sidelining religious thought. Weeping means ‘bitter grief that springs from feeling utterly hopeless’. This describes the sort of emotion that is felt when core mental networks get terminally frustrated and start to fall apart. The implication is that angelic visitation would bring an end to the current form of science that suppresses Mercy emotions by being objective and ignores Teacher feelings through specialization. Teeth are used to chew food. Similarly, one also has to mentally chew on intellectual food before it can be mentally digested. Gnashing of teeth implies that existing methods of chewing on intellectual food would cease to function. That is because many current methods of chewing on intellectual food assume that it is possible to suppress Mercy emotions and ignore Teacher emotions. I have learned through personal experience what such a transformation entails, because it is impossible to suppress subjective Mercy emotions when one is studying the mind. And one has to consider Teacher emotions when using mental symmetry as a meta-theory to compare one specialization with another.

Verse 43 describes the positive side: “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Shine forth is found once in the New Testament, and adds the prefix ‘from out of’ to ‘shine’. Shining refers to the ‘light’ of Teacher understanding. ‘From out of’ tells us that this light is emerging from internal character. And righteous describes the internal character that is the source of the light. I have mentioned that science is righteous at the level of exemplars, because exemplars combine the Teacher theories of math with the Server actions of following procedural steps of action. A righteous person extends the righteousness of exemplars to personal identity. Saying this another way, personal behavior meets the professional standards of technical specialization.

A human occupies a physical body, and a body is a Perceiver object that generates emotional Mercy experiences. By symmetry, an angel would occupy a ‘body’ that is some sort of Server message which contains Teacher emotions. In other words, the ‘body’ of an angel would force an angel to think and behave in a manner that humans regard as righteous. If the righteous are shining forth, then this means that humans who have gone beyond the exemplars of science to personal righteousness will in some way acquire the physical ability to express this personal righteousness, similar to the way that an angel has the ‘physical’ ability to express personal righteousness.

Verse 6 talked about the rising of the sun, and we have connected the sun with a universal Teacher understanding. A universal understanding is not usually connected with a person. However, in the Transfiguration in chapter 17, the face of Jesus shines like the sun. Matthew 13 is ambiguous because it does not say whether righteous ideas are shining forth or whether righteous persons are shining forth. This ambiguity can already be seen with current science, because we talk about Newton’s laws of motion, Einstein’s theory of relativity, Maxwell’s equations, and so on. Each of these terms refer to general theories, but they are also connected with specific persons. The point is that scientific theories are not discovered at random. Instead, they are discovered by specific individuals within specific societies who have developed specific skills and have pursued specific topics. If this relationship between a person and a general theory already exists with objective, specialized science, then a similar but deeper relationship would exist in the more personalized version of science that is being described in Matthew 13.

The explanation of the parable then ends with the familiar phrase “He who has ears, let him hear.” Applying this to our discussion of aliens and angels, if one approaches this topic from the Mercy perspective of human experiences, then what I have said is absurd. But if one approaches the topic from the Teacher perspective of understanding how the mind functions, then this explanation makes sense. And a similar statement can be made about current physics. If one approaches quantum mechanics and quantum field theory from the Mercy perspective of human experiences, then what science says is absurd. But if one approaches these topics from the Teacher perspective of mathematics, then what science says makes sense. Going further, the kind of absurdity that one encounters with quantum mechanics is similar to the kind of absurdity that one encounters when discussing angels and aliens.

Looking briefly at the larger picture, the focus of this chapter has been upon parables or analogies. We saw that alchemy uses unbridled analogies based in surface similarities. We also saw that the non-technical outsider has to use analogies to understand the technical thinking of science. We see here that analogies have to be used when moving between the human and the angelic. That is because technical thought can be used to decipher the laws of the physical universe, and presumably technical thought can also be used—in a different way—to describe the functioning of the angelic realm. But stories of angels and aliens make it clear that the technical laws of the physical universe do not apply to the angelic realm and vice versa. However, it does appear that these two realms are related through analogy.

Seeking Treasure 13:44-46

This idea of moving from one realm to another analogous realm can be seen in the next two parables. Verse 44 says that “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Notice that the word field is being used, which means ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’. This is different than the word ‘earth’ or ‘soil’, which refers to physical space and time. A field is a physical location, but one is using this physical location not to discover the technical laws of space and time, but rather to grow mental networks. This does not mean ignoring the technical thinking of science, but rather learning how to think scientifically in a technical matter, and then transforming this technical thinking into the intuitive expertise of mental networks. This intuitive expertise will then provide appropriate analogies that are capable of relating human and angelic realms.

Looking further at verse 44, treasure means ‘a storehouse for precious things’. Thus, the emphasis is not upon specific valuable items, but rather upon the general framework within which one places valuable items. Hidden means ‘to hide’, and was used in verse 35 to describe the hidden laws of the universe. This treasure house is ‘found, especially after searching’ and then hidden. The result is joy, which describes Teacher emotion.

Goes ‘means to lead away under someone’s authority’. This goes beyond simple movement to behaving in a law-abiding manner. The word sell means ‘to exchange or barter’. One is exchanging one form of wealth for another. Buy ‘stresses transfer – where something becomes another’s belonging’. What is being bought is the field.

Looking at this parable literally, people in Roman times would often bury treasure during times of war or societal upheaval. If those people died, then the buried treasure would remain hidden until discovered at some later time. Someone who discovered such hidden treasure would keep the treasure secret and purchase the field in order to acquire property rights to that treasure.

However, one can also interpret this parable from a cognitive perspective in terms of cognitive ownership. The man discovers a treasure that generates positive Teacher emotions. (The word man in verse 44 is the generic word for ‘mankind’.) But he does not own this treasure and has no way of directly purchasing this treasure. In fact, the treasure is not even a treasure, but rather a box for treasure. This describes what it means to encounter a general theory in Teacher thought. How does one purchase a theory? How does one purchase something that is a container for things and not a thing itself?

The answer is to ‘sell all you have’ and ‘buy the field’. We saw earlier that righteousness means being guided by the TMN of a general understanding rather than by MMNs of personal identity and society. Verse 44 is describing the cognitive result of many related righteous actions, because one is selling all that one has in order to buy an entire field. Righteousness is motivated by Teacher emotion rather than Mercy emotion. Buying a ‘field’ adds the positive Mercy motivation of Platonic forms—because Platonic forms emerge within Mercy thought as an indirect result of Teacher understanding. These Platonic forms are implied by the idea of hidden treasure, because Platonic forms are internal, idealized concepts of ultimate value.

Platonic forms that emerge from acts of righteousness are different than Platonic forms that emerge from studying absolute truth. The Platonic forms of absolute truth are unreachable because they come from words that have no connection with real life. Platonic forms that are based in righteousness can be bought because they are the result of choosing to behave in a manner that is consistent with how things work. Modern technology has shown us that this kind of Platonic form is doable.

Looking at cognitive ownership more closely, ownership and exchange of ownership can only function in a system of law and order. Otherwise, ownership decays into using force to try to grab and hold onto items. Physical ownership is only possible because one’s physical body and the item both reside within physical locations within physical space. Ownership would become meaningless if one lived in the middle of the ocean where everything drifted by. Similarly, cognitive ownership can only function to the extent that mental networks are operating within a mental grid of Perceiver facts and Server sequences. ‘Buying the field’ means constructing such a mental grid. We mentioned earlier that such a grid prevents MMNs of personal identity from poking directly into one another. This same grid also makes it possible to think in terms of cognitive ownership. Otherwise the mind fragments into various emotional fiefdoms, with thought and behavior being determined by whichever mental networks are currently being triggered by the environment.

For instance, when I face a major issue, I try to evaluate the situation in the light of mental symmetry and personal cognitive development. This means asking myself what decision would cause me to develop as a person. The resulting choice is not always the decision that one would make if approaching the situation from a normal human Mercy perspective. By approaching the situation from the perspective of mental symmetry, I am buying the treasure chest in the field. That is because the choice changes me in this area from being motivated by normal MMNs to being motivated by the TMN of the theory of mental symmetry. The end result of selling all that I have is that I eventually gain cognitive ownership of the field in which the theory of mental symmetry resides.

Something similar happens when one is doing an experiment. Normally one performs Server actions in order to reach some Mercy goal. For instance, one may throw a ball in order to hit some target. But when a student of physics throws a ball, the goal is not to hit a target. Instead, the purpose is to compare the path of one ball with the path of another ball. One is being motivated by the Teacher goal of understanding the general principle that describes how balls travel through the air. But one does not discover this general principle by throwing a single ball through the air. Instead, one has to throw many balls, which means being motivated many times by Teacher thought instead of Mercy thought within this context. Eventually, one acquires ownership of the theory that lies in the field, which means that one will intuitively know how to apply this theory in a number of different areas.

This parable also illustrates why Jesus would jump forward to talking about angels. Western society is about to experience the Scientific Revolution. A paradigm shift replaces one general Teacher theory with another. Verse 44 describes a transition that is more basic than a paradigm shift because one is making a shift from being motivated by MMNs to be driven by TMNs.

Saying this in more detail, one is realizing for the first time that paradigms exist. One is not just moving from one TMN to another TMN through a paradigm shift, but rather making a shift from MMNs of personal experience and culture to TMNs of general understanding. Applying this to the Scientific Revolution, Western society is on the verge of entering into a new form of society that is guided by TMNs of scientific theory, and this form of society has never existed before. And there will be no turning back. Thomas Kuhn describes this shift from pre-scientific thought to scientific thought and points out that a scientist who acquires a paradigm cannot return to the mental state of having no paradigm.

This is cognitively analogous to modern society being judged by angels. Humanity will learn for the first time what it means to encounter beings that are ruled by the TMNs of personal messages. Western society will then enter a new form of existence that is guided by an angelic TMNs, a form of society that has never existed before. And there will be no turning back. (The average modern person does not have such a mental grid. Instead, the physical infrastructure of modern civilization substitutes for an internal grid of rational understanding. This relates to 8:11-12 which said that those from the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun would enter into the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom would be thrown out. That is because the sons of the kingdom are ‘sons’ whose ‘parents’ used their internal ‘grid’ to construct the physical kingdom in which the ‘sons’ now live. This same principle applies to physical wealth because 70% of wealthy families lose their wealth by the second generation, and 90% by the third.)

Verses 45-46 describe another short parable: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Merchant is used once in Matthew and means ‘a passenger on shipboard, a merchant’ which indicates a person traveling from one location to another in order to buy and sell. Pearls were mentioned once before in Matthew 7:6 which warned against casting one’s pearls before the swine. A pearl is an object of beauty that grows over time in response to personal irritation. Looking at this cognitively, one is stuck within an unpleasant Mercy situation, and one is choosing to be motivated by TMNs of understanding rather than by the unpleasant MMNs of the situation. This pearl is described as ‘attractively good’, which we have interpreted as pleasant Mercy experiences. And the merchant is seeking, which means ‘to seek by inquiring’.

Putting this together, one is traveling from one situation to another searching for ways of responding to problems that lead to results which are attractively good. One then comes across ‘one pearl of great value’, and the word one is explicitly mentioned. Find means ‘to discover, especially after searching’. Very precious combines ‘much in number’ with ‘perceived value; worth’.

The parable of the field describes the coming transformation in scientific thinking, exemplified by Newton’s Principia Mathematica, published in 1687. The parable of the pearl describes a transformation in Protestant thought that began with German Pietism, founded by Philipp Spener, who lived from 1635-1705. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Spener stressed the necessity of a new birth and separation of Christians from the world. Many Pietists maintained that the new birth always had to be preceded by agonies of repentance, and that only a regenerated theologian could teach theology. The whole school shunned all common worldly amusements, such as dancing, the theatre, and public games.” A pearl grows in response to irritation. Similarly, Pietism regarded the new birth as growing out of agonies of repentance. The merchant is selling everything in order to buy the pearl. Similarly, Pietism sold all worldly amusement in order to purchase the ‘pearl of great price’.

Pietism focused upon the value of this one pearl. “The main difference between the new Pietistic Lutheran school and the orthodox Lutherans arose from the Pietists’ conception of Christianity as chiefly consisting in a change of heart and consequent holiness of life. Orthodox Lutherans rejected this viewpoint as a gross simplification, stressing the need for the church and for sound theological underpinnings.” Notice how Pietism is being regarded as a gross simplification—a focusing upon a single pearl.

Wikipedia describes the spread of German Pietism. “Spener died in 1705, but the movement, guided by Francke and fertilized from Halle, spread through the whole of Middle and North Germany. Among its greatest achievements, apart from the philanthropic institutions founded at Halle, were the revival of the Moravian Church in 1727 by Count von Zinzendorf, Spener’s godson and a pupil in the Halle School for Young Noblemen, and the establishment of Protestant missions.”

Wikipedia adds that “the Moravian missionaries were the first large-scale Protestant missionary movement. They sent out the first missionaries when there were only 300 inhabitants in Herrnhut. Within 30 years, the church sent hundreds of Christian missionaries to many parts of the world, including the Caribbean, North and South America, the Arctic, Africa, and the Far East. They were the first to send lay people (rather than clergy) as missionaries, the first Protestant denomination to minister to slaves, and the first Protestant presence in many countries.”

Summarizing, the parable of the treasure in the field describes a transformation that happened within the Teacher thinking of science, while the parable of the pearl describes a transformation that happened within the Mercy experiences of Protestant religion. In the words of Wikipedia, “Rudolf Sohm claimed that ‘It was the last great surge of the waves of the ecclesiastical movement begun by the Reformation; it was the completion and the final form of the Protestantism created by the Reformation.’”

One can also see in the extensive missionary activity the idea of a merchant traveling from one location to another. And this traveling from one location to another also characterized the previous history of the Moravian Protestants. A strong Protestant culture had emerged in Bohemia in the 16th century. But during the Counter-Reformation, “The local Protestant noblemen were either executed or expelled from the country while the Habsburgs placed Catholic (and mostly German speaking) nobility in their place. The war, plague, and subsequent disruption led to a decline in the population from over 3 million to some 800,000 people. By 1622 the entire education system was in the hands of Jesuits and all Protestant schools were closed.”

The Moravian church then became an underground movement traveling from one country to another. “The Brethren were forced to operate underground and eventually dispersed across Northern Europe as far as the Low Countries, where their Bishop John Amos Comenius attempted to direct a resurgence… In 1722, a small group of Bohemian Brethren (the ‘Hidden Seed’) who had been living in northern Moravia as an illegal underground remnant surviving in the Catholic setting of the Habsburg Empire for nearly 100 years, arrived at the Berthelsdorf estate of Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, a nobleman who had been brought up in the traditions of Lutheran Pietism.”

(Wikipedia mentions two other interesting historical connections. The original ‘Bohemian Brethren’ “held to a strict obedience to the Sermon on the Mount, which included non-swearing of oaths, non-resistance, and not accumulating wealth. Because of this, they considered themselves separate from the majority Hussites that did not hold those teachings. They received episcopal ordination through the Waldensians in 1467.” We have seen that the Sermon on the Mount summarizes the plan for Western Civilization, while the Waldensians were the mendicant order that was rejected by the Catholic Church.)

The Dragnet 13:47-50

Verse 47 presents another parable. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind.” (As the NASB points out, the word ‘fish’ is not in the original Greek.) The word dragnet is used once in the New Testament and ‘is a much larger net than the usual casting net’. This large net is thrown into the sea, which represents the realm of Mercy experiences. Gathering means ‘to lead together’ and was previously used in verse 30 to describe the wheat being gathered into the barn. Kind means ‘family, offspring’ and is the source of the English word ‘genus’, every ‘focuses on the parts making up the whole’, and of actually means ‘from out of’. These terms describe an indiscriminate gathering of representative experiences from every category. This summarizes the approach of scientific research, which attempts to study every possible area of experience in order to gather empirical data. However, scientific research is morally indiscriminate. Scientific research does not distinguish between pleasant Mercy experiences and painful Mercy experiences. (Though it will question using data gathered by the Nazis in extermination camps.)

This indiscriminate collection of data is then analyzed. “And when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away” (v.48). (The word ‘fish’ is again implied.) Filled means to ‘fill to individual capacity’. This conveys the idea that enough data has to be gathered before any analysis becomes statistically significant. Draw up is used once in the New Testament and means ‘to cause to go up or ascend’. This conveys the idea of heading in the direction of Teacher generality. The net is drawn up onto the beach. This word is found twice in Matthew and was previously used in verse 2 to describe the crowd standing on the beach. The idea is that one moves from Mercy experience to the solid ground of Perceiver facts. But one is moving to the tentative Perceiver facts of statistical analysis that lie adjacent to the sea of Mercy experience. Sat down may appear to be a common verb, but it has only been used once previously in Matthew 5:1 at the very beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. The idea is that one leaves the realm of raw Mercy experiences and sits down upon the beach of statistical facts.

This is then followed by sorting the facts and rejecting the outliers. The word gather has been used five times in this chapter and describes the integrating role played by Teacher thought. Good means ‘attractively good’, which implies that one is not examining any intrinsic moral goodness. And ‘vessels’ is in the plural, which tells us that the good data is being collected into various categories. Bad means ‘poor quality, unfit for use’. And away means ‘outside, without’. Similarly, when statistical analysis is performed, then data that is of poor quality or unfit for use will be thrown out.

Thus, one sees in these verses a summary of the method of collecting and statistically analyzing scientific data. This mention of statistical analysis is historically appropriate. Wikipedia summarizes that “The birth of statistics is often dated to 1662, when John Graunt, along with William Petty, developed early human statistical and census methods that provided a framework for modern demography. He produced the first life table, giving probabilities of survival to each age. His book Natural and Political Observations Made upon the Bills of Mortality used analysis of the mortality rolls to make the first statistically based estimation of the population of London.”

Verse 49 then says that the future judgment by angels will occur in an analogous manner. “So it will be at the consummation of the age; the angels will come forth and separate out the wicked from among the righteous.” So means ‘in this way, thus’, which tells us that we are dealing with an analogy. And ‘consummation of the age’ is the same phrase that was used in verses 39 and 40. Come forth means ‘to go or come out of’. This is consistent with the idea of consummation describing ‘when the parts come together into a whole’. The angels are currently in a limited realm; they occupy one part of the whole. When the age is consummated, then they will come out of this part and spread to the rest of the whole.

The word separate combines ‘separated from’ with ‘make boundaries’, and this the first of three times that this word is used in Matthew. They will separate the evil out from the midst of the righteous. This word same word ‘midst’ was used in verse 25 to describe the tares in the midst of the wheat. Evil means pain-ridden, while righteous describes Server actions that are guided by a Teacher understanding of God. (The Bible dictionary describes this as ‘what is in conformity to God’s own being’.)

Looking at this cognitively, objective science understands the concept of righteousness because it thinks in terms of exemplars—Server actions that are in conformity to the universal Teacher laws of Nature. But objective science does not distinguish between good and evil, as shown by the indiscriminate gathering from the dragnet. The end result is that pain-ridden Mercy MMNs reside within the midst of the righteousness of science. Saying this another way, science currently distinguishes between scientific and non-scientific thinking in Teacher thought, but it does not currently distinguish between moral goodness and moral badness in Mercy thought.

However, a future angelic judgment would remove the indiscriminate dragnet of objective science out of the water of Mercy experience and pull it up in the direction of Teacher thought. This would happen automatically because angelic messengers live in Teacher thought while human science approaches the sea of human experience in an objective manner. Angelic messengers would be attracted to the righteousness of science—and other forms of human organization—because this aspect of human existence most resembles the realm of messages in which angel messengers live. This is similar to the way that one is attracted to culturally familiar places when visiting a foreign country. And the angelic messengers visiting human organization would naturally be repulsed by anything within these angel-like structural systems that was driven by pain-ridden human MMNs rather than by angelic order, just as a traveler visiting a familiar place in a foreign country is repulsed when encountering something within this familiar place that violates his culture.

For instance, I often shopped at bakeries such as Paris Baguette when living in Korea because they sold bread and pastry that reminded me of home. And their baked goods were usually quite tasty. However, it was intensely disappointing to bite into a delicious pastry and encounter a filling of red bean paste. My instinctive response was to remove the offending bean paste from the midst of the pastry and set it aside.

Similarly, verse 50 says that the angels “will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ‘Furnace’ is mentioned twice in Matthew, here and in verse 42. In verse 42, we observed that the furnace of that verse was hotter than the oven mentioned in Matthew 6. We now see why the furnace is hotter. It is being actively heated by angelic (and/or alien) visitors. This would not necessarily mean that angelic messengers are actively doing anything. Instead, their very presence would provoke gut-level responses that would heat up the furnace. Using an analogy, they would naturally be drawn to their version of Paris Baguette, and they would naturally respond with disgust when encountering their version of red bean paste.

Perceiver thought organizes Mercy experiences into categories. Verse 49 says that the angels will ‘mark off by boundaries from’, which indicates an active form of Perceiver categorizing. Humans influence their environment by using use Server thought to perform physical actions. Angels appear to influence their environment by using Perceiver thought to exert power. This would be experienced by humans as an active form of Perceiver categorizing. The end result would be that any human thinking that is based upon a juxtaposition of angelic Teacher order and childish Mercy emotions would become frustrated, because the angels would instinctively separate out the childish human Mercy emotions from the angelic Teacher order. The end result for this kind of juxtaposed thinking would be the frustration of ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’.

For instance, most human entertainment falls into this category because the angelic Teacher order of technology is being used to broadcast human childish emotions. Similarly, the modern military also falls into this category because the angelic Teacher order of high-tech is being juxtaposed with childish Mercy human feelings of tribalism and warfare. Most of the social sciences now ‘qualify’ because the angelic Teacher order of the university system has been co-opted to promote childish MMNs of culture and lifestyle. My local educational system in British Columbia would qualify because the government now mandates that native spirituality has to be regarded as the central aspect of all education. Teaching about native spirituality and culture is not enough. Instead, native thought is now supposed to be the central theme that guides the teaching of all subjects and classes. In other words, when a teacher is teaching physics, math, or a foreign language such as German, he is supposed to do so in a way that respects native culture and spirituality.

New and Old Treasures 13:51-52

Jesus then asks, “‘Have you understood all these things?’ They said to Him, ‘“Yes’” (v. 51). Understand means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’ and this is the last of six times that this word is used in chapter 13. Notice that it is the disciples of Jesus who are answering yes. ‘Joining facts into a comprehensive whole describes a new way of using Perceiver thought’.

When one is following absolute truth, then Perceiver thought will be used primarily to evaluate truth and error. Any Perceiver facts that are based in ‘good’ Mercy sources will be regarded as absolute truth, while any Perceiver facts that are based in ‘bad’ Mercy sources will be regarded as absolute error. For instance, for many American voters, anything that comes from their own political party is labeled as ‘true’ whereas anything that comes from the opposing political party is labeled as ‘false’. All other information will then be evaluated depending on how similar it is to either ‘truth’ or ‘error’.

A new form of Perceiver thought becomes possible when parables are combined with ‘joining facts into a comprehensive whole’. What happens is that Perceiver thought becomes capable of building general Teacher theories by pointing out similarities between one concept or theory and another. A similarity is a kind of parable, because one situation is functioning like another. Technical thought is appropriate for working out the details of some theory, but technical thought cannot ‘joint facts into a comprehensive whole’ because technical thought specializes. Instead, if one wants to come up with a general Teacher theory that ‘joins facts into a comprehensive whole’, then one has to use Perceiver thought to discover analogies and parallels between one technical specialization and another.

This sounds simple but it will be made more complicated by the presence of ‘tares’. I mentioned earlier that every technical specialization will naturally become policed by ‘tares’ who will use their emotional status to ensure that all thinking within this field is sufficiently rigorous. But the analogies that Perceiver thought uses to relate one technical field with another will inevitably be less rigorous than the logic that is being used within a technical field. In order to cross the intellectual bridges that separate one technical specialization from another, one will have to become a disciple of incarnation.

Saying this more rigorously, technical thought prefers to use deductive reasoning, in which one starts with facts that are certain and then follows a chain of logic in which each step is certain. ‘Joining facts into a comprehensive whole’, in contrast, is a form of inductive reasoning. Wikipedia explains that “Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying some evidence, but not full assurance, for the truth of the conclusion. It is also described as a method where one’s experiences and observations, including what are learned from others, are synthesized to come up with a general truth… Inductive reasoning is distinct from deductive reasoning. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument is probable, based upon the evidence given.” Argument from analogy is one of the primary methods of inductive reasoning. Statistical analysis is another form of inductive reasoning.

Verse 52 describes the kind of understanding that results. “And He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure [things] new and old.’” The word scribe comes from the word ‘to write’ and scribes have been mentioned several times in Matthew. This is the first time that scribes are described in a positive light, telling us that a new form of written learning is emerging. (I just now noticed the linguistic connection between ‘scribe’ and ‘describe’.) So far, scribes have usually been associated with the purity of Pharisees, indicating a mindset of absolute truth with its holy books and official textbooks. Here, the scribes are described as ‘having been discipled into the kingdom of the heavens’, and disciple comes from a root that describes ‘the mental effort needed to think something through’. Using educational language, those who study textbooks and holy books have gone beyond rote learning to critical thinking. But this critical thinking is not just a form of historical criticism which attempts to explain away the text as some form of myth. Instead, it is a critical thinking into the kingdom of the heavens—a critical thinking that focuses upon the discovery of Teacher order. For instance, this describes the mindset that we are using in these essays on New Testament books. We are not attempting to explain the Bible away, but rather to move beyond rote learning and blind faith to intelligent Teacher understanding.

The word like tells us again that we are dealing with an analogy. Treasure means ‘storehouse of treasure’ and was seen earlier in verse 35 in the parable of the treasure in the field. The implication is that the man in that parable has now gone out, bought the field, and owns the treasure.

‘Things’ is implied and not explicitly mentioned. New means ‘fresh in development because not found exactly like this before’. This word has been used once previously in Matthew 9:17 when talking about new wineskins. This implies that new wineskins have finally been developed; a new framework for the fresh wine has finally emerged. Old means ‘old, ancient’ and the previous occurrence was in 9:17 in the reference to old wineskins. These two terms suggest that a new perspective has emerged which is independent of new and old and which covers both new and old. This describes the generality of Teacher thought, because a truly general theory can be used both to explain both existing Mercy situations and come up with new Mercy experiences.

However, the other words suggest that this is happening in a somewhat unnatural manner. Head of a household combines ‘house’ with ‘despot’ and was seen earlier in verse 27. Brings out combines ‘from out of’ with ‘throw’ and the preposition ‘from out of’ is then repeated. Thus a more literal translation would be ‘ejected’ rather than ‘brings out’. I suggest that there is a cognitive reason for this unnaturalness. Jesus is comparing the situation to that of a scribe who has been discipled. I have mentioned that absolute truth is a transitional form of learning, because it is based in Mercy status but can lead to Teacher understanding. One initially believes the book because of the emotional Mercy status ascribed to its author, but one studies the book in order to gain Teacher understanding. This Mercy status is reflected in the term ‘despot’. The end result is that the Teacher understanding becomes ejected from the book. One reads the book with respect, one gains a Teacher understanding, and then one shakes one’s head and realizes that the understanding is true because the book is an accurate description of universal truth and not because it is an absolute source of truth. This realization then leads to many implications regarding the nature of God and truth. This essay provides an illustration.

If humans were to encounter angelic messengers, then there would be a similar ejection of understanding. That is because objective science implicitly assumes that only physical reality exists. The quantum theorist may state verbally that physical reality is merely oscillations in quantum fields, but the same quantum theorist acts as if physical reality is solid. Similarly, the person who watches computer-generated entertainment can tell you the difference between the alternate reality on the screen and the reality of physical life. But suppose that such individuals actually encountered angelic messengers in the flesh. On the one hand, this would be a confirmation of existing understanding, because alternate reality would turn into reality and physical reality would reveal itself to be merely oscillations in quantum fields. But on the other hand, this confirmation would reveal implicit mental networks of physical common sense, because mental implicit networks only reveal themselves when they become violated.

The underlying problem is that the scribe has been acting as a house despot. A book tames the idea of an important person, turning the words of the expert into the safe object of a book over which one can personally rule. However, I am increasingly finding when writing these essays that doing a cognitive analysis of a book of the Bible is not safe. Instead, I inevitably find that understanding comes at a cost. Most of my initial understanding came because I had already paid the cost and the biblical text resonated with my personal experience. But writing this essay on Matthew has been psychologically very expensive for a number of reasons. The end result is a mindset that is increasingly able to conceive of existing in a general, larger world that would include both the physical and the angelic.

Notice that there are two related problems. The first problem is moving beyond absolute truth to Teacher understanding. In order to take this step, Perceiver thought has to wake up. The second problem is using Perceiver thought to extend Teacher understanding. In order to take that step, Perceiver thought has to become active. Both of these steps require the presence of Perceiver confidence. And if taking the first step does not require extensive Perceiver confidence, then one may not have sufficient Perceiver confidence to take the second step.

Applying this principle to stories of aliens, I suggest that a primary guiding principle when evaluating such material is to ask if the author has paid a personal price for his knowledge. For instance, I would not want to meet the aliens with whom Whitley Strieber claims to interact, and I would not want to follow his path of contact through meditation. But it is clear that Strieber has paid a deep personal price for his knowledge. This does not mean that I believe everything that he says, but I do think that there is significant validity to his statements. And I would place more weight on what he says than upon the words of some expert in biblical prophecy who does the seminar circuit and jokes about nuclear bombs being dropped during the coming Great Tribulation. (This happened a few years ago at a prophecy conference which I attended that took place in a church across the street from my home.)

A Prophet in his own Hometown 13:53-58

The final verses of the chapter describe what happens when this new Teacher-based thinking meets MMNs of culture. A similar transition happened at the end of chapter 12. There the conflict was between Jesus and his family and it led to a new social culture of academia. Here the conflict is between Jesus and his hometown and this conflict will lead to a larger social transformation.

Verse 53 describes the transition. “When Jesus had finished these parables, He departed from there.” The original Greek adds the word ‘come into being’. Therefore, a more literal translation would be ‘and it came into being when Jesus had finished these parables’. Finished means ‘to complete’ and is part of the word ‘consummate’ that was described earlier. Thus, the parables have completed their work and have caused something new to come into being. Depart is only used twice in the New Testament and conveys a sense of ‘lifting up and removing from one place to another’. This implies a total change in thinking, which happens when one moves from Mercy thought to Teacher thought. This would describe the transition from proto-scientific thought to scientific understanding, and it would also describe the analogous transition from human thought to human plus angelic thought.

In verse 54, Jesus teaches in his own hometown. “He came to His hometown and began teaching them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’” The word hometown is found twice in Matthew, both times in this section, and means ‘of one’s fathers, fatherland’. Fatherland implies traditional male thought—the knowledge and expertise of one’s previous background. For instance, this essay is an example of me returning to my fatherland because I am analyzing biblical books that I originally learned about in Sunday School.

Jesus is teaching in their synagogue, and ‘their’ is in the original Greek. Applying this to Western Civilization, this would represent the new scientific thought being taught in the old universities that are under the control of the old scholastic mindset. Looking forward to a future analogous angelic encounter, this would describe a new way of thinking that included angelic existence being taught within an existing academic system with its current assumptions of materialism.

The word astonished means to ‘strike out of one’s senses’. This word has occurred once previously in 7:28 at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. It describes an audience whose sense of reasonableness is being totally violated. For instance, this essay violates all reasonableness when it comes to biblical interpretation. This does not mean that my reasoning is wrong, but rather that my statements are a statistical outlier. Nobody has ever talked this way before. The adverb where has been used once previously in Matthew in verse 27 when the slaves asked where the tares came from. In both cases, something is appearing from some unknown source that has nothing to do with the existing context.

The audience notices two things. First, they notice wisdom, which means ‘clarity’. Thus, the teaching of Jesus may come out of the blue, but it is clear. It is not ambiguous. Second, they notice power, a term that can describe either physical power or miraculous power.

These two terms would describe how the new scientific understanding would appear to an audience. Modern quantum mechanics is guided by mathematics that are almost incomprehensible. However, the physics and chemistry of the 18th century uses clear definitions and generates powerful theoretical results. And this early physics and chemistry is still taught in high school to students. Similarly, it appears that the relationship between human and angelic existence can be described in clear terms using the simple theory of mental symmetry, a meta-theory with amazing explaining power. Applying this to the behavior of any angelic visitors, they would exert angelic power and the effects of this angelic power would be very clear.

But that is only the initial reaction. Verse 55 describes the questioning that happens next. “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” The word carpenter means ‘craftsman in wood’. It is only used here and in the parallel passage in Mark 6. A craftsman uses technical thought. A craftsman in wood uses technical thought with living material. Jesus is described as the son of a carpenter, which means that a concept of incarnation emerged when technical thought was extended to the realm of mental networks.

As was mentioned at the beginning of this essay, the name Mary comes from Miriam, the sister of Moses, and means ‘beloved’ in Egyptian and ‘rebellion or bitterness’ in Hebrew. Egypt is a picture of the world, while Hebrew indicates a religious mindset. Thus, Mary conveys the idea of viewing the worldly loves as rebellion against following God, combined with a feeling of bitterness provoked by the belief that following God requires turning one’s back upon worldly pleasures. This name makes more cognitive sense now that we have looked at the interaction between wheat and tares. The mixed emotions suggested by the name Mary will naturally emerge when one pursues scientific thought in an era that has not yet experienced the benefits of scientific thought. I know what this means personally because working with mental symmetry is theoretically and personally satisfying, but I still do not know if this theory will have any practical benefits in the physical world.

The names of Jesus’ brothers are then mentioned, and we encountered most of these names when looking at the names of the twelve disciples in Matthew 10. James is actually Jacob, which means ‘to follow, to supplant’. Joseph means ‘he increases’. Simon comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘to hear’. And Judas means ‘praised’. This sequence of names would summarize how the cultural background of incarnation would view the development of incarnation and technical thought. First, technical thought is seen as something different and threatening that supplants existing MMNs of culture. But the benefits of this disruptive thinking become apparent as technical thought optimizes and improves existing culture. The average person would then notice that technical thought has moved to the abstract realm of words. Instead of just making improvements, technical thought is now talking about theory. Finally, the average person would notice that this new theoretical version of technical thought has become quite famous.

Verse 56 continues, “And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” This is the second time that the word ‘sister’ is used in Matthew. The implication is that the average person has experienced and enjoyed the new mental networks that have resulted from technical thought. One thinks, for instance, of all of the art and music that accompanied the Scientific Revolution. The word with actually means ‘motion towards’. It is very common in the New Testament and almost never translated as ‘with’. The idea is that the female mental networks that express technical thought have moved toward the culture out of which incarnation emerged—and presumably are appreciated by this culture. For instance, very few people are interested in hearing anything about mental symmetry. But many people enjoy my violin playing, which expresses the transformed mental networks that have formed as a result of following mental symmetry. They like the fruit but they do not like the tree that produces the fruit.

The word ‘from where’ that was mentioned in verse 54 is then repeated. The question that is asked is void of nouns in the original Greek: ‘From where then to this all these?’ This conveys the impression that nothing is specifically wrong, but everything is wrong at the level of generality. I remember encountering precisely this reaction when giving one seminar. A Wycliffe Bible translator was in the audience and even though she could not find anything specifically wrong with my presentation she was convinced that I was totally wrong. That is what happens when one takes information that has been acquired from Mercy thought and approaches it from the direction of Teacher thought. The Bible translator was approaching Christianity from the Mercy perspective of absolute truth, while I was approaching the same content from the Teacher perspective of a cognitive theory.

Verse 57 summarizes “And they took offense at Him”. Offense has been seen several times and is the source of the English word ‘scandalize’. We have interpreted offense as mental roadblocks that stand in the way of Teacher understanding. The offense here is happening at a generic level, with the generic approach of using Mercy thought being offended by the generic approach of using Teacher understanding. Nothing is wrong at the level of specifics, and the complaint is a generic complaint that can only sputter out pronouns.

Jesus then responds with a well-known proverb: “But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’” It is interesting that Jesus refers to himself as a prophet, because that would describe how the culture of incarnation would regard incarnation. A prophet points out truth and predicts what will happen.

The word without honor adds the prefix ‘without’ to ‘attributing worth’. This lack of honor occurs in two locations. Hometown means ‘fatherland’ and was seen three verses earlier. Household simply means ‘house, dwelling’. The idea is that the MMNs of personal identity are too strong and the existing ways of thinking are too similar for people to make a shift to Teacher thought.

Verse 58 describes the practical result: “And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.” The word miracle actually means ‘power’ and was used in verse 54. Unbelief is used once in Matthew, and adds the prefix ‘un’ to ‘belief’. Belief means to ‘be persuaded’. Persuasion means willingness to be guided by Teacher understanding. The previous verses have described an unwillingness to be guided by Teacher understanding. Technical thought can only perform works of power for people who are willing to be persuaded by the rational Teacher theories of technical thought.

We discussed the concept of cognitive ownership. We are now seeing one of the downsides of cognitive ownership. The ‘fatherland’ of incarnation has a mental grid within which to place the thought and behavior of incarnation. It uses this mental grid to connect most of this thinking and behavior with MMNs of family and culture. As a result, it is unable to connect the thinking or behavior of incarnation to TMNs of understanding. Saying this more simply, it knows the right things for inadequate reasons.

Turning now to European history, Isaac Newton provided a major initial spark for the age of Enlightenment. Wikipedia summarizes: “The Enlightenment emerged out of a European intellectual and scholarly movement known as Renaissance humanism. Some consider the publication of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica in 1687 as the first major enlightenment work. French historians traditionally date the Enlightenment from 1715 to 1789, from the death of Louis XIV of France until the outbreak of the French Revolution that ended the Ancien Regime.”

However, even though Isaac Newton, a British author, helping to start the Enlightenment, Britain itself did not really experience the Enlightenment. From an official viewpoint, “The British government, for the most part, ignored the Enlightenment’s leaders in England and Scotland, although it did give Isaac Newton a knighthood and a very lucrative government office.” Going further, “The very existence of an English Enlightenment has been hotly debated by scholars. The majority of textbooks on British history make little or no mention of an English Enlightenment… Roy Porter argues that the reasons for this neglect were the assumptions that the movement was primarily French-inspired, that it was largely a-religious or anti-clerical, and that it stood in outspoken defiance to the established order.” In contrast, British “leading intellectuals such as Edward Gibbon, Edmund Burke and Samuel Johnson were all quite conservative and supportive of the standing order. Enlightenment had come early to England and had succeeded so that the culture had accepted political liberalism, philosophical empiricism, and religious toleration of the sort that intellectuals on the continent had to fight for against powerful odds.”

Using the language of Matthew, the Enlightenment did not spread in its fatherland, because the existing British mindset was too similar to that of the Enlightenment to provoke a major transition. Instead, British thinkers largely defended the status quo and became offended by the French questioning of the MMNs of political and religious authority. (Moving forward in history, the French Enlightenment eventually self-destructed in the French Revolution while Britain experienced the Industrial Revolution. However, most of the rational thinking of the Enlightenment happened in France precisely because of conflict with existing culture and social structure.)

The next reference to angels is in 16:27. Thus, we will not be talking about angels until then. That is good, because angels and the angelic realm are about to become taboo subjects. The TMNs of scientific understanding that are about to emerge will drive the scientist to focus upon physical reality while belittling the existence of non-physical reality.

However, before we continue we need to look at one individual from this period of history who combined scientific thought with angelic visions. I am referring to Emmanuel Swedenborg, who lived from 1688-1772. A lot of Swedenborg’s theology is strange, but he describes heaven as a spiritual realm that is governed by mental networks, and his description is consistent with the theory of mental symmetry. (This spiritual realm appears to be different than the angelic realm that we have just discussed. The angelic realm is the mirror image of the physical realm, while the spiritual realm interacts with mental networks.) I suggest that one major error in the thinking of Swedenborg is his concept of the Trinity, because he says that only the incarnation of Jesus Christ ultimately exists. However, this error is historically appropriate because Swedenborg’s society was on the verge of going through a major transition with regard to the concept of incarnation. Going further, one can explain most of Swedenborg’s heresies as a result of confusing Teacher thought with Mercy thought.

Swedenborg’s ideas have influenced many well-known people over the years. Wikipedia summarizes that “A variety of important cultural figures, both writers and artists, were influenced by Swedenborg’s writings, including Robert Frost, Johnny Appleseed, William Blake, Jorge Luis Borges, Daniel Burnham, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Flaxman, George Inness, Henry James Sr., Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Honoré de Balzac, Helen Keller, Czesław Miłosz, August Strindberg, D. T. Suzuki, and W. B. Yeats.”

Herod and John the Baptist 14:1-2

Chapter 14 opens with the infamous story of the beheading of John the Baptist. We have been interpreting John the Baptist as the mindset of absolute truth. Thus, the beheading of John the Baptist by government authorities suggests that government is decapitating absolute truth in some fundamental and irrevocable matter. I suggested earlier when looking at the seven spirits of 12:45 that one of the spirits was the divine right of kings. In essence, this describes government taking over the role of absolute truth.

Chapter 14 begins, “At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, and said to his servants, ‘This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’” The word time is time as opportunity. ‘At that time’ tells us that chapter 14 does not happen after chapter 13, but rather that these two chapters overlap chronologically.

We saw earlier that Herod means ‘son of a hero’. Tetrarch means ‘ruler over a fourth part of a region’ and this Herod the tetrarch was a son of the Herod that we saw back in Matthew 2.

The word for servant means ‘child under training’. This is different than a slave, and implies that government is starting to emphasize education and training. This focus on training can be seen in what Herod tells his servants. He says that Jesus is John the Baptist. Saying this cognitively, the technical thinking of incarnation is being treated by government as a new form of absolute truth. Government recognizes that existing absolute truth has died. And it is viewing the new technical thinking of science as a replacement for absolute truth.

The beginning of chapter 14 describes the beheading of John the Baptist, which implies that something major will happen to the mindset of absolute truth. The word miraculous powers can refer to either natural or supernatural power. And in a sense, there is no difference between these two. On the one hand, science and technology have used natural power to generate results that previous generations regarded as miraculous. For instance, I am sitting in front of three computer screens dictating this essay by voice while accessing information from around the world. This would have been considered miraculous not long ago. On the other hand, we just looked at angelic messengers and suggested that they function in a manner that is analogous to natural power.

The word at work is only used once in Matthew and is an intensified version of ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’. The Bible dictionary describes it as ‘energize, working in a situation which brings it from one stage to the next, like an electrical current energizing a wire, bringing it to a shining light bulb.’ The reference to electrical energy is illuminating because it describes one example of the ‘miraculous powers’ that can be achieved through the technical thinking of incarnation. This is brought out by the final phrase of verse 2, which is more literally, ‘the powers are energized in the realm of him’.

Looking at this cognitively, government legislates absolute truth for the people and then implements this absolute truth by imposing a power upon reality. Government would look at the emerging science and technology through the same lens as a source of absolute truth that imposes power upon reality.

Turning now to Western history, the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 played a major role in the death of absolute truth. Wikipedia quotes Henry Kissinger as saying, “The Westphalian peace reflected a practical accommodation to reality, not a unique moral insight. It relied on a system of independent states refraining from interference in each other’s domestic affairs and checking each other’s ambitions through a general equilibrium of power. No single claim to truth or universal rule had prevailed in Europe’s contests. Instead, each state was assigned the attribute of sovereign power over its territory. Each would acknowledge the domestic structures and religious vocations of its fellow states and refrain from challenging their existence.” In other words, a single absolute religious truth no longer ruled over all of Europe. Instead, each prince determined the absolute truth for his own domain and refrained from imposing absolute truth upon his neighboring prince.

In the previous section we related the parable of the dragnet with statistical methods of analysis. There is a historical connection between the peace of Westphalia, the rise of sovereign states, and statistical analysis. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The development of statistics is intimately connected on the one hand with the development of sovereign states, particularly European states following the peace of Westphalia (1648); and the other hand with the development of probability theory, which put statistics on a firm theoretical basis.”

Louis XIV of France, who lived from 1638-1715, was the ultimate example of an absolute monarch. He also was a patron of science. “The French Academy of Sciences is a learned society, founded in 1666 by Louis XIV at the suggestion of Jean-Baptiste Colbert, to encourage and protect the spirit of French scientific research. It was at the forefront of scientific developments in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries, and is one of the earliest Academies of Sciences.” Similarly, the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences was founded in 1700.

Both of these kingdoms could accurately be referred to as ‘sons of heroes’. Louis XIV was known as the Sun King. “Warfare defined the foreign policy of Louis XIV, and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled ‘by a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique’, Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.” Similarly, the Prussian army became professionalized in the 1650s and by the time of Frederick the Great in the mid 18th century, “Prussia was not a country with an army, but an army with a country.”

Herod and Herodias 14:3-5

Verses 3-4 mention some strange details. “For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, ‘It is not lawful for you to have her.’” Looking at this literally, John the Baptist got into trouble for telling Herod that he should not marry his brother’s wife.

Herodias also means ‘son of a hero’, and would refer symbolically to the mental networks of culture that accompany heroic kingship. Philip means ‘horse-loving’ and, until the advent of modern technology, the horse was an expression of military might and maintaining horses required government organization. Putting this together, heroic government develops organized military might, this military might creates a military culture, and this military culture becomes adopted by the heroic government.

Wikipedia describes the military Imperial culture that characterized Prussia when Frederick II ascended to power in 1740. “The ratio of one soldier for every 28 citizens was far higher than the one-to-310 in Great Britain, another great power of this period. Moreover, the Prussian infantry trained by Frederick William I were, at the time of Frederick’s accession, arguably unrivaled in discipline and firepower. By 1770, after two decades of punishing war alternating with intervals of peace, Frederick had doubled the size of the huge army he had inherited, and which during his reign would consume 86% of the state budget. The situation is summed up in a widely translated and quoted aphorism attributed to Mirabeau, who asserted in 1786 that Prussia under Frederick was not a state in possession of an army, but an army in possession of a state (‘La Prusse n’est pas un pays qui a une armée, c’est une armée qui a un pays’).”

Moving from Prussia to France, Wikipedia relates what Voltaire thought of Louis XIV: “Voltaire saw Louis’ vanity as the cause for his bellicosity: It is certain that he passionately wanted glory, rather than the conquests themselves. In the acquisition of Alsace and half of Flanders, and of all of Franche-Comté, what he really liked was the name he made for himself.” Notice how Louise XIV was attracted to the culture of organized military might—the Herodias of Philip.

The conflict between absolute truth and an Imperial culture of glory can be seen in Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Wikipedia summarizes that “The Edict of Nantes (1598) had granted the Huguenots the right to practice their religion without persecution from the state. Though Protestants had lost their independence in places of refuge under Richelieu on account of their supposed insubordination, they continued to live in comparative security and political contentment… The lack of universal adherence to his religion did not sit well with Louis XIV’s vision of perfected autocracy: ‘Bending all else to his will, Louis XIV resented the presence of heretics among his subjects.’” This decision by Louis XIV was not unusual for his time. Instead, “The revocation of the Edict of Nantes brought France into line with virtually every other European country of the period (with the brief exception of England, Scotland, Brandenburg-Prussia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), where only the majority state religion was legally tolerated. The experiment of religious tolerance in Europe was effectively ended for the time being.”

Notice how belief in absolute truth—the idea that truth is found in the words of a holy book—is being replaced by the words of the absolute monarch. Protestant Christianity at that time placed a much greater emphasis than Catholicism did upon the absolute truth of the Bible. However, Louis XIV also limited the absolute truth of Catholicism, replacing it with his own authority. “Louis initially supported traditional Gallicanism, which limited papal authority in France, and convened an Assembly of the French clergy in November 1681. Before its dissolution eight months later, the Assembly had accepted the Declaration of the Clergy of France, which increased royal authority at the expense of papal power. Without royal approval, bishops could not leave France, and appeals could not be made to the Pope. Additionally, government officials could not be excommunicated for acts committed in pursuance of their duties. Although the king could not make ecclesiastical law, all papal regulations without royal assent were invalid in France.”

Verse 3 says that Herod ‘had John arrested, he bound him, and put him in prison’. Arrested means ‘seize hold of, put under control’. Bound means ‘to tie, bind’ and was first used in 12:29 to talk about binding the strongman. The word prison means ‘a guarding, guard, watch’. Thus, the focus is not upon being put within a prison cell, but rather upon being watched over and controlled by authorities. And put means ‘to put off, lay aside’.

The ‘arresting’ of absolute truth became entrenched with the peace of Westphalia, which placed the absolute truth of Christian faith under the control of the local prince. Wikipedia says that this principle played a major role in Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes: “An additional factor in Louis’ thinking was the prevailing contemporary European principle to assure socio-political stability, cuius regio, eius religio (‘whose realm, his religion’), the idea that the religion of the ruler should be the religion of the realm.” This was followed by a ‘binding’ of French Protestants. “Louis initially excluded Protestants from office, constrained the meeting of synods, closed churches outside of Edict-stipulated areas, banned Protestant outdoor preachers, and prohibited domestic Protestant migration. He also disallowed Protestant-Catholic intermarriages to which third parties objected, encouraged missions to the Protestants, and rewarded converts to Catholicism. This discrimination did not encounter much Protestant resistance, and a steady conversion of Protestants occurred, especially among the noble elites.” The next step was a literal guarding in which soldiers were billeted in French Protestant homes. “The Dragonnades were a French government policy instituted by King Louis XIV in 1681 to intimidate Huguenot families into either leaving France or converting to Catholicism. This involved the billeting of ill-disciplined dragoons in Protestant households with implied permission to abuse the inhabitants and destroy or steal their possessions. The soldiers employed in this role were satirized as ‘missionary dragoons’.” The final step was a ‘putting off’ or ‘laying aside’ of French Huguenots. “The persecution of Protestants caused outrage in England, and created a wave of literature in protest against the inhumane treatment of Huguenots, thousands of whom fled to England to seek asylum. The dragonnades policy caused Protestants to flee France, some even before the Edict of Fontainebleau of 1685 revoked the religious rights granted them by the Edict of Nantes.”

Verse 5 points out that these steps did not happen immediately. “Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.” The word regarded means ’to have, hold’, which goes beyond regarding some person to holding on to absolute truth. The reticence of Herod to kill John the Baptist illustrates a general principle. I have mentioned that the mind will only continue to believe in absolute truth as long as the emotional status of personal identity remains much lower than the emotional status of the source of truth. Saying this more simply, I must believe that I am nothing compared to the authors of my holy book. When a prince acquires the ability to determine the absolute truth for his domain, then the prince will soon start to doubt absolute truth, because he has now become a somebody who has personal power over absolute truth. The idea of absolute truth will be replaced by the idea of absolute monarchs. But the average citizen will still remain a nobody with no social status who dares not question absolute truth. The end result is that absolute monarchs will want to kill the idea of absolute truth, but the crowds will still believe in absolute truth. And the absolute monarchs with their culture of heroism know that they can only maintain power as long as they remain heroes in the eyes of the people. Thus, the absolute monarchs will have to act like little gods for a time—while continuing to pay lip service to the religous God—before the crowds become emotionally convinced that the absolute monarchs deserve to be regarded as little gods. And the new technically-trained armies will help convince to the crowds that the absolute monarchs are worthy of worship.

This may sound like a sarcastic overstatement, but consider the following quote from Wikipedia. The divine right of kings “asserts that a monarch (e.g. a king) is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from divine authority, like the monotheist will of God. The monarch is thus not subject to the will of his people, of the aristocracy, or of any other estate of the realm. It implies that only divine authority can judge an unjust monarch and that any attempt to depose, dethrone or restrict their powers runs contrary to God’s will and may constitute a sacrilegious act.”

In fact, James I of England even referred to himself as a god in a speech given to Parliament in 1610: “The state of monarchy is the supremest thing upon earth, for kings are not only God’s lieutenants upon earth and sit upon God’s throne, but even by God himself, they are called gods… In the Scriptures, kings are called gods, and so their power after a certain relation compared to the Divine power.”

The Beheading of John the Baptist 14:6-12

Verses 6-7 describe the fateful occasion: “But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst of them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.” This (and the parallel passage in Mark 6) is the only reference to a birthday in the New Testament. Came means ‘to come into being’. The idea is that one has gone beyond heroes to celebrating anniversaries of heroic events performed by heroic people. These memorials play a major role in establishing a culture of military heroism. Dance is mentioned in two incidents in the New Testament: here and back in 11:17 where one group of children played the flute and the other children did not dance. Dance performs physical movement with Teacher elegance.

Teacher elegance plays a major role in most military anniversaries and celebrations. Soldiers do not just walk by, instead they march in step wearing elegant uniforms and performing crisp and coordinated maneuvers. Similarly, “Louis [XIV] loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign. In general, Louis was an eager dancer who performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets. This approaches the career of a professional ballet dancer… Ballet dancing was actually used by Louis as a political tool to hold power over his state. He integrated ballet deeply in court social functions and fixated his nobles’ attention on upholding standards in ballet dancing, effectively distracting them from political activities… Louis greatly emphasized on etiquettes in ballet dancing, evidently seen in ‘La belle danse’… More challenging skills were required to perform this dance with movements very much resembling court behaviors, as a way to remind the nobles of the king’s absolute power and their own status.”

The ‘dancing’ of military foot drill was designed to impose new mental networks of instant coordinated obedience upon the soldier. Wikipedia explains that “Line infantry won or lost on the rigidity of their foot drill. In the later 17th century that drill evolved into a tool for the complete subordination of the individual. The Prussians demanded automatonic levels of drill competence. Constant and heavy drilling would change a man from a civilian to a soldier, obedient to commands reflexively. This instituted both disciple and subordination. In a period when private soldiers were recruited from what was considered the basest social class, it was considered particularly important to ‘break the man’ into service. For all this harshness, desertion remained commonplace.”

Notice that it is the daughter of Herodias who is dancing. Similarly, the focus upon the ‘dance’ of military drill was an ‘offspring’ of the emergence of the professional army. Wikipedia explains that “As armies became full-time and more professionalised over the course of the 17th Century it became a natural progression for drill to expand its remit from weapons handling to the manoeuvre and forming of bodies of troops.”

Pleased is used once in Matthew and means ‘winning someone’s favor because meeting their expectation’. Notice that the culture of military heroism has taken on Teacher overtones. War is being viewed more as a grand game of maneuvering—a dance—with Teacher order and structure instead of the infliction of human butchery within Mercy thought.

There are two Greek words for oaths. One word means to swear by some individual, which indicates a mind ruled by Mercy status. The other word oath that is used here relates to ‘fence, enclosure’. The word promise is found 26 times in the New Testament and is only translated as ‘promised’ in this verse. It actually means ‘to speak the same thing’ and is usually translated as ‘confess’. Putting this together, the Teacher order of the military culture is emotionally attractive, and so the leaders are willing to fence off part of society to create a Teacher order that will ‘speak the same thing as’ this Teacher order.

This relates to the idea of Herod being a tetrarch or a ruler of a fourth of a kingdom. Feudalism also focused upon heroes and military might, because heroes and military might played the major role in feudal society. But not much else existed. Here, other aspects of society exist: There are towns and cities. There are universities. Agriculture has become developed. The end result is that the military hero is a ‘tetrarch’ who only rules over part of society. These other aspects of society make it possible to fence off a part of society in order to create a professional army—or a professional court such as Versailles—with its dance of Teacher elegance.

In verse 8, the daughter makes her request: “Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist’.” Prompted is found once in the New Testament and means ‘to cause to go forward’. And it is Herodias, the mother of the dancer, who does the prompting. In other words, dancing and Teacher elegance by themselves do not attack absolute truth. But when military culture becomes expressed through the dance of Teacher elegance, then this gives military culture the emotional justification to demand the end of absolute truth. Looking at this cognitively, absolute truth is an emotional hybrid. Mercy status is being ascribed to certain books, but studying these books can lead to Teacher understanding. Similarly, the new military culture can only replace absolute truth when the Mercy status of its heroes also acquires Teacher elegance and structure. The old military heroes could be thugs and barbarians. The new absolute monarch has to be elegant and educated, with a sophisticated court and a professionally trained army that knows how to march and fight in style and elegance.

For instance, Frederick William I of Prussia, who ruled from 1713-1740, had a famous regiment known as the Potsdam Giants, composed of soldiers who all were above 6 ft, 2 inches (1.88m) in height. Wikipedia relates that “the Potsdam Giants never saw battle during his reign… The king trained and drilled his own regiment every day. He liked to paint their portraits from memory. He tried to show them to foreign visitors and dignitaries to impress them. At times he would try to cheer himself up by ordering them to march before him, even if he was in his sickbed. This procession, which included the entire regiment, was led by their mascot, a bear. He once confided to the French ambassador that ‘The most beautiful girl or woman in the world would be a matter of indifference to me, but tall soldiers—they are my weakness’. Their uniform was not in any way idiosyncratic for the time, consisting of a red mitre, a Prussian blue jacket with gold lacing, scarlet breeches and white gaiters.”

The daughter asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. A platter is ‘a plate, platter’. The head represents intelligent abstract thought. Literally speaking, this is quite gruesome. But it also has symbolic significance. In essence, the abstract thinking of absolute truth will be divorced from concrete application and will be treated as the food of government. Saying this more simply, government leaders will start to find intellectual nourishment in absolute truth by developing laws, debating laws, and creating laws. The reason that this can be done is because of the dance of government. Government is now mentally associated with Teacher elegance. Thus, when government comes up with new legislative absolute truth, legislators will feel as if they are implementing general laws in Teacher thought.

For instance, Frederick William I “dictated the manual of Regulations for State Officials, containing 35 chapters and 297 paragraphs in which every public servant in Prussia could find his duties precisely set out: a minister or councillor failing to attend a committee meeting, for example, would lose six months’ pay; if he absented himself a second time, he would be discharged from the royal service. In short, Frederick William I concerned himself with every aspect of his relatively small country, ruling an absolute monarchy with great energy and skill.”

Similarly, “Military victories consolidated Louis XIV’s authority in France and increased it abroad. They fuelled French nationalism, increased Louis’ personal prestige and strengthened public faith in the monarchy. War also provided Louis with a premise for expanding the national government. These mobilisations for war required a national bureaucracy to collect revenue, organise and supply the army. As a consequence, government departments and agencies grew rapidly during the reign of Louis XIV. It was said that at the beginning of Louis’ reign, his foreign ministry could fit into a carriage – but [at] his death they filled a ballroom.” One sees here several elements that we have discussed. There is the personal prestige of Louis based in a military culture. There is the separating off of a professional army, funded by other segments of society. And the development of a national bureaucracy reflects the growth of the Teacher order of absolute government truth.

In verses 9-10, the king complies with this request. “Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of those who reclined at the table with him, he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.” This is the first time that grieved is used in Matthew, and it means ‘deep, emotional pain’. Herod is referred to in this verse as a king, emphasizing the relationship to Teacher generality. In other words, it is not emotionally easy for an absolute monarch to turn his back on absolute truth. That is because the monarch does not necessarily have an internal Teacher understanding that can replace absolute truth.

For instance, Louis XIV was quite religious. “Louis was a pious and devout king who saw himself as the head and protector of the Gallican Church. Louis made his devotions daily regardless of where he was, following the liturgical calendar regularly. Under the influence of his very religious second wife, he became much stronger in the practice of his Catholic faith. This included the banning of opera and comedy performances during Lent. Towards the middle and the end of his reign, the centre for the King’s religious observances was usually the Chapelle Royale at Versailles. Ostentation was a distinguishing feature of daily Mass, annual celebrations, such as those of Holy Week, and special ceremonies.”

Herod’s decision is influenced by two factors. The first is the oaths, which is the same word used in verse 7 that refers to a fence or enclosure. The second is those reclining at table with him. This word is used one other time in Matthew in 9:10 which talked about Jesus reclining at the table with sinners, indicative of incarnation appearing in the context of trade, as illustrated by the Hanseatic League. In other words, the king’s decision is guided by two factors. First, the professional military and bureaucracy have to be maintained. And second, the king must look good in court. For instance, notice in the previous paragraph how devout faith is gradually being transformed into a court spectacle that gives the appearance of devout faith.

One can see a similar transition from religious fervor to civil control of religion in Prussia. “The Duchy of Prussia was the first state to officially adopt Lutheranism in 1525… Lutherans and Reformed congregations all over the kingdom were merged in 1817 by the Prussian Union of churches, which came under tight royal control. In Protestant regions, writes Nipperdey: “Much of religious life was often conventional and superficial by any normal, human standard. The state and the bureaucracy kept their distance, preferring to spoon-feed the churches and treat them like children. They saw the churches as channels for education, as a means of instilling morality and obedience, or for propagating useful things, just like bee-keeping or potato-farming.” (My ancestors emigrated from Prussia to Ukraine at about this time.)

Verse 10 mentions that Herod has John beheaded in the prison, and the word prison means ‘guarding’. In other words, absolute truth is not being directly attacked. Instead, the new military might of government is causing fear of absolute truth to be replaced by fear of government. One can see this in the dragonnades of Louis XIV. “Following the revocation of religious toleration, Louis XIV combined legal persecution with a policy of terrorizing recalcitrant Huguenots who refused to convert to Catholicism by billeting both dragoons and ordinary infantrymen in their homes. The soldiers were instructed to harass and intimidate the occupants, in order to persuade them to either convert to the state religion or emigrate.”

Verse 11 describes a progression: “And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.” First, the head is placed on a platter, indicating that absolute truth becomes the subject for abstract thought—represented by the head. Notice that this is different than Scholasticism. Scholasticism discusses absolute truth without questioning the absolute truth itself. In contrast, an absolute monarch becomes the source of absolute truth. What is being maintained is the disembodied idea of absolute truth, without any accompanying body of content. This is then brought to the girl, implying the development of a new and elegant culture of formulating absolute truth. This elegantly formulated absolute truth is then being transferred to its mother of a heroistic military culture.

One can see this progression in the court of Louis XIV. “An elaborate court ritual was created wherein the king became the centre of attention and was observed throughout the day by the public. With his excellent memory, Louis could then see who attended him at court and who was absent, facilitating the subsequent distribution of favours and positions… Moreover, by entertaining, impressing, and domesticating them with extravagant luxury and other distractions, Louis not only cultivated public opinion of him, he also ensured the aristocracy remained under his scrutiny.” Notice how the absolute power of the monarch is being expressed through the ‘little girl’ of elegant court culture. This was a ‘little girl’ because a new kind of court culture was coming into being which had not yet existed in Europe. This ‘little girl’ of a court culture then affected her ‘mother’ of the military culture. Wikipedia relates that the court of Louis XIV “along with the prohibition of private armies, prevented [the nobility] from passing time on their own estates and in their regional power bases, from which they historically waged local wars and plotted resistance to royal authority. Louis thus compelled and seduced the old military aristocracy (the ‘nobility of the sword’) into becoming his ceremonial courtiers, further weakening their power.” Notice how the ‘nobility of the sword’ is being seduced into becoming ceremonial courtiers.

The story finishes in verse 12. “His disciples came and took away the body and buried him; and they went and reported to Jesus.” The word body literally means ‘that which is fallen’. This conveys the idea that a body without a head has no Teacher generality. The idea of absolute truth has been taken over by absolute monarchy, and all that remains are the facts of absolute truth. Burying lays something in the ground. Symbolically speaking, burying a dead body takes mental networks of culture and knowledge that used to be alive and places them within a historical context of facts from a bygone age.

This can be seen in the approach to the Bible known as historical criticism. Wikipedia explains that “the historical-critical method, in biblical studies, investigates the books of the Hebrew Bible as well as the New Testament. Historical critics compare texts to any extant contemporaneous textual artifacts, i.e., other texts written around the same time. An example is that modern biblical scholarship has attempted to understand the Book of Revelation in its 1st-century historical context by identifying its literary genre with Jewish and Christian apocalyptic literature. In regard to the Gospels, higher criticism deals with the synoptic problem, the relations among Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In some cases, such as with several Pauline epistles, higher criticism can confirm or challenge the traditional or received understanding of authorship. Higher criticism understands the New Testament texts within a historical context: that is, that they are not adamantine but writings that express the traditio (what is handed down). The truth lies in the historical context.”

Notice how the content of the Bible is no longer being associated with the ‘head’ of any intelligent source of truth, but rather being buried headless within the facts of history. One of the founders of this method was Jean Astruc, who lived from 1684-1766. Wikipedia summarizes that he “with a small anonymously published book, played a fundamental part in the origins of critical textual analysis of works of the Bible. Astruc was the first to try to demonstrate, by using the techniques of textual analysis that were commonplace in studying the secular classics, the theory that Genesis was composed based on several sources or manuscript traditions, an approach now called the documentary hypothesis.”

Verse 12 finishes by saying that the disciples ‘went and reported to Jesus’. Report means ‘to declare or report from, which focuses on the original source shaping the substance of what is announced’. In other words, the disciples are not just telling Jesus what happened, but rather declaring the facts to Jesus. This attitude can also be seen in historical criticism. Historical analysis does not suggest some ideas, but rather states its conclusions with academic certainty, convinced that it is far more intelligent than any benighted believers in absolute truth. However, we are discovering in these essays that the Bible is actually too clever to have been written by any human author, and that it contains a technical cognitive structure that goes beyond historical criticism.

Feeding the Five Thousand 14:13-21

This is followed by the feeding of the five thousand. The story begins with Jesus responding to the story of John. “Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the crowds heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.” This same verb ‘to go back, withdraw’ was used in 4:12 to describe the response of Jesus when hearing that John had been taken into custody, and in 12:15 when the Pharisees conspired to destroy Jesus after he healed a man on the Sabbath. Secluded is usually translated as ‘wilderness’ and means ‘an uncultivated, unpopulated place’. And place is explicitly mentioned for only the second time in Matthew. Jesus withdraws by boat, and we have been interpreting a boat as an organization. Putting this together, incarnation enters a realm of Perceiver facts that are devoid of MMNs of culture and personal identity through the use of organization.

One can see this, for instance, in the French Academy of sciences, founded by Louis XIV. Saunders (Saunders, E. Stewart, ‘Louis XIV: Patron of Science and Technology’, 1984) writes that “The members of the academy were free to investigate and were protected from the slings of the vested academic groups so long as they did not stray into politics and religion… Some flavor of the work performed by the scientists of the academy may be glimpsed from their daily program. Colbert had created pensions for sixteen to eighteen scientists. Half of the scientists worked in mathematics or astronomy and the other half in anatomy, botany, or chemistry. They met twice a week in the Royal Library, alternating in subjects between the physical and biological sciences. A typical meeting might include the dissection of a crocodile, a report on the distillation of a particular medicinal herb, or a discussion of a recent essay on the moons of Saturn. When not meeting, the scientists devoted themselves to full-time research or to work on government engineering projects.” Notice how the focus is upon studying facts that avoid MMNs of politics or religion. Notice also that this is happening within the ‘boat’ of an organization.

Looking at this more generally, “Science during the Enlightenment was dominated by scientific societies and academies, which had largely replaced universities as centres of scientific research and development. Societies and academies were also the backbone of the maturation of the scientific profession.”

But Jesus does not stay alone. Instead, the crowds hear (‘of this’ is not in the original Greek) and they follow. The word on foot is only found here and in the parallel account in Mark 6. I have suggested that hands represent the detailed manipulation of technical thought. Similarly, feet represent personal movement, because the entire body rests upon the feet and one uses the feet to move one’s body from one location to another. The crowds come from the cities, and a city represents civilized life. Looking at this symbolically, scientific research is collecting facts that are free of politics and religion. Civilized society is then adding the personal element by following on foot. Continuing with the quote from the previous paragraph, “Another important development was the popularization of science among an increasingly literate population. Philosophes introduced the public to many scientific theories, most notably through the Encyclopédie and the popularization of Newtonianism by Voltaire as well as by Émilie du Châtelet, the French translator of Newton’s Principia.”

Wikipedia describes how Jesus goes symbolically to the desert while the crowds of the city follow ‘on foot’. “Philosophers and scientists of the period widely circulated their ideas through meetings at scientific academies, Masonic lodges, literary salons, coffeehouses and in printed books, journals, and pamphlets… The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on the sovereignty of reason and the evidence of the senses as the primary sources of knowledge and advanced ideals such as liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state.” Notice how the scientific academies with their factual knowledge provide the starting point, but this broadens to include topics that affect the whole person such as ‘liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state’.

Verse 14 continues, “When He went out, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Compassion means ‘to be moved in the inward parts’ and was used once previously in 9:36 where Jesus felt compassion for the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd, which we interpreted as medieval society having no adequate biblical teachers. However, in this case incarnation is able to do something. The word heal is the source of the English word ‘therapy’, but sick is a new word found only once in Matthew, which means ‘a persisting illness, one that will not leave’. In other words, the new scientific approach is able to deal with problems that were previously regarded as intractable.

Verse 15 describes the problem that follows. “When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, ‘This place is desolate and the hour is already past; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.’” The word evening has been used once previously in 8:16. If a day represents illumination by the sun of some general Teacher theory, then evening would represent the end of an era. In 8:16 we interpreted evening as the end of the Carolingian era.

The term ‘evening’ can also be used to describe the latter stages of the French Enlightenment, and the term Ancien Régime was eventually used to describe this sunset of an era. “The term Ancien Régime first appeared in print in English in 1794, and was originally pejorative in nature; Simon Schama has observed: ‘virtually as soon as the term was coined, ‘old regime’ was automatically freighted with associations of both traditionalism and senescence. It conjured up a society so encrusted with anachronisms that only a shock of great violence could free the living organism within. Institutionally torpid, economically immobile, culturally atrophied and socially stratified, this ‘old regime’ was incapable of self-modernization.’”

The word food is only used once in Matthew and means ‘food of any kind’. We have been interpreting food as intellectual food. We also saw in verse 13 that the new intellectual food of scientific research is being gathered in a place devoid of human MMNs. These same two words ‘wilderness’ and ‘place’ are repeated by the disciples in verse 15. The disciples also point out that the ‘time or period’ has now ‘passed by’. In other words, the age is coming to an end and the disciples only have scientific facts, but the crowds need more nourishment.

Moving on, village means ‘a village or country town’. Buy means ‘to buy in the marketplace’ and has been used twice previously: in 13:44 with the parable of the hidden treasure and in 13:46 with the parable of fine pearls. In both cases, a person is selling everything he has in order to buy the desired item. This suggests that a similar change of thinking is being advocated by the disciples in verse 15. The scientific thinkers of the Enlightenment have sold their existing MMNs in order to purchase the new scientific TMNs of science. They assume that the crowds will be able to do the same within the ‘villages’ of lesser thought.

Jesus responds in verse 16, “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!’” In other words, the new scientific thinking needs to feed the people, instead of expecting them to feed themselves. For instance, for many years I have wondered why others have not extended the theory of mental symmetry. I have worked out the major questions. Why can’t others fill in the details? It has gradually dawned on me that others do not know how to buy and sell intellectually. I have to extend the theory of mental symmetry because others cannot. (I am only aware of two people who have attempted to extend mental symmetry. One is my colleague Angelina Van Dyke, and the other is someone whom I have never met.)

This feeding of the multitude can be seen in the development of the encyclopedia. The first English encyclopedia emphasized the impersonal facts of math, science, and technology. The Lexicon Technicum of 1704 “was in many respects the first alphabetical encyclopedia written in English. Although the emphasis of the Lexicon Technicum was on mathematical subjects, its contents go beyond what would be called science or technology today, in conformity with the broad eighteenth century understanding of the terms ‘arts’ and ‘science,’ and it includes entries on the humanities and fine arts, notably on law, commerce, music, and heraldry. However, the Lexicon Technicum neglects theology, antiquity, biography, and poetry.” Notice that topics which focus on human MMNs are being neglected. This was followed in 1728 by the Cyclopaedia of Ephraim Chambers, a somewhat more general work.

The French encyclopedia started as a translation of Chambers’ Cyclopedia. “The Encyclopédie was originally conceived as a French translation of Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia (1728). Ephraim Chambers had first published his Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences in two volumes in London in 1728, following several dictionaries of arts and sciences that had emerged in Europe since the late 17th century.” But that fell apart and ultimately “The work consisted of 28 volumes, with 71,818 articles and 3,129 illustrations. The first seventeen volumes were published between 1751 and 1765; eleven volumes of plates were finished by 1772.” That is definitely an example of the disciples feeding the multitude themselves. In fact, “the objective of the editors of the Encyclopédie was to gather all the knowledge in the world.”

And publishing the encyclopedia involved ‘selling’ societal religious MMNs in order to ‘purchase’ TMNs of understanding. This can be seen in the content of the encyclopedia. “The authors of the Encyclopédie challenged religious authority. The authors, especially Diderot and d’Alembert, located religion within a system of reason and philosophy. They did not reject all religious claims, but believed theology and notions of God must be proven.” The focus upon TMNs of understanding can be seen in the organization of the encyclopedia. “The Encyclopédie was controversial for reorganizing knowledge based on human reason instead of by nature or theology. Knowledge and intellect branched from the three categories of human thought, whereas all other perceived aspects of knowledge, including theology, were simply branches or components of these man-made categories.”

The Encyclopedia did not please existing MMNs of authority. Instead, “The Encyclopédie and its contributors endured many attacks and attempts at censorship by the clergy or other censors, which threatened the publication of the project as well as the authors themselves. The King’s Council suppressed the Encyclopédie in 1759. The Catholic Church, under Pope Clement XIII, placed it on its list of banned books.”

This brings to mind a general question. Why would God use a secular encyclopedia that “doubted the authenticity of presupposed historical events cited in the Bible and questioned the validity of miracles and the Resurrection”? The best answer I can give is that God seems to manipulate society primarily by guiding core mental networks. Saying this more simply, God uses people who are obsessed, because a mental obsession guarantees that a person or group will move in a certain direction. Obsessions ensure that God’s plan of history will work, but they also mean that God’s plan has to continually move from one group to another. The obsession of some group will ensure that this group performs the desired step, but the same obsession will also mean that this group will probably go too far in the direction that they are currently heading. God will then have to perform the next step by choosing another group that is obsessed in a different direction. For instance, the writers of the French encyclopedia were obsessed in the direction of rational thought. That was the next step. The British did not follow this step because they were not sufficiently obsessed. But this obsession also meant that French society followed rational thought into the insanity of the French Revolution. Progress then had to shift back to Britain, which became obsessed in a different direction.

The feeding of the five thousand starts with existing food. “They said to Him, ‘We have here only five loaves and two fish’” (v.17). I normally stay away from numbers, but it is interesting to compare this miracle with the feeding of the four thousand in the next chapter. In the next feeding, there are seven loaves and a few small fish. Loaves represent intellectual food. Fish would represent experiential food drawn from the water of Mercy experiences. The number seven implies seven cognitive styles. In the feeding of the five thousand, the Teacher understanding is incomplete, because only five of the cognitive modules are being fed with bread, while the other two are being fed fish. The Teacher understanding is more complete in the feeding of the four thousand, because there are seven loaves and the fish are described as ‘little fish’.

This mixed mindset can be seen in the Encyclopédie. There were five loaves: “The Encyclopédie was a vast compendium of knowledge, notably on the technologies of the period, describing the traditional craft tools and processes… These articles applied a scientific approach to understanding the mechanical and production processes, and offered new ways to improve machines to make them more efficient. Diderot felt that people should have access to ‘useful knowledge’ that they can apply to their everyday life.” Notice how the people are being fed with ‘useful knowledge that they can apply to their everyday life’. But there were also two fish: “To defend themselves from controversy, the encyclopedia’s articles wrote of theological topics in a mixed manner. Some articles supported orthodoxy, and some included overt criticisms of Christianity. To avoid direct retribution from censors, writers often hid criticism in obscure articles or expressed it in ironic terms. Nonetheless, the contributors still openly attacked the Catholic Church in certain articles with examples including criticizing excess festivals, monasteries, and celibacy of the clergy.” Notice the focus upon MMNs of approval. The writers are attempting not to trigger disapproval from MMNs of religious authority, while at the same time being motivated themselves by their personal hatred of MMNs of religious authority.

For instance, I too live in a society that is controlled by various MMNs of authority, lifestyle, personality, and prejudice, and I find this mindset loathsome. But I try very hard when writing an essay to place my MMNs of personal feeling within the general Teacher framework of the theory of mental symmetry. Hopefully, these essays contain seven loaves with some small fish and not just five loaves and two fishes.

This food is then brought to Jesus. “And He said, ‘Bring them here to Me’” (v.18). Bring means ‘to bear, carry’. One might think that this is a common verb, but the only time it has occurred previously in Matthew is in 14:11 where it was used to describe the head of John the Baptist being brought to the girl and then brought to her mother. This suggests that one should view these two forms of food as parallel. On the one hand, the Ancien Régime developed a system based upon the elegance of court protocol to come up with absolute truth. On the other hand, the encyclopedists also developed a system to feed the masses. Expanding an earlier quote, “Since the objective of the editors of the Encyclopédie was to gather all the knowledge in the world, Diderot and D’Alembert knew they would need various contributors to help them with their project. Many of the philosophes (intellectuals of the French Enlightenment) contributed to the Encyclopédie, including Diderot himself, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu.”

Jesus then doles out the food. “Ordering the crowds to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (v.19). Order means ‘to command’. The same word was used previously in 14:9 to describe Herod ordering the beheading of John the Baptist. In both cases, one sees a top-down imposing of commands. On the one hand, the absolute monarch is the source of absolute truth. On the other hand, the encyclopedist is the source of encyclopedic knowledge.

The reference to grass may also be significant, because in the upcoming feeding of the four thousand, the crowds are directed to sit down on the ground of space-time. Grass was used in 6:30 to refer to an ephemeral culture. This implies that the contents of the first encyclopediae were more ephemeral while later knowledge was based more upon rational understanding of the physical universe. Notice the ephemeral content being described in the following quote: “The Encyclopédie was a vast compendium of knowledge, notably on the technologies of the period, describing the traditional craft tools and processes. Much information was taken from the Descriptions des Arts et Métiers.” And the Descriptions “provide detailed accounts of a wide range of handcraft and manufacturing processes carried out in France at that time.” Many of these traditional tools and processes would become obsolete in the upcoming Industrial Revolution.

Looking up means ‘to look up, recover sight’. Both of these meetings are appropriate. The encyclopedia was a recovery of sight because it brought to light many topics that had been hidden. But it was also a looking up because it organized these topics into a general Teacher structure. (The feeding of the four thousand uses different language.) This Teacher organization is explicitly reflected in the phrase ‘looking up toward heaven’, because heaven represents the realm of Teacher thought.

Blessed combines ‘well’ with ‘logos’. (‘The food’ is not in the original Greek.) If logos represents the paradigms of technical thought, then ‘blessing’ means presenting the intellectual food in a structured, technical manner, which summarizes how material is presented in an encyclopedia. An encyclopedia uses technical language, and it presents knowledge in an organized framework, but there is only a partially integrated Teacher understanding.

Verse 19 says that Jesus gives the loaves to the disciples, which they then pass on to the crowds, but the fish are not mentioned. In other words, technical thought can be used to expand and spread rational knowledge, but it cannot be used to spread the MMNs of antipathy to existing societal MMNs of authority. There is also an indirect spreading of knowledge. The authors of the encyclopedia are interacting directly with technical thought, but the readers are getting their intellectual food indirectly from the authors of the encyclopedia.

Verse 20 summarizes. “And they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. Satisfied means ‘to feed, fatten, fill’. This accurately describes how one feels after reading an encyclopedia. One has been fattened and filled with information. Left over means to ‘go beyond the expected measure’. It was previously used in 13:12 to say that he who has will gain more and have an abundance. I suggest that both cases are referring to the byproduct of using Teacher thought. When the mental light goes on and one finally approaches a topic from a Teacher perspective, then Teacher thought will continue functioning, causing one to notice additional Teacher order, resulting in additional intellectual food.

The word broken pieces means ‘a fragment, broken piece’. It only occurs in Matthew in the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand. The implication is that an encyclopedia does not lead to integrated understanding, but rather results in many additional fragmented pieces of knowledge. The word basket refers to ‘a small basket’. This suggests that the fragments of additional learning are not too extensive. In contrast, the feeding of the four thousand uses the word large basket, which suggests more extensive additional learning.

Verse 21 adds that “There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.” The word men specifically refers to men as opposed to women. The word children means ‘a child under training’. The reference to men can be interpreted cognitively as an emphasis upon male technical thought. And an encyclopedia does emphasize male technical thought. In addition, I am not aware of any female authors of these early encyclopediae. However, an encyclopedia will also attract the attention of female thought and can be used to educate children. Wikipedia describes the way in which women of that time were regarded as a ‘besides’: “Barred from the universities and other institutions, women were often in attendance at demonstration lectures and constituted a significant number of auditors.” Wikipedia provides a few more details to this ‘besides’, “Despite these limitations, there was support for women in the sciences among some men, and many made valuable contributions to science during the 18th century… More commonly, women participated in the sciences through an association with a male relative or spouse… Many other women became illustrators or translators of scientific texts.”

Jesus Walks on Water 14:22-27

The next section tells the famous story of Jesus walking on water. In order to analyze this story, we need to decipher what walking on water symbolizes. The word walk actually means to ‘walk around’, which describes how ‘I conduct my life’. And this same verb is used three times in verses 25, 26, and 29. Thus, what is being described symbolically is a form of behavior that moves on top of the sea of raw Mercy experiences without falling in. Cognitively speaking, the only way to walk around in Mercy experiences and not be overwhelmed is for behavior to be guided by some other source, and the only other source is Teacher thought. Looking at Western history, we see that right after the French Enlightenment, Britain started to experience the Industrial Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution was a new way of walking around in Mercy experiences that was held up by Teacher understanding. Now that we have the context, we can look at the details.

Verse 22 describes a transition. “Immediately He compelled the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away” (v.22). (A footnote says that ‘made’ is literally ‘compelled’, which is why the sentence does not flow properly.) The word compelled is used once in Matthew and means ‘to compel, doing so with urgency’. The disciples are compelled to enter the boat and we have interpreted a boat as some form of organization. Go ahead means ‘to lead forth, to go before’. In the calming of the storm in Chapter 8, Jesus got into a boat and the disciples followed. Jesus has also gotten into a boat by himself in 9:1, 13:2, and 14:13. But this is the only time where Jesus makes the disciples go into the boat ahead of him. They are also told to go to the other side, which we have been interpreting as a major societal shift.

One can see at least two forms of compelling in the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. First, “The English East India Company introduced Britain to cheap calico and chintz cloth after the restoration of the monarchy in the 1660s… The cheap colourful cloth proved popular and overtook the EIC’s spice trade by value in the late 17th century. The EIC embraced the demand, particularly for calico, by expanding its factories in Asia and producing and importing cloth in bulk, creating competition for domestic woollen and linen textile producers. The impacted weavers, spinners, dyers, shepherds and farmers objected, with parliament petitioned, the EIC offices stormed by a mob, the fashion conscious assaulted for wearing imported cloth, making the calico question one of the major issues of National politics between the 1680s and the 1730s.”

However, “British cloth could not compete with Indian cloth because India’s labour cost was approximately one-fifth to one-sixth that of Britain’s. In 1700 and 1721 the British government passed Calico Acts in order to protect the domestic woollen and linen industries from the increasing amounts of cotton fabric imported from India.”

Britain responded by inventing new technology for spinning and weaving. The flying shuttle, invented in 1733, doubled the output of a weaver but did not improve spinning. In 1764 the spinning jenny was invented, but it only produced yarn that was suitable for weft and not warp. Finally, the spinning mule was introduced in 1779 which made thread strong enough to be used as warp. However, this resulted in a shortage of weavers, which led to the development of the power loom in 1785. Notice how each step is being motivated by a pressing need, and how each solution unveils another pressing need. Notice also that the solutions involve the organization of industrial processes. Finally, notice that these improvements do not require rigorous technical thought. Thus, one can accurately say that the disciples are being compelled to enter into the boat ahead of incarnation. Finally, notice that the boat is going to the other side; all of these incremental improvements are resulting in an industrial society that is quite different than the previous society.

A similar process happened with the production of iron. Wikipedia sets the stage: “Early iron smelting used charcoal as both the heat source and the reducing agent. By the 18th century, the availability of wood for making charcoal was limiting the expansion of iron production, so that England became increasingly dependent for a considerable part of the iron required by its industry, on Sweden (from the mid-17th century) and then from about 1725 also on Russia. Smelting with coal (or its derivative coke) was a long sought objective.”

In 1709, Abraham Darby I “made iron using coke, thus establishing the first successful business in Europe to do so. His products were all of cast iron, though his immediate successors attempted (with little commercial success) to fine this to bar iron.” An effective way to convert pig iron to bar iron was gradually developed in the late 1700s and “these processes permitted the great expansion in the production of iron that constitutes the Industrial Revolution for the iron industry.” But the coal that was needed to produce the coke to make the iron came from mines that continued to dig deeper and thus have greater problems with water flooding. In response, Newcomen developed a steam engine that was capable of pumping out water-filled coal mines. Again, one sees one compelling need followed by another, eventually resulting in a totally different society.

I am not suggesting that these two compelling needs were responsible for starting the Industrial Revolution. They merely provided the catalyst. The mindset to come up with technological solutions to these problems was also required. It may be significant that there was a strong independent Protestant connection in the development of the iron production. Abraham Darby I, II, and III played a major role in developing the iron industry and were all Quakers. Newcomen’s steam engine for pumping out water spread across Britain through his Baptist connections.

Verse 22 talks about sending the crowds away. The word sending away means ‘to set it free, release’ and is also used to describe divorcing a marital partner. Verse 23 adds that “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” The phrase ‘sending away the crowd’ is repeated. Went up means ‘to go up, ascend’, and this is the first mention of ‘mountain’ since 8:1 when Jesus finished preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Pray means to ‘exchange wishes’ and this is also the first time that ‘pray’ is used after the Sermon on the Mount. Putting this together, a new approach to science is being described which no longer focuses upon popularizing science, but rather upon doing abstract research guided by Teacher understanding. On the one hand, the relationship with the crowd is being divorced. On the other hand, incarnation is ascending the mountain of generality and then interacting emotionally with Teacher thought.

Applying this to Western history, the French Enlightenment came to a sudden end with the French Revolution in 1789. French crowds then had to focus on more pressing issues such as staying alive and coping emotionally with the total overthrow of existing MMNs of culture, society, and authority.

As for the encyclopédie, a new massively expanded version was begun in 1782, supported by 4072 subscribers. However, half of these subscribers were lost in the French Revolution. One thousand people worked on the encyclopedia and there were 2,250 contributors. The final version finished in 1832 had 124,210 pages but it was largely useless. Wikipedia explains that “when ‘completed,’ the encyclopedia suffered at least one great weakness. As the Vocabulaire Universel, the key and index to the entire work, was not published, it was difficult to carry out any research or to find all the articles on any particular subject. The original parts had often been subdivided, and had been so added onto by other dictionaries, supplements, and appendices that an exact account could not be given of the work, which contained 88 alphabets, 83 indexes, 166 introductions, discourses, prefaces, etc. Overall, probably no more an unmanageable body of dictionaries has ever been published.” This would be like the Internet without Google.

As for the focus on abstract research, a number of well-known French scientists worked during this period, including Laplace, who “is remembered as one of the greatest scientists of all times”, Legendre, who came up with the Legendre transformation, Lagrange, who developed Lagrangian mechanics, Fourier, who came up with the Fourier transform, Poisson, who is known for the Poisson distribution in probability theory, Navier, who is known for the Navier-Stokes equations, Cauchy, who invented complex analysis, Carnot, who developed engineering theory, Fresnel, who did work on light diffraction and polarization, Ampere, who studied electromagnetism, and others that I have probably overlooked. (Lavoisier, “the father of modern chemistry” was guillotined in the revolution as part of the ancien régime.) These individuals transformed science into a technical field guided by mathematics. Anyone who has studied math, physics, or engineering at a higher level will know the fundamental role that these researchers played in adding mathematical rigor to science.

The end of verse 23 is more literally, ‘evening now having arrived, alone he was there’. This same phrase ‘evening now having arrived’ was used in verse 15 to describe the setting for the feeding of the five thousand. This conveys the idea that the transition from popularizing science to doing scientific research happened at the end of an era, and this accurately portrays scientific research during the French Revolution.

Verse 24 turns the attention to the disciples in the boat. “But the boat was already a long distance from the land, tormented by the waves; for the wind was contrary.” Land is the word that refers to physical space and time, and was last seen in 13:23 in the parable of the sower. The boat is described as many stadia from land, and this the only time that this unit of measurement is used in Matthew. This conveys the idea that the initial stages of the Industrial Revolution have led the disciples far away from existing empirical science with its measurements.

Tormented means ‘to examine by torture’. Wave is used one other time in Matthew in the calming of the storm in 8:24. There the boat was being covered over by waves while here it is being ‘examined by torture’. Wind means ‘a gust of air’. Contrary is used once in Matthew and means ‘opposed to, in principle and in practice’. Putting this together, Mercy experiences are testing the new approach to the breaking point and the wind from Teacher theory is not helping because it is blowing in an opposing direction.

For instance, one can see this ‘examining by torture by the waves of experience’ in the Savery engine, the precursor to the Newcomen engine. In the words of Wikipedia, “A few Savery engines were tried in mines, an unsuccessful attempt being made to use one to clear water from a pool called Broad Waters in Wednesbury (then in Staffordshire) and nearby coal mines. This had been covered by a sudden eruption of water some years before. However the engine could not be ‘brought to answer’. The quantity of steam raised was so great as ‘rent the whole machine to pieces’. The engine was laid aside, and the scheme for raising water was dropped as impracticable. This may have been in about 1705.” The Savery engine also had to contend with the opposing wind of Teacher theory. “A theoretical problem with Savery’s device stemmed from the fact that a vacuum could only raise water to a maximum height of about 30 ft (9 m); to this could be added another 40 ft (12 m), or so, raised by steam pressure. This was insufficient to pump water out of a mine.”

This design through the torture of experience can also be seen in the Newcomen engine. “Although based on simple principles, Newcomen’s engine was rather complex and showed signs of incremental development, problems being empirically addressed as they arose.” But the Newcomen engine was also limited by the wind of opposing Teacher theory. “The main problem with the Newcomen design was that it used energy inefficiently, and was therefore expensive to operate. After the water vapor within was cooled enough to create the vacuum, the cylinder walls were cold enough to condense some of the steam as it was admitted during the next intake stroke. This meant that a considerable amount of fuel was being used just to heat the cylinder back to the point where the steam would start to fill it again.”

In verse 25 Jesus shows up. “And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.” Night means ‘night’ and was last used to describe Jesus being three nights in the heart of the earth. We have interpreted night as the absence of a general Teacher theory. Watch means ‘guarding’ and was previously used in verses 3 and 10 to describe Herod being in prison. The fourth watch of the night is just before dawn. These terms imply that the system of absolute monarchy is coming to an end, and that the light of a new understanding is about to emerge.

This public questioning of the divine right of kings is epitomized by Common Sense, “a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–1776 advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies… In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best-selling American title and is still in print today.” It was translated into French in 1790. Looking at this pamphlet in more detail, “The second section considers monarchy first from a biblical perspective and then from a historical perspective. He begins by arguing that since all men are equal at creation, the distinction between kings and subjects is a false one. Paine then quotes a sequence of biblical passages to refute the divine right of Kings.”

We have seen previously that walking means to ‘walk around’ and refers to a way of life and not just simple movement. If Jesus is walking on the sea, this suggests that the technical thinking of incarnation is starting to be applied to the sea of Mercy experiences. One can see this new kind of thinking in Watt’s enhancement of the Newcomen steam engine. “In 1763, James Watt was working as instrument maker at the University of Glasgow when he was assigned the job of repairing a model Newcomen engine and noted how inefficient it was. In 1765, Watt conceived the idea of equipping the engine with a separate condensation chamber, which he called a ‘condenser’. Because the condenser and the working cylinder were separate, condensation occurred without significant loss of heat from the cylinder. The condenser remained cold and below atmospheric pressure at all times, while the cylinder remained hot at all times.” Technical thought thinks in terms of optimization, improvement, and efficiency. This goes beyond merely dealing with problems as they arise. James Watt had the technical training of being an instrument maker. He approached the steam engine from the attitude of improving efficiency. The first obvious improvement was to stop heating and cooling the same chunk of metal, but rather heat one chunk of metal while cooling another chunk of metal. Watt also introduced other changes that improve the efficiency, ending up in 1775 with a steam engine that used one quarter as much coal as the Newcomen engine. A new technical process made it possible to bore stronger, more accurate cylinders, a centrifugal governor was added to control the speed, and Watt also came up with the idea of a double-action steam engine that would both push and pull. All of these changes illustrate a new kind of technical thinking that is not yet theory-driven, but is performing optimization. In other words, it is still night, but incarnation has arrived and is walking around on the ocean of experience.

The disciples respond with alarm. “When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear” (v.26). The word terrified does not mean ‘terrified’ and is only translated as terrified when it occurs in this story. Instead, it means ‘to agitate back-and-forth, shake to-and-fro’. Ghost is only used in this story and means ‘an appearance, apparition’. Looking at this cognitively, the disciples are seeing technical thought being expressed in reality, and this is causing their thinking to become agitated and move back and forth: ‘Does one focus upon the sea of Mercy experiences or does one believe that technical thought can create new experiences?’ Saying this another way, scientific Teacher understanding will lead to the formation of Platonic forms. But what happens when these Platonic forms start turning into real objects? These appearances will lead to an agitating back and forth between reality and Platonic form.

Fear means ‘fleeing because feeling inadequate’. And cried out refers to ‘inarticulate shouts that express deep emotion’. In other words, the new technology is provoking gut-level feelings of avoidance. This gut-level avoidance of new technology can be seen in the Luddite movement. Wikipedia describes the background of this movement. “Handloom weavers burned mills and pieces of factory machinery. Textile workers destroyed industrial equipment during the late 18th century, prompting acts such as the Protection of Stocking Frames, etc. Act 1788. The Luddite movement emerged during the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars, which saw a rise of difficult working conditions in the new textile factories. Luddites objected primarily to the rising popularity of automated textile equipment, threatening the jobs and livelihoods of skilled workers as this technology allowed them to be replaced by cheaper and less skilled workers.” More generally, the Industrial Revolution had a huge social impact which can be described primarily as disruptive. And disruption leads to fear.

Jesus responds in verse 27. “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’” Notice that this is a verbal response. Jesus speaks and says. Thus, the reassurance is coming from verbal understanding in Teacher thought. Courage means ‘emboldened from within’. In other words, the external world may be changing, but one can still have internally generated confidence. And ‘it is I’ indicates that two concepts within the mind are coming together: The technical thinking involved in optimizing machinery is the same as the technical thinking that is used in science. This may sound obvious, but a connection between practical optimization and abstract technical thought was being made for the first time ever during the Industrial Revolution.

This resulted in the emergence of engineering, which Wikipedia relates to the invention of the steam engine. “The first steam engine was built in 1698 by mechanical engineer Thomas Savery. The development of this device gave rise to the industrial revolution in the coming decades, allowing for the beginnings of mass production. With the rise of engineering as a profession in the 18th century, the term became more narrowly applied to fields in which mathematics and science were applied to these ends. Similarly, in addition to military and civil engineering, the fields then known as the mechanic arts became incorporated into engineering.”

Peter Climbs out of the Boat 14:28-33

We looked previously when discussing parables at the role that Perceiver thought plays in using analogies to build bridges between technical specializations. Peter, the representative of Perceiver thought, now plays a defining role in the story. “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water’” (v.28). Command refers to a direct order and was previously used in verse 9 to describe King Herod commanding the beheading of John, and in verse 19 when Jesus commanded the crowds to sit down. Peter’s words convey the idea that Perceiver thought is viewing technical thought as another source of absolute truth. This describes the mindset of the technician, who follows rules written down in some book of codes or regulations.

Notice that Peter connects the command with the ‘It is I’: ‘if it is you, command me’. In essence, Peter is going to the encyclopedia with its absolute truth, looking up the relevant facts, and then following them as commands to be obeyed. Similarly, engineering first emerged within a context of following orders before becoming more formally connected with the study of mathematics. “Up until the Civil War, United States engineers were trained at military academies or through industry apprenticeship programs. Since the 1860’s more emphasis has been place on formal training that includes significant courses in mathematics and science. For example, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened in 1865 with 15 students.”

Peter responds in verse 29: “And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.” The word got out actually means ‘to go down’, which implies descending from theory into practice. But Peter is ‘going down’ from the boat of organization and not from a mountain of general understanding. Similarly, engineering began through ‘industry apprenticeship programs’. The engineering trainee would learn specialized skills from the organization and then apply this knowledge in the real world of experience. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that “Because modernization and industrialization brought new impetus to the division of labour, the development of large-scale machine production increased the demand for workers with specialized skills. The more ambitious among them sought to increase their effectiveness and potential for advancement by voluntary study. To meet this need, mechanics’ institutes were established, such as the one founded in London in 1823 by George Birkbeck.”

‘Walking around on the water’ describes a new way of interacting with Mercy experiences that is held up by Teacher understanding, as illustrated by the new field of engineering. ‘Coming to Jesus’ implies that this new field of engineering is attempting to apply technical thought.

But this new field has insufficient Teacher understanding. “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (v.30). Seeing means to be observant, and was used several times in Chapter 13 to clarify that alchemy observes but its observation does not lead to understanding. When Peter observes the wind, he becomes fearful, and fearful means ‘to fear, withdraw from, avoid’. Looking at this cognitively, the Teacher theory is too much to handle. Sink means ‘to plunge or sink in the sea’. In other words, the Teacher understanding is inadequate to deal with the Mercy experiences. For instance, “Iron merchant Thomas Newcomen, who built the first commercial piston steam engine in 1712, was not known to have any scientific training.” This lack of scientific training explains the relative inefficiency of his steam engine.

Cry means ‘inarticulate shouts that expressed deep emotion’ and was used in verse 26 when seeing Jesus as an apparition. Save means to ‘deliver out of danger and into safety’. Looking at this cognitively, the technical thinking of incarnation is being regarded not just as instructions to be followed but as a source of personal salvation.

Jesus responds in verse 31. “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’” ‘Stretching out his hand’ has been seen several times in Matthew, which we have interpreted as the application of technical thinking.

Putting this all together symbolically, early engineering becomes overwhelmed by Mercy experiences because of inadequate Teacher understanding. Its gut response is to use technical thought to get out of the mess in which it finds itself.

One can see what this means by looking at the typical engineering equation, which can be described as physics with a fudge factor. For instance, “John Smeaton was the first self-proclaimed civil engineer and is often regarded as the ‘father’ of civil engineering. He was an English civil engineer responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbors, and lighthouses. He was also a capable mechanical engineer and an eminent physicist. Using a model water wheel, Smeaton conducted experiments for seven years, determining ways to increase efficiency.” Notice how Smeaton is ‘walking around on the water of experience’ by designing and building bridges, canals, harbors, and lighthouses. But his Teacher understanding is inadequate, and so he performs seven years of experimentation using physical models. This is technical thought, but it is not technical thought driven by deep Teacher theory.

Smeaton eventually came up with the mathematical equation L = kV2ACl. As far as equations go, this one is at the level of high school algebra. It also contains the factor ‘k’, which is known as the Smeaton coefficient. Physics works with ideal equations that only apply to ideal objects and simplified situations. Engineering works with the real world; it walks about on the water of experience. This means that many engineering equations need fudge factors, such as Smeaton’s coefficient, which are simple ways of compensating for the difference between ideal physics and the messy world of reality. Smeaton came up with a value of 0.005 for the Smeaton coefficient. The Wright brothers (of airplane fame) later determined that a more accurate value was 0.0033.

Jesus responds, ‘you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ Faith means to be persuaded, so little faith would mean an inadequate ability to be persuaded by Teacher understanding. This describes the fundamental shortcoming of early engineering. Doubt is used twice in the New Testament and combines ‘two, double’ with ‘stance, standing’. In other words, two different mindsets are being held simultaneously, one is rooted in the sea of Mercy experiences while the other is being persuaded by Teacher theory.

Verse 32 describes the solution. “When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.” Entered means ‘to go up, ascend’. This represents moving in the direction of Teacher generality. But this generalizing is not up a mountain of understanding, but rather into a boat of organization. The word stopped actually means ‘to grow weary’. In other words, following Teacher theory is tiring when one is dealing with pragmatic reality. Thus, the simplest solution is to come up with a reasonably close equation that applies to reality if one adds the appropriate fudge factor, climb up into a boat of organization, and then regard these pragmatic equations as aspects of the organizational structure without climbing too much higher into pure Teacher theory. I have a Master’s degree in engineering and my personal experience suggests that this is an accurate assessment. My mathematical skills are quite good up to about second or third year level university math or physics. After that, the equations get too theoretical for my engineering mind.

Verse 33 describes the response of the others in the boat. “And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘You are certainly God’s Son!’” The last time that Jesus was worshiped was in 9:18, where the synagogue official bowed down before Jesus. We interpreted that as the new form of Gothic architecture emerging with its visualization of worship. This is the first time that the word certainly appears in Matthew, which means ‘in accordance with fact’. ‘Son of God’ represents male thought that has its source in a concept of God in Teacher thought. Using nonreligious language, this describes technical thought that is rooted in general Teacher understanding. Putting this together, the early engineers are recognizing that the technical thinking of science is based in universal Teacher theories that apply everywhere. This is cognitively both more advanced and less advanced than the scientists doing the theoretical research. It is more advanced because the engineers are walking around on the water of experience and learning through direct experience that the mathematical laws of science really are universal laws that apply to the world of Mercy experiences. However, is less advanced because the engineers are worshiping mathematical analysis as amazing calculations that are beyond their personal ability to fully grasp. Saying this more simply, the mathematical analysis of Laplace, Legendre, Lagrange, or Navier is far more complicated than Smeaton’s equation. But Smeaton’s equation with its fudge factor works in real life.

Land of Gennesaret 14:34-36

In verse 34 they reach their destination. “When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.” Cross over occurs one other time in Matthew in 9:1. We interpreted that as crossing over from the unnatural expression of the Crusades to the development of European society. Here too the unnatural development of mathematical theory is finally going to lead to a transformation in the development of European society. Gennesaret means ‘a lyre’. And land refers to physical space and time. Looking at this symbolically, music is actually a form of emotional math. The rules of musical composition can be described using math and physics, but violating or following the laws of music leads to emotional repercussions rather than to physical cause-and-effect. (Music is analyzed in another essay.) ‘A land of a lyre’ would represent an approach to the physical world that is logical but also emotional. This describes a combination of mathematical analysis and gut-level intuition based in real world experience. One could describe this as a form of early engineering that is part science and part art.

Verse 35 describes the response of the local population. “And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent word into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick.” The word men refers specifically to men and is not the generic word for mankind. This tells us that the emphasis is upon male technical thought. The word place is explicitly mentioned, and we have interpreted this as including Perceiver facts about reality. Recognize adds the prefix ‘on, fitting’ to ‘experiential knowing’. Thus, experiential knowledge is being used, but it is accurate and appropriate. Surrounding district adds ‘surrounding’ to ‘country-land’. In other words, the people are choosing to apply this new early form of engineering to many different contexts that extend beyond the original areas of application. And the word sick means ‘inwardly, foul, rotten’. This focuses upon the intrinsic nature of bad Mercy experiences rather than the pain-ridden effects of these bad Mercy experiences. This indicates that root problems in Mercy thought are being addressed.

Verse 36 describes the amazing results. “And they implored Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.” Implore means to ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’. But it also has legal overtones. This same verb was used in 8:34 after the demons were cast into the herd of swine, but there the whole city implored Jesus to leave the region. Comparing these two situations, when European society saw what the Crusades had created, they wanted that fervor to go away, but when European society saw what early engineering had created, they wanted it everywhere.

The fringe of the cloak refers to the tzitzit that represent the Jewish law, and the phrase ‘touching the fringe of the cloak’ occurred once before in 9:20. There it was a woman who touched the cloak in order to be saved. We interpreted that as the vulnerable aspects of early medieval society being attracted to the relative safety of towns and castles. In both cases the cloak of social interaction is being affected. And in both cases, the emphasis is upon the law-abiding aspect of the cloak of social interaction. The word touch means ‘to modify or change by touching’. This implied that behavior is being altered by this touching. (The word ‘it’ is not in the original.) Finally, cured is used once in Matthew and adds ‘thoroughly’ to ‘saved’. In contrast, 9:21-22 only used the word ‘saved’. Thus, practical engineering is generating solutions that thoroughly save people. The salvation of chapter 9 brought safety to citizens living in the fear and poverty of the Dark Ages. The thorough salvation of chapter 14 is transforming people’s lives through an Industrial Revolution.

It is true that life was temporarily worse for many people. But the Industrial Revolution eventually raised the life of the average person to a level of wealth and prosperity that was previously unimaginable. This began with incredible increases in production and productivity. For instance, from 1720 – 1806, cast iron production in Britain rose from 20,500 tons to 250,000 tons. By 1800, about 10,000 horsepower was being generated by steam engines, and by 1815 this had risen to 210,000 horsepower. Looking at textiles, by the 1830s, “mechanised cotton spinning powered by steam or water increased the output of a worker by a factor of around 500. The power loom increased the output of a worker by a factor of over 40. The cotton gin increased productivity of removing seed from cotton by a factor of 50.”

The Industrial Revolution initially had a significant negative social impact, especially for children who worked in factories and mines. (In 1819 the first effective laws were passed in Britain, limiting the employment of children.) Wikipedia describes some of the gruesome details. “Children were preferred workers in textile mills because they worked for lower wages and had nimble fingers. In general, children were required to work under machines and were constantly cleaning and oiling tight areas. Young children were worked to near exhaustion, as was evident from those who fell asleep over their machines. If children were caught sleeping or showed up to work late, they were beaten and tortured by their supervisors… Children in the mines suffered similarly. Both boys and girls would start working at the age of four or five. A sizeable proportion of children working in the mines were under 13 and a larger proportion were aged 13-18. Mines of the era were not built for stability; rather, they were small and low. Children, therefore, were needed to crawl through them. The conditions in the mines were unsafe, children would often have limbs crippled, their bodies distorted, or be killed.”

This inhumanity in the name of greater productivity is implied by the word ‘cloak’, which refers to the outer garment. In other words, the peripheral social fabric was transformed by technology, but not the inner garment of personal interaction. There was greater productivity, but not necessarily greater kindness.

Handwashing 15:1-4

Verse 1 sets the scene: “Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said”. The Pharisees and scribes were last mentioned in 12:38 where they asked for a sign and were told that they would only get the sign of Jonah in the big fish. We interpreted that as scholastic thinking attempting to approach the new scientific thought from the viewpoint of defining Mercy experiences.

Pharisee means ‘a separatist, purist’ while a scribe deals with written text. Therefore, ‘Pharisees and scribes’ refers to some form of absolute truth, in which truth comes from holy books, approved books, textbooks, or possibly official academic papers. What matters is that one is dealing at a verbal level with words, and truth is being determined by who is right rather than what is right.

What is new about this encounter is that the experts come from Jerusalem, and this is the first time that Jerusalem has been mentioned since the prohibition against swearing in the Sermon on the Mount. Jerusalem was the religious center of Judaism. Notice also that the experts are coming from Jerusalem. Normally, the experts remain in their exalted location and the others come to visit them. This tells us that traditional expertise is being questioned at a fundamental level, and in verse 14 the traditional experts are being ignored as ‘blind guides of the blind’. The expertise of a traditional expert is based in Mercy status. When one argues with a traditional expert, one is still implicitly recognizing the Mercy status of that expert. But when a traditional expert becomes ignored, then this means that the traditional expert has lost his Mercy status.

In verse 2, the traditional experts ask why the disciples of Jesus are violating traditional expertise. “Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders?” Break is found twice in Matthew, in this verse and in the next verse. It means ‘to transgress in a willful way, deliberately stepping over a known line’. In other words, some taboo is being violated, some line has been crossed. Examining this in more detail, traditional expertise can only be maintained as long as a distinction is made between ordinary people, places, and events in Mercy thought, and people, places, and events that are associated with the Mercy source of truth. Traditional expertise requires its religious temples or university campuses, its priests or tenured professors, its approved texts or official journals. All of these must be separated from normal people, places, and events by various lines and taboos.

Tradition means to ‘hand over from close beside’ and is only used in Matthew in this passage. Elder means ‘a mature man, having seasoned judgment’ and this is the first occurrence of this word in Matthew. The idea is that each generation of recognized experts passes on its expertise to the next generation in a personal manner. One can see this passing on of established authority in the religious doctrine of apostolic succession. “For the adherents of this understanding of apostolic succession, grace is transmitted during episcopal consecrations (the ordination of bishops) by the laying on of hands of bishops previously consecrated within the apostolic succession. They hold that this lineage of ordination derives from the Twelve Apostles, thus making the Church the continuation of the early Apostolic Christian community.”

Apostolic succession is not a trivial matter, “since only a bishop within the succession can perform valid ordinations, and only bishops and presbyters (priests) ordained by bishops in the apostolic succession can validly celebrate (or ‘confect’) several of the other sacraments, including the Eucharist, reconciliation of penitents, confirmation and anointing of the sick.” Describing this chain of logic more clearly, the doctrine of transubstantiation means that the Christian believer receives special grace from God through the bread and wine received in the communion. This bread and wine has become special because it has been blessed by a priest who is special. This priest is special because he was made special through a special ceremony by a previous special priest. This apostolic succession of special priests extends all the way back in Western history to the original special person of Peter being made special by Jesus during the special event mentioned in Matthew 16:18. I use the word ‘special’ as opposed to ‘holy’ or ‘consecrated’ in order to emphasize the idea of tradition and elders—‘handing over from close beside’ done by ‘mature men with seasoned judgment’.

The explicit mention of the terms ‘tradition’ and ‘elder’ tells us that the existence of traditional expertise is starting to be questioned. That is because mental networks only become consciously apparent when one experiences competing mental networks. In the previous encounter in 12:38 the Pharisees asked for a sign from Jesus. They were recognizing that the new scientific thinking was capable of generating significant results, but they were still assuming a mindset of absolute truth. They were still, in Jesus’ words, ‘an evil and adulterous generation that craves for a sign’. Here, the very basis of absolute truth is being discussed consciously by the traditional sources of absolute truth.

This relates to an idea mentioned earlier when looking at the spirit leaving a man going through dry places and then returning. When the spirit returns it is different than when it left because it has gained self-awareness. In chapter 15, the Pharisees and scribes have gained self-awareness. If they weren’t self-aware, they would have remained in Jerusalem and sent some representatives to stop the disciples from breaking the tradition, the way that the Catholic Church responded to the early Protestants. Stated crudely, ‘Everyone knows that I am the authority. I am the source of truth because I am the authority. How dare you rebel against the truth? The punishment for rebelling against the truth is death.’ But here the idea of being a traditional source of truth is itself being discussed.

The traditional experts then mention the specific infraction. “For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread” (v.2). ‘Wash’, ‘hands’, ‘eat’, and ‘bread’ are all normal words in the original Greek without any unusual meanings. This crime sounds fairly innocuous, but the parallel passage in Mark 7:3-4 provides an explanation. “For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.” In other words, the purpose of the washing is to maintain a separation between normal Mercy experiences and the special Mercy experiences that are associated with the source of absolute truth. The disciples of Jesus are not respecting this division, but rather are willfully crossing the line between normal Mercy experiences and special Mercy experiences.

A symbolic interpretation leads to same conclusion. Hands represent detailed manipulation. Bread refers to intellectual food. Eating represents the process of consuming and digesting intellectual food. Washing uses the water of Mercy experiences to remove any residue that remains of previous behavior. Thus, before one uses detailed thought to analyze absolute truth, one cleanses one’s mind of any connections with normal reality.

The reply of Jesus in verse 3 also uses the same word ‘to step over the line’ (which the NASB translates this time as ‘transgress’). “And He answered and said to them, ‘Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?’” The traditional experts accuse the disciples of stepping over the line of traditional expertise. Jesus responds by accusing the traditional experts of stepping over the line of the command of God. The word command means ‘an injunction, order, command’. It has been used once previously in Matthew in 5:19, which warned that those who let go of the commandments will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.

Looking at this from a Mercy perspective, Jesus is pointing out that the Mercy status of the original author of absolute truth is more important than the Mercy status of the current experts in absolute truth. Thus, the very idea of traditional expertise will ‘cross the line’ of absolute truth by replacing respect for the source of truth with respect for the current set of traditional experts. And the Perceiver person who believes in absolute truth will often follow this logic when experiencing doubt, turning away from current religious experts in order to study the original church fathers.

Putting this into a larger perspective, Jesus is pointing out that the very mindset of basing truth in Mercy status will ‘cross the line’ of basing truth in a universal understanding of God in Teacher thought. That is because Teacher thought rejects the very concept of artificial lines that separate one set of indistinguishable Mercy experiences from another, while absolute truth can only continue to exist if artificial lines are created that separate one set of indistinguishable Mercy experiences from another.

This basing of religion in artificial lines is described in Isaiah 44:9-20, which talks about using the same tree for two different purposes. “He plants a fir, and the rain makes it grow. Then it becomes something for a man to burn, so he takes one of them and warms himself; he also makes a fire to bake bread. He also makes a god and worships it; he makes it a graven image and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire; over this half he eats meat as he roasts a roast and is satisfied. He also warms himself and says, ‘Aha! I am warm, I have seen the fire.’ But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, ‘Deliver me, for you are my god’” (v.14-17).

Jesus then mentions a specific violation. “For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother is to die the death’” (v.4). Honor means to ‘assign value, give honor’. This is the first use of this word in Matthew and it is repeated in verses 6 and 8. Honor would relate to giving a person emotional status in Mercy thought. Speaking evil is used once in Matthew and combines ‘inwardly foul’ with ‘speak’. In other words, one is saying that there is something intrinsically evil about the mental networks of father and mother. The NASB points out in a footnote that ‘be put to death’ is more accurately ‘die the death’. This helps clarify the meaning of the passage, because ‘put to death’ implies that some person is administering a punishment, consistent with a mindset of absolute truth, which believes that truth is based in important people and thus has to be enforced by important people. But the Greek word used actually means ‘to complete, to come to an end’, which conveys the idea of a natural cognitive process reaching its conclusion. Saying this cognitively, blocking off parental mental networks will eventually lead to a dead end, because one is cognitively sawing off the branch on which one is sitting. Saying this another way, the childish mind is built upon the mental networks acquired in childhood from various authority figures, with parents usually providing the strongest mental networks.

Speaking evil of parental mental networks can be seen in teenage rebellion, because the teenage rebel regards anything that is mentally connected with parental mental networks as intrinsically evil. This mindset is inherently unsustainable, because the mind is attempting to reject core mental networks that provide the structure for the mind.

Free Will versus Tradition 15:5-6

Verses 5-6 describe the mindset of the teenage rebel. “But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever I have that would help you has been a gift to God,” he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.” Looking at this in more detail, gift is a ‘gift, focusing on the free nature of the gift’. (‘To God’ is not in the original Greek.) Help comes from a word that means ‘something heaped up’, which refers to the gathering of some kind of stuff. In other words, a person is following free will instead of adding to the mental networks of childish authority. Using the language of the teenage rebel, ‘I am no longer a child and I can decide for myself’. However, such choosing no longer assigns Mercy status to parental mental networks—it does not honor father or mother.

Invalidate is found once in Matthew and adds the negative prefix to ‘authority’. Word here is logos and not ‘command’. ‘Word of God’ would therefore describe paradigms of technical thought held together by a concept of God in Teacher thought. Thus, the authority that is being negated is the Teacher authority conveyed by the TMN of a paradigm. What replaces this is tradition, which means ‘to hand over from close beside, referring to tradition as passed on from one generation to the next’.

Putting this all together, emphasizing free choice over childhood mental networks of authority eventually replaces Teacher-driven technical thought with Mercy-driven tradition. That is because free choice is not really free. Instead free will always occurs within some context. Free will is like an election in which one chooses between a pre-chosen set of candidates. I am not suggesting that free will does not exist, but rather that the extent of free will that exists is limited by core mental networks. Free will becomes maximized when the mind contains conflicting core mental networks.

The only way to become truly free of childish core mental networks is to build an alternative set of core mental networks based in the TMN of a concept of God. Using free will to denigrate childish core Mercy mental networks (MMNs) may work in the short term, but when the free will actually starts attacking core MMNs, then like any threatened mental networks, they will respond with strong feelings of self-preservation, and when core mental networks start responding with emotions of self-preservation, then the ability to choose will be lost, and what will remain is MMNs of personal authority.

This may sound like an esoteric interpretation, but I have attempted to stick with the original Greek. And one can see precisely this happening in the progression of the French Revolution, (as well as in the progression of postmodern questioning). The emphasis upon free will can be seen in the French motto liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity). Wikipedia explains that “During the Jacobin revolutionary period, various mottos were used, such as liberté, unité, égalité (liberty, unity, equality); liberté, égalité, justice (liberty, equality, justice); liberté, raison, égalité (liberty, reason, equality), etc. The only solid association was that of liberté and égalité.”

Looking at this in more detail, “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 defined liberty in Article 4 as follows: Liberty consists of being able to do anything that does not harm others: thus, the exercise of the natural rights of every man or woman has no bounds other than those that guarantee other members of society the enjoyment of these same rights.” In other words, the essence of liberty is free will. Everyone can choose to do what they want as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others to choose to do what they want. This also summarizes the motto that I have heard generally spoken for most of my lifetime.

The French Revolution began as a revolution against traditional authority, guided by a mindset which viewed the ‘fathers and mothers’ of French society as intrinsically evil. Wikipedia summarizes that “After the first year of revolution, the power of the king had been stripped away, he was left a mere figurehead, the nobility had lost all their titles and most of their land, the Church lost its monasteries and farmlands, bishops, judges and magistrates were elected by the people, and the army was almost helpless, with military power in the hands of the new revolutionary National Guard. The central elements of 1789 were the slogan ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ and ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen’, which Lefebvre calls ‘the incarnation of the Revolution as a whole.’”

Wikipedia adds that “The most heated controversy was over the status of the Catholic Church. From a dominant position in 1788, it was almost destroyed in less than a decade, its priests and nuns turned out, its leaders dead or in exile, its property controlled by its enemies, and a strong effort underway to remove all influence of Christian religiosity, such as Sundays, holy days, saints, prayers, rituals and ceremonies.”

By 1793 the revolution had turned into a reign of terror driven by antagonism against MMNs of authority. “The Reign of Terror… refers to a period of the French Revolution when, numerous public executions took place in response to revolutionary fervour, anti-clerical, anti-federalist and anti-aristocratic sentiment, and spurious accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety.”

But when free choice starts to affect core mental networks, then a strong drive to preserve these core mental networks will emerge. Looking at religion, “The movement to dechristianise France not only failed but aroused a furious reaction among the pious. Napoleon’s Concordat was a compromise that restored some of the Catholic Church’s traditional roles but not its power, its lands or its monasteries.”

The revolution itself ended when Napoleon took over in a coup in 1799 which succeeded because people were tired of instability. “The lack of reaction from the streets proved that the revolution was, indeed, over. ‘A shabby compound of brute force and imposture, the 18th Brumaire was nevertheless condoned, nay applauded, by the French nation. Weary of revolution, men sought no more than to be wisely and firmly governed.’” And when Napoleon was overthrown, then the monarchy was restored and ultra-royalists came into power. Wikipedia explains that “The Ultra-royalists were a French political faction from 1815 to 1830 under the Bourbon Restoration. An Ultra was usually a member of the nobility of high society who strongly supported Roman Catholicism as the state and only legal religion of France, the Bourbon monarchy, traditional hierarchy between classes and census suffrage against popular will and the interests of the bourgeoisie and their liberal and democratic tendencies.” In other words, traditional authority eventually regained the upper hand. Even the peasants emphasized tradition in post-revolutionary France. “Although relieved of many of the old burdens, controls, and taxes, the peasantry was still highly traditional in its social and economic behavior.

The progression that happened with the French Revolution and its aftermath can be seen more generally with the Enlightenment and what followed. Wikipedia suggests that the Enlightenment followed one of two main streams. “According to Jonathan Israel, these laid down two distinct lines of Enlightenment thought: first, the moderate variety, following Descartes, Locke and Christian Wolff, which sought accommodation between reform and the traditional systems of power and faith, and second, the radical enlightenment, inspired by the philosophy of Spinoza, advocating democracy, individual liberty, freedom of expression and eradication of religious authority. The moderate variety tended to be deistic, whereas the radical tendency separated the basis of morality entirely from theology. Both lines of thought were eventually opposed by a conservative Counter-Enlightenment, which sought a return to faith.” The radical Enlightenment corresponds with what Jesus warned about in Matthew 15, because it emphasized free will above traditional power. And History indicates that tradition eventually won, because both forms of the Enlightenment were followed by a conservative Counter-Enlightenment.

One can also see this attitude in the mindset of Deism, which was popular among intellectuals of the Enlightenment. Wikipedia explains that the primary goal of Deism was to replace traditional authority with personal freedom. “Deism is a rational-based attitude which affirms the existence of God through the use of reason as opposed to revelation or dogmatic instruction of revealed religions. Reason will be elevated over fear if the old conflicts between reason and religion would be solved. Deists generally reject the Trinity, the incarnation, the divine origin and authority of the Bible, miracles, and supernatural forces. Deists believe in the Unitarian concept of God through the denial of the orthodox doctrines of the Trinity and the deity of Christ. Deists believe that human beings have free will and have responsibility for choosing how they live in relation to natural laws that govern the world.” And Deism also attempted to ‘invalidate the word of God for the sake of your tradition’. “Deism is a religion representing universal features of human nature. This contributed to a tendency to define religion in naturalistic terms. Deism emphasizes natural revelation. The Deistic arguments intended to eliminate the belief in a supernatural revelation through the criticism of the trustworthiness of the canon of the Scripture created by humans, as sources of final truth. Instead, Deists try to focus on what is obvious. Miracles do not occur.”

Turning now to the backlash, “Commentators beginning in the mid 20th century have used the term Counter-Enlightenment to describe multiple strains of thought that arose in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in opposition to the 18th-century Enlightenment… [Isaiah Berlin] published widely about the Enlightenment and its challengers and did much to popularise the concept of a Counter-Enlightenment movement that he characterized as relativist, anti-rationalist, vitalist, and organic, which he associated most closely with German Romanticism.” Romanticism “elevated folk art and ancient custom to something noble, but also spontaneity as a desirable characteristic (as in the musical impromptu). In contrast to the Rationalism and Classicism of the Enlightenment, Romanticism revived medievalism and elements of art and narrative perceived as authentically medieval in an attempt to escape population growth, early urban sprawl, and industrialism.”

This longing for a past that was uncontaminated by human rational thought can also be seen in Romantic architecture. “Romantic architecture appeared in the late 18th century in a reaction against the rigid forms of neoclassical architecture. It reached its peak in the mid-19th century, and continued to appear until the end of the 19th century. It was designed to evoke an emotional reaction, either respect for tradition or nostalgia for a bucolic past. It was frequently inspired by the architecture of the Middle Ages, especially Gothic architecture. It was strongly influenced by romanticism in literature, particularly the historical novels of Victor Hugo and Walter Scott.”

Hypocritical Honor 15:7-11

The next verses in Matthew 15 describe the underlying problem. Jesus begins by saying, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you.” Hypocrite means ‘a judging under, like a performer, acting under a mask’. This conveys the idea of pretending to be one thing while really being another. This theme is expanded in the next verses. Verse 8 says, “This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me.” (The ‘me’ in this quote refers to God.) Honor means to ‘assign value’ and was mentioned for the first time in Matthew two verses earlier. Lip is used once in Matthew and means ‘a lip, an edge’. The heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. (The Bible dictionary defines it as ‘the affective center of our being’.) Far away is used once in Matthew and means ‘far off, at a distance’. And is actually means ‘to have by separating from’.

One could interpret this in several related ways. First, normal secular experiences are being kept distinct from experiences associated with religion. This dividing line between sacred and secular was discussed when looking earlier at the washing of hands and is a natural byproduct of absolute truth. Second, people are studying verbal theories in Teacher thought without applying them to the experiences of personal identity in Mercy thought. This characterized French science during the Enlightenment, because scientific thought was being pursued with a mindset that attacked traditional religion and nobility. Third, science is studying the natural order of the physical universe while not studying subjective identity. This also was a major feature of the rational science of the Enlightenment, which only possessed adequate tools to study the physical world. Fourth, if one interprets lip as ‘edge’, then scientific research is getting excited by the leading edge of research, while finding less excitement in applying known facts of science to normal life.

What matters for our discussion is that if science attacks the first division between religious and secular that results from absolute truth, while at the same time implicitly following the other three divisions, then this will lead in a generation or two to a new scientific priesthood with its own religious shrines, institutions, priests, and rituals. And the original scientific researchers will become regarded as sources of absolute truth who possess special Mercy status. Thus, there is an implicit hypocrisy, and this hypocrisy will be revealed whenever science asks some version of the question ‘Why do your disciples not wash their hands when they eat bread?’ For instance: ‘Why are you doing research if you do not have a PhD? Why don’t you publish your research in a peer-reviewed journal? Why aren’t you working in a university?’ Each of these questions implies that a researcher is supposed to wash his hands of normal experience before eating intellectual bread.

Verse 9 continues, “But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” The word vain is used once in Matthew and means ‘pointless, without ground or any real purpose’. Worship is also used once in Matthew and means ‘to hold something or someone in high respect’. Teaching means to ‘instruct, impart knowledge’ and doctrines is a related word that refers to ‘applied-teaching’. Precept is related to the word ‘commandment’ used in verse 3 and means ‘a command, focusing on the result of following the directive to its end’. And men refers here to mankind.

Putting this together, the TMNs of God and universal understanding are being given emotional status, but this is not leading anywhere. Instead, if one looks at how people are being instructed to apply their teaching, one notices that human paths are being followed. That is because studying universal law has become mentally disconnected from the real world of human behavior.

Kant’s concept of transcendental idealism describes this disconnection. (Kant published his book in 1782, just before the French Revolution.) Wikipedia summarizes that “Kant argues that the conscious subject cognizes objects not as they are in themselves, but only the way they appear to us under the conditions of our sensibility.” More specifically, “space and time, rather than being real things-in-themselves or empirically mediated appearances, are the very forms of intuition by which we must perceive objects. They are hence neither to be considered properties that we may attribute to objects in perceiving them, nor substantial entities of themselves. They are in that sense subjective, yet necessary, preconditions of any given object insofar as this object is an appearance and not a thing-in-itself. Humans necessarily perceive objects as located in space and in time.”

Kant’s distinction between phenomena (how things appear to us) and noumena (how things exist in themselves) refers to the separation mentioned in verse 8. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The term noumenon is generally used when contrasted with, or in relation to, the term phenomenon, which refers to anything that can be apprehended by or is an object of the senses. In Kantian philosophy, the unknowable noumenon is often linked to the unknowable ‘thing-in-itself’.” In other words, noumena refer to the physical world of reality while phenomena describe my personal perception of reality, and these two are not the same.

Kant’s questioning led to centuries of philosophical dialogue. Jesus, in contrast, addresses this inherent limitation from a moral perspective. He begins by addressing the crowd in verse 10. “After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, ‘Hear and understand.’” The word call to has only been used once previously in Matthew in 10:1 where Jesus summoned his 12 disciples and the names of the 12 disciples were given. Here Jesus is calling to the crowd, and he says ‘hear and understand’. ‘Hear’ implies the use of Teacher thought, while understand appeared several times in Matthew 13 and means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’. In chapter 13, the disciples were being told to come up with an integrated understanding. Here, the crowds are being told to listen and come up with an integrated understanding. The implication is that the disciples have become stuck within technical thought and have lost the ability to put things together. Their technical reasoning has led them to the conclusion that phenomena and noumena are irrevocably separated.

Mental symmetry suggests that such divisions are impossible to bridge using technical thought. Instead, one has to use normal thought with its analogies to build bridges between various specializations. Thus, Jesus tells the crowd to put things together, because the crowd will use normal thought while the disciples are focusing upon technical thought.

Looking at this further, one cannot logically prove that there is any relationship between the real world and what I sense of the real world. But one can gain considerable confidence that there are extensive analogical similarities between my mind and the real world. My mind may only be capable of thinking in terms of space and time (because Perceiver thought thinks in terms of space and Server thought things in terms of time) but physical reality has to be guided by something that is related to space and time because it is comprehensible to the mind. If there were no similarity between the structure of the mind and the structure of the physical world, then the mind would find the physical world incomprehensible. Saying this more clearly, technical thought demands absolute certainty; it wants to follow chains of logic that lead to conclusions that can be known with total certainty. But that is not how the real world works. In fact, it is impossible to know anything about the real world with total certainty—that was Kant’s point. But there is a third option that lies between the total certainty of technical thought and the emotional involvement of mental networks, which is the partial certainty of normal thought. For instance, I cannot prove with total certainty that the book of Matthew predicts Western history. But I can point out enough parallels to demonstrate with reasonable certainty that there is a correspondence between these two.

Jesus continues in verse 11, “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” The word defiles is only used in Matthew in this parable and in the explanation of this parable that follows. Thus, defile is the theme of the parable, and means ‘treating what is sacred as common or ordinary’. The chapter began with the washing of hands, and the purpose of this handwashing was to protect scientific knowledge from getting contaminated by everyday experiences—or to protect absolute truth from getting contaminated from human opinion. In both cases, what is sacred should not be treated as common or ordinary. Putting this into modern language, how can one protect academic knowledge when anyone can upload documents that have not been peer-reviewed to academic websites?

Enters means ‘to go in, enter’; proceeds combines ‘out from’ with ‘to transport, moving something from one destination to another’. We have been interpreting the second term as referring to some sort of transformative process, in which the journey leads to some sort of change. This means that instead of focusing upon what words are academically acceptable, one should focus upon how words become transformed when they are used. In other words, academia is policing the wrong area. Instead of peer-reviewing what words get into print, academia should be reviewing what happens to words after they get into print.

Obsolete Experts 15:12-14

Jesus has been talking to the crowds. The disciples respond in verse 12. “Then the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were caused to stumble when they heard this statement?’” Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. A separatist is very concerned about what goes in, and a separatist will maintain strict physical distinctions to ensure that nothing common gets mixed in with the sacred. The word statement is logos, while cause to stumble is the source of the English word scandalize. In other words, the separatists are scandalized by the fact that Jesus is not making a distinction between sacred and common words and experiences. But why would the disciples point this out? Why are they noticing that the purists are being scandalized? I suggest that this is because technical thought also makes a distinction between acceptable rigorous thought and unacceptable common language. We saw this similarity when looking at four different ways of interpreting this division. Academic thought rightly attacks absolute truth for making a distinction between religious experiences in common experiences—between worshiping half of the log as an idol while using the rest of the log to cook food. But when academia regards technical thought as the only valid form of thinking, it is also making a distinction between holy and common, and succeeding generations will turn this into another form of absolute truth.

Jesus responds with a strange comment in verse 13. “But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted.” Plant means ‘a planting’ and is also used as a verb in verse 13. It is only used one other time in Matthew 21 where it talks about planting a vineyard. Rooted up is used one other time in Matthew in 13:29, where the tares were being allowed to grow so that the wheat would not be uprooted. A plant is alive, and the mind uses mental networks to represent life. Jesus is saying that any mental network that does not originate from Teacher thought will eventually be pulled out. A mindset of absolute truth does not originate from Teacher thought and the Enlightenment has focused upon uprooting the mindset of absolute truth.

But a mindset that emphasizes pure technical thought also does not originate from Teacher thought, because Teacher thought is not the same as technical thought. Instead, technical thought will attempt to put Teacher thought into the box of some specialization, responding emotionally when the limitations of this box are questioned. Teacher thought wants universal answers and not just specialized details, which is shown by the tendency of a technical specialist to try to explain all of life in terms of his technical specialization. This is known as Maslow’s hammer: If all I have is a hammer, then everything will look to me like a nail.

The solution is to let go of a focus upon Mercy divisions: “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (v.14). Leave alone means ‘to send away, leave alone’ and is often translated as ‘forgive’. In other words, when I am attacking some person or group for being driven by divisions in Mercy thought, I am still thinking in terms of Mercy divisions. Using an example that is currently in the news, people in the US and other countries are rioting against police brutality to blacks. It is true that a black person in America is statistically much more likely to experience police brutality than a white person in America. But the motto for these demonstrations is ‘Black lives matter’. This is an inadequate motto because it is still thinking in terms of racism. It still makes a distinction between blacks and whites. The solution is to come up with a different way of organizing people that is independent of skin color—such as cognitive styles.

The word ‘blind’ occurs four times in this verse. A guide combines ‘way, road’ with ‘to lead the way’, and blindness implies a lack of Perceiver thought, while being a guide involves Server thought. Pit is mentioned one other time in Matthew in 12:11 which talked about a pulling out a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath. We interpreted that as professors helping students who get stuck. In verse 14, both the professors and the students are getting stuck. What happens cognitively is that methodology becomes disconnected from reality. Whenever some sequence of actions is repeated, then this will build Server confidence. One can see this in the development of a bureaucracy. Similarly, the process of being a student and teaching students within an academic environment has becomes a substitute for sight. This is reflected in the common saying that someone who gets a degree and cannot find a job can always find a job teaching. The system of passing knowledge on to the next generation will acquire stability and knowledge will become stuck. Using the language of Matthew, if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit. That is why one can ignore systems of absolute truth—be they religious systems of absolute truth, or academic systems that have turned into systems of absolute truth. The system eventually becomes incestuous, feeding on itself while becoming irrelevant to the world at large.

Digestion 15:15-18

In verse 15 the disciples ask for an explanation. “Peter said to him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’” Notice that it is Peter, the representative of Perceiver thought, who asks for the interpretation. That is because mental blindness results from the absence of Perceiver thought, and absolute truth by its very nature overwhelms Perceiver thought. Therefore, understanding how to move beyond absolute truth and avoiding mental blindness are critical questions for Perceiver thought.

The word explain is used once in the New Testament and means ‘to explain, especially to use additional aids to bring clarity’. In other words, Perceiver thought is asking for analogies. We saw earlier in the chapter on parables that analogical reasoning, by itself, is insufficient. But analogical reasoning is very useful for extending and clarifying the technical thinking of science. This is also the first use of the word ‘parable’ since the chapter on parables, and it is Peter who uses the word. Putting this into context, the Pharisees have asked about washing hands before eating bread, and Jesus answered by saying that one is not defiled by what goes into the mouth. Peter then responds by viewing this as a parable.

Jesus answers by referring to understanding. “And he said, ‘Are you still lacking in understanding also?’” (v. 16) Lacking an understanding adds the prefix ‘not’ to the familiar word ‘put facts together’. Still is used once in the New Testament and means ‘at the present point of time’. Thus, Jesus is not necessarily berating his disciples for being slow learners, but rather recognizing that technical thought at this point in time is still fragmented and not integrated.

We have seen that the Enlightenment was followed by Romanticism. For a short period, Romanticism influenced the thinking of science. Wikipedia explains that “As the Enlightenment had a firm hold in France during the last decades of the 18th century, the Romantic view on science was a movement that flourished in Great Britain and especially Germany in the first half of the 19th century.” And one of the elements of Romantic science was a recognition that empirical science was fragmented. “According to the philosophes of the Enlightenment, the path to complete knowledge required dissection of information on any given subject and a division of knowledge into subcategories of subcategories, known as reductionism.” Romantic science also emphasized the role of analogies. “When categorizing the many disciplines of science that developed during this period, Romantics believed that explanations of various phenomena should be based upon vera causa, which meant that already known causes would produce similar effects elsewhere.”

Jesus then explains the parable. “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is thrown out into the latrine?” (v. 17) The word translated understand is different than the word ‘understanding’ in verse 16, and means ‘to apply mental effort needed to reach bottom-line conclusions’. This is the first time that this word is used in Matthew. (This type of loose translating which we have repeatedly seen throughout Matthew indicates that Bible translators do not mentally connect God with technical thought, because abstract technical thought requires precise definitions. Similarly, I remember pointing out to a biblical apologist that the word ‘believe’ actually means to ‘be persuaded’ and my comment was brusquely ignored. In a similar vein, Josh McDowell’s book on unshakable truth is not rigorous when it comes to defining words in the Bible. (Josh McDowell is a well known Christian apologist.) Saying this cognitively, Christianity has an inadequate concept of Christ—the abstract side of incarnation. Thankfully, biblical Greek scholars do give precise definitions to Greek terms, otherwise these essays would be impossible.)

‘Applying mental effort to reach bottom-line conclusions’ means using abstract technical thought to guide the bottom-line thinking of concrete technical thought, which means taking abstract theory and using it to explain how things work in the world. The word goes in is slightly different than the word ‘enters into’ in verse 11, because it combines ‘into’ with ‘to transport, moving something from one destination to another’. The phrase ‘goes into the mouth’ is the same as verse 11.

But that is not the end of the processing. Going further, stomach is ‘a general term covering any organ in the abdomen’ and has been used once before to describe the belly of Jonah’s big fish. Thus, ‘stomach’ would refer to some sort of internal processing that mentally ‘digests’ the intellectual food. Passes is used ten times in the New Testament and is only translated as ‘passes’ in this verse. It actually means ‘to make room’ or to ‘make space’. This relates to the idea of a mental grid mentioned earlier. When new information comes in, it is not just swallowed whole. Instead, it is mentally digested and placed within the appropriate locations within the mental grid of knowledge. I also mentioned earlier that this type of grid-like thinking becomes possible when concrete thought becomes transformed by abstract rational thinking. This is related to the verb ‘understand’ which describes using abstract technical thought to guide the thinking of concrete technical thought.

As a Perceiver person, I am conscious of this mental sorting process, because I instinctively place every new fact into a mental map of reasonableness. (The calculation of reasonableness involves a cooperation between Perceiver thought and Facilitator thought. Perceiver thought provides the reference points while Facilitator thought computes the reasonableness.) This sorting of verbal input explains why verse 17 describes going into the mouth as a process, while verse 11 simply talks about entering the mouth. Notice also that this is the opposite of the blind leading the blind and falling into a pit. When the blind lead the blind, then there is no mental feedback to provide error-checking for new information—there is no sight. In contrast, using Perceiver analogies to extend and interconnect technical thought helps to build a grid of technical reasonableness that provides automatic error checking.

Information that fails to pass the test of reasonableness will be ‘thrown out into the latrine’. Thrown out is an accurate translation, and implies that information is traveling through the ‘air’ of Teacher thought. Latrine is only used here and in the parallel passage in Mark 7 and means ‘a place of sitting apart’. (This definition confuses me because Roman latrines were actually a place of sitting together.) And the word sitting means ‘sitting, seated, steadfast, firm’. In other words, what is being described is not the rejection of information, but rather placing information within a solid grid where it then resides within its own place which is separate from other places. For instance, when I encounter information that appears to be garbage, I do not mentally reject it, but rather view it as a specific illustration of a certain kind of thinking that reflects a certain level of mental development. A similar process happens with a real latrine, because the waste does not remain where the body places it, but rather is channeled into a specific location within the ground.

Verse 18 then describes the pathway out. “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.” The word proceed is the same as in verse 11, which combines ‘out from’ with ‘to transport’. But come from is a simple word that means ‘come out of’. And heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. In other words, words are being changed as they are being spoken, but the heart is being conveyed accurately. This manipulation of words by the heart defiles a person. (‘Man’ here refers to ‘mankind’.) And we saw earlier that defile means ‘treating what is sacred as common or ordinary’.

Summarizing, if one really wishes to protect the purity of scientific thought, one should focus more upon what happens to scientific words after they are spoken rather than attempting to control which scientific words will be spoken.

A Defiling Heart 15:19-20

Verse 19 then clarifies the sort of things that can proceed from the heart. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” Come is the same word used in verse 18, which means simply ‘come out of’. Evil means ‘pain-ridden’ while thoughts is used once in Matthew and means ‘back-and-forth reasoning’. This describes the mixed motives that emerge when scientific thought is combined with childish mental networks. Murder means ‘murder (intentional, unjustified homicide)’. Adulteries refers to a man with a married women. Looking at this cognitively, the male technical thinking of science is finding emotional satisfaction in mental networks that belong to a different ‘husband’. Fornication is derived from the word ‘to sell off’ and is the root of the English word pornography. The idea is that one is selling off personal character in order to achieve peripheral wealth. Theft describes ‘thievery done secretively’. False witness is literally a pseudo-martyr, a lying eye-witness. And slander means ‘slow to call something good that really is good, and slow to identify what is truly bad’. This word was used once before in Matthew, when talking about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

All of these attributes emerge naturally when science uses technical thought to understand the physical world while ignoring personal identity. There will be ‘evil thoughts’, because Platonic forms of scientific perfection will be juxtaposed with childish MMNs. For instance, one can see this juxtaposition in using satellites to broadcast soap operas. A satellite is amazingly high-tech, while a soap opera wallows in childish identities. There will be more effective murder, because technology will make it possible to express tribal Mercy feelings more effectively. Instead of killing one person, one can now use a machine gun to kill hundreds at a time. (The first modern machine gun was invented in 1830.) Technical science will naturally practice mental adultery. On the one hand, technical thought explicitly tries to avoid the emotions of mental networks. On the other hand, technical thought is implicitly motivated by mental networks. Thus, scientific thought will become implicitly motivated by mental networks that belong to other systems of thought. Science will also naturally prostitute itself, selling its research to the highest bidder while ignoring the personal cost. Theft is also common in scientific circles because scientific knowledge that is divorced from personal identity can easily be stolen. One often reads of one person developing an invention and then some other person taking over the product and getting rich from it. Science also leads inherently to the pseudo-martyr, because it emphasizes the ‘witness’ of empirical data, but ignores the role that personal biases play in interpreting this data. And science leads naturally to blasphemy, because technical specialized thought will become emotionally twisted by the Teacher emotion of the paradigm that is guiding that specialization, making the mind emotionally oblivious to either the emotions of the larger picture or the personal implications. For instance, the inventor of a machine gun will find Teacher pleasure in developing a more efficient mechanism, while downplaying the social and personal impact of his invention.

Jesus summarizes in verse 20. “These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” Man, which means ‘mankind’, is used twice in this verse, both times with the definite article. And defile is the familiar word that means to ‘treat what is sacred as common’. Jesus is saying here that there is a deeper issue than preserving the sanctity of academic data, which is preserving the sanctity of humanity. Subjecting scientific papers to peer review is not as important as ensuring that scientific papers are not used to destroy humanity. And this is not an overstatement, because World War I is coming up which will use scientific knowledge to destroy humanity at an entirely new level of efficiency and butchery.

Turning now to European history, Romantic science recognized these issues and attempted to address them. Romantic science recognized the danger of approaching nature from a purely scientific perspective. “The Romantic movement, however, resulted as an increasing dislike by many intellectuals for the tenets promoted by the Enlightenment; it was felt by some that Enlightened thinkers’ emphasis on rational thought through deductive reasoning and the mathematization of natural philosophy had created an approach to science that was too cold and that attempted to control nature, rather than to peacefully co-exist with nature.”

Romantic science attempted to add a subjective element to the objective mathematical thinking of the Enlightenment. In the words of Wikipedia, “Natural science, according to the Romantics, involved rejecting mechanical metaphors in favor of organic ones; in other words, they chose to view the world as composed of living beings with sentiments, rather than objects that merely function.”

This led to the new science of biology. Unfortunately, biology was initially defined following the method described in verse 18: the words came out altered while the desires of the heart emerged unchanged. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The mechanical philosophy of the 17th century sought to explain life as a system of parts that operate or interact like those of a machine. Lamarck stated that the life sciences must detach from the physical sciences and strove to create a field of research that was different from the concepts, laws, and principles of physics. In rejecting mechanism without entirely abandoning the research of material phenomena that does occur in nature, he was able to point out that ‘living beings have specific characteristics which cannot be reduced to those possessed by physical bodies and that living nature was an assemblage of metaphysical objects.’” Notice how the mental networks of life are emerging unscathed from this mindset while the laws of physics have been almost entirely rejected. Throwing out the entire thinking of physics is a greater flaw than falsifying data. (I am not suggesting that life is merely physical mechanisms. The hard problem of consciousness indicates that a mind exists which goes beyond physical matter. However, biochemistry has shown that biological mechanisms can be explained as very complicated versions of chemistry, which ultimately boil down to physical interactions between atoms and molecules.)

Another product of Romantic science was the theory of evolution: “Romanticism also played a large role in Natural history, particularly in biological evolutionary theory.” And “there has been significant work done by historians about how romanticism played a significant role in the development of modern theories of evolution.”

I have attempted to analyze the theory of evolution from a cognitive perspective in other essays. Here we will simply examine the theory of evolution as an example of man being defiled by things that proceed out of the mouth while coming from the heart. Evolution was presented as a verbal theory—it came out of the mouth. But it became associated in the popular mind with phrases such as ‘survival of the fittest’ and ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw’.

The theory of evolution also led to concepts such as Social Darwinism. Wikipedia explains that “Social Darwinism is any of various theories of society which emerged in the United Kingdom, North America, and Western Europe in the 1870s, claiming to apply biological concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest to sociology and politics. Social Darwinists argue that the strong should see their wealth and power increase while the weak should see their wealth and power decrease. Different social-Darwinist groups have differing views about which groups of people are considered to be the strong and which groups of people are considered to be the weak, and they also hold different opinions about the precise mechanisms that should be used to reward strength and punish weakness. Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism, while others were used in support of authoritarianism, eugenics, racism, imperialism, fascism, Nazism, and struggle between national or racial groups.”

I am not trying to blame Charles Darwin for all of these results. Rather, I am attempting to point out that when Romantic science added the subjective heart to the mouth of scientific theory, then the mouth changed while the heart emerged, and the kind of heart that emerged was consistent with the list of unpleasant adjectives given in verse 19—it was nasty, childish, brutal, infantile, and murderous. As verse 20 summarizes, these are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man. Saying this more generally, I think that one can safely conclude that viewing humanity as the highest animal rather than as created in the image of God has a defiling effect upon humanity. It takes the sacredness of humanity and makes it common.

Looking at this from a different perspective, the theory of evolution was developed in Britain during the early Industrial Revolution. Britain had just broken through to an unprecedented level of national prosperity. This prosperity may not have filtered down yet to the average person, but as a species, Britain was showing the world that it was fittest to survive. And ‘Britannia ruled the waves’. Britain was using its tooth and claw to demonstrate to the world where the tooth and claw of the European competition had led. People no longer felt any need to postulate the existence of a divine being guiding the course of human progress. Instead, evolution provided a Teacher theory that could explain the magnificent order of the British Empire—in fact the entire order of living existence—solely as a result of competition between species, cultures, and races.

However, our look at the book of Matthew has been revealing a different story. A divine being recorded a plan for Western civilization before it ever began, and that divine being has been carefully guiding the course of Western history. The only reason that Western civilization achieved its prominence was because the hand of Divine Providence had been continually intervening in Western history. And this divine plan predicted that Western civilization at this point in time would come up with verbal theories that would distort understanding but accurately reflect the childish desires of the heart. However, the purpose of this divine plan was not for Europe to survive and the rest of the world to go extinct. Instead, the purpose was to start something in Europe that would eventually benefit all of humanity. This conflict between ‘we are special’ and ‘blessing the rest of the world’ shows up in the next section.

The Syrophoenician Woman 15:21-23

The next story deals with the Syrophoenician woman. It begins with Jesus changing his location: “Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon.” Tyre and Sidon have been mentioned once previously in 11:21-22 where Jesus said that it would be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment. Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities that engaged in trade and colonization. And we interpreted the reference to Tyre and Sidon in chapter 11 as colonization and exploration. Withdrew means ‘to go back, withdraw’. District means ‘part, share, portion’.

Wikipedia describes the withdrawing that happened after the Napoleonic wars which ended in 1815. “The Napoleonic Wars brought radical changes to Europe, but the reactionary forces returned to power and tried to reverse some of them by restoring the Bourbon house on the French throne… France’s constant warfare with the combined forces of different combinations of, and eventually all, of the other major powers of Europe for over two decades finally took its toll. By the end of the Napoleonic Wars, France no longer held the role of the dominant power in Continental Europe, as it had since the times of Louis XIV, as the Congress of Vienna produced a ‘balance of power’ by resizing the main powers so they could balance each other and remain at peace… The century of relative transatlantic peace, after the Congress of Vienna, enabled the ‘greatest intercontinental migration in human history’ beginning with ‘a big spurt of immigration after the release of the dam erected by the Napoleonic Wars.’” First, a war that eventually engulfed all of Europe is now over and will be followed by several decades of relative peace. Second, conservative forces are now in power that will attempt to withdraw from the radical changes introduced by the French Revolution. And there will be a wave of colonization and exploration that will be the largest in history.

More generally, the attention of Europe shifted from fighting one another within Europe to competing with each other through the establishment of colonies. And this great wave of Western colonization continued until the First World War.

Looking at the colonization in more detail, Britain consolidated rule over India: “By the 1850s, the East India Company controlled most of the Indian sub-continent, which included present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh. Their policy was sometimes summed up as Divide and Rule, taking advantage of the enmity festering between various princely states and social and religious groups.” China was overwhelmed by Western Powers. “In 1839, China found itself fighting the First Opium War with Britain. China was defeated, and in 1842, signed the provisions of the Treaty of Nanking which were first of the unequal treaties signed during the Qing Dynasty.” And Japan was forcibly opened up to the West in 1853 when the U.S. Navy sailed warships into Tokyo Harbor.

The story in Matthew summarizes the relationship between Western colonizers and local inhabitants. Verse 22 describes the attractive pull of Western knowledge. “And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed. The term Canaanite is used once in the New Testament. The Canaanites were the original occupants of Israel before the Israelites invaded under Joshua after the Exodus. Thus, one could interpret Canaanite as a reference to aboriginals—the original occupants of some land. The word Canaan comes from a Hebrew word that means ‘to be humble’, which also describes the typical state of aboriginals when colonizers arrive.

The Canaanite woman is being described as ‘from that region’. Region means boundary. The reference to a woman indicates that the local people are thinking in terms of mental networks—their culture, identity, and religion are all being uprooted by the colonizing powers. The colonizers, in contrast, are thinking in terms of borders and boundaries. A local person is merely someone who happens to live within a certain boundary. This difference in perspective will have major repercussions for the continent of Africa, because the European powers will impose boundaries upon Africa that have nothing to do with local mental networks of culture and ethnicity.

The word come out means ‘to go or come out of’ and is the simple word that was just used in verse 19 to describe the evil that comes out of the heart. This same word was used in verse 21 to say that ‘Jesus went away from there’. This implies that the colonizers in their natural form are coming into contact with the local population in its natural form. Cry out means ‘using inarticulate shouts that express deep emotion’. Similarly, when one’s home land is taken over by strange foreigners and irrevocably altered, then the natural response will be ‘inarticulate shouts that express deep emotion’. This word was last used by Peter in 14:30 when he tried to walk on the water and began to sink under the waves. The woman says ‘have mercy on me, Lord, son of David’. A similar phrase has been used once previously in Matthew in 9:27 where two blind men cried out ‘have mercy on us, son of David’. We interpreted that as the rise of alchemy, in which people are attempting to follow incarnation with an inadequate mindset. Similarly, when tribal people attempted to follow modern Western thought, they were attempting to follow a partial expression of incarnation with an inadequate mindset. One can see what this means by observing what usually happened to the infrastructure of a colonized country when that country gained political independence. Finally, the woman is asking for mercy and not salvation, which means having better Mercy experiences without changing the underlying culture or way of thinking.

The woman complains that ‘my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed’. Cruelly means ‘inwardly foul’, and refers to intrinsic evil, or ‘inner malice flowing out of a morally-rotten character’. The word demon-possessed has been used several times in Matthew but this is the last time that this word is used. We have interpreted a demon as the TMN of a bad habit (which could also be energized by an actual demon). But thinking in terms of demons is also a sign that one is thinking at the level of habits rather than general understanding. Putting this into the context of colonization, the local population is looking at the advanced culture of the colonizers and concluding that something is fundamentally rotten about local culture. However, the locals are not asking for a total transformation of their culture, but rather want help for the ‘daughters’ of culture—the more peripheral elements that are expressions of the local culture. And they want mercy and not salvation. They want the local culture to be fixed and not transformed into something new. They are also thinking in terms of habits rather than technical paradigms, willing to change the way that things are done, but not necessarily alter the underlying mental networks that motivate this behavior.

I know that I am using language that would be regarded as un-woke, but the black African who immigrates to America today also tends to question the African-American concept of woke-ness. Quoting one section from the linked article, “Perhaps the greatest difference I have seen between African immigrants and African-Americans is how they react to adversity. Most African immigrants to the United States came here for economic advancement. They do not have any political agenda. They are willing to take any job and do not blame the ‘system’ when they fail in their endeavors. Most African immigrants to the United States often live in mixed neighborhoods instead of black neighborhoods and they easily integrate. African immigrants know who they are. They are not easily offended when someone tries to put them down. They know where they come from and why they are here. For African-Americans, there is often a tendency to blame slavery for most of the problems they face today. For instance, when African American students fail in school, some educators blame slavery and do not look for other factors. However, the time has come for African Americans to realize that while racism still persists, the best thing they can do for their children is to teach them to take full responsibility for their actions.”

Continuing with Matthew, verse 23 describes the response of the colonizers. “But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, ‘Send her away, because she keeps shouting behind us.’” Word here is logos. The implication is that there is conversation happening, but Western technical thought does not know how to place the local culture into the Teacher paradigms of science. Western scientific progress has assumed Western culture, and the experiences of non-western culture do not fit into the mold of technical thinking. Come means ‘to approach, to draw near’, while implore means to ‘make an earnest request, especially by someone on special footing’, and this is the first use of this word in Matthew. In other words, the colonist responds to the exotic local culture by viewing technical thought as something that is inherently part of Western culture.

Send away means ‘to set free, release’ and this word was used in 5:31-32 in the Sermon on the Mount to describe divorce. This is an appropriate term, because the typical colonizer does not want to be intimately connected with the local culture. Verse 23 gives the reason. Shouting is the same word was translated as ‘cry out’ in verse 22. (Why does the NASB use two different English words in adjoining verses to translate the same Greek word?) As a footnote in the NASB points out, the phrase ‘at us’ is actually ‘behind us’. (In this case, the NASB does acknowledge the original Greek.) ‘At us’ conveys the idea of face-to-face interaction, while ‘behind us’ suggests that the colonizer is making progress, while the local is dragging along behind. Saying this bluntly, the colonizer views local culture as noise and sees technical thought as a tool that can be used to eliminate this bothersome noise that is coming from behind.

I am not suggesting that all colonizers had this attitude, but one can see this illustrated by the American doctrine of Manifest Destiny, first explicitly verbalized in the 1840s. Wikipedia summarizes that “three key themes were usually touched upon by advocates of manifest destiny: the virtue of the American people and their institutions; the mission to spread these institutions, thereby redeeming and remaking the world in the image of the United States.” Note how scientific progress is being equated with Western culture. Existing Native American culture was viewed primarily as noise from behind. “Manifest destiny had serious consequences for Native Americans, since continental expansion implicitly meant the occupation and annexation of Native American land, sometimes to expand slavery. This ultimately led to confrontations and wars with several groups of native peoples via Indian removal. The United States continued the European practice of recognizing only limited land rights of indigenous peoples.” As this quote points out, this mindset was not unique to America, but was also present in Europe.

Describing this attitude in more detail, “Americans increasingly believed that Native American ways of life would ‘fade away’ as the United States expanded. As an example, this idea was reflected in the work of one of America's first great historians, Francis Parkman, whose landmark book The Conspiracy of Pontiac was published in 1851. Parkman wrote that after the British conquest of Canada in 1760, Indians were ‘destined to melt and vanish before the advancing waves of Anglo-American power, which now rolled westward unchecked and unopposed’. Parkman emphasized that the collapse of Indian power in the late 18th century had been swift and was a past event.” Notice how Western society is viewing science and technology as an expression of Western culture that will make it possible to allow Westerners to send away the inarticulate cries of native culture ‘from behind’.

Responding to another Culture 15:24-28

The response of Jesus in verse 24 illustrates how technical thought typically responds initially to unexpected situations. “But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” In other words, ‘your request does not fall within my area of expertise’. Looking at this theologically, Jesus was expanding the Jewish religion to extend to the Gentiles—the rest of humanity. But this extension beyond the Jewish people had not yet occurred.

Looking now at the Greek words, send means ‘sent on a defined mission by a superior’. Sheep is used several times in Matthew and we have been interpreting this as adherents who follow the words of some leader. The phrase ‘sheep of the house of Israel’ occurs one other time in Matthew in 10:6, and that passage is related to the various mendicant orders that arose in 13th century Europe. The idea is that these movements were being sent out within Europe and not to the rest of the world.

The word lost actually ‘implies permanent destruction’, and it is a perfect participle active, which I believe should be translated as ‘being lost’ (and it is translated that way by the Berean literal Bible). The implication is that European culture is in a precarious situation. It may be experiencing great material success, but the attitude of following words of understanding in Teacher thought is in danger of being permanently lost. That is because this mindset is being assumed, and we just saw in the previous section that Teacher words are being warped by childish Mercy emotions.

Looking at Western history, the mindset of simple Christian faith was being threatened during this period by liberal theology. Wikipedia summarizes that “Liberal theology grew out of Enlightenment rationalism and romanticism of the 18th and 19th centuries. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was characterized by an acceptance of Darwinian evolution, a utilization of modern biblical criticism and participation in the Social Gospel movement.” Going further, “Liberals abandoned or reinterpreted traditional doctrines in light of recent knowledge. For example, the traditional doctrine of original sin was rejected for being derived from Augustine of Hippo, whose views on the New Testament were believed to have been distorted by his involvement with Manichaeism. Christology was also reinterpreted. Liberals stressed Christ’s humanity, and his divinity became ‘an affirmation of Jesus exemplifying qualities which humanity as a whole could hope to emulate’.” And “Catholic forms of theological liberalism have existed since the 19th century in England, France and Italy… Like liberal Protestantism, Catholic modernism was an attempt to bring Catholicism in line with the Enlightenment.” Thus, if Europe had enthusiastically embraced colonial cultures in the 19th century, then Christianity might not have survived.

Instead, colonization was accompanied by a strong missionary movement. “In the 18th century, and even more so in the 19th century, missionaries based in Britain saw the Empire as a fertile field for proselytizing for Christianity. All the main denominations were involved, including the Church of England, the Presbyterians of Scotland, and the Nonconformists. Much of the enthusiasm emerged from the Evangelical revival.” The average 19th century missionary was culturally patronizing, but “Missionaries increasingly came to focus on education, medical help, and long-term modernization of the native personality to inculcate European middle-class values. They established schools and medical clinics. Christian missionaries played a public role, especially in promoting sanitation and public health. Many were trained as physicians, or took special courses in public health and tropical medicine at Livingstone College, London.”

Wikipedia also describes a threatened Protestant Christianity being revitalized by missionary activity associated with Western colonization. “Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette argues that the outlook for Protestantism at the start of the 19th century was discouraging. It was a regional religion based in northwestern Europe, with an outpost in the sparsely settled United States. It was closely allied with government, as in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Prussia, and especially Great Britain. The alliance came at the expense of independence, as the government made the basic policy decisions, down to such details as the salaries of ministers and location of new churches. The dominant intellectual currents of the Enlightenment promoted rationalism, and most Protestant leaders preached a sort of deism. Intellectually, the new methods of historical and anthropological study undermine automatic acceptance of biblical stories, as did the sciences of geology and biology. Industrialization was a strongly negative factor, as workers who moved to the city seldom joined churches… Despite the negative forces, Protestantism demonstrated a striking vitality by 1900… Above all, worldwide missionary activity became a highly prized goal, proving quite successful in close cooperation with the imperialism of the British, German, and Dutch empires.”

That leads to an interesting conclusion. The European Protestant missionaries thought that they were saving the natives. And even if one thinks purely in terms of education, infrastructure, sanitation, and health, there was significant salvation. But the natives were also saving the missionaries from skeptical, shallow religion. The missionary was convinced that the native was in danger of ‘permanent destruction’, but verse 24 suggests that Protestant Christendom itself was in danger of permanent destruction.

The woman responds in verse 25 with an emotional appeal. “But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, ‘Lord, help me!’” The word bow down means ‘to do reverence to’ and is usually translated as worship. She uses the word ‘Lord’ again, indicating a mindset of obedience. And instead of asking for mercy, she uses the word help, which is found once in Matthew and means ‘to run and meet an urgent distress-call’. I suggest that this mindset of ‘worshiping the white man’ is related to the Nationalism that emerged after the French Revolution. I mentioned earlier that the divine right of kings replaced the absolute truth of Christianity with the absolute truth of the monarch. These sources of absolute truth determined how Europeans viewed non-Europeans.

Quoting from a PBS article, “People in the 17th century did not think about differences between human beings in the way that we think about those differences today. They were more likely to distinguish between Christians and heathens than they were between people of color and people who were white. That is, they regarded a person’s status in life as somehow more fundamental than what color they were, or what their particular background was.” The Enlightenment changed the reasoning, but was not inherently racist. “Enlightenment people were not egalitarians in the sense that they did not all believe that all people were equal. But the inequality was not something that was inherent and inborn. Inequality was the product of environment. And if you changed the environment, then you ultimately could make all people equal… By the 18th century, the Enlightenment made people think in more secular terms. So Jefferson and his contemporaries would attribute differences in human beings to their lack of education and opportunity, to their environment, rather than to the lack of Christianity.”

After the French Revolution, Nationalism became the dominant mindset. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Typically historians of nationalism in Europe begin with the French Revolution (1789), not only for its impact on French nationalism but even more for its impact on Germans and Italians and on European intellectuals.” Nationalism also grew as a result of the Industrial Revolution: “Due to the Industrial Revolution, there was an emergence of an integrated, nation-encompassing economy and a national public sphere, where the British people began to identify with the country at large, rather than the smaller units of their province, town or family.” Thus, when a mindset of European Nationalism met other cultures through colonization, then the natural feeling would be that ‘white European culture is better than foreign culture’.

Social Darwinism then took this one step further by concluding that the white race is superior to other races. (This means that racism might be the third of the seven spirits mentioned earlier.) For instance, “The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) attributed civilizational primacy to the white races, who gained sensitivity and intelligence via the refinement caused by living in the rigorous Northern climate: The highest civilization and culture, apart from the ancient Hindus and Egyptians, are found exclusively among the white races; and even with many dark peoples, the ruling caste, or race, is fairer in colour than the rest.”

The point I am trying to make is that the Canaanite woman’s attitude of worship and cry for help would have been regarded as culturally appropriate in the 19th century.

And one can see this same attitude of inherent superiority described in verse 26: “And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” The word good means ‘attractively good’. Children means ‘a child living in willing dependence’. The word dog is only used in the context of this parable and means ‘a little dog, a house dog’. Using politically incorrect 19th century language, it was commonly believed that one should make a distinction between white children and domesticated natives.

But one can also look at this cognitively as maintaining implicit mental networks. Western society has made a breakthrough into science and technology, but it does not yet grasp the implicit mental networks that drive Western civilization. Europe needs its white European culture, because personally speaking, it is still a child living in willing dependence. But if one takes white European culture and tries to transplant it into some foreign setting, then the results will not fit. Notice that there is a blindness on both sides. On the one hand, the European colonizer is equating scientific progress with European culture. On the other hand, the local person being colonized is focusing upon personal needs in Mercy thought without recognizing the underlying mindset that is required to effectively deal with these Mercy problems.

Looking at this another way, the Europeans are mental children who are emotionally dependent upon their MMNs of European culture. The word dog—without the diminutive—is used once in Matthew in 6:6 where it warned against giving what is holy to dogs. We interpreted that using the saying ‘a dog will return to its vomit’. In other words, a person who is driven by mental networks will return to them, no matter how painful they are, because they are familiar. This describes the nature of a mental network, because the pain involved in threatening a mental network is deeper than any painful experiences contained within that mental network.

I suggest that female circumcision is an example of a dog returning to its vomit. Quoting from the WHO webpage on this practice, “FGM has no health benefits, and it harms girls and women in many ways. It involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue, and interferes with the natural functions of girls’ and women’s bodies… More than 200 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to the practice… The practice is mainly concentrated in the Western, Eastern, and North-Eastern regions of Africa, in some countries the Middle East and Asia, as well as among migrants from these areas… In most societies, where FGM is practised, it is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.”

The woman’s response in verse 27 does not question the underlying cultural assumptions. “But she said, ‘Yes, Lord; for even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.’” The word crumb is only used in this story and means ‘a little morsel, a crumb’. Table is used one other time in Matthew in 21:12 where it describes the tables of the money changers in the Temple. Notice that the focus is not upon growing grain or making bread, but rather upon the table at which intellectual food is being consumed. Similarly, the moneychangers were using the tables to convert the currency of one culture to the currency of another. This implies an approach to knowledge that is somewhat surface which focuses upon the institutions of learning—the table on which one eats the bread of learning. And instead of eating the whole loaf, one gains the occasional crumb from the masters who are eating at the table.

This leads to the final response from Jesus. “Then Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour” (v.28). The word great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ and refers to Teacher generality. Faith means to ‘be persuaded’. The implication is that the woman has broken through to Teacher generality and rational thought. And this describes a general cognitive principle related to Western colonization. The typical postmodern response is to attack the power of Western hegemony. But that is only the visible half of the story. Someone who grows up as a member of the dominant class is both blessed and cursed. He is blessed because he has wealth and opportunity, but he is also cursed because he is doing the right thing for inadequate reasons. He is not consciously aware of the core mental networks that drives behavior. In contrast, the immigrant may have the disadvantage of being a cultural outsider, but he also has the advantage of being forced to face his own core mental networks.

Verse 28 does not say that the beneficial results came immediately. It shall be done means ‘to come into being’, which indicates that the beneficial results will come into being over time. In addition, the results come from that hour, rather than in that hour. Verse 28 also does not say that the results will necessarily be beneficial. Instead, Jesus says that what will come into being is ‘what you desire’. The daughter does become healed, which means ‘heal, generally the physical, sometimes of spiritual, disease’. But it is the woman’s daughter who is healed and not the woman herself. Summarizing, colonization had substantial peripheral benefits, but it did not necessarily address core issues or lead to personal salvation.

Healing on the Mountain 15:29-31

The next section talks again about Jesus healing the crowds. Matthew has referred several times to Jesus healing the crowds, but these descriptions are not all the same. One difference is that Matthew 15 happens on a mountain. “Departing from there, Jesus went along by the Sea of Galilee, and having gone up on the mountain, He was sitting there” (v. 29). The last mention of a mountain was in 14:23 where Jesus was up on the mountain by himself, implying that abstract research is happening apart from the crowds, and we connected this with research being done in France before and during the French Revolution. In verse 29, Jesus goes up the mountain and sits there, and large crowds then come to him in verse 30.

Another difference is that this is the first mention of Galilee since 4:15. Galilee comes from a Hebrew word that means to ‘roll’, and we have interpreted this to represent the cycles of society. In 14:25-26 Jesus was walking around on the sea. Here he is going close beside the Sea of Galilee. The phrase ‘by the Sea of Galilee’ was also found in 4:18 when Jesus chose his first disciples. We related that to the monks of the Dark Ages living in their monasteries apart from society while still interacting with the cycles of society. Something similar is happening in Matthew 15 with scientific academia starting to exist as monasteries of higher learning. This focus on higher learning is shown symbolically with Jesus going up the mountain and sitting there. The word sitting means ‘sit, am seated, enthroned’. In 4:16, the people were sitting in darkness, indicating that the monasteries existed as a refuge from the Dark Ages in which the surrounding people were sitting. In 13:1 Jesus came out of the house and was sitting by the sea, and in 13:2 he got into a boat and sat down. That described the organizational principles of the early Industrial Revolution emerging out of personal experiences.

This going alongside the Sea of Galilee and then going up the mountain and sitting down can be seen in the Humboldtian model of higher education, which Wikipedia explains “is a concept of academic education that emerged in the early 19th century and whose core idea is a holistic combination of research and studies. Sometimes called simply the Humboldtian model, it integrates the arts and sciences with research to achieve both comprehensive general learning and cultural knowledge, and it is still followed today.” Notice the combination of walking alongside the sea of experience through research while also sitting down on the mountaintop and teaching general theory.

Verse 30 describes the response. “And many crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.” Many crowds came to Jesus on the mountain. Similarly, “the idea of the research-based university rapidly made an impact both in Germany and abroad. The Humboldtian university concept profoundly influenced higher education throughout central, eastern, and northern Europe.”

Verse 31 describes the benefits. “So the crowd marveled as they saw the mute speaking, the crippled restored, and the lame walking, and the blind seeing.” Since verse 31 repeats each of the ailments mentioned in verse 30, we will examine these two verses together.

Lame means ‘lame, deprived of a foot’. Cognitively speaking, personal identity ‘walks’ by resting the weight of the mind alternatively upon MMNs of personal experience and TMNs of theory. For instance, the path of personal transformation builds a general theory in Teacher thought in order to rest the mind upon understanding, making it possible to lift up childish MMNs and then put them back down in a reborn form. The basic principle is that this kind of mental walking requires interconnected MMNs and TMNs. A person who mentally rests either upon MMNs of culture or upon TMNs of understanding is mentally ‘deprived of a foot’. This term has been used once previously in Matthew in 11:5. What happened there was that the newly emerging scientific thought was providing people with an alternate mental foundation to the MMNs of culture.

In verse 31, the lame are walking, and walking means ‘walking around’. Walking around mentally on two legs requires a research university which combines the MMNs of research with the TMNs of teaching. Referring again to the description in Wikipedia, “These principles, in particular the idea of the research-based university, rapidly made an impact both in Germany and abroad… Universities built on the Humboldtian model have provided students with the ability to address recalcitrant problems, leading to major scientific breakthroughs with important economic effects.”

Crippled means ‘lame, especially in the hands’, and this is the first occurrence of this word in Matthew. In verse 31, the crippled are restored, which means ‘sound, whole, healthy’. This term is used one other time in Matthew in 12:13 where the man with the withered hand stretched out his hand and it was restored. We interpreted that as the new science adding experiments to the logic of Scholasticism. (The hands are used to perform detailed manipulation, which represents using technical thought. Scholasticism uses technical thought with words, while experimentation uses technical thought with experiences.)

Similarly, “science became the focus of universities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students could conduct research in seminars or laboratories and began to produce doctoral theses with more scientific content. According to Humboldt, the mission of the University of Berlin was to pursue scientific knowledge. The German university system fostered professional, bureaucratically regulated scientific research performed in well-equipped laboratories, instead of the kind of research done by private and individual scholars in Great Britain and France.” Notice how university students are being taught both the logic of Scholasticism and the experimentation of science.

The next word is blind, which means ‘blind, physically or mentally’. In verse 31, the blind are seeing, and see means to ‘be observant’. This ability to see clearly was also emphasized by the Humboldt model: “Humboldt believed that teaching should be guided by current research, and that research should be unbiased and independent from ideological, economic, political or religious influences. The Humboldtian model strives for unconditional academic freedom in the intellectual investigation of the world, both for teachers and for students.”

Finally, mute means ‘blunt, dull, deaf’. And in verse 31, the mute are talking. The Humboldtian model believes that both professors and students should have a voice. “Freedom was an important concept in the German university model, and the system of professors was based on competition and freedom…The French University model lacked the freedom of the German model, consisting of severe discipline and control over the curriculum, awarding of degrees, conformity of views, and personal habits (for example, there was a ban on beards in 1852).”

Verse 30 adds that these four categories were ‘laid down at his feet; and he healed them’. The word laid down actually means ‘to throw, cast’. Throwing implies movement through the air of Teacher thought. And feet were last mentioned in 10:14 where the proto-Protestants moving from city to city were told to shake the dust off their feet when people did not listen. ‘Feet’ implies that the University system itself is making progress by combining research and teaching. Thus, ‘throwing at his feet’ would represent theoretically recognizing in Teacher thought the importance of combining research with teaching. Healed is the normal word ‘therapy’ which ‘usually involves natural elements in the process of healing’. Similarly, the Humboldt system felt that “Study should be guided by humanistic ideals and free thought, and knowledge should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism rather than authority, tradition, or dogma.”

Moving on to verse 31, the ‘crowds marveled’. Marveled means ‘astonished out of one’s senses’ and was last mentioned in 9:33, and we interpreted that as a response to the rise of medieval guilds. Humboldt also proposed a new form of social grouping based upon the concept of world citizenship. “The Weltbürgertum [world citizenship] is the collective bond, which connects autonomous individuals, irrespective of their social and cultural socialization… To become a citizen of the world means, to deal with the big questions of humanity: to seek peace, justice, and care about the exchange of cultures, other gender relationships or another relationship to nature.”

Verse 31 finishes by saying that “they glorified the God of Israel”. This is the only use of the term ‘God of Israel’ in Matthew. It is a strange juxtaposition because God implies a universal Teacher understanding, while Israel refers to a specific nation. Thus, there is a universality here, but it is a lower form of universality, based in human society. This incompleteness is brought out in the Wikipedia page for Weltbürgertum, which is translated as cosmopolitanism. Wikipedia explains that “Definitions of cosmopolitanism usually begin with the Greek etymology of ‘citizen of the world’. However, as Appiah points out, ‘world’ in the original sense meant ‘cosmos’ or ‘universe’, not earth or globe as current use assumes… Cosmopolitanism can be defined as a global politics that, firstly, projects a sociality of common political engagement among all human beings across the globe, and, secondly, suggests that this sociality should be either ethically or organizationally privileged over other forms of sociality.” Similarly, this essay has been pointing out that cosmos refers to the Teacher structure of human society, and that this is an incomplete system. Likewise, the Humboldt system was unprecedented and transformative, but it was also incomplete.

However, the founding of the Humboldt system has the flavor of divine intervention. It was instituted in 1809 when Napoleon was the master of Europe and Prussia was the underdog. “Only when Prussia and its absolutist government had been utterly defeated by the Napoleonic armies in 1806, the weakness of the defeated government allowed for the Prussian reforms of the country’s institutions. Wilhelm von Humboldt was appointed Geheimer Staatsrat (not minister as intended) of education in 1809 and held office for just one year. He however succeeded in drafting a complete reform of the country’s educational system.”

Humboldt himself “had been home schooled and never finished his comparably short university studies at the universities of Frankfurt (Oder) and Göttingen. Nevertheless, he became one of the most influential officials in German education. Actually, Humboldt had intended to become Minister of education, but failed to attain that position.”

I have suggested that the divine plan functions largely by guiding core mental networks, which means that a person or group who plays some role in the plan will often be driven emotionally to head too far in that direction. This provides a possible explanation why Humboldt was only responsible for education for one year. He had enough time to set in motion the research university with its world citizens, but not enough time to infect this system with his ideas of what it meant to be a world citizen.

A similar statement can be made about Romantic science in general. Wikipedia says that “Romanticism declined beginning around 1840 as a new movement, positivism, took hold of intellectuals, and lasted until about 1880. As with the intellectuals who earlier had become disenchanted with the Enlightenment and had sought a new approach to science, people now lost interest in Romanticism and sought to study science using a stricter process.”

Feeding the Four Thousand 15:32-38

That brings us to the end of Matthew 15, which finishes with the story of the feeding of the four thousand. As with the previous feeding of the five thousand, the story begins with a hungry crowd. “And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, ‘I feel compassion for the crowd, because they are remaining with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.”

In the feeding of the five thousand in 14:15, the disciples pointed out to Jesus that the people are hungry. Here, Jesus calls his disciples to him. The word compassion means ‘to be moved in the inward parts’, which implies internally generated emotions (as opposed to some situation provoking an emotional response). This term was also used in the feeding of the five thousand in 14:14, but what triggers the emotion is different. In 14:14. Jesus felt emotion towards the crowd, healed the sick, and then the disciples pointed out the lack of food. In 15:32, Jesus tells the disciples that he feels emotion towards them because they have no food.

Looking at this cognitively, in chapter 14, technical thought was being guided primarily by the concrete Mercy emotions of personal need, and a lack of intellectual food was then being recognized. Similarly, the intellectual ‘feeding’ of the encyclopédie was primarily driven by Mercy feelings of compassion for the average person; the goal was to spread knowledge to the masses. In contrast, the renewed focus upon research that followed Romantic science was driven by a Teacher compassion for learning.

Continuing with verse 32, the word remain is used once in Matthew and combines ‘interactively with’ with ‘abide, remain’. The crowd has been interactively abiding with incarnation for three days and they have nothing to eat. The word send away means ‘to set free’ and is also used for divorce. In verse 23, the disciples were asking Jesus to send the woman away, which we interpreted as colonizers divorcing themselves of the local cultures. In verse 39, Jesus will send the crowds away after the feeding of the four thousand, implying that technical thought will eventually divorce itself of personal emotions. (And the topic of divorce will come up in the beginning of Matthew 19, suggesting that there will eventually be a major split between technical thought and personal emotions.)

Faint is used once in Matthew and means ‘to entirely succumb, with the outcome of losing inner strength’. And way means ‘way, road’. The purpose of the feeding of the five thousand was to satisfy the hunger of the crowd. Similarly, the purpose of an encyclopedia is to satisfy the intellectual hunger of the crowd. Matthew 15 describes a different motivation, which is to prevent the crowds from losing internal motivation as they follow the path that leads from this point. Saying this cognitively, the crowds need a set of internally motivated core mental networks that are sufficient to drive society through the coming stages.

The disciples respond in verse 33, “Where would we get so many loaves in this desolate place to satisfy such a large crowd?” Desolate place means wilderness, which describes a region that is devoid of personal and societal MMNs. Satisfy means ‘to feed, fatten, fill’, and the feeding of the five thousand ended up with the crowds being satisfied. The disciples are wondering where they will find sufficient intellectual food to satisfy the crowds in the region of objective science.

Applying this to the situation in early 19th-century Europe, “The Romantic movement, however, resulted as an increasing dislike by many intellectuals for the tenets promoted by the Enlightenment; it was felt by some that Enlightened thinkers’ emphasis on rational thought through deductive reasoning and the mathematization of natural philosophy had created an approach to science that was too cold and that attempted to control nature, rather than to peacefully co-exist with nature.” In other words, how can one find sufficient intellectual food for the people within the emotional wilderness of Enlightenment science?

Jesus asks what is available. “And Jesus *said to them, ‘How many loaves do you have?’ And they said, ‘Seven, and a few small fish.’” Notice that Jesus asks about loaves and not fish. Technical thinking is interested in the intellectual food of loaves rather than the pragmatic food of fish. In the feeding of the five thousand, there were only five loaves and two fish, which we interpreted as concrete thought still being ruled by pragmatic knowledge. This time, there are seven loaves, implying the ability to use abstract thought with all seven cognitive modules. However, the disciples add that there are a few small fish. The reference to ‘small’ implies that Mercy experiences are still being considered, but they are not being given the weight that they were previously.

In verse 35 Jesus turns to the crowd. “And He directed the crowd to sit down on the ground.” The word direct means to ‘give a command that is fully authorized because it has gone through all the proper channels’, and this is the second of two times that it is used in Matthew. The first time was in 10:5. Jesus had just given the list of the twelve disciples, and we interpreted that list as going through a process. Verse 5 then said that Jesus sent out the disciples after ‘having directed’ them, which implies that the list of twelve disciples did describe a process of ‘going through all the proper channels’.

In the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus simply commanded the crowd to sit down. Comparing these two terms, Matthew 14 described rote learning in which the Teacher instructs the student, whereas Matthew 15 describes a system of learning within which both teacher and student function. One can see this attitude in the Humboldt university system: “Humboldt believed that teaching should be guided by current research, and that research should be unbiased and independent from ideological, economic, political or religious influences. The Humboldtian model strives for unconditional academic freedom in the intellectual investigation of the world, both for teachers and for students.”

Different words are also used for ‘sit down’. In Matthew 14, the crowd is told ‘to lay upon, lay down’, while the word used in Matthew 15 means ‘to fall back’. ‘Falling back’ implies a movement through the air of Teacher thought that is not present with ‘laying down’. And as was mentioned previously, the word ground refers to space and time, while grass was used in Matthew 14. This suggests that empirical science with its study of space and time is going to be applied directly to people.

In verse 36 Jesus hands out the food. “And He took the seven loaves and the fish; and giving thanks, He broke them and started giving them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” The word giving thanks combines ‘good’ with ‘grace’, and is the source of the English word Eucharist. (The word Eucharist means Eucharist because Jesus also uses this word when sharing the bread and wine during the Last Supper in Matthew 26 and parallel passages.) In contrast, Jesus spoke a eulogy in Matthew 14, which combines good with logos.

The word grace itself does not appear in Matthew. It means ‘leaning towards to share benefit’ and ‘is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor freely extended to give himself away to people’. Looking at this cognitively, grace describes the help that the TMN of a concept of God provides to motivate a person to think and behave in a certain manner. (This is related to the concept of righteousness.) The word ‘joy’ has the same Greek root xar- as grace, and we are interpreting joy as Teacher emotion.

Returning to the word ‘give thanks’ (eucharist), the implication is that the TMN of a concept of God now exists, and that technical thought is appealing to this concept of God. (Having a concept of God does not necessarily mean that this concept of God corresponds to any real God. Instead, it means that one has a sufficiently general theory in Teacher thought that applies to personal identity.) This is different than Matthew 14, where Jesus was speaking the logos of technical thought and looking up to the heaven of Teacher generality.

Verse 36 finishes by describing the same indirect process of learning. The technical thinking of incarnation is giving intellectual food to the disciples, and they are passing this food along to the crowds. In other words, the masses are being taught by an indirect process that goes through the university system.

Verse 37 concludes that everyone was satisfied. “And they all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, seven large baskets full.” The feeding of the five thousand led to an overflow of twelve small baskets. Here, seven large baskets are filled. The large baskets imply that there is a greater theoretical overflow this time. And verse 38 summarizes that four thousand men were fed, in addition to women and children. Applying this to the university system, it was still regarded as an institution for men only.

Turning now to Romantic science, Wikipedia summarizes that it was driven by four primary goals. “Romanticism had four basic principles: ‘the original unity of man and nature in a Golden Age; the subsequent separation of man from nature and the fragmentation of human faculties; the interpretability of the history of the universe in human, spiritual terms; and the possibility of salvation through the contemplation of nature.’” The first point describes starting from a general Teacher theory that applies to personal identity, which will lead to a concept of God. The second point recognizes that humanity is not being personally fed by science. The third point attempts to find internal motivation in Platonic forms of the spirit. And the fourth point has the people sit down upon the ground of space and time.

The idea of submitting personal identity to an internally generated Teacher understanding can be seen more clearly in the following quote. “Romanticism was very anti-reductionist: they did not believe that inorganic sciences were at the top of the hierarchy but at the bottom, with life sciences next and psychology placed even higher. This hierarchy reflected Romantic ideals of science because the whole organism takes more precedence over inorganic matter, and the intricacies of the human mind take even more precedence since the human intellect was sacred and necessary to understanding nature around it and reuniting with it.”

Feeding the people while they are sitting on the ground of space and time can be seen in Humboldtian science (named after the brother of the Humboldt who set up the university system). “Humboldtian science refers to a movement in science in the 19th century closely connected to the work and writings of German scientist, naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. It maintained a certain ethics of precision and observation, which combined scientific field work with the sensitivity and aesthetic ideals of the age of Romanticism. Like Romanticism in science, it was rather popular in the 19th century. The term was coined by Susan Faye Cannon in 1978. The example of Humboldt’s life and his writings allowed him to reach out beyond the academic community with his natural history and address a wider audience with popular science aspects.” Notice how careful empirical research of physical nature is being combined with the integrated mindset of Romanticism.

One can also find a romantic mindset in Ørsted, who discovered electromagnetism in 1820. “Ørsted considered technology and practical applications of science to be unconnected with true scientific research… Ørsted subscribed to a Romantic natural philosophy that rejected the idea of the universal extension of mechanical principles understandable through mathematics. For him the aim of natural philosophy was to detach itself from utility and become an autonomous enterprise, and he shared the Romantic belief that man himself and his interaction with nature was at the focal point of natural philosophy.” Ørsted’s discovery of the invisible realm of electromagnetic waves eventually made possible the whole field of telecommunications.

Going further, “The greatest of the Romantic mathematicians was Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855), who made major contributions in many branches of mathematics.” The influence of Gauss cannot be overstated. Described as “‘the greatest mathematician since antiquity’, Gauss had an exceptional influence in many fields of mathematics and science, and is ranked among history’s most influential mathematicians.”

Summarizing, “Various disciplines on the study of nature that were cultivated by Romanticism included: Schelling’s Naturphilosophie; cosmology and cosmogony; developmental history of the earth and its creatures; the new science of biology; investigations of mental states, conscious and unconscious, normal and abnormal; experimental disciplines to uncover the hidden forces of nature – electricity, magnetism, galvanism and other life-forces; physiognomy, phrenology, meteorology, mineralogy, ‘philosophical’ anatomy, among others.” Some of these, such as phrenology, or the study of bumps on people’s heads, were dead ends. But many of these fields have provided sufficient internal motivation to keep the scientist from thinking in the succeeding years.

I am not suggesting that all of these fields are necessarily accurate and helpful. That is not the point. What matters is that they have provided sufficient internal motivation to keep science going. And many of these fields have also sparked the popular imagination.

Coming to Magadan 15:39

The feeding of the four thousand is followed by another transition in verse 39. “And sending away the crowds, Jesus got into the boat and came to the region of Magadan.” Sending away is the word that is also used for divorce. One can see this sending away of the crowds in the demise of Romantic science. Repeating a quote from earlier on, “Romanticism declined beginning around 1840 as a new movement, positivism, took hold of intellectuals, and lasted until about 1880. As with the intellectuals who earlier had become disenchanted with the Enlightenment and had sought a new approach to science, people now lost interest in Romanticism and sought to study science using a stricter process.”

Positivism had no room for MMNs of culture and personal identity. “Positivism also holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as are metaphysics and theology because metaphysical and theological claims cannot be verified by sense experience. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century.”

We have interpreted a boat as an organization. Similarly, the research that followed the Humboldt system became increasingly organized. Repeating an earlier quote, “Science became the focus of universities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Students could conduct research in seminars or laboratories and began to produce doctoral theses with more scientific content. According to Humboldt, the mission of the University of Berlin was to pursue scientific knowledge. The German university system fostered professional, bureaucratically regulated scientific research performed in well-equipped laboratories, instead of the kind of research done by private and individual scholars in Great Britain and France.” We looked at previously at the combination of research and teaching. Notice also the rise of bureaucratically regulated scientific research.

It may be significant that Jesus is described as stepping into the ship, and the ship then comes to its destination. Both of these are simple terms. The implication is that no fundamental transformation is happening in this journey. Instead, the internal Teacher-based technical structure of scientific thought is expressing itself in the external Teacher-based technical structure of bureaucratically regulated scientific research performed in well-equipped laboratories.

The journey ends at the region of Magadan. Region means boundary and Magadan means ‘tower’. Using modern language, research turns into an ivory tower, separated from normal existence.

Discerning the Signs of the Times 16:1-4

The next few verses do not mention the disciples. Instead, Jesus interacts with the Pharisees and Sadducees. The Sadducees have been mentioned once before in 3:17, way back before the fall of the Roman Empire, and they will show up in one more event in Matthew 22. But the combination of Pharisees and Sadducees is only found in the first half of Matthew 16. This suggests that we are dealing with a mindset that emerges in the 19th century, becomes dominant, and then loses its significance. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. A Sadducee ‘was a member of the aristocratic party among the Jews, from whom the high priests were almost invariably chosen’. Acts 23:8 explains that “the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all”. The idea that Sadducees do not believe in the resurrection is also mentioned in Matthew 22:23.

Looking at this cognitively, a Pharisee makes a separation within Mercy thought between holy and profane, between religious and secular. A Sadducee is part of the group within society that has Mercy status and is viewed as different than normal people. In addition, a Sadducee does not believe in supernatural reality. Looking at this in more detail, Platonic forms of idealized life will naturally lead to the idea that life continues after death, and that angels and spirits exist. This belief will tend to be strongest in the lower classes because they do not live personally within mental networks of idealized life. Therefore, they will associate idealized life with some other realm. In contrast, the upper classes do live personally within mental networks of idealized life. Therefore, they will naturally doubt the existence of another higher realm. Saying this more simply, the poor can have dreams, because they cannot live within their dreams. The rich lose the ability to dream, because they are living out their dreams. (The solution is to base the mind in a general Teacher understanding that is capable of continually creating Platonic forms that surpass one’s current reality.)

Putting this together, Pharisees and Sadducees describe a religious mindset that is educated, thinks in terms of holiness, but does not believe in the supernatural. This combination describes the liberal Protestantism that emerged in the 19th century. Wikipedia summarizes that “Liberal Protestantism developed in the 19th century out of a need to adapt Christianity to a modern intellectual context. With the acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, some traditional Christian beliefs, such as parts of the Genesis creation narrative, became difficult to defend… Beginning in Germany, liberal theology was influenced by several strands of thought, including the Enlightenment’s high view of human reason and Pietism’s emphasis on religious experience and interdenominational tolerance.” Note the combination of education, skepticism in the supernatural, and emphasis upon religious experience.

Liberal Protestantism began with Schleiermacher. “Reformed theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) is often considered the father of liberal Protestantism. In response to Romanticism’s disillusionment with Enlightenment rationalism, Schleiermacher argued that God could only be experienced through feeling, not reason. In Schleiermacher’s theology, religion is a feeling of absolute dependence on God. Humanity is conscious of its own sin and its need of redemption, which can only be accomplished by Jesus Christ.”

A key aspect of liberal Protestantism is questioning the existence of miracles. “Liberal Christians placed less emphasis on miraculous events associated with the life of Jesus than on his teachings… The debate over whether a belief in miracles was mere superstition or essential to accepting the divinity of Christ constituted a crisis within the 19th-century church, for which theological compromises were sought. Many liberals prefer to read Jesus’ miracles as metaphorical narratives for understanding the power of God.”

Summarizing the sequence, the Enlightenment discovered that the physical world is ruled by natural laws. This technical study of empirical evidence became emotionally backed up by paradigms within Teacher thought—TMNs of logos. These TMNs caused educated individuals to belittle anything that could not be explained by the paradigms of science. This belittling of the MMNs of religion, culture, and blind faith led to an emotional vacuum in the subjective. Romanticism was the backlash against the rationalism of the Enlightenment. Liberal Protestantism was the religious version of this Romantic backlash, which attempted to revive religious MMNs while still accepting the rational TMNs of the Enlightenment. Using the language of Matthew, the liberal Protestant attempted to preserve religion by becoming a Pharisee while still remaining a Sadducee.

Looking briefly at the topic of miracles, miracles are usually viewed as a violation of natural law. Thus, the miracles described in the Bible are typically viewed as strange details that have been added to the text. And miracles are usually explained by theologians as a sovereign God stepping into override the rules that he has created. But this essay presents an alternative view of miracles. We are seeing that the miracles described in the Gospels are not random. Instead, the entire book of Matthew can be interpreted as a symbolic prophecy of Western civilization—a ‘metaphorical narrative for understanding the power of God’. On the one hand, this turns everything within Matthew into a miracle, because God had to intervene in some way to ensure that people and places had the right names and that the right events happened at the right time. But on the other hand, it also places the miracles within a general context of cognitive development. Thus, God may be violating the laws of nature, but God does not appear to be violating the laws of the mind. Viewed from a cognitive perspective, God does not perform miracles, but rather always follows cognitive principles.

Verse 1 sets the scene. “The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.” This is the third time that the word ‘testing’ appears in Matthew. The first two times were in 4:1 and 4:3 in the temptation of Jesus. There are two Greek words for testing: testing and temptation. The goal of testing is to prove if something or someone is genuine. The goal of temptation is to attack someone with the hope that that person will fail. This distinction is discussed in a previous essay. The word used in verse 1 is translated as ‘testing’, but it is actually the word ‘temptation’. Thus, this question is not being asked in order to get a positive answer, but rather to attack Jesus so that he will fail. (The Bible dictionary says that ‘The word means either test or tempt. Context alone determines which sense is intended, or if both apply simultaneously.’ However, this violates the basis for abstract technical thought which is that each word must have a single consistent meaning. In addition, this word is usually translated as ‘tempt’.)

One can see what this means by comparing this request for a sign with the previous request made in 12:38. The word sign means ‘assigned, typically miraculous, given especially to confirm, corroborate, or authenticate’. This tells us that people are asking for some sort of miraculous proof of incarnation.

In chapter 12, scribes and Pharisees were asking for a miracle. Scribes were experts in the written word. This implies a scholastic mindset of absolute truth. In chapter 15, the scribes have been replaced by the Sadducees, telling us that a belief in absolute truth has been replaced by an attitude of scientific skepticism. Wikipedia describes this transition into skepticism. “The sources of religious authority recognized by liberal Protestants differed from traditional Protestants. Traditional Protestants understood the Bible to be uniquely authoritative (sola scriptura); all doctrine, teaching and the church itself derive authority from it. A traditional Protestant could therefore affirm that ‘what Scripture says, God says.’ Liberals, however, seek to understand the Bible through modern biblical criticism, such as historical criticism, that began to be used in the late 1700s to ask if biblical accounts were based on older texts or whether the Gospels recorded the actual words of Jesus.”

In chapter 12, the scribes and Pharisees desired to see a sign from Jesus. The implication was that a supernatural realm exists, and the scribes and Pharisees thought that Jesus had special access to the supernatural. In chapter 15, the verb ask is used, which means to ‘make a request from a preferred position’. This verb has been used once before in 12:10 where the religious leaders asked Jesus if it was lawful to heal on the Sabbath. In both cases, those who are doing the asking feel that they have an inside connection to knowledge. In 12:10 the religious experts of the Catholic Church were convinced that they had an inside connection to the truth of God, while in chapter 15, the liberal Protestants are convinced that their higher criticism gives them an inside connection to knowledge. Going further, in chapter 15 the word show is used, which means ‘to show, to prove’. This implies a skeptical mindset that is looking for physical, empirical evidence.

Putting this all together, the liberal Protestant did not want to experience a miracle. Instead, he was demanding a miracle in order to prove that miracles do not exist, so that he could attack traditional faith and demonstrate that his method of higher criticism was valid.

Jesus responds in verses 2-3 with an analogy. “But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. ’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the face of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”

The words ‘it will be’ and ‘there will be’ give the impression that the proverb is talking about predicting the future, but as the NASB indicates, these words are not in the original Greek. Instead, the end of verse 3 describes an inability to predict the future: they cannot ‘discern the signs of the times’. Signs refer to miraculous proof. Time means ‘time as opportunity’, which means that this is not talking about predicting dates of prophecy, such as attempting to predict the date of the rapture. Instead, it describes an inability to associate the supernatural with cognitive sequences. In other words, the liberal Protestant does not think that God is intervening supernaturally in history at opportune times, because history is associated in his mind with natural scientific thought, while God is being connected with irrational, emotional, religious experiences—which means that this essay on Matthew utterly violates the mindset of the liberal Protestant.

This is the first of two times that the word discern appears in Matthew, which combines ‘thoroughly back-and-forth’ with ‘to pick out by separating’. It is most commonly translated as ‘doubt’. The idea is that one is using the precise divisions of abstract technical thought to sort through some system of thought in order to reject what fails to meet technical standards.

This technical sorting through can be seen in the approach used by higher criticism to analyze the Torah—the first five books of the Old Testament. This analysis, known as the documentary hypothesis, began in the Enlightenment. “In the mid-18th century, some scholars started a critical study of doublets (parallel accounts of the same incidents), inconsistencies, and changes in style and vocabulary in the Torah. In 1780 Johann Eichhorn, building on the work of the French doctor and exegete Jean Astruc’s ‘Conjectures’ and others, formulated the ‘older documentary hypothesis’: the idea that Genesis was composed by combining two identifiable sources, the Jehovist (‘J’; also called the Yahwist) and the Elohist (‘E’).” This was then expanded into a full-fledged theory in the 19th century: “The supplementary approach was dominant by the early 1860s, but it was challenged by an important book published by Hermann Hupfeld in 1853, who argued that the Pentateuch was made up of four documentary sources, the Priestly, Yahwist, and Elohist intertwined in Genesis-Exodus-Leviticus-Numbers, and the stand-alone source of Deuteronomy. At around the same period Karl Heinrich Graf argued that the Yahwist and Elohist were the earliest sources and the Priestly source the latest, while Wilhelm Vatke linked the four to an evolutionary framework, the Yahwist and Elohist to a time of primitive nature and fertility cults, the Deuteronomist to the ethical religion of the Hebrew prophets, and the Priestly source to a form of religion dominated by ritual, sacrifice and law.” Notice how the precise divisions of technical thought are being used to sort through the biblical text and subdivide it into different categories. (If this essay is accurate, then the documentary hypothesis becomes irrelevant, because the ultimate divine author has imposed a structure upon the biblical text that supersedes its human authors. And I have looked at enough of the Torah to conclude that it contains the same kind of cognitive structure that can be found in the New Testament.)

Verse 3 says that the Pharisees and Sadducees ‘know how to discern the face of the sky’. Know refers to experiential knowledge, and was last used in 13:11 to say that the disciples could go beyond parables because they had an experiential knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom. The idea there was that empirical science has an inside track to the mysteries of the physical universe which is not apparent to the analogical thinking of alchemy.

Sky means ‘heaven’, which we are connecting with the realm of Teacher thought. Face means ‘face, countenance, surface’. It is used 77 times in the New Testament, but is only connected with the word ‘heaven’ in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke 12:56. ‘Face’ implies a surface knowledge based in personal MMNs. Thus, ‘face of heaven’ would refer to a surface knowledge of Teacher thought based in personal MMNs. This describes the thinking of the liberal Protestant. For instance, notice how the documentary hypothesis presents a theory that uses technical thought to subdivide the Torah based upon various supposed personal sources. It does not attempt to analyze what the biblical text is actually saying, because it is convinced that the text does not contain any content worthy of detailed analysis.

But what is the basis for this conviction? The personal knowledge of religious experience. Liberal Protestantism starts with scientific analysis, it discovers that its heart is bare, and it then fills its empty heart with a Kierkegaardian leap of faith into the unknown. (Kierkegaard lived during the early 19th century—the era that we are currently examining.) Liberal Protestantism questions the Perceiver beliefs of traditional Christianity. And we saw earlier that eliminating Perceiver truth enables Teacher overgeneralization, making it possible for the mind to ‘discover’ the cosmic unity of mysticism.

One can see this in Schleiermacher’s description of religious feeling. “At various periods of his life Schleiermacher used different terms to represent the character and relation of religious feeling. In his earlier days he called it a feeling or intuition of the universe, consciousness of the unity of reason and nature, of the infinite and the eternal within the finite and the temporal. In later life he described it as the feeling of absolute dependence, or, as meaning the same thing, the consciousness of being in relation to God.”

Now that we have the big picture, let us look at the specific illustration. A more literal translation would be ‘evening having come, you say fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning today a storm, the sky is red for it is overcast.’ We have interpreted evening as the fading of some era that has been illuminated by a ‘sun’ of general Teacher understanding. Similarly, morning would represent the dawn of a new era, and this is the first occurrence of the word ‘morning’ in Matthew. Applying this to the liberal Protestant, he believes that he is straddling two ages. On the one hand, evening has ‘come into being’ for the previous age of absolute truth with its holy books. On the other hand, today, which means ‘today, now’, is the morning of a glorious day of scientific reasoning.

In both cases, the ‘sky is red’. The word red is only used in this saying and comes from the word ‘fire’. We have interpreted fire as a form of frustration, in which mental networks self-destruct by motivating a person to continually bash his head against the proverbial wall. If the ‘heaven is red’, then this means that the mental network of some Teacher theory is driving abstract thought in a self-destructive manner. In some way, the paradigm is eating itself up.

The word fair weather is found once in the New Testament and comes from a word that means ‘calm’. Thus, the liberal Protestant is observing that the blind faith of absolute truth is self-destructing and that night has arrived for absolute truth, and he is responding with a mindset of calm.

Storm means ‘winter, a storm’ and is translated as both winter and storm. Winter is a time of cold, which we have interpreted symbolically as the freezing nature of absolute truth. A winter storm would mean an unpleasant reaction from the supporters of absolute truth. Threatening means ‘to have a gloomy appearance’, and is translated as ‘saddened’ the one other time it occurs in the New Testament. Putting this together, there is a winter storm today because the heaven of Teacher thought has a gloomy appearance and is self-destructing.

This describes the response that Schleiermacher received. “Though the work added to the reputation of its author, it aroused the increased opposition of the theological schools it was intended to overthrow, and at the same time, Schleiermacher’s defence of the right of the church to frame its own liturgy in opposition to the arbitrary dictation of the monarch or his ministers brought him fresh troubles. He felt isolated although his church and his lecture-room continued to be crowded. Schleiermacher continued with his translation of Plato and prepared a new and greatly-altered edition of his Christlicher Glaube… in which he defended his theological position generally and his book in particular against opponents on both the right and the left.” Notice the winter storm that Schleiermacher is receiving from the absolute truth of the monarch as well as the absolute truth of traditional Bible-based faith. But notice also that the traditional authorities who are attacking Schleiermacher are themselves gloomy because absolute truth is in the process of self-destructing. We have looked specifically at Schleiermacher, but similar statements could be made about the movement that he started.

That brings us to the question at the end of verse 3. In essence, if liberal Protestants are both trying to defend religion and attempting to move on from the traditional religious mindset of absolute truth, then why can’t they think in terms of a divine cognitive plan, in which God is leading society from one form of thinking to another? If they are constructing a concept of God and religion based upon the transition from absolute truth to scientific reasoning, then why are they unwilling to believe in the concept of God and religion that they have so painfully constructed? I know personally what this feels like, because it is difficult to believe that God will actually direct the course of the society within which I live, even after I have written a book-length essay that interprets the book of Matthew as God directing the course of Western civilization.

Verse 4 describes the fundamental problem. “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away.” This is a verbatim copy of the comment made in 12:39, except in chapter 12 the reference was to Jonah the prophet, where in chapter 15 only Jonah is mentioned. The difference is that the believers in absolute truth in chapter 12 believed in prophets, while the liberal Protestants in chapter 15 no longer subscribe to the concept of prophet but instead view biblical figures at the vague level of myth. The underlying principle of being an evil and adulterous generation remains. Evil means ‘pain-ridden’ while the adjective adulterous is actually the noun ‘adulteress’. Cognitively speaking, liberal Christianity is an adulteress because it is living within female mental networks of religious experience and then attempting to marry this with the male technical thinking of science. And it is pain-ridden because it is connecting mysticism with an attitude of total personal inadequacy within Mercy thought. says that Schleiermacher “defined the irreducible essence of religion as ‘the feeling of absolute dependence’… In the feeling of absolute dependence, God is actually experienced in the only possible way, and to be conscious of being absolutely dependent is to be conscious of being in relation to God.” It sounds pious to adopt a feeling of absolute dependence upon God, but this is actually a form of worm theology, in which one insists that personal identity is incapable of becoming mature.

I suggested earlier that the ‘sign of Jonah’ is that religious thought will be implicitly transformed by the trends of society. This is consistent with the end of verse 4 which says ‘and He left them and went away’. Leave means ‘leave behind, desert, abandon’. Went away simply means ‘to go away’. In other words, as far as technical thought is concerned, Christian religion has now become irrelevant. It will no longer be regarded as something to follow or look up to. Applying this to the liberal Protestantism of the ‘Pharisees and Sadducees’, liberal Protestantism continues to exist, but it no longer has any major impact upon the larger society.

There is a form of Christianity today that appears on the surface like liberal Protestantism, but it differs from it in one major area. The liberal Protestant regards the Bible as myth and rejects this myth as something non-scientific that has nothing to say. In contrast, many current theologically trained Protestants today also regard the Bible primarily as myth, but they accept this myth as psychologically and spiritually relevant. I have found that I cannot discuss anything with the first group, while I can discuss many psychological and spiritual principles with the second group, as long as I do not mention mental symmetry or do something radical like write an essay on Matthew.

The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees 16:5-12

The next verses examine the thinking of liberal Protestantism in more detail. Verse 5 mentions the disciples. “And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. ‘Of the sea’ is not in the original Greek, suggesting that the emphasis is upon moving from one place to another, rather than the experiences of the sea. Forgot is used once in Matthew and means ‘to overlook, especially the effects that go with failing to notice’. In other words, the disciples have attempted to make a theoretical transition without gathering the necessary intellectual food. Given the context of Romantic science, the transition is towards a more integrated understanding that includes both science and religion, both abstract theory and personal identity. The problem is that this transition is being attempted with insufficient intellectual food, which is like trying to build a building without any bricks. (Applying this to mental symmetry, the only reason that I can write these essays is because mental symmetry started with Lane Friesen’s cognitive analysis of 200 biographies, which provided enough intellectual food to make the transition to an integrated understanding.)

Jesus then apparently changes the subject in verse 6: “And Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Leaven was mentioned once previously in 13:33 to describe the woman putting leaven into some flour, which we interpreted as subconscious mental networks adding air pockets of Teacher theory to the bread of intellectual thought. Saying this another way, leaven uses intuition to add Teacher structure to intellectual food. One is not just consuming facts, instead one is consuming information with a theoretical explanation. Watch is the normal word for ‘see’ while beware means to ‘give full attention’.

One could interpret this as a warning against the Pharisees and Sadducees, or one could interpret it as instruction to pay attention to the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. These two interpretations are related because paying attention will teach lessons, which will then make it possible to beware.

Therefore, we need to take a cognitive look at the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. A Pharisee emphasizes holiness and purity, while a Sadducee is a skeptic who is part of the educated upper class. Education will lead to the development of Teacher thought. Skepticism will cause Perceiver facts to be questioned. And holiness will regard religion as something that is different than normal life. When Teacher thought becomes free of Perceiver facts, then the mind will ‘discover’ Teacher overgeneralization, leading to a mystical concept of God. This mysticism will be reinforced internally by the divisions of holiness—God will be viewed as a transcendent being who is totally separate from the rational thinking of normal life. And this belief in a transcendent mystical God will be reinforced externally by social status and material prosperity. If anyone questions the mystical approach of the educated skeptic, the mystic will ‘know’ that this questioning is wrong because the mystic has emotional status and the questioner does not. Similarly, the mystic can use personal wealth to mitigate many of the harmful results of ignoring natural law, reinforcing an attitude of skepticism.

The end result is a mystical mindset that is almost impervious to attack. Such an individual will use his PhD to ‘prove’ that knowledge is impossible, and much ink will be spilled using technical language to describe in great detail that nothing can be said. I have learned from personal experience that such a mindset is essentially unteachable. That is because the mystical experiences can only be maintained by insisting that God transcends rational content. Therefore, any attempt to discuss God in a rational manner will lead to a gut-level rejection backed up by the personal status of the mystic.

That, I suggest, is the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees; it describes the system that intuitively grows within the mind of the religiously educated skeptic. Most of the examples that I have encountered have PhDs in theology, philosophy, or some other soft science. The unteachability of such a mindset can be seen in Matthew 16. Jesus does not try to teach the Pharisees and Sadducees. Instead, he leaves them and goes away. He then tells the disciples to pay attention to the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, implying that the Pharisees and Sadducees have become incapable of learning, but it is still possible for others to learn by observing the developing mindset of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

The disciples do not really understand what is happening in verse 7. “They began to discuss this among themselves, saying, “He said that because we did not bring any bread.” (As usual, the italicized words are italicized in the NASB to indicate that they are not in the original Greek.) Discuss means to ‘go back-and-forth when evaluating, in a way that typically leads to a confused conclusion’. This is the first use of this word in Matthew and it is repeated in verse 8.

Based upon my analysis of various systems, I think I know why the disciples are confused. The disciples are focusing upon the lack of bread—the fact that they do not have enough information. But the problem is not one of a lack of information, but rather the presence of the leaven of intuition. What typically seems to happen in such a situation is that a researcher initially notices that something is happening within the mind. This will be followed by a desire to add details to this initial realization. One way of adding details will be to appeal to personal experience. This will lead to a philosophy based upon the personal MMNs of the thinker. The result will typically be some wisdom combined with significant self-deception. Another way of adding details will be to perform experiments in order to gather empirical data. But physical data will only provide a partial picture of what is happening within people’s minds. The solution is to pay attention to the leaven of others, which means observing how others are behaving and changing and then learning from this. This minimizes the self-deception that happens when one only observes one’s own mind, and it also goes beyond empirical data to try to analyze what is happening within other people’s minds.

Jesus clarifies in verse 8. “But Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?’” The term ‘you of little faith’ was previously used when Peter began to slip below the waves while attempting to walk on water. The problem there was that Peter was being driven by a combination of Teacher understanding and pragmatic experience. Similarly, one can see the ‘little persuaded’ behavior of the disciples. On the one hand, they are thinking about the bread of intellectual food. On the other hand, they are arguing between themselves in a confused manner, indicating that they are also focusing upon the opinions of people.

Instead, they should remember what happened in the feeding of the multitudes. “Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up? Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?” (v.9). Understand means ‘to apply mental effort needed to reach bottom-line conclusions’. We interpreted this as using general principles to understand cause-and-effect. Remember is used once in Matthew and means ‘to recall by memory’. The problem with the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees is that it is deliberately not using mental effort to reach conclusions. Instead, it is following emotional, intuitive insights. It takes mental effort to apply mental effort when one is dealing with emotional mental networks.

The liberal Protestant would probably respond that he is using substantial mental effort. But I suggest that this mental effort is being used after the fact to rationalize the intuitive emotional insights and give them a veneer of rational thought. One can tell that this is the case because of the way that a liberal Protestant will typically respond when faced with a rational theory such as mental symmetry that actually respects the text of the Bible. The liberal Protestant will instinctively reject such an approach. I speak here from repeated personal experience.

Going further, ‘remember’ implies that one does not have to gather empirical data to have bread. One can also find bread in the solid facts of memory. And memory is also something that the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees avoids. Instead of having any memory of previous theological discussions, it simply belittles everything that has been written before about Christianity as the product of blind faith.

In both the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand, the experts were attempting to teach the masses. This process of teaching resulted in baskets of extra crumbs. That is because interacting with other people at an intellectual level will reveal cognitive mechanisms. In the same way that traveling to a different culture both teaches a person about other cultural MMNs and reveals a person’s own cultural MMNs, so interacting intellectually with other people helps to reveal universal cognitive principles.

Jesus points out in verse 11 that he is not talking about data and information but rather about mindset. “How is it that you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

In verse 12, the disciples finally understand. “Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” The word ‘understand’ in verse 11 meant ‘to apply mental effort’. The word understand in verse 12 means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’. They have been using technical thought and did not understand. They are now thinking in terms of general Teacher understanding and the pieces are coming together. Beware means ‘attend to, pay attention to’. They were thinking that the danger lies with the leaven of bread—using intuitive thought with information. Instead, the problem lies with the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Teaching means ‘established teaching, especially a summarized body of respected teaching’. It has been used as a noun once before in Matthew at the end of the Sermon on the Mount to describe the teaching of Jesus.

Notice how the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees has now turned into an established body of knowledge supported by respected experts. This is consistent with the cognitive progression that was described earlier on. And the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees remains the established body of knowledge taught by most ‘respected’ seminaries today. At least I think it is, because I keep being regarded by established experts as uneducated because I do not submit to the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

You are the Christ 16:13-17

The next section contains a reference to the keys of Peter. In the words of Wikipedia, “The keys of heaven or keys of Saint Peter are seen as a symbol of papal authority and are seen on papal coats of arms (those of individual popes) and those of the Holy See and Vatican City State.” The keys of Peter have been discussed in previous essays. We have seen in this essay that the Catholic Church has played a significant role in Western history, sometimes as the protagonist and sometimes as the antagonist. If the goal is to construct and follow a complete concept of incarnation, then today’s Protestant churches as well as today’s Catholic Church could both be viewed as starting points. One can see from the diagram of mental symmetry that Contributor combines Perceiver and Server, and a concept of incarnation is based in Contributor thought. Thus, one can build a concept of incarnation by starting from the Server side or by starting from the Perceiver side. The Catholic Church with its rituals starts from the Server side. In order to move beyond ritual to a concept of incarnation, one has to realize that the religious symbol is not the same as the concept that the symbol represents. For instance, the bread and wine accurately symbolize the body of Christ but are not identical to the body of Christ. The Protestant churches with their beliefs start from the Perceiver side. In order to move beyond absolute truth to a concept of incarnation, one has to realize that the Bible is not the sole source of truth. Instead, it is an accurate description of truth. And as long as science insists upon being objective and specialized, then both the Catholic Church and Protestant churches play the essential role of filling the void that science refuses to address.

Verse 13 begins, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’” District means ‘part, share, portion’, and was last used in 15:21 to describe the district of Tyre and Sidon. Looking at this symbolically, Peter’s upcoming statement of faith needs to be placed within the right context. It is not a complete statement. Instead, it is a statement being made within a part or portion of human existence. Caesarea is used once in Matthew and is named after Caesar. (The name Caesar will show up in Matthew 22 when discussing the face on a coin.) Philippi means horse-loving. These terms do not describe a religious setting. Instead, they refer to government, secular society, and military organization.

This combination describes the Prussian education system. We looked at the founding of this earlier when discussing the Humboldtian University. One primary goal of this system was to create effective citizens for the government. “The underlying Humboldtian educational ideal of brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt was about much more than primary education; it strived for academic freedom and the education of both cosmopolitan-minded and loyal citizens from the earliest levels.” This spread beyond Prussia. “State-oriented mass educational systems were instituted in the 19th century in the rest of Europe. They have become an indispensable component of modern nation-states. Public education was widely institutionalized throughout the world and its development has a close link with nation-building, which often occurred in parallel. Such systems were put in place when the idea of mass education was not yet taken for granted.” In other words, the state-run educational system started in Prussia, but it then became the model that spread to most of the rest of the world. And the German model also became the inspiration for American universities. “Historians of American higher education have long noted the influence of European, and especially German, institutions on the development of the American university. Indeed, in the late 19th century, thousands upon thousands of American professors, students, and academic leaders spent months to years studying at German universities before returning to begin or enhance their academic career in the U.S. The real and perceived influence of this experience led to a common understanding that the American university drew heavily from ‘the German model’ of the university.”

And the Prussian school system had major military overtones. “Early Prussian reformers took major steps to abandon both serfdom and the line formation as early as 1807 and introduced mission-type tactics in the Prussian military in the same year… The mission-type concept, which was kept by later German armed forces, required a high level of understanding, literacy (and intense training and education) at all levels and actively invited involvement and independent decision making by the lower ranks. Its intense interaction with the Prussian education system has led to the proverbial statement, ‘The battles of Königgrätz (1866) and Sedan (1870) have been decided by the Prussian primary teacher.’”

Asking means ‘to ask on special footing, intimacy’, and was first seen in 15:23 with the Syrophoenician woman asking for help for her daughter. This is not a logical request but rather one driven by emotional considerations. The question that Jesus asks is indirect. He does not ask the people what they think of him. And he does not ask secular or military leaders what they think of him. Instead, he asks his disciples what people say about him within a secular and military context.

For instance, the city I live in has the largest airshow in Canada. It also has a significant pacifist Mennonite population. An airshow is primarily a demonstration of government and military might, because most of the planes that fly and are on display are military planes. Jesus’ question is like asking a Mennonite what the average person thinks about the airshow. Jesus is not asking Mennonites what they think about the airshow, and he is also not asking either the average person or a member of the military what he thinks about the airshow. The answer to such a question would be that ‘the average person thinks that the technology is really cool’. Notice also that Jesus refers to the Son of Man, which describes a pragmatic concept of incarnation that is based in the various ways that mankind has been using technical thought.

Verse 14 gives some possible answers. “And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” John the Baptist represents absolute truth. Elijah means ‘Yah is God’ and was the prophet who was expected to precede the coming of the Messiah. (This will be discussed in Matthew 17:10.) The name Elijah conveys the idea of using Teacher thought to come up with a concept of God. Jeremiah means ‘Yah loosens’, and Jeremiah prophesied before the destruction of Jerusalem, when the Jews were taken into exile in Babylon. The word others that precedes Elijah means ‘another of the same kind’, whereas the word others that precedes Jeremiah means ‘another of a different kind’.

Looking cognitively at these various viewpoints, the standard view is to view the new state-run, scientific, nation-building, educational system as the new form of absolute truth. A similar viewpoint views the new educational system as based in general Teacher understanding. These two viewpoints are similar because absolute truth can lead to general Teacher understanding. Jeremiah is known as the ‘weeping prophet’. The name Jeremiah is only mentioned in the New Testament in the book of Matthew, where it occurs three times. The first reference was in 2:17 which described the mothers of Bethlehem mourning because their baby sons had been killed by Herod. The second reference is here in chapter 16, while the final reference is in 27:9 which refers to Judas betraying Jesus and this blood money being used after the suicide of Judas to buy a potter’s field. Thus, the Jeremiah viewpoint would view this new educational system as the end of religious faith, an example of a secular monarch destroying infants and betraying the faith.

For instance, my ancestors left Russia in the 1870s for Canada. (The Mennonites originated in Germany and Holland but most of them moved first to Prussia and then to Ukraine.) One Mennonite website describes the motivation. “The Mennonite settlers who immigrated to Russia in the mid 1800’s were no longer granted the same benefits and exemptions as the early settlers. They had to pay for the land they settled and were no longer given military exemption. In fact, the government was threatening to lift all military exemptions they had priorly granted. Being a non-resistant people, the Mennonites felt that this was a breach of Russia’s original promises. Russian law also now required that the Mennonites teach the Russian language in their schools. This made the colony leaders anxious and they feared that this new turn of events would force the Mennonites to become integrated into mainstream society and lose their culture and values.” In other words, for my Mennonite ancestors, state-run, nation-building education was viewed as antithetical to their faith. Using the language of Matthew, the Mennonite response was an example of the Jeremiah attitude, which was a different kind of response than either the John the Baptist attitude or the Elijah attitude.

This does not mean that the Mennonites were against education per se. Instead, “At a time when compulsory education was unknown in Europe, the Mennonite colonies formed an elementary school in each village. Students learned practical skills such as reading and writing German and arithmetic. Religion was included as was singing in many schools. The teacher was typically a craftsperson or herder, untrained in teaching, who fit class time around his occupation. In 1820 the Molotschna colony [in Ukraine] started a secondary school at Ohrloff, bringing a trained teacher from Prussia.”

Jesus then asks the disciples what they think. “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” (v. 15) In other words, what do the followers of incarnation think about this new educational system? In order to interpret this question, one needs to determine who exactly at this time was a follower of incarnation. The Christians may have been talking and preaching and missionizing about Jesus and the Bible, but they did not—and still do not—have a well-developed concept of incarnation. In fact, Jesus just turned his back on the Pharisees and Sadducees in verse 4. In addition, we saw earlier that this conversation is happening within the secular governmental region of Caesarea Philippi and not within the synagogues of religious belief.

Going further, what is being discussed here is a concept of Christ and not the person of Jesus. This emphasis upon Christ is seen in Peter’s answer. “Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’” (v. 16). The title ‘Christ’ was used several times in Matthew 1 and 2 to describe the birth of Jesus. It was then used in 11:2 when John in prison heard of the works of Christ. The idea there was that science was starting to generate results that absolute truth had talked about but was incapable of generating. This is the first reference to Christ since 11:2, and the term will be mentioned three times in the next few verses.

I have mentioned that a concept of incarnation is based in a combination of abstract technical thought and concrete technical thought. Jesus refers to the concrete side of incarnation, which lives among the people and brings personal salvation to people. This concrete side of incarnation was personified in the historical person of Jesus. Christ refers to the abstract side of incarnation, which lives in the abstract realm of theories and mathematics. I am not suggesting that ‘God is a mathematician’, because mathematics is an expression of abstract technical thought, and it is a category error to think that one can use technical thought to come up with a universal Teacher understanding. One can use mathematics to come up with general laws that explain the physical universe. However, technical thought is by its very nature limited to some specialization. I suggest that the relationship between technical thought and universal Teacher understanding is key to understanding the keys of Peter.

The relationship between technical thought and universal Teacher understanding can also be seen in Peter’s response. He does not say that Christ is God—that abstract technical thought is the same as a concept of God in Teacher thought. (John 1 says that the logos is God and lives with God. Logos refers to the paradigm within Teacher thought that lies behind a technical specialization. The term ‘Christ’ is first mentioned in John in 1:17, where it refers to Jesus Christ coming into being after the law of Moses was given, implying that a concept of Christ emerges out of the foundation of a system of law.) The verbal nature of this declaration can also be seen in the name Simon Peter. Simon means ‘to hear’ while Peter means ‘rock’. This combination describes verbal truth. Verbal truth has previously come from the words of the Bible or some other esteemed book. It is now coming from the mathematical equations and general laws of science.

Peter uses the phrase ‘the Christ, the son of the living God’, and all three definite articles are in the original. ‘The Christ’ means that there is ultimately a single integrated system of abstract technical thought. ‘The Son’ means that this abstract technical thought is an offshoot of something else. ‘God’ means that the source of abstract technical thought is an integrated understanding in Teacher thought. And ‘living God’ means that this Teacher concept of God is emotionally backed up by TMNs of mental life.

Using modern language, Peter’s statement of faith could be interpreted as a belief in a unified rational theory. This belief gradually emerged in the 19th century. For instance, “In 1820, Hans Christian Ørsted discovered a connection between electricity and magnetism, triggering decades of work that culminated in 1865, in James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it gradually became apparent that many common examples of forces – contact forces, elasticity, viscosity, friction, and pressure – result from electrical interactions between the smallest particles of matter.”

One can also understand this mindset by examining how universities changed during this period. “Until the 19th century, religion played a significant role in university curriculum; however, the role of religion in research universities decreased in the 19th century, and by the end of the 19th century, the German university model had spread around the world. Universities concentrated on science in the 19th and 20th centuries and became increasingly accessible to the masses.”

Quoting from an article on mathematical beauty, “In the 19th century, scientists moved away from the random collections of curiosity cabinets to a more systematic study of the natural world. Biologists started to collect all specimens in a group of organisms, not just the most beautiful butterflies or birds, and discovered the general theory of evolution. Chemists classified all the elements, going beyond the easy bling of silver and gold, and uncovered the periodic table’s patterns in the process. Physicists then revealed the symmetries of elementary particles hidden within the elements’ atoms. In each case they discovered that the universe’s beauty lies in the abstract structures underlying physical phenomena.” And notice the focus upon discovering a general Teacher theory that holds together all of the technical details—a meta-paradigm that lies behind all of the more specific paradigms. (I have attempted to examine the theory of evolution in other essays.)

The idea that one can use science to come up with an integrated understanding was proposed by Comte in 1840. “Comte was agitated by the fact that no one had synthesized physics, chemistry, and biology into a coherent system of ideas, so he began an attempt to reasonably deduce facts about the social world from the use of the sciences.” Comte proposed an approach known as positivism. “Positivism also holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as are metaphysics and theology because metaphysical and theological claims cannot be verified by sense experience. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century.”

I am not suggesting that Comte succeeded in coming up with a universal scientific understanding. He did not. I am also not suggesting that Comte believed in Jesus or was a Christian. The evidence indicates that he did not and was not. But what Comte did do is seed the idea that one can use scientific thinking to come up with an integrated Teacher understanding. Using the language of Matthew, within the region of Caesarea Philippi, Comte did state the belief that the ‘Son of man’ is ‘the Christ, the Son of the living God’. Of course, using such religious language would fall into Comte’s second metaphysical stage, and not his third and final stage of science. But then, Comte himself did not remain within his third stage, because later in life he turned Positivism into a religion with its own priests, rituals, and churches. (And looking at this more generally, the university system today is viewed by the average person as a kind of religion with its priests, rituals, and churches.)

One can tell that Comte’s religion was still based in a mindset of absolute truth because one of the fundamental pillars of Comte’s religion was the idea of altruism. In fact, the word ‘altruism’ was actually coined by Comte. I have mentioned several times that a mindset of absolute truth will naturally be accompanied by an attitude of religious self-denial. Therefore, making altruism a fundamental characteristic of one’s religion means that one is still thinking in terms of absolute truth.

In verse 17, Jesus reveals the cognitive source of Peter’s statement. “And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Blessed means ‘become long, large’. This describes Teacher generality. Barjona is found once in the New Testament and means son of Jonah. And Jonah has been mentioned several times in connection with Jonah and the big fish. ‘Son of Jonah’ implies something that has emerged implicitly as a result of the surrounding society. A state-sponsored organized university would build the implicit concept of abstract technical thought being the ‘son’ of some living general Teacher structure, because the abstract technical thinking of the state university is the son of the living Teacher structure of a growing, modern state.

Flesh means ‘of human origin, or empowerment’ and refers to the physical body. This is the first use of this word in Matthew. Blood represents core MMNs, and this is the first reference to blood in Matthew. (The heart pumps blood. Similarly, mental networks of personal identity interact with core MMNs.) Thus, ‘flesh and blood’ would refer to concrete thought. Revealed means ‘revealing what is hidden, especially its inner makeup’ and is the source of the English word ‘apocalypse’. I have mentioned that one becomes consciously aware of one’s own mental networks when being exposed to other mental networks, as illustrated by the person who visits another culture. Verse 17 says that the concept of a universal Teacher theory does not come naturally from concrete thought. That is because concrete thought thinks in terms of specific experiences, physical actions, and tribal groups rather than general laws that function invisibly.

Instead, the idea comes from ‘my Father who is in heaven’. Jesus does not say that he is the source of Peter’s statement. That is because technical thought naturally specializes and will not come up with the idea of universal Teacher theories. Instead, this idea of a universal rational theory has to come from the Teacher thinking that lies behind technical specializations. Jesus also does not say that Peter got his idea from God the Father through Jesus. Instead, he says that God the Father revealed this idea to Peter. Saying this cognitively, the idea of universal Teacher understanding results from an interaction between Perceiver thought and Teacher thought. But this interaction has to occur within a context of Contributor-controlled abstract technical thought. And it does not lead to the conclusion that Peter is the son of God, but rather that Christ is the Son of God.

We looked at the role played by the analogies of Perceiver thought when discussing parables in chapter 13. We saw there that analogies are not enough. One needs technical thought. But technical thought also is not enough. Instead, one must use the analogies of Perceiver thought to build bridges between the various technical specializations of Contributor thought. This describes the approach that is being used by mental symmetry. I am a Perceiver person and these essays use analogical thinking. But I am using analogies to connect technical specializations. The only reason that I can write these essays is because technical thought has developed many specializations that are begging to be tied together.

We have looked at the explicit revelation in this passage of Peter’s declaration of Christ. There is also an implicit revelation, shown by the fact that the words ‘flesh and blood’ are both used for the first time in the book of Matthew. Encountering another culture also makes it possible to recognize one’s own culture. Similarly, discovering the abstract realm of Teacher-motivated technical thought will also cause a person to become consciously aware of the habits and mental networks—the flesh and blood—of concrete existence.

The Keys of Peter 16:18-20

Jesus then generalizes in verse 18. “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” As the NASB points out in a footnote, Peter means ‘stone or boulder’ while rock means ‘a mass of connected rock’. Thus, Jesus is not saying that he will build his church upon the person of Peter, but rather that he will build his church upon the solid principle of which Peter is one example. (The Catholic Encyclopedia, in contrast, maintains that “The word for Peter and for rock in the original Aramaic is one and the same.”)

Continuing with a cognitive interpretation, build means ‘to build a house’ and was previously used in Matthew 7:24-26 in the parable of the house on the rock. Church combines the word ‘out from and to’ with ‘to call’. Thus, it refers to a group of people who are called out of the world to follow incarnation. This term would apply to academia, Protestant churches, or the Catholic Church, to the extent that these follow incarnation. It would not apply to a group of people to the extent that it follows culture, hedonism, power, or mysticism, rather than incarnation. The term ‘build a house’ demonstrates the difference between technical thought and incarnation. Technical thought builds a structure, but as Romantic science pointed out, it does not build a house. Mysticism creates a feeling of personal interaction, but it also does not build a house. A house combines the structure of technical thought with mental networks of personal identity and a concept of God.

This is the first time that the word ‘church’ is used in Matthew. The implication is that everything that has existed so far has not really qualified as church. It may have had some of the elements of church, but it has not really been called out by incarnation. The word church combines ‘out from and to’ with ‘to call’—one is being called out from something and also to something. Incarnation can only call people out of existing MMNs if an alternative emotional foundation of TMNs exists to which incarnation can call people.

Hades has been used once previously in Matthew 11:23 and refers to the ‘invisible realm of the dead’. We interpreted that previous occurrence as Protestant exegesis descending to the level of living within the realm of dead experts. A gate means ‘a large door’ and was used in the Sermon on the Mount to compare the wide gate with the narrow gate. Prevail is used once in Matthew and means ‘to overpower’. The phrase ‘gates of Hades will not overpower it’ has always bothered me because a gate is a defensive structure while ‘prevail’ implies an offensive posture. The commentators point out that a gate also represented authority and power, because many of the leaders of the city would sit in the city gates. However, I have never felt that this is a satisfactory answer.

I think that the solution lies in recognizing that science is a process, based in the processes of exemplars. In other words, science focuses upon sequences and how things behave, and the research and teaching of science itself follows sequences and behaves in a certain way. We interpreted Hades previously as a realm of dead experts. Thus, the gate of Hades would represent a door ruled by a realm of dead experts. Putting this together, verse 18 is saying that the gatekeeping based in the realm of dead experts will not succeed in overpowering the process of science that is based in a Teacher understanding. This gatekeeping is very powerful, and academia is very quick to shut the gates against any new idea that violates the current status quo—as determined by the opinions of all the dead experts of the field. However, true scientific understanding will find a way to bypass these barriers. Saying this another way, the rigormortis of academia will not succeed in stifling the progress of science. (And presumably, a similar statement could be made about a rational Teacher-based reformulation of Christianity. However, reformulating Christianity goes beyond the current context, which is the limited realm of Caesarea Philippi.)

Verse 19 describes the infamous keys of the kingdom of heaven. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” The word key is used once in Matthew and comes from a word that means ‘to shut’. Thus, a key gives a person the power to open or shut a door. The kingdom of heaven refers to the realm of Teacher thought. Looking at this cognitively, Perceiver thought has the power to open or shut the door on the development of Teacher understanding. This fits the context, because we have just looked at the doors that are being shut by the gatekeeping of academia. In essence, the keys of Peter provide a way to bypass the barred gates of Hades.

The rest of the verse describes how this power functions. Bind means ‘to tie, bind’, while loose means ‘to loose, to release’. Saying this cognitively, Perceiver thought has the power of connections. When Perceiver thought finds a connection between a Teacher theory and some other context or situation, then this connection increases the generality of the theory; it opens a door in the Teacher realm of heaven. Similarly, when Perceiver thought decides that two items are not related, then this shuts the door in the Teacher realm of heaven. Thus, a Perceiver analogy acts as a key that opens the door between one region of theoretical thought and another. This relates to the idea of using Perceiver analogies to build bridges between technical specializations. Whenever one builds such a bridge, one is increasing the Teacher generality of the accompanying theory.

For instance, this essay is showing that there is an analogical connection between the biblical book of Matthew and the history of Western civilization. This essay is also showing that there is only a weak connection between the thinking and behavior of today’s typical ‘Bible believing’ Christian and the actual content and structure of the Bible.

The actual binding and loosing is happening on earth. The word earth in verse 19 refers to physical space and time. This means that one is not just coming up with random connections. Instead, one is using the Perceiver facts and Server sequences of space and time; one is using analogies that are consistent with how things really work. For instance, this essay is not connecting the book of Matthew with Western history in some haphazard manner. Instead, we are looking at the detailed facts and sequences of history, we are being guided by a cognitive theory that describes how the mind works, and we are interpreting the Bible using symbolism that is cognitively natural.

The NASB points out in a footnote that the verb tense is ‘shall have been bound in heaven’ and ‘shall have been loosed in heaven’. This means that Perceiver connections are only capable of connecting items that are related within the heavenly realm of Teacher thought. Saying this another way, Perceiver thought can only discover connections that already exist. Going the other way, if Perceiver thought attempts to disconnect items that really are related, then this loosing will not succeed.

For instance, I quoted earlier that “During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it gradually became apparent that many common examples of forces – contact forces, elasticity, viscosity, friction, and pressure – result from electrical interactions between the smallest particles of matter.” Each of these discoveries involved analogical thinking because it was not possible (and now is only barely possible) for scientists to actually view atoms interacting with one another. This led to the conclusion that contact forces, elasticity, viscosity, friction, and pressure are all similar to each other; they are analogically connected. But it is only possible for Perceiver thought to make such connections if they accurately reflect the universal structure of how things work. Thus, the connecting that has been done within human space/time has been successful because these connections already exist within the Teacher realm of universal law.

Notice also the difference between these connections and the magical connections of alchemy. We saw earlier that alchemy used many analogies. But most of those analogies were surface analogies based upon similar appearance which did not compare the details of one area with the details of another. A surface analogy is ruled by Mercy thought and Mercy experiences. In contrast, the analogies being made here apply to the details of space and time and they are based in the Teacher heaven of common functionality. (That is because Teacher thought thinks in terms of sequences and functions, while Mercy thought thinks in terms of objects and experiences.)

Verse 20 finishes with a warning. “Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.” Warned is used once in Matthew and refers ‘giving an explicit command – i.e. that is unambiguously clear’. The clarity of this command implies that technical thought is involved. In other words, people will want to search for a universal theory of everything, but they will lack the tools that are needed to achieve this task. This is a healthy warning, because the search for a theory of everything has ultimately been a futile quest, and it is only in the 1970s that researchers managed to come close with the Standard Model.

For instance, “In his experiments of 1849–50, Michael Faraday was the first to search for a unification of gravity with electricity and magnetism. However, he found no connection.” Einstein wasted the last 30 years of his life looking for a unified theory. And “during these last few decades of his life, this quixotic quest isolated Einstein from the mainstream of physics… Einstein intensely searched for, but ultimately failed to find, a unifying theory. More than a half a century later, Einstein’s dream of discovering a unified theory has become the Holy Grail of modern physics.” Summarizing, “At present, there is no candidate theory of everything that includes the standard model of particle physics and general relativity and that, at the same time, is able to calculate the fine structure constant or the mass of the electron.” My gut feeling is that it is impossible to come up with a unified theory of everything if one limits oneself to physical reality. Instead, I am convinced that the supernatural and spiritual realms have to be included as well. And I also have a gut feeling that the ultimate theory of everything will not take the form of a mathematical equation. The Standard Model of physics comes close to being a mathematical theory of everything, but at the cost of using mathematics that are almost incomprehensibly complex.

Jesus Predicts his Death 16:21-23

Peter’s grand statement is immediately followed by a new message from Jesus. “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” (v.21). Show means to ‘point out, show’. This goes beyond talking to demonstration. Must means ‘it is necessary’ and this is the first use of this simple word in Matthew. Jerusalem was last mentioned in 15:1 when the Pharisees and the scribes came to Jesus to question why the division between accepted experts and common people was not being respected. Go actually means ‘to go away’, which implies that going to Jerusalem involves some sort of departure. Suffer ‘relates to any part of us that feel strong emotion, passion, or suffering – especially the capacity to feel suffering’. I mention this detailed definition because suffering is usually equated with some form of physical torture. But the emphasis is upon the capacity to feel pain, which indicates an emotional vulnerability. A person who experiences too much pain actually becomes emotionally numb and loses emotional vulnerability.

Three sources of suffering are mentioned. Elder means ‘a mature man having seasoned judgment’ and has been used once before in 15:2 when referring to the tradition of the elders. Chief priest means ‘high priest’ and has only been seen once before, way back in 2:4 when the Magi were visiting King Herod. Finally, scribe means ‘a writer, scribe’. Putting this together, ‘elder’ refers to the core mental networks of society. ‘Chief priest’ describes the core mental networks of religion. And ‘scribe’ refers to written material. Thus, there is going to be an existential conflict at the level of written words involving the core mental networks of both society and religion. The immediate result will be that incarnation will be ‘put to death’. The long-term result will be that incarnation will ‘waken, raise up’, a word that is used several times to refer to resurrection from the dead.

This ‘raising up’ will happen after three days. This is probably a different ‘three days’ than the three days of ‘Jonah in the huge fish’, which we interpreted as the three eras of the Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the Consumer Revolution. Verse 21 must be referring to yet another set of ‘three days’, because the Industrial Revolution already happened back in Matthew 14. The three days of verse 21 may be before World War I, between the two world wars, and after World War II. Each of these ‘days’ was characterized by a different mindset and interspersed by the night of a world war.

In each of these three ‘days’ core mental networks of religion and culture will be used to bring pathos and death to incarnation in some manner. Killing incarnation does not mean abolishing science and technology. That is because incarnation uses abstract technical thought, but goes beyond it to include the TMN of a concept of God. Similarly, incarnation uses concrete technical thought, but goes beyond this to bring salvation to the MMNs of people. Thus, killing incarnation means using science and technology in a manner that denies the TMN of a concept of God and damns the MMNs of people. (And when one is dealing with the context of the two world wars, then ‘damn’ is an appropriate word.)

Looking at this in more detail, I suggest that the first death of incarnation is related to social Darwinism. I know that this is a controversial idea, but one can definitely say that social Darwinism replaced the idea of a living God with the nonliving mechanisms of evolution, while the idea of saving individuals was replaced by development of the species combined with personal struggle for survival. The end result was a science and technology that was free of any demands of conscience either to a TMN of God or to MMNs of personal identity. This led eventually to the night of World War I, the first war to be driven by science and technology. What started as a war between one nation and another turned into a struggle between iron and flesh—between the guns and humanity. And the guns won. One can also say that World War I was driven by a leadership that manipulated core feelings of ‘God and country’.

This was replaced in the interwar years by a new mindset of racist Nationalism epitomized by Nazism, which was not just limited to Germany. This new mindset was also manipulated by the powers of society. The TMN of a concept of God was replaced by TMN of the nation and MMNs of individuality were replaced by racial categories that applied to the group. The result again was the pathos and killing of incarnation. After the Second World War, Nazism with its racism was replaced by the more subtle influence of marketing and the consumer society. As before, this mindset has also been manipulated by the powers of society. Instead of following a TMN of God, one follows the TMN of progress. And the individual is replaced by the faceless consumer.

Each of these three eras have been different ‘days’ illuminated by a different ‘sun’ of general understanding. And during each of these eras, science and technology have been co-opted by the ‘elders and high priests’ of society.

Why would Jesus mention this right after Peter’s pronouncement? I suggest that this is because a Teacher-based integrated system of science both enables each era and brings it to an end. Remember that Peter made his statement in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Peter was declaring that Jesus was the Christ in the context of a state-sponsored, nation-building system of education. Thus, it was natural that the state would use the results for national building. Going further, a concept of God forms when a sufficiently general Teacher theory applies to personal identity. Peter’s declaration meant that science had reached this level of sufficiently general Teacher theory. And when people receive their education within such a system, then this sufficiently general Teacher theory will apply to their personal identities and result in an implicit concept of God. Therefore, existing concepts of God will become transformed and manipulated. The Victorian mindset will implicitly equate God with country, the Nazi mindset will equate God with race, and the postwar mindset will equate God with the consumer society.

But Jesus also says that the gates of Hades will not prevail. In each of these stages, the gatekeepers of dead traditional authority will attempt to control the flow of science and technology. But in each of these cases, science and technology will eventually overcome traditional authority. As I have mentioned, World War I eventually became a total war of matériel fought between the guns and human flesh, which was won by the guns. The human cost inflicted by the guns was so incomprehensible that the idea of God-and-country died (in Europe, but not in America). Nazism also used science and technology to implement its policies of racial purity. For instance, IBM punch card technology played a major role in enabling the Holocaust. But the genocidal human cost inflicted through technology eventually became so incomprehensible that the idea of racial purity died. Similarly, the consumer society depends upon using science and technology to generate a continual flow of new-and-improved gadgets. However, postmodern society is discovering the human cost of the consumer society, both to individuals and to the physical world as a whole. People are now starting to question the idea of a consumer society but have not yet discovered a replacement.

Summarizing, the reason that Jesus must go to Jerusalem to suffer, be killed, and then raised up on the third day, is that each of these days will result in the self-destruction of a primary aspect of the implicit core mental networks that are driving society.

Peter does not like what Jesus is saying. “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Merciful to you, Lord! This shall never be to You.” Took aside is used once in Matthew and means to ‘aggressively receive, with strong personal interest’. Rebuke means ‘warning to prevent something from going wrong’. And as a footnote in the NASB points out, the phrase ‘God forbid’ is actually merciful, which means ‘propitious, forgiving, merciful’.

When Perceiver thought discovers general Teacher understanding, then this will lead to the formation of potent Platonic forms of ideal perfection. One can see this in the optimism of the Victorian era. This era became known as the Belle Époque. “The Belle Époque… was a period of French and Western history. It is conventionally dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914… it was a period characterised by: optimism; regional peace; economic prosperity; colonial empires; and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations… The Belle Époque was so named in retrospect, when it began to be considered a ‘Golden Age’ in contrast to the horrors of World War I. The Belle Époque was a period in which, according to historian R.R. Palmer: ‘European civilisation achieved its greatest power in global politics, and also exerted its maximum influence upon peoples outside Europe.’ In the United Kingdom, the Belle Époque overlapped with the late Victorian era and the Edwardian era, in a period known as Pax Britannica. In Germany, it coincided with the reigns of William I, Frederick III and the Wilhelminism of Wilhelm II.”

When Perceiver thought becomes guided by such Platonic forms of ideal perfection, then the idea of having to go through the horrors of two world wars becomes abhorrent. But Contributor salvation is different than Perceiver conservatism. Perceiver thought tries to preserve what is valuable, while Contributor thought saves people by taking them from where they are to someplace better, even if this means going through regions that are horrible. One can see this gut reaction of Perceiver thought in the term merciful, because Perceiver thought wants to protect Contributor thought from having to go through such horrible experiences. But mercy is not salvation. Mercy protects me from hurt, while salvation solves the problem even if this leads me through hurt.

For instance, as a Perceiver person I have always found the evangelical teaching that the world will go through the hell-on-earth of a seven-year tribulation to be morally repulsive. And yet my observation keeps confirming that society must be transformed and cannot just be preserved. Therefore, one of my primary motivations has been to explore whether the divine plan can be implemented in a manner that involves less human suffering.

Jesus responds strongly to Peter in verse 23. “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but man’s.’” Turn means ‘to turn, i.e. to change’. Get means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’. Behind means ‘back, behind, after’. This describes a change in relationship. Perceiver thought had just been given the keys of heaven, leading to an expanded concept of incarnation in Teacher thought. This expanded Teacher-based concept of incarnation makes it possible to implement far more radical plans of salvation. But in order to implement such plans, Contributor thought has to take charge and place Perceiver thought under the authority of Contributor thought. The word Satan means ‘adversary’. Jesus refers to Peter as Satan because Perceiver conservatism is an adversary to Contributor plans. Saying this more clearly, Perceiver thought is helping Contributor thought in the abstract realm of theory while acting as an adversary to Contributor thought in the concrete realm of applying this theory.

Stumbling block is the noun form of the word ‘scandalize’ which we have seen several times. It also means ‘the trigger of a trap’. In other words, being merciful is actually a trap, because it wins the battle at the cost of losing the war. That is because showing mercy eliminates the motivation that is required to deal with fundamental problems.

The word setting your mind is used once in Matthew and ‘combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking’. This describes a person’s gut response. Perceiver thought may be helping to build abstract theory, but this abstract Teacher theory has not yet affected Perceiver thought at the gut level. I know from personal experience that it takes a lot of cognitive theorizing before gut-level responses finally start to shift. And the ‘elders and chief priests of Jerusalem’ exert their power primarily by manipulating such gut-level responses. Jesus says that Peter’s gut-level responses are being driven by ‘the of men’ rather than ‘the of God’.

Saying this another way, Peter is assuming humanity, because assumptions are related to gut-level responses. Thus, he will enthusiastically march off to the World War I, thinking that it will be a grand adventure, not realizing that the new technological war will threaten his very humanity by turning humans into cannon fodder. If you want gory details, read about the battle of Verdun. Wikipedia quotes the words of one French Lieutenant: “Humanity is mad. It must be mad to do what it is doing. What a massacre! What scenes of horror and carnage! I cannot find words to translate my impressions. Hell cannot be so terrible. Men are mad!” Similarly, he will enthusiastically embrace the racism of World War II, feeling grand to be part of the master race, not realizing that the resulting final solutions will threaten the very definition of humanity. And he will enthusiastically embrace the consumer society with its endless flow of new-and-improved gadgets, not realizing that lusting after a succession of things eventually turns a person into a thing.

Losing and Saving the Soul 16:24-28

Jesus then compares avoiding human suffering in the short-term with saving humanity in the long-term. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.’” Then means ‘then, at that time’. Thus, the comments that Jesus are about to make are related to the previous section.

This response reflects a fundamental difference between Contributor thought and Perceiver thought. Notice also that Jesus says the following words to his disciples, and not the crowds or the Pharisees. The general principle is that when gut-level, core mental networks are being triggered, then the average person will respond instinctively and it will be impossible to alter this instinctive response. But there will be a minority of people who are following incarnation, they will observe what is happening to the masses, and they will be able to draw rational conclusions. The word wishes means ‘to desire’. The implication is that following incarnation at the level of duty or occupation is not sufficient. Instead, one will have to be emotionally driven to follow incarnation. That is because emotions are being manipulated, and the only way to escape emotional manipulation is to be driven by a different set of emotions.

Deny is an intensified word that means ‘strongly reject’ and this is the first time it is used in Matthew. It will be used three more times in Matthew 26 to describe Peter denying Jesus. Take up means ‘to raise, take up, lift’. Cross was mentioned once previously in 10:38; taking that cross and following meant embracing the transformation of the Renaissance rather than the status quo of existing medieval culture. In 10:38 the cross was being ‘aggressively taken’ while here it is being ‘taken up’. The direction ‘up’ suggests the presence of Teacher understanding. Therefore, taking up the cross involves embracing a mindset that is guided by Teacher understanding. One is not ‘strongly rejecting’ personal identity driven by irrational feelings of self-denial. Instead, one is strongly rejecting personal identity in order to follow incarnation, and incarnation is rational.

I mentioned earlier that death on a cross is slow and lingering. Similarly, core mental networks fall apart one painful layer at a time. Following incarnation will feel like a cross, because one will be attempting to follow rational thought in a society that is behaving like a herd of lemmings plunging off a cliff. I should add that neither the lemmings—nor the people—are really attempting to commit mass suicide. Wikipedia explains that “It is not a deliberate mass suicide where the animal voluntarily chooses to die, but rather a result of their migratory behavior. Driven by strong biological urges, some species of lemmings may migrate in large groups when population density becomes too great. They can swim and may choose to cross a body of water in search of a new habitat. In such cases, many drown if the chosen body of water happens to be an ocean, or is in any case so wide as to exceed their physical capabilities.” Similarly, the masses are being driven by ‘the strong biological urges’ of core mental networks to perform tasks that ‘exceed their physical capabilities’.

Verse 25 describes the two alternatives. “For whoever wishes to save his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for My sake will find it.” As a footnote in the NASB points out, the emphasis is upon the soul, which refers to the integrated mind. Save means to ‘deliver out of danger and into safety’. Lose ‘implies permanent destruction’. In other words, growing science and technology will cause existing society to come to an end, and this society will never return. Any attempt to save the existing society will be a case of putting new wine into old wineskins. In fact, this same word that indicates permanent destruction was used to describe the fate of the old wineskins in 9:17.

The alternative is for one’s soul to be permanently destroyed for the sake of incarnation. This sounds dreadful, but it really means accepting that Teacher-driven science and technology will end up utterly and irrevocably transforming the world. Those living during the Victorian era had no clue what this meant. We now in the beginning of the 21st century are starting to realize at a gut level what this means. Find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. In other words, science and technology may bring a total end to existing society, but it is possible to reassemble the fragments of the mind in a new society that is driven by science and technology. This reassembling does take some searching. But it is possible to find one’s soul.

Verse 26 uses the bottom-line thinking of Contributor thought. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Profit means ‘to help, benefit, and do good’. Gain means ‘to exchange what is mediocre for the better’. Lose is used once in Matthew and means ‘to cause or experience loss’. These terms all describe the bottom-line thinking of concrete Contributor thought, which lets go of something in Mercy thought in order to gain something else that is more valuable, and tries to avoid holding on to things in Mercy thought that will lose value.

However, notice what is being bought and sold. World is cosmos, which refers to a system based in the structure of the physical world. And whole means ‘wholly, where all the parts are present and working as a whole’. Thus, the one alternative is to construct a complete physical world system, as illustrated by today’s worldwide economy and infrastructure. But this external integration has come at the cost of losing internal integration. Our physical world runs like a clock while we humans feel like we are falling apart.

Moving on to the next phrase, exchange is used only in this statement, and it combines ‘in place of’ with ‘change’. In other words, if one has lost one’s soul and wants to gain it back, then what can a human being give in exchange? Looking at this cognitively, we have compared mental transformation to walking, in which one alternatively rests the weight of the mind upon MMNs and TMNs. Thus, one can emotionally handle the rebirth of personal and cultural MMNs by holding on to a TMN of general understanding. But how can one become transformed when internal content has been replaced by external structure? We have been seeing the answer to this question in the current coronavirus quarantine. For many people, staying at home and facing one’s mind is too much to bear.

Verse 27 then looks forward to the ultimate resolution, which was discussed earlier when looking at angels. “For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his doing. Notice the reference to angels. Give means ‘to return, especially as a payment’.

The word glory (doxa) acquired a different meaning in the New Testament than the original meaning of the Greek word. Wikipedia summarizes that “Glory is used to describe the manifestation of God's presence as perceived by humans according to the Abrahamic religions.” Thus, ‘coming in the glory of his Father’ would mean some sort of visible manifestation of an invisible concept of God. This may sound mysterious. However, one could describe technology as the glory of science, because technology takes the invisible laws of science and expresses them in visible form. Similarly, we have been interpreting angels as real beings. The word angel means messenger. Therefore one can gain an idea what it would mean to ‘come in the glory of His Father with His angels’ by looking at the various ways that messages and messengers accompany technology. Finally, the word doing is the source of the English word ‘praxis’. It is used once in Matthew and describes ‘sustained activity, and/or responsibility’.

For instance, suppose that someone learned how to program a computer before computers were available. That person’s skill would have been useless because it would have been ahead of its time. But when computers arrive, then any person who has learned the skill of programming a computer will be ‘repaid according to his doing or praxis’. Going further, a computer turns a computer program into results that affect physical reality; a computer program is a message based in the invisible Teacher realm of words. Computers used to be rare. Now everyone has several computers, and most people have a computer in their pocket in the form of a smartphone. Thus, one could view the development and spread of computers as a partial expression of verse 27, or one could view verse 27 as a fuller expression of what has already taken place with computers. This idea of a future angelic intervention being similar to what is already happening showed up several times when discussing angels in Matthew 13. The general point is that any future ‘second coming of Jesus’ will not be something bizarre that is imposed from the outside in a miraculous manner, but rather an extension of something that already exists, which will function in a similar manner. The physical expression may change and the emotions may increase dramatically, but what will remain the same is the required mental programming.

Verse 28 promises that “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” The word truly is the source of the English word ‘amen’ and means ‘truly’. In other words, Jesus is not using hyperbole. Taste means ‘to taste, eat’, and this is the first use of this word in Matthew. Death means ‘physical or spiritual death’. The previous verses talked about losing and gaining one’s soul, which refers to mental integration. The mind uses mental networks to represent life, and a mental network falls apart and dies when it is continually activated and not allowed to express itself.

That brings us to the apparent contradiction of ‘taking up his cross and following me’. One can carry one’s cross for a short while one is on the road to being crucified, but when one is hanging on a cross, then there is no more following or taking up. Cognitively speaking, ‘taking up his cross and following me’ is only possible if one aspect of mental life remains bound and unable to express itself, while another aspect of mental life is capable of following.

Suppose that one wants to follow incarnation in the modern technological world that is applying science and technology in a peripheral manner while being subjectively driven by the core mental networks of the ‘elders and chief priests’. One will find oneself simultaneously bound and following. In the objective, it is possible to follow incarnation by interacting with the continuing development of science and technology. But in the subjective, one is continually being prevented by the spirit of the age from expressing one’s true desires. For instance, one will be trying to follow the voice of conscience in a Victorian age of God and country; one will be trying to uphold the dignity of people in an era of racism; or one will be attempting to maintain personal integrity in an era of consumerism.

‘Tasting death’ means adopting a fatalist attitude of cynicism: ‘There is no hope. The whole world is going crazy. What is the point of believing in God or trying to maintain humanity!’ Verse 28 is saying that it is possible to make it all the way through to the end without becoming a cynic. My personal experience so far backs this up, because I have consistently found that the positive emotion of following incarnation is always greater than the negative emotion of standing apart from society. Verse 20 does not say that this applies to everyone. Instead, it says that some will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

There may be other ways of interpreting verse 28, but I suggest that the general cognitive principle remains the same, which is that it is possible to go through the process of losing one’s soul and finding it again without mentally tasting death if one continues to follow incarnation. Following incarnation does not mean quoting Bible verses. It also does not mean throwing out the Bible. Instead, it means recognizing that the progress of science and technology is a partial expression of incarnation, and then taking these partial lessons and applying them to one’s own person. Using religious language, it means recognizing that the Bible describes universal moral principles that apply to today’s technological society.

The Transfiguration 17:1-3

The story of the Transfiguration of Jesus may seem at first glance to be too miraculous to fit into any chronology of Western history. But in the same way that Peter’s proclamation of faith happened within the restricted realm of Caesarea Philippi, so I suggest that the Transfiguration represents a period in Western history that was amazing, but also limited in extent.

Verse 1 begins, “Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves.” I am not sure what the six days represent, and I will not speculate. But notice that this is a transfiguration of Jesus. Peter just made a breakthrough statement about Christ in chapter 16. Peter says all of the words that are recorded in the story of the transfiguration, but Christ is not mentioned (and will not be mentioned again until chapter 22). Jesus means ‘salvation’ and refers to the concrete side of incarnation. I have mentioned that incarnation goes beyond concrete technical thought by saving people rather than things. Thus, the Transfiguration of Jesus represents a period in Western history that emphasized saving people to an unprecedented extent.

Going further, only Peter, James, and John accompany Jesus. These three names appear at the beginning of the list of twelve disciples in Matthew 10, which we as interpreted as a cognitive progression. Peter means ‘rock’ and represents Perceiver thought. James comes from the Hebrew name ‘Jacob’ and means ‘heel, hind part’. This implies something new following on the heels of Peter. John means ‘the Lord has been gracious’. These three names imply that Perceiver truth is leading to the new idea that God is gracious. This relates to our discussion of the keys of Peter. Perceiver thought is starting to use these keys, is discovering that new areas of Teacher understanding can be unlocked, and is also realizing that the results are beneficial for humans.

Verse 1 also says that this is happening on a high mountain. The word high means ‘high, lofty’. It is used twice in Matthew. The previous time was in 4:8 when Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him the kingdoms of the world. Lead is used once in Matthew and means ‘to carry up, lead up’. A mountain represents a pragmatic form of Teacher generality. A high mountain represents great pragmatic Teacher generality. The disciples are not discovering this generality themselves. Instead, they are being led up the mountain of generality by incarnation. Finally, they are being led up by themselves, which means that this vision of generality is limited to the mindset that these three disciples represent.

The high mountain can be seen in in the extent of the British Empire. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history. National self-confidence peaked.” Notice how the physical empire is emotionally carrying the British people up the mountain. A similar carrying up the mountain can be seen with Victorian science. “The Victorians were impressed by science and progress and felt that they could improve society in the same way as they were improving technology. Britain was the leading world centre for advanced engineering and technology. Its engineering firms were in worldwide demand for designing and constructing railways.” This technologically driven optimism was epitomized by the Great Exhibition of 1851. “Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition ‘held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles.’ Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future.”

Verse 2 describes what happens on the mountain. “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” Transfigured is the root of the English word ‘metamorphosis’ and it combines ‘change after being with’ and ‘changing form in keeping with inner reality’. In other words, one is becoming internally transformed and this is being expressed externally. The same word is used in Romans 12:2 which talks about being transformed (literally, transfigured) by the renewing of the mind. In other words, transfiguration is not some sort of magical effect but rather an externalization of internal mental transformation. And this transformation is related to mental symmetry because Romans 12:2 introduces the list of seven ‘spiritual gifts’ upon which the theory of mental symmetry is based. (This word ‘transfiguration’ occurs two other times in the New Testament, one time in the parallel passage in Mark 9:2 and the other time in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which also refers to the process of character transformation.)

Similarly, the thinking of Victorian society was transformed and this expressed itself in a transformed physical world. Wikipedia describes this internal transformation of British character. “The changes in moral standards and actual behaviour across the British were profound. Historian Harold Perkin wrote: Between 1780 and 1850 the English ceased to be one of the most aggressive, brutal, rowdy, outspoken, riotous, cruel and bloodthirsty nations in the world and became one of the most inhibited, polite, orderly, tender-minded, prudish and hypocritical. Historians continue to debate the various causes of this dramatic change. Asa Briggs emphasizes the strong reaction against the French Revolution, and the need to focus British efforts on its defeat and not be diverged by pleasurable sins. Briggs also stresses the powerful role of the evangelical movement among the Nonconformists, as well as the Evangelical faction inside the established Church of England. The religious and political reformers set up organizations that monitored behaviour, and pushed for government action.”

We have become cynical today and feel that such morality must be hypocritical. But there really was a change, even among the lower classes. “Historians agree that the middle classes not only professed high personal moral standards, but actually followed them. There is a debate whether the working classes followed suit. Moralists in the late 19th century such as Henry Mayhew decried the slums for their supposed high levels of cohabitation without marriage and illegitimate births. However new research using computerized matching of data files shows that the rates of cohabitation were quite low—under 5%—for the working class and the poor.”

Verse 1 says that Peter, James, and John went up the mountain by themselves, implying that the experience of transfiguration was limited primarily to the realm of Perceiver truth, which became changed into the idea of ‘the Lord being gracious’. Saying this another way, conscience, morality, and legislation became viewed as a means of helping people. Verse 2 says that Jesus was transfigured, implying a transformation in the pragmatic view of personal salvation in which inner character becomes expressed externally.

The first effect was that ‘his face shone like the sun’. Face means ‘face, countenance’, which refers to verbal and nonverbal communication. Shone means to ‘give light, shine’. And a sun represents a general Teacher understanding. The idea is that Victorian society was guided by a personal light rather than the light of a universal understanding. This personal light can be seen in Victorian morality, which “is a distillation of the moral views of the middle class in 19th-century Britain, the Victorian era. Victorian values emerged in all classes and reached all facets of Victorian living. The values of the period—which can be classed as religion, morality, Evangelicalism, industrial work ethic, and personal improvement—took root in Victorian morality. Current plays and all literature—including old classics like Shakespeare—were cleansed of naughtiness, or ‘bowdlerized’.”

This ‘sun’ of personal morality expressed itself in the ‘Peter, James, and John’ of extensive moralizing and moral legislation. Wikipedia summarizes that “The international slave trade was abolished, and this ban was enforced by the Royal Navy. Slavery was ended in all the British colonies, child labour was ended in British factories, and a long debate ensued regarding whether prostitution should be totally abolished or tightly regulated.” It is easy for postmodern man to look back at these changes with skepticism, but they were huge shifts. Slavery had been present since the dawn of civilization. Wikipedia relates that there was also a transformation in government punishment. “The British penal system underwent a transition from harsh punishment to reform, education, and training for post-prison livelihoods.” And the first modern police force was instituted in 1829 in London, and by 1857 every jurisdiction in Great Britain had an organized police force. Notice that the shifts all involve the realm of personal morality and legislation.

The second effect was that “His garments became as white as light.” The word garment refers to ‘the outer garment’ which we have interpreted as the ‘fabric’ of social interaction. Became means ‘to come into being’, which implies that this transformation emerged gradually over time. White means ‘bright, white’, while light implies the light of Teacher understanding.

During the Victorian era, it became frowned upon to take advantage of people. “Victorian era movements for justice, freedom, and other strong moral values made greed, and exploitation into public evils. The writings of Charles Dickens, in particular, observed and recorded these conditions.” In other words, social interaction was supposed to be guided by the Teacher light of understanding rather than MMNs of interpersonal rivalry.

Prostitution became addressed as a major social problem. “The years between 1848 and 1870 saw a veritable explosion in the number of institutions working to ‘reclaim’ these ‘fallen women’ from the streets and retrain them for entry into respectable society—usually for work as domestic servants. The theme of prostitution and the ‘fallen woman’ (any woman who has had sexual intercourse out of marriage) became a staple feature of mid-Victorian literature and politics. In the writings of Henry Mayhew, Charles Booth, Charles Dickens and others, prostitution began to be seen as a social problem.”

The leisure industry emerged as a socially respectable form of entertainment. “Some 200 seaside resorts emerged thanks to cheap hotels and inexpensive railway fares, widespread bank holidays and the fading of many religious prohibitions against secular activities on Sundays. By the late Victorian era the leisure industry had emerged in all cities. It provided scheduled entertainment of suitable length at convenient locales at inexpensive prices. These included sporting events, music halls, and popular theatre.”

Looking back, one can see that fundamental problems such as class distinctions and other forms of personal inequality were not addressed. However, verse 2 says that the outer garment of social interaction became white and does not say anything about the inner garment. Similarly, Victorian morality emphasized social respectability. “The central feature of Victorian-era politics is the search for reform and improvement, including both the individual personality and society. First was the rapid rise of the middle class, in large part displacing the complete control long exercised by the aristocracy. Respectability was their code—a businessman had to be trusted and must avoid reckless gambling and heavy drinking.”

In verse 3, a conversation starts. “And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.” Moses was the source of Mosaic law, and was given his name because he was ‘drawn from the water’. Thus, Moses represents a system of absolute truth and morality drawn from the ‘water’ of experience. On the one hand, viewing the Bible as the source of absolute truth provided a system of moral law for the evangelicals. On the other hand, scientifically analyzing the ‘water’ of experience also provided a system of moral law for the utilitarians. Wikipedia describes the alliance between these two mindsets. “The philosophical utilitarians… were not moralistic but scientific. Their movement, often called ‘Philosophic Radicalism,’ fashioned a formula for promoting the goal of ‘progress’ using scientific rationality, and businesslike efficiency, to identify, measure, and discover solutions to social problems. The formula was an inquiry, legislation, execution, inspection, and report… Evangelicals and utilitarians shared a basic middle-class ethic of responsibility and formed a political alliance. The result was an irresistible force for reform.”

Elijah means ‘Yah is God’ and, as verse 10 points out, was viewed as the prophet who would prepare the way for the return of the Messiah. (Messiah is the Hebrew word for Christ.) This preparing the way can be seen in the Victorian focus upon building a better society. This eventually expressed itself as the social gospel, which believed that the social reforms of the Victorian era were preparing the way for the second coming of Jesus. Wikipedia explains that “The Third Great Awakening was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the 20th century. It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong sense of social activism. It gathered strength from the postmillennial theology that the Second Coming of Christ would come after humankind had reformed the entire earth. The Social Gospel Movement gained its force from the awakening, as did the worldwide missionary movement.”

The word talking together is used once in Matthew and adds the prefix ‘together’ with ‘talking’. In other words, Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are having an in-depth discussion. Similarly, the Victorian era discussed at length how the technical thinking of Jesus could be used to apply the laws of Moses as well as build a new kingdom of God.

We have looked at the Victorian era in Britain. I should mention that a similar movement took place in America. A Gilded Age of Victorian prosperity started in the 1870s which was followed in the 1890s by a Progressive Era that focused upon social reform. However, the British movement happened first, and then spread to other areas of the globe.

Building Tabernacles 17:4-5

In verse 4, Peter opens his mouth. “Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’” Good means ‘attractively good’. Peter is saying that it is attractively good that the disciples are present. This is a strange response. Peter has just seen something that redefines the very concept of attractive goodness. But instead of focusing upon the ‘attractive goodness’ of a shining Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah, he says that it is attractively good for him and his friends to be there.

A similar misdirection of praise occurred during the Victorian era, because applying biblical law and pursuing progress turned into ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’. And this same phrase also became applied to the United States. “From the mid-nineteenth century, the image of the sun never setting can be found applied to Anglophone culture, explicitly including both the British Empire and the United States, for example in a speech by Alexander Campbell in 1852: ‘To Britain and America God has granted the possession of the new world; and because the sun never sets upon our religion, our language and our arts’… By the end of the century, the phrase was also being applied to the United States alone.”

Peter then thinks in terms of ‘doing’ and ‘places’, both expressions of concrete thought. The word make means ‘to make, do’, which indicates a focus on Server actions. The word tabernacle is used once in Matthew and means ‘a tent’. A tent is a temporary home. Notice that Peter wants to build three tabernacles, one for the technical thinking of incarnation, one for the morality of the past, and one for the coming social order.

This idea of building a tabernacle can be seen literally in the Great Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition was housed in a building that “had to conform to several key specifications: the building had to be temporary, simple, as cheap as possible, and economical to build within the short time remaining before the Exhibition opening, which had already been scheduled for 1 May 1851.” The resulting Crystal Palace was an architectural marvel. “The introduction of the sheet glass method into Britain by Chance Brothers in 1832 made possible the production of large sheets of cheap but strong glass, and its use in the Crystal Palace created a structure with the greatest area of glass ever seen in a building. It astonished visitors with its clear walls and ceilings that did not require interior lights.”

The Crystal Palace was a tabernacle to the incarnation of technology, the Elijah of hope and progress, and the Moses of traditional value, all presented in a manner that showed the attractive goodness of the disciples. Expanding an earlier quote from Wikipedia, “Although the Great Exhibition was a platform on which countries from around the world could display their achievements, Britain sought to prove its own superiority. The British exhibits at the Great Exhibition ‘held the lead in almost every field where strength, durability, utility and quality were concerned, whether in iron and steel, machinery or textiles.’ Britain also sought to provide the world with the hope of a better future. Europe had just struggled through ‘two difficult decades of political and social upheaval,’ and now Britain hoped to show that technology, particularly its own, was the key to a better future. Sophie Forgan says of the Exhibition that ‘Large, piled-up trophy exhibits in the central avenue revealed the organisers’ priorities; they generally put art or colonial raw materials in the most prestigious place.’” Notice the three emphases of scientific technology, the ‘hope of a better future’, and the ‘piled up trophy exhibits’ of traditional value.

Similar international exhibitions followed, with the largest ones being the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, for which the Eiffel Tower was built, and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. I am not suggesting that ‘building three Tabernacles’ refers only to these world expositions with their temporary structures. But these expositions were major events attended by millions of visitors that represented the mindset of the era. Six million people—one third of the population of Britain—visited the Great Exhibition, 32 million visited the Paris exhibition, while the Chicago exhibition had 27 million visitors.

Verse 5 describes the response to Peter’s suggestion. “While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’”

The word beloved is derived from the verb agape which means ‘love which centers in moral preference’. Agape occurs a number of times in the New Testament and is used to describe the love of God. However, it is only used once in Matthew, in 24:12. ‘Beloved’ is found three times in Matthew, each time in the context of the phrase ‘beloved son, with whom I am well pleased’. Well-pleased is only found in Matthew in connection with ‘beloved’ and combines ‘good’ with ‘the subjective mental estimate or opinion about a matter’. Thus, these three references in Matthew help us to understand what God likes, what makes God happy. We suggested that 3:17 referred to the Celtic monks of the sixth century, while 10:18 described the early scientists functioning under the thumb of the Catholic Church. In both cases, a group of people was following Teacher understanding in an intelligent manner while still living within the real world Mercy experiences.

The first example suggests that God likes monks, but not monks in the desert. Rather, he likes monks who follow him in a community that interacts with normal people, in which a person can be a monk for a while and then return to normal life. The second example suggests that God likes scientists, but not scientists living in an ivory tower who think that they have an inside connection to ultimate truth. Instead, God likes science that finds joy in discovering the order of the physical world, without getting lost in mathematics or puffed up with personal arrogance.

That brings us to the third example in 17:5. We have just looked at the Great Exhibitions of Victorian society, and have interpreted these as tabernacles erected by the disciples to show off the attractive goodness of the disciples. But they were actually tents and not permanent shrines. Each exhibition eventually came to an end and was largely torn down. And rather than provoking Mercy feelings of worship, they motivated further Teacher-driven progress.

Looking at this more closely, the word for cloud is nephele, which the Bible dictionary translates as ‘a cloud’. However, Wikipedia points out that nephele was actually a ‘cloud nymph’ which, according to Greek myth, was created by Zeus. And 24 of the 25 references to nephele in the New Testament describe some sort of supernatural cloud. (The other reference in Jude 12 uses nephele in an analogy within a passage that talks about angels.) Looking at this cognitively, I suggest that a cloud represents a Platonic form. A cloud can be seen, but it is not solid. A cloud looks like an object, but it resides within the air of Teacher thought. Similarly, a Platonic form is an internal image that does not come directly from physical reality. Instead, it forms within the mind indirectly as a result of the heaven of Teacher understanding.

This is the first use of the word ‘cloud’ in Matthew. It is used twice in this verse, and also in 24:30 and 26:64 to describe ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds’. The word bright means ‘brilliant, shining’ and represents the illumination of Teacher understanding. But this cloud also overshadows, which means ‘to cast shade upon’ and is used once in Matthew. Thus, one sees the strange combination of a cloud that is both illuminating and casting a shadow. The cloud itself is bright, but it is casting a shadow upon the people. Saying this cognitively, the brightness of the Platonic forms is taking attention away from the people. Instead of seeing Jesus transfigured, the disciples hear a voice out of the cloud. Initially, they were mentally fixated upon using the technical thinking of incarnation to help people through the law of Moses together with the ‘preparing of the way’ of Elijah. But their attention turns to the Platonic forms of Teacher-driven possibility. They hear the voice of Teacher thought out of the cloud of Platonic forms and this voice tells them to listen to incarnation.

Saying this another way, making the world a better place turns into using research to develop new technology. We shall see in the upcoming verses that this is both good and bad. The good side is that this realization will spark the emergence of the Consumer Revolution with its endless flow of new technology, in which each tabernacle to the latest technological process inevitably becomes overshadowed by the light of new Platonic forms of possibility. The bad side is that using research to develop new technology will become based in Teacher understanding, while making the world a better place will still be rooted in Mercy experience, Mercy status, and Mercy authority. What will soon happen in World War I is that ‘using research to develop new technology’ will become disconnected from ‘making the world a better place’. That is because authorities will use their Mercy status to redirect ‘using research to develop new technology’ away from ‘making the world a better place’ to ‘creating a more intense version of hell on earth’.

Returning to the three examples of God being well-pleased, we find that all three of these ultimately came to an end. Celtic Christianity was overrun by the Vikings. Early science gave way to scientific skepticism. And Victorian prosperity was trampled in the mud of World War I trenches. I suggest that God liked these three because in each case something new was coming into being. The Celtic monks signified the first stirrings of Western civilization. The early scientists would be followed by a Scientific Revolution. And Victorian progress was the beginning of research and development, in which Teacher thought works together with Mercy thought to generate growth and progress.

A Terrifying Voice from the Cloud 17:6-8

Verse 6 describes the initial response of the disciples. “When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.” Terrified means ‘to put to flight, to terrify’. (‘On the ground’ is not in the original Greek.) Face was previously mentioned in verse 2 which described the face of Jesus shining like the sun.) Here, the disciples are falling on their faces when they hear the voice. Curiously, it is the voice out of the cloud that terrifies them, and not the sight of a transfigured Jesus.

Looking at this cognitively, Mercy experiences can be frightening, but they still belong to the realm of human experiences. Teacher thought, in contrast, is alien and inhuman. 19th-century science was starting to see the inhuman nature of natural law. One can see this alienness in the discovery of electromagnetism. Electromagnetism functions invisibly. Imagine encountering radio waves for the first time. Maxwell worked out the equations of electromagnetism in 1864 (using Maxwell’s equations). Similarly, one can see the inhumanity in the machine gun. The first practical machine gun was the Maxim gun invented in 1884, which “has been called ‘the weapon most associated with the British imperial conquest’ and likewise was used in colonial wars by other countries between 1886 and 1914.”

Verse 7 continues, “And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Get up, and do not be afraid.’” Touch means ‘to modify or change by touching’. Cognitively speaking, touch provides emotional experiences for Mercy thought, and it also provides personal facts for Perceiver thought, because Perceiver thought uses kinesthetic feedback to work out the position of the body. Looking at this religiously, evangelical Christians use the phrase ‘being touched by Jesus’ to describe how one can find comfort and certainty in the unknown. Saying this another way, scientifically driven technology may be about to transform the world into a new and totally unfamiliar place, but one can find personal stability in the touch of Jesus. Similarly, scientific thought may cause one to doubt the veracity of the Bible, but one can still find personal meaning in the ‘Jesus’ of the social gospel.

Get up means ‘to awaken, raise up’ but it is also used to describe resurrection. The sound of the voice and the cloud in verse 6 was terrifying. The same word is used in verse 7, where the touch of Jesus is followed by the verbal instruction not to be terrified. This is consistent with the idea that personal faith is being seen as an alternative to facing the terror of Teacher-driven science and technology.

This leads in verse 8 to a mental split. “And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.’ Eyes represent using Perceiver thought to analyze the environment. Lifting up the eyes would mean combining Perceiver thought with Teacher theory. The word no one means ‘nothing at all’ and ‘is a powerful negating conjunction’. Thus, when Perceiver thought and Teacher analysis was added to the ‘personal touch of Jesus’, then people discovered that this theorizing was mentally safe. It would not trigger any feelings of Teacher horror or inhumanity. The reason for this is that Victorian thought was inherently split between Teacher-driven science and technology, and Mercy-driven personal authority and experience. Moving religious experience to the subjective realm of personal faith crossed the barrier between objective and subjective, ensuring that religious theorizing would not trigger any feelings of inhuman Teacher thought. However, this jump also gave societal leaders the freedom to hijack science and technology, leading to the total war of World War I, the Great War—the war to end all wars.

Wikipedia describes this movement to either personal faith or social gospel. “Shrugging off Enlightenment rationalism, Protestants embraced romanticism, with the stress on the personal and the invisible. Entirely fresh ideas as expressed by Friedrich Schleiermacher, Soren Kierkegaard, Albrecht Ritschl and Adolf von Harnack restored the intellectual power of theology. There was more attention to historic creeds such as the Augsburg, the Heidelberg, and the Westminster confessions. The stirrings of pietism on the Continent, and evangelicalism in Britain expanded enormously, leading the devout away from an emphasis on formality and ritual and toward an inner sensibility toward personal relationship to Christ. Social activities, in education and in opposition to social vices such as slavery, alcoholism and poverty provided new opportunities for social service.” One of the characteristics of this kind of personal faith is that it basically ignores science and technology, while simultaneously living in a world that has been transformed by science and technology.

This emphasis upon personal faith while ignoring science can be seen in the holiness movements of the late 19th century. “The first distinct ‘Holiness camp meeting’ convened at Vineland, New Jersey in 1867… The gathering attracted as many as 10,000 people… The second National Camp Meeting was held at Manheim, Pennsylvania, and drew upwards of 25,000 persons from all over the nation… Though distinct from the mainstream Holiness movement, the fervor of the Keswick-Holiness revival in the 1870s swept Great Britain… The Keswick Convention soon became the British headquarters for this movement. The Faith Mission in Scotland was another consequence of the British Holiness movement. Another was a flow of influence from Britain back to the United States: In 1874, Albert Benjamin Simpson read Boardman’s Higher Christian Life and felt the need for such a life himself. Simpson went on to found the Christian and Missionary Alliance.”

Few Christians who have a ‘personal relationship with Jesus’ will explicitly assert that God has nothing to do with science and technology. However, one will observe that their preaching and theorizing seldom touch upon science and technology. And one will also notice that the personal faith is being used as an emotional refuge from science and technology. Technology has become so ubiquitous today that this is hard to do. Thus, technology will be mentioned in the typical evangelical sermon, but usually at the cultural level of everyday experience. Such a mindset would never think of mapping a biblically derived theory of ‘spiritual gifts’ onto neurology, or attempt to look for parallels between Christian theology and scientific thought, or analyze Matthew rigorously from a symbolic perspective and map this onto Western history. Instead, such a mindset will publish Bible dictionaries with many pictures of Middle Eastern Bedouin sitting on camels under palm trees, but no pictures of cars driving down the streets of modern Jerusalem.

This ‘falling on the face’ as a result of a ‘voice from the cloud’ can be also seen in the Millerite movement, which predicted that Jesus would return ‘in the clouds’ in 1844. Millions of tracts were distributed and many thousands waited for Jesus to come. The letdown that happened when the fateful days passed and nothing happened is known as the Great Disappointment, and the Seventh-day Adventist church was born out of these ashes, led by Ellen White.

It is interesting to read Ellen White’s famous book in the light of Matthew 17. She said that a ‘cleansing of the heavenly Temple’ had occurred in 1844. In a sense, this did happen when tabernacles to Imperial progress became overshadowed by the mindset of Teacher-driven technological progress. White mentally fell on her face by strongly advocating a return to the mindset of biblically-based absolute truth. White’s book is driven by fear of heavenly power, elaborating first the evils of the Catholic Church and then fixating upon the power and wisdom of Satan. And the intense theorizing of her book focuses upon the struggle between Jesus and Satan, while almost totally ignoring the scientific progress that was starting to transform her world.

Tell No One the Vision 17:9-10

Verse 9 describes the aftermath. “As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, ‘Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.’” Come down means to ‘come down, either from the sky or from higher land, descend’. The disciples are literally descending from a mountaintop experience. Looking at this symbolically, they are returning to reality after coming into contact with Teacher thought.

The word command means ‘to command, emphasizing the end-objective’. The word vision is used once in Matthew and means ‘a vision (spiritual seeing), focusing on the impact it has on the one beholding the vision’. One can see this literally in the case of Ellen White. Wikipedia relates that she was speaking with her husband in 1858 and “Part way through her talk, she went into a two-hour vision in front of the congregation. The vision mostly concerned the matter of the ‘great controversy,’ which she had seen ten years before (1848). She was told that she must write it out. The next day on a train they began arranging plans for writing and publishing the future book immediately on their return home. At a stopover, Ellen experienced a stroke of paralysis, which made writing virtually impossible. For several weeks afterward, Ellen could not feel pressure on her hand or cold water poured on her head. At first, she wrote but one page in a day and then rested for three. But as she progressed, her strength increased, and by the time she finished the book, all effects of the stroke were gone… It is written in the first-person present tense, with the phrase ‘I saw’ being used 161 times to refer to the author’s experience in receiving the vision given to enable her to write this book.”

The word no one means ‘no one, nothing – literally, not even one’. And this same word was used in 16:20 when warning the disciples to tell no one that Jesus was the Christ. Ellen White, in contrast, published five editions of her book, and the final 1911 Edition was required because so many copies of the previous edition had been printed that the existing plates were worn out. And in 2011-2013 the Adventist church printed and distributed more than 142 million copies worldwide. So much for telling no one about the vision.

Looking at the Protestant churches more generally, “John Nelson Darby first proposed and popularized the pre-tribulation rapture in 1827. This view was accepted among many other Plymouth Brethren movements in England. Darby and other prominent Brethren were part of the Brethren movement which impacted American Christianity… Influences included the Bible Conference Movement, starting in 1878 with the Niagara Bible Conference. These conferences, which were initially inclusive of historicist and futurist premillennialism, led to an increasing acceptance of futurist premillennial views and the pre-tribulation rapture especially among Presbyterian, Baptist, and Congregational members. Popular books also contributed to acceptance of the pre-tribulation rapture, including William E. Blackstone’s book Jesus is Coming, published in 1878, which sold more than 1.3 million copies.” Summarizing, an entire book publishing industry has emerged within the evangelical Christianity that is devoted to telling people about the vision of Jesus appearing upon clouds of glory.

Verse 9 says that this vision should not be shared ‘until the Son of Man is risen from the dead’. The problem is that the vision occurred within the context of a mental split. Rational scientific thought was starting to transform the physical world of objects, while subjective thought was still being ruled by absolute truth. The vision occurred when technological progress created a general Teacher theory that spilled over into subjective thought. Teacher theories will naturally do this because they are driven emotionally to become more general. (Similarly, one could interpret the theory of evolution as the general Teacher theory of industrial progress spilling over into subjective thought.) The end result of this mental split was a vision of heavenly clouds that pits science and religion against one another rather than seeing them as different expressions of a single God. For instance, the pre-tribulation rapture teaches that God will miraculously intervene within the godless world of modern technology, separate the followers of Jesus from the world of technology, and then rain divine judgment upon the satanic world of technology. This same mindset of God-versus-Satan characterizes Ellen White’s book. A new integrated concept of incarnation needs to become resurrected before it becomes possible to discuss intelligently the vision of Jesus appearing in glory upon the clouds.

A similar mental split can also be seen in alien disclosure—the secular version of the ‘second coming of Jesus’. The aliens are supposedly technologically advanced beings who will save the physical world from ecological disaster. However, these technologically advanced beings are described as being clueless about human subjective emotions, who are carrying out a long-term project of genetic manipulation in a manner that utterly violates human identity. I have examined this topic from a cognitive perspective for those who want to explore it in more detail. What matters for our current discussion is that both the religious idea of a pre-tribulation rapture and the secular idea of alien disclosure exhibit the same underlying split between rational technology and personal humanity, and this split will only be integrated when ‘the Son of Man is raised from the dead’.

In verse 10, the disciples turn to the topic of end-time prophecy. “And His disciples asked Him, ‘Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’” The word ask is not the normal word, but rather means to ‘make a request from a preferred position’. In other words, the disciples are looking for inside knowledge about the future. And, like current researchers of prophecy, they turn to written revelation, referring to the words of the scribes. The scribes say that it is necessary for Elijah to come first before the return of the Messiah. Elijah means ‘Yah is God’. Thus, the coming of Elijah implies a fresh realization of God in Teacher thought, similar to the voice in the clouds that produced the feeling of fear in the disciples. The general idea is that this awesome revelation of God will reinvigorate the mindset of absolute truth.

Restoration versus Transformation 17:11-13

Jesus answers in verse 11 that they are technically correct. “And He answered and said, ‘Elijah is coming and will restore all things.’” The word restore means to ‘restore back to original standing, i.e. that existed before a fall’. It was used one other time in Matthew 12:13 to describe the withered hand of the man being restored, and we interpreted that as science adding experiments to the logical thinking of Scholasticism. There too, absolute truth was being analyzed using a mindset that was divorced from reality. And scientific experiments were originally viewed as a way of restoring scholastic thought, and not as a new form of thinking that would replace Scholasticism.

That leads us to a possible contradiction. We interpreted Elijah in the Transfiguration as looking forward to a better world as expressed by the social gospel. But in verse 11 Jesus has just said that Elijah will restore all things, and restoration looks backwards rather than forwards. Instead of doing something new, restoration brings back what was lost in the past. I suggest that we can understand what is happening cognitively by looking at the three primary ways by which Platonic forms can emerge, which were initially discussed back when looking at 3:10.

First, a Platonic form can emerge when existing Mercy experiences are lost. Teacher thought looks for the simplified essence of many situations. Therefore, if Teacher thought is used to reevaluate memories of lost experiences, then the past will be viewed through rose-colored glasses. Using psychological language, memory is reconstructive. This memory of an idealized past is a kind of Platonic form.

Second, a Platonic form can emerge from studying books. If Teacher thought is used to analyze the content of some book, then this Teacher understanding will cause Platonic forms to emerge within Mercy thought. Going further, if this book is viewed as special and different, then the special-ness will add emotional intensity to the resulting Platonic forms while the different-ness will cause the Platonic forms to remaining disconnected from physical reality. For instance, heaven is viewed by most Christians as a realm of idyllic perfection that has no connection with physical reality.

Third, a Platonic form can emerge from rational Teacher understanding. If the technical thinking of incarnation is used to construct a Teacher understanding, then this will lead to Platonic forms of possibility and it will be possible to use technical thought to turn these Platonic forms into reality. For instance, scientific understanding leads to the Platonic forms of ‘science fiction’ and technology can turn (legitimate) science fiction into reality.

Applying this to Elijah, studying the Bible will lead to a concept of ‘Elijah’ as unreachable heaven. This will lead to the mindset of verse 10 in which the disciples ask ‘why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?’ Notice that the written content of the scribes is being discussed, and that this discussion is happening at a theoretical level which does not connect with real life. In verse 11, Jesus refers to another kind of Platonic form, which is that of restoration: The past has been lost, and an idealized version of the past is being restored. The disciples think that they are following an Elijah that is looking forward to the future—that is preparing the way for the coming Messiah. But they are actually following an Elijah that is a combination of unreachable heaven and restoring the past. However, Jesus has to point this out to the disciples, because incarnation is capable of creating Platonic forms of future possibility which will reveal other Platonic forms to be merely fantasy and/or re-creations of the past.

For instance, one can see such restoration in the teaching of Ellen White, who describes Adam waking up after several thousand years of soul sleep to precisely the same Garden of Eden. “The Son of God redeemed man’s failure and fall; and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion. Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight—the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it” (p.648). Notice that nothing new has been done by God. Instead, the Eden of the past has been re-created precisely. This relates to the difference between Perceiver thought and Contributor thought. Perceiver thought leads to conservatism which restores original truth. Contributor thought, in contrast, leads to salvation which transforms existing reality.

Science fiction is different than normal fiction because science fiction uses the technical thinking of science to describe a future that could be. However, science fiction is also different than technology, because technology uses technical thinking to transform science fiction into reality. Thus, science fiction is capable of predicting the future to some extent, but the future that actually emerges is usually significantly different than what science fiction predicted. For instance, a geosynchronous satellite travels around the earth at exactly the same rate that the Earth is spinning, causing the satellite to remain above a certain location on earth. Wikipedia relates that this “concept was first proposed by Herman Potočnik in 1928 and popularised by the science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in a paper in Wireless World in 1945. Working prior to the advent of solid-state electronics, Clarke envisioned a trio of large, crewed space stations arranged in a triangle around the planet. Modern satellites are numerous, uncrewed, and often no larger than an automobile.” Notice the progression: Potočnik was an electrical engineer who originally developed the idea. This idea was then popularized within science fiction by Clarke. However, what eventually emerged in reality was significantly different than Clarke’s idea, with many smaller unmanned satellites in geosynchronous orbit rather than three large manned space stations. That is because Clark wrote about geosynchronous satellites before the development of miniaturized electronics.

The reference to science fiction is historically appropriate because science fiction emerged as a popular genre in the late 19th century. Wikipedia says that “[H.G.] Wells is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called the ‘father of science fiction’, along with Jules Verne and the publisher Hugo Gernsback.” Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895 and the War of the Worlds in 1898. Verne wrote 20,000 Leagues under the Sea in 1870. (Gernsback came later, publishing the first science fiction magazine in 1926.)

Verse 12 describes the bigger picture. “But I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did in him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer by them.” The disciples are looking forward to Elijah as some coming ideal perfection predicted by the Bible, but Elijah has already occurred. They are thinking in terms of a future Perceiver-based restoration, not realizing that they are already living in the first stages of a Contributor-led transformation.

For instance, the Millerites talked about Jesus cleansing the heavenly tabernacle, viewing it as a precursor to the restoration of absolute truth. But they did not realize that the new scientific technology was cleansing the heavenly temple of Teacher thought by demonstrating that rational scientific thought was capable of transforming the world and not just restoring the past. Instead of being purified back to absolute truth, the heaven of Teacher thought was being purified of absolute truth.

And anecdotal evidence implies that some sort of ‘heavenly purification’ has happened. Western society used to talk about angels and the heaven of the Bible. In other words, people related angelic beings to the absolute truth of the Bible. Today, the discussion is primarily about aliens and advanced technology, which means that angelic beings are being connected with rational science and technology. However, the general consensus among evangelical Christians is that all aliens are demons. And some claim that evangelical Christians in the American military are doing their best to suppress aliens. Like White, evangelicals are thinking in terms of a restoration of absolute truth, while what is actually happening is a transformation led by incarnation. I am not suggesting that all aliens are good. Instead, I suggest that the solution is not to return back to absolute truth, but rather to extend the transformation of incarnation—which is what mental symmetry is attempting to do.

It may seem inappropriate to discuss aliens and angels, but I suggest that this is another illustration of the difference between Perceiver restoration and Contributor transformation. The fundamental assumption of materialism is that any change produced by Teacher theories of science will involve a restoration of humanity and physical nature. But if one approaches humanity from a Teacher perspective, then the concept of intelligent beings itself becomes expanded to include intelligent beings that are based in Teacher thought—which we refer to as angels and aliens. Thus, I suggest that evangelical Christians are not the only ones following a mixture of restoration and transformation. Materialistic science is doing so as well by combining the transformation of science with the restoration of materialism.

Recognize means ‘apt, experiential knowing, through direct relationship’. Not recognizing Elijah means using the wrong kind of experiential knowing. Instead of viewing absolute truth as the precursor to rational understanding, one is trying to place rational understanding within the context of absolute truth. Instead of viewing science and technology as a partial experience of the true nature of God, one is interpreting science and technology as a distraction from the experiential knowledge of the true God.

Did means ‘to make, do’. And as a footnote in the NASB points out, ‘to’ is actually in which means ‘in the realm of’. In other words, one may be talking about Jesus and clouds of glory, but one is actually behaving within the realm of the restoration of Elijah. Saying this another way, one is preaching a radical message of the return of Jesus and the overthrow of the world while acting like conservatives.

The word wish means ‘to desire’. ‘Doing within the realm of him whatever they wish’ means following personal MMNs within the context of Elijah. Thus, the coming of Jesus on the clouds is being viewed as a way of restoring my personal MMNs, in which God will step in and cosmically justify my way of life. As far as the evangelical Christian is concerned, the second coming of Jesus will transform the universe into the kitsch of Americana. But when the real God shows up in Teacher thought, then everything becomes transformed.

Verse 12 finishes by predicting how the real transformation that is happening to incarnation will be treated by those who are functioning in the realm of Elijah: ‘So also the Son of Man is going to suffer from them’. So also is a comparative pronoun that means ‘in this manner, in this way’. It describes a pattern that will be followed. Suffer means ‘to feel heavy emotion’. About means ‘at the very point of acting’. And from means ‘under, often meaning under authority’. In other words, instead of submitting personally to incarnation, people will make incarnation their servant. And this will add deep emotions to technical thought. Saying this more clearly, science and technology attempt to follow rational thinking that avoids strong emotions. But people functioning within the realm of Elijah will add intense emotions to the non-emotional thinking of science and technology.

Verse 12 has talked about ‘they’ and ‘them’ without explicitly stating who ‘they’ are. Verse 13 adds a clarification. “Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.” Thus, ‘they’ are related to the mindset of absolute truth. The word understand means to ‘join facts into a comprehensive whole’. This goes beyond specialized technical thought to constructing an integrated Teacher understanding. One will not gain such an understanding by focusing solely upon absolute truth or solely upon technical thought. But one will put things together mentally if one puts things together mentally. The problem is that absolute truth is making a servant out of the ‘son of man’ of science and technology.

One can see this in the mindset of the conservative Christian who is predicting that God will impose absolute truth upon the world of science and technology. But one can also see this in the mindset of the conservative leadership of society which is using a mindset of absolute truth to impose its personal desires upon the world of science and technology. Making modern science and technology the servant of the absolute truth of King-and-country will lead to the horrors of World War I.

Wikipedia describes this juxtaposition when looking at the attitude in Germany at that time. “The term Wilhelminism also characterizes the social and cultural climate of the reign of Wilhelm II, which found expression in rigidly conservative attitudes relying on the Prussian Junker landowners and associated in the German Agrarian League. Thereby resembling the Victorian era in the United Kingdom, at the same time, the period was distinguished by an extraordinary belief in progress, which, while contributing to the enormous prosperity of the highly industrialised German Empire, was at odds with its social conservatism.”

The Lunatic Falling into the Fire 17:14-18

This incomplete transformation is described in the next verses. “When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water’” (v.14-15). Notice that this inadequacy is revealed when encountering the crowd. It reflects the mindset of the average person on the street. Notice also that the man asks for mercy and not for salvation. The last request for mercy was in 15:22 from the Syrophoenician woman, which we interpreted as the local people asking European colonizers for assistance, but not wanting their cultures to be transformed. Here too, a fundamental problem with absolute truth is emerging, but people want absolute truth to be fixed rather than being transformed away from absolute truth. Notice also that the request is for ‘my son’. The woman in 15:22 asked for mercy for her daughter. Here, the request is mercy for the son. Stated cognitively, people are noticing that absolute truth is disrupting the ability to use male technical thought. Saying this another way, belief in God and country is disturbing the ability to think rationally, and people want this disturbance to stop.

At this point, it may feel as if I am reading too much into the text, but this interpretation is backed up by the word ‘lunatic’. This word occurs twice in the New Testament, both times in Matthew. The previous time was in 4:24, which we interpreted as the Dark Ages after the fall of the Roman Empire. The word lunatic means ‘moonstruck, acting like a lunatic – literally, someone controlled by the moon rather than reason’. The sun represents a general Teacher theory shining upon society. The moon is a reflected light. Similarly, the physical structure and infrastructure of civilization indirectly reflect the light of the Teacher understanding that guides that civilization. Europeans in the Dark Ages were moonstruck by the physical ruins of the fallen Roman Empire that surrounded them. Similarly, we have just talked about the Victorian mindset becoming moonstruck by the infrastructure of the emerging technological society.

Verse 15 goes on to describe the effects of this lunacy. Ill means to ‘feel heavy emotion’, while very is actually the adverbial form of ‘inner malice flowing out of a morally-rotten character’. Thus, the moonstruck fixation upon the physical expression of Western civilization is leading to heavy emotion driven by childish MMNs. Saying this another way, the fixation upon the glory of the British (or French, or German, or American) Empire is causing society to be vulnerable to being hijacked by childish MMNs of tribalism and interpersonal conflict. That is because the Victorian moralizing has addressed specific expressions of childish MMNs without addressing the fundamental problem of basing the mind in childish MMNs.

The word often means ‘many times, often, frequently’ and is only found as an adverb in Matthew in this verse, where it is used twice. (It is quite common as the adjective ‘much, many’.) We have interpreted fire as the frustration of mental networks consuming themselves. This relates to the statement by Einstein that ‘insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results’. This repetitive behavior is being driven by mental networks. Thus, ‘often falling into the fire’ would mean being driven by childish MMNs to continue behaving in a way that results in a dead end.

One can see this insanity especially illustrated by the First World War, in which mental networks of empire drove countries to repeatedly fill the trenches with men who were pummeled by artillery and then send wave after wave of men over the top to be mowed down by machine guns. I have referred previously to the battle of Verdun. It lasted 302 days with an average of 1000 people killed every day. It was eventually accompanied by the battle of the Somme. It lasted ‘only’ 140 days, with an average of 2000 people getting killed every day. (I am writing this on June 22, 2020. The coronavirus is currently killing 3000 people a day worldwide. The same daily death rate was happening during the combined battles of Verdun and the Somme.)

Water represents Mercy experiences. Thus, falling often into the water would mean being driven by childish MMNs to leave the world of rational theory and become immersed in experience. The trench warfare of World War I again provides a vivid illustration. The water of experience was overwhelming at the front, both psychologically and literally. People literally drowned in the mud created by the constant pounding of artillery.

Verse 16 points out the inadequacy of current rational thought. “I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” Could means ‘to be able, to have power’. Cure is the source of the English word therapeutic and ‘usually involves natural elements in the process of healing’. Power represents using Perceiver thought to multiply Server strength. Modern technology uses the power of gasoline, steam, and explosives to multiply human Server strength. Thus, the man is not asking the disciples for a supernatural intervention. Instead, he is expecting the same scientific thinking that can add power to physical strength to be able to add psychological power to personal behavior.

For instance, Sigmund Freud set up his private practice in Vienna in 1886. Freud’s major breakthrough was recognizing that supposedly rational behavior was ultimately driven by subconscious mental networks. “The concept of the unconscious was central to Freud’s account of the mind. Freud believed that while poets and thinkers had long known of the existence of the unconscious, he had ensured that it received scientific recognition in the field of psychology.” But instead of transforming these mental networks, Freud regarded them as unwanted desires that the mind suppresses. “Freud states explicitly that his concept of the unconscious as he first formulated it was based on the theory of repression. He postulated a cycle in which ideas are repressed, but remain in the mind, removed from consciousness yet operative, then reappear in consciousness under certain circumstances.”

And instead of curing the mental split between rational scientific thought, subjective morality, and childish MMNs, Freud defined this juxtaposition as normal humanity, with his system of ego, super ego, and id. Wikipedia summarizes: “Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego and super-ego… The id is the completely unconscious, impulsive, childlike portion of the psyche that operates on the ‘pleasure principle’ and is the source of basic impulses and drives; it seeks immediate pleasure and gratification… The super-ego is the moral component of the psyche, which takes into account no special circumstances in which the morally right thing may not be right for a given situation. The rational ego attempts to exact a balance between the impractical hedonism of the id and the equally impractical moralism of the super-ego; it is the part of the psyche that is usually reflected most directly in a person’s actions.”

Jesus, in contrast, puts his finger on the problem. “And Jesus answered and said, ‘You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me’” (v. 17). Unbelieving adds the prefix ‘not’ to ‘be persuaded’ and this is the only occurrence of this word in Matthew. To ‘be persuaded’ means to be personally convinced by rational Teacher thought. The Victorian generation was using science and technology, but it was not willing to be personally persuaded by the rational thinking of science and technology. Instead of submitting to rational scientific thought, it was using scientific thought as an excuse for behaving like an animal. Saying this more carefully, science is built upon empirical evidence. When science is first applied to human behavior, it will gather physical evidence about how people behave. And how do people behave? They are driven by a combination of id, ego, and super ego. They use the superego to talk about morality and ethics; they use the ego to do scientific research, and then they are driven by the id to go out and kill each other. Science will empirically observe this behavior and declare it to be human.

However, this juxtaposition really describes an unbelieving generation that is unwilling to extend its rational thinking to the subjective. This is because when rational thinking was extended to the subjective, then the resulting transfiguration led to the building of tabernacles, and the voice of Teacher thought that came out of the clouds of Platonic perfection was too frightening to hear.

The word perverted is used once in Matthew and means ‘turned thoroughly into a new shape, which however is distorted, twisted, perverted’. Victorian morality will become twisted into Freudian infatuation with bedwetting and penis envy. And the Victorian pursuit of a better society will become twisted into developing more efficient ways to kill and maim fellow human beings.

Jesus does not attempt to fix the problem. Instead, he recognizes that it will last for a while. ‘How long shall I be with you?’ This is followed by ‘How long shall I put up with you?’ Put up with is used once in Matthew and means ‘still bearing up, even after going through the needed sequence’. In other words, Western society is about to enter a prolonged period of rational technical thought coexisting with an unbelieving and perverted generation, which will refuse to apply rational thinking to subjective identity and will twist science and technology to meet childish ends. During this entire time, rational scientific thought will have to ‘bear up’ with childish mental networks.

Jesus’ solution is simple. ‘Bring him here to me’ (v.17). Here indicates that the solution does not involve going somewhere else. Instead, the solution involves adding the personal salvation of Jesus to the rational, objective thinking of science and technology. This summarizes the approach taken by mental symmetry.

Verse 18 describes the aftermath. “And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour.” Rebuke means to ‘assign value as is fitting the situation’, ‘warning to prevent something from going wrong’. This is different than the preaching of fundamentalism and it is also different than the unconditional acceptance of tolerance. Instead, it addresses the situation rationally in order to prevent something from going wrong.

Demons have been mentioned several times in Matthew, which we have interpreted as unwanted habits driven by TMNs. This is the last reference to a demon in Matthew. A habit is an isolated set of Server actions held together by an implicit TMN. Casting out demons implies changing unwanted behavior at a detailed level.

Teacher understanding eliminates isolated habits by swallowing up these distinct networks of behavior into a general system of understanding. The result is ‘therapy starting from that hour’. Looking at this cognitively, when an isolated habit comes into contact with an integrated, Teacher-based concept of incarnation, then the habit will ultimately be swallowed up by the understanding. Using religious language, when someone ‘comes to Jesus’ in a context of rational science and technology, then this will lead to changed behavior, because one is adding the subjective element that is missing with Teacher-driven science and technology. This will not necessarily lead to an integrated mind or address the deeper problems of society, but it will produce a good citizen.

This limited—but real—benefit can be seen in the word ‘rebuke’. Rebuking does not bring understanding or lead to righteousness, but it can prevent a person from going astray. This is a characteristic of Perceiver thought, which is capable of preserving and conserving. One can see this transformation in Victorian morality. “Among the higher social classes, there was a marked decline in gambling, horse races, and obscene theatres; there was much less heavy gambling or patronage of upscale houses of prostitution. The highly visible debauchery characteristic of aristocratic England in the early 19th century simply disappeared. Historians agree that the middle classes not only professed high personal moral standards, but actually followed them.” And coming to Jesus played a major role in this moral transformation. “There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodists, and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England.”

A similar drive to rebuke and reform evil behavior happened in America, known as the Third Great Awakening. “Intellectuals and writers such as Josiah Strong advocated a muscular Christianity with systematic outreach to the unchurched in America and around the globe. Others built colleges and universities to train the next generation. Each denomination supported active missionary societies, and made the role of missionary one of high prestige.”

But this coming to Jesus and rebuking of evil behavior did not necessarily fix underlying problems. For instance, a series of Christian revivals took place among the Confederate States Army in 1863, which was fighting to preserve slavery. Wikipedia adds that “According to the Confederate chaplain J. William Jones, by the end of the war, 150,000 soldiers had been converted.”

And almost 2 ½ million of these ‘good citizens’ volunteered to serve their country when called up by Lord Kitchener starting in 1914. Looking back, “It is fashionable today amongst some intellectuals to demean such patriotism. Rightly we condemn the futility of war and we mourn the terrible loss of life, but rightly we should also appreciate the love of their land that motivated so many men to volunteer to fight. Their patriotism sprang up from a deep bond with their street, their neighbourhood, their town, their county. That was their England. They would never let it down and when the call came they did their duty.” They were good citizens. But the country that they loved turned them into cannon fodder. Unfortunately, that is what happens to an ‘unbelieving and perverted generation’.

Moving Mountains 17:19-21

In verse 19, the disciples ask why they could not deal with the problem. “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not drive it out?’” The word privately means ‘uniquely one’s own, peculiar to the individual’. It was last seen in verse 1, where Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them privately up a high mountain. In other words, this is a moral question that is being asked personally in the private side that has been affected by Victorian morality. This question could be formulated as ‘Why do I have an Id? Why am I being driven by feelings of God-and-country to follow paths of self-destruction? Why are we powerless to cast this out?’

Jesus answers in verse 20, “And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.’” The word little faith combines ‘little in number, low in quantity’ with ‘faith’. The idea here is that faith grows when it is tested. Rational thinking does not necessarily require faith, while rational behavior does, because the Perceiver facts and Server sequences of faith have to gain sufficient confidence to survive the pressure of Mercy emotions. A person with little faith has not done enough of the mental ‘muscle building’ that is required to be capable of being persuaded by rational thought.

One might think that a World War I soldier who was ‘going over the top’ was exhibiting great faith, but I suggest not. Great courage and great patriotism, but not necessarily great faith. One article explains that “‘going over the top’ was a terrifying experience for most soldiers. Yet it was rare that men disobeyed the order to attack: most First World War troops were generally compliant… One important explanation for soldiers’ resilience is the idea of the ‘primary group’: men were motivated above all by comradeship as they fought alongside friends and companions. Effective training also helped, making soldiers familiar with the chaos and fear of the battlefield so that their actions in battle became second nature to them. But armies did not leave men’s behaviour in battle down to chance: the system of military discipline existed to coerce them into obedience. Punishments for disobeying orders could be severe, and men who were convicted of ‘cowardice in the face of the enemy’ or desertion from their unit could receive the death sentence.” Looking at these reasons cognitively, comradeship is a Mercy feeling of caring for my fellow countryman, training builds TMNs of habit, while punishment uses force to back up MMNs of authority. None of these reasons involve ‘being persuaded’.

Verse 20 talks about having ‘faith as a mustard seed’. The word as is a comparison word, telling us that an analogy is being used. (As a footnote in the NASB points out, ‘the size of’ is not in the original Greek.) The term ‘mustard seed’ is used one other time in Matthew in 13:31 in the parable of the mustard seed. Thus, one can presumably understand what ‘mustard seed faith’ is by looking at this parable. The key attributes are that 1) it is the smallest of all seeds, 2) it grows to a size that is greater than garden plants, 3) it becomes a tree, 4) the birds of the air perch (literally, tent) in its branches. We interpreted that parable as science developing into a set of specializations, all ‘pitching their tents’ in the tree of academia.

I suggest that these four traits describe the development of a meta-theory. A meta-theory is a general theory that provides a home for more specific theories. For instance, mental symmetry is a meta-theory because it can be used to explain many other theories. A meta-theory starts with a seed that is smaller than other seeds. Such smallness prevents the seed of a theory from growing into a self-sufficient, self-promoting specialization. A small seed cannot promote. A small seed must learn from others. But it is this learning from others, combined with an inability to promote, that makes it possible to discover patterns of commonality. And these patterns eventually transform the tiniest seed into a tree within which many birds of specialization can find a home.

For instance, mental symmetry began as a psychological theory in a fundamentalist Christian environment. That is doubly small. Psychology will not discuss a theory that starts from the Bible, while those who teach Romans 12 spiritual gifts will not discuss mental symmetry. (I have tried several times to interact with others who teach Romans 12 spiritual gifts and have experienced at best some short-term interest. It is customary in academia to recognize others who are doing research in the same field. I have experienced zero such recognition from other teachers of Romans 12 spiritual gifts.) But that smallness forced me to study one field after another. Eventually, this tiny seed transformed into a meta-theory that is capable of providing a Teacher framework for many other theories.

This transformation from tiny seed to large tree provides the context for the rest of verse 20. A mountain represents a pragmatic form of general theory. Telling a mountain to move means using Teacher thought to change a general theory. This is like a paradigm shift, but bigger. A paradigm shift provides a new theory for some specialization. Moving a mountain provides a new theory for many specializations. Moving a mountain requires a meta-theory.

I suggest that Einstein provides an example of mountain-moving mustard seed faith. Einstein was talented in math and physics but he began working as a patent clerk—someone who is forced to analyze the theories of others. Wikipedia elaborates: “Einstein evaluated patent applications for a variety of devices including a gravel sorter and an electromechanical typewriter. In 1903, his position at the Swiss Patent Office became permanent, although he was passed over for promotion until he ‘fully mastered machine technology’. Much of his work at the patent office related to questions about transmission of electric signals and electrical–mechanical synchronization of time, two technical problems that show up conspicuously in the thought experiments that eventually led Einstein to his radical conclusions about the nature of light and the fundamental connection between space and time.” And then “in 1905, which has been called Einstein’s annus mirabilis (amazing year), he published four groundbreaking papers, on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, special relativity, and the equivalence of mass and energy, which were to bring him to the notice of the academic world, at the age of 26. By 1908, he was recognized as a leading scientist and was appointed lecturer at the University of Bern.” Einstein then published his theory of general relativity in 1915. Einstein’s words moved the mountain of physics by providing a totally different framework for physics. It is interesting that Einstein received many academic and government honors after this, but he did not do much more groundbreaking research. This may be because he was no longer a small seed who had to learn from others.

Verse 20 finishes by saying that “nothing will be impossible to you”. This seems like an overstatement, but it makes sense within the context. In verse 19, the disciples complained that they lack the ‘power’ to cast out the demon. The word impossible in verse 20 is ‘power’ with the prefix ‘not’. Jesus is saying that if the mountain moves, then there will no longer be situations where power is lacking.

Verse 21 is not in some of the original manuscripts, but we will look at it anyway. “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Kind means ‘family, offspring’, which tells us that Jesus is referring to a certain class of mental networks. Prayer means ‘to exchange wishes’. It was used several times in the Sermon on the Mount, but has been used only one other time in 14:23 when Jesus went up the mountain to pray. The underlying problem is that Teacher emotions have become disconnected from Mercy emotions. Prayer is an emotional interaction between a concept of God in Teacher thought and personal identity in Mercy thought. Fasting is mentioned once in Matthew and means to ‘abstain from food’. Science is based in empirical data, which is a consuming of intellectual food. Fasting means to use Teacher thought without gathering empirical data. This forces Teacher thought to focus upon internal content rather than external data. Thus, fasting means using Teacher thought without gathering empirical data, while prayer means using Teacher thought with Mercy identity. Generally speaking, these are two things that empirical science will never consciously do, because they will force the scientist to face himself. But the basic problem of this section is that science is not facing itself—personal religion has become divorced from rational scientific thought.

Predicting Betrayal Again 17:22-23

Jesus then predicts again that he is going to be betrayed. “And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men” (v.22). The word gathering together is used once in Matthew and means ‘to twist together’. This is a variation of the word ‘perverted’ in verse 17. ‘Perverted’ adds the prefix ‘thoroughly’ to ‘twist’, while ‘gather together’ adds the prefix ‘together’ to ‘twist’. This suggests that the perverting that was predicted in verse 17 is happening. Galilee means ‘to roll’, which we have interpreted as the cycles of society. Thus, society is going through various cycles which are causing various elements to become twisted together.

Looking at Western history, the Victorian era with its Victorian morality was not followed immediately by World War I. Instead, history went through cycles during which a twisting occurred. For instance, significant ‘twisting’ happened during the two Boer Wars between Britain and South Africa, fought in 1880 and 1899. The first war was partially motivated by the discovery of the huge Kimberley diamond deposits in 1868, while the second war was partially motivated by the discovery of gold in 1886. The Boers initially defeated the British using guerrilla tactics. The British responded with a scorched earth policy and concentration camps.

Quoting from Wikipedia, “As Boer farms were destroyed by the British under their ‘Scorched Earth’ policy—including the systematic destruction of crops and the slaughtering or removal of livestock, the burning down of homesteads and farms—to prevent the Boers from resupplying themselves from a home base, many tens of thousands of men, women and children were forcibly moved into the camps… the Boer War concentration camp system was the first time that a whole nation had been systematically targeted, and the first in which some whole regions had been depopulated.” This policy was instigated by the same Lord Kitchener who later encouraged his own citizens to die in the mud of Flanders.

Continuing with verse 22, delivered means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’ and is also used to describe Judas betraying Jesus. Hands represent the detailed manipulation of technical thought. And men is the generic word for mankind. ‘Being delivered over to the hands of men’ would mean that the technical thinking of incarnation is being taken over by technical machinations motivated by human mental networks. Saying this another way, science and technology will become viewed as instruments of political power. And one can see this in the example of Kitchener and the Boer Wars.

Verse 23 describes the outcome: “‘and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.’ And they were deeply grieved.” Jesus first gave this warning in 16:21 but there are subtle differences between these two warnings. In 16:21 it was being stated as an abstract necessity, and ‘be killed’ was in the infinitive. In 17:23 the verb is conjugated as ‘they will kill’. Thus, enough twisting has happened that it has become apparent who will perform the deed. And in 17:23 the disciples are deeply grieved. Grief ‘is very intense and hence even used to the pain of childbirth’. Deeply means ‘exceedingly, greatly’. Thus, what seemed totally unreasonable at the height of the Victorian era becomes viewed as feasible, triggering strong emotions.

For instance, the first Boer war was preceded by the Anglo-Zulu war in 1878, precipitated by the arrogance of Henry Frere. Wikipedia describes the response in Britain: “Back in London, the new British Government was horrified by Frere’s actions. ‘What was the crime of the Zulu?!’ became the call-to-arms of liberal leader William Gladstone. In 1880, Bartle Frere was recalled to London to face charges of misconduct, but the conflicts which he initiated were effectively the commencement of the South African Wars.” And there was significant public opposition to the second Boer War, even inside Britain itself. “Inside Britain and the British Empire, there was strong opposition to the Boers and a minority in favour of them. Outside the situation was reversed and indeed condemnation of Britain was often intense from many sources, left, right and centre. Inside Britain influential groups, especially based in the opposition Liberal Party formed immediately. They fought ineffectually against the British war policies, which were supported by the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Salisbury. After the Boers switched to guerrilla warfare in 1900 and the British imposed very harsh controls on Boer civilians, the intensity of opposition rhetoric escalated. However, at all times supporters of the war controlled the British government, recruited soldiers in large numbers, and represented a majority of public opinion. Outside the British Empire the Boer cause won far more support as the British were reviled.”

Before we continue, I would like to look briefly at the word betrayed. It means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. It is used 120 times in the New Testament, sometimes in the negative sense of ‘betraying and sometimes in the positive sense of ‘delivering’. For instance, 1 Corinthians 15:24 says that Jesus will eventually deliver the kingdom over to God the Father. Thus, I suggest that betray/deliver describes a transition from one era to another. Such a transition can only happen if a handing over is done that involves significant emotional involvement. This ‘handing over’ can be the result of a betrayal. But it can also involve a personal breakthrough. For instance, Judas betrayed Jesus. But in 16:21 Jesus describes this betrayal as something that is necessary, viewing it as a transition to a new era. Similarly, Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus viewed the cross as a transition to something better: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Notice that Jesus’ focus upon ‘the joy set before him’ is being portrayed as an example to follow, and that the context describes making a transition to a new era.

On a related note, I have suggested that Matthew 17 is leading up to the horrors of the two World Wars. However, if one looks forward to Matthew 18 there is no description of massive conflict. Instead, Jesus talks about causing little ones to stumble. If Matthew really is a prediction of Western society, then why wouldn’t it predict the two World Wars? A similar situation arose in Matthew 10, where one did not find any mention of the Black Death or the Hundred Years War. I suggest that the answer lies in the relationship between God and evil. If Matthew had predicted these horrible events, then one could legitimately accuse God of being the source of evil. This is a major theological issue, and addressing this issue is known as a theodicy. Wikipedia explains that “As a response to the problem of evil, a theodicy is distinct from a defence. A defence attempts to demonstrate that the occurrence of evil does not contradict God’s existence, but it does not propose that rational beings are able to understand why God permits evil. A theodicy seeks to show that it is reasonable to believe in God despite evidence of evil in the world and offers a framework which can account for why evil exists. A theodicy is often based on a prior natural theology.”

When one views Matthew as a prophecy of Western history, then a possible theodicy emerges. That is because Matthew only predicts that transitions must happen and it does not say whether these transitions will take the form of a betrayal or a handing over. This distinction has guided me for decades, because one of my prime motivations in pursuing mental symmetry is the hope that it is possible to fulfill God’s plan of history in a way that is less painful to mankind, essentially replacing betrayal with handing over. I should reiterate that the Greek word means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. Thus, transforming a betrayal into a ‘handing over’ does not eliminate the personal cost. But it does change the nature of the personal cost.

Paying Taxes 17:24-26

Chapter 17 closes with a story involving several kinds of taxes. The first tax is a religious tax. “When they came to Capernaum, those who collected the two-drachma tax came to Peter and said, ‘Does your teacher not pay the two-drachma tax?’” (v. 24) As Wikipedia explains, “The Temple tax was a tax paid by Israelites and Levites which went towards the upkeep of the Jewish Temple.” This tax was initially instituted in Exodus 30:13, where it was defined as half a shekel.” Capernaum means ‘village of consolation’, and this is the last mention of Capernaum in Matthew. Looking at this symbolically, the context is personal comfort and consolation.

Those who are collecting the Temple tax come first to Peter. Thus, this is being posed as a question of truth, principle, or conscience. And they refer to Jesus as the teacher of Peter. Teacher means ‘an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning’. This is describing a rather strange juxtaposition of state and church. A tax supports physical people and physical institutions, which involves the realm of the state. But this tax is being collected for the church on the basis of conscience, which involves the realm of the church. And this is happening within the emotional realm of the ‘village of consolation’. What is happening cognitively is that the state is recognizing that the church provides a useful role in keeping the people happy, and it is providing money, either directly or indirectly, for the church to function. The church is still talking in terms of conscience, but it has actually become a branch of propaganda for the state, supported by funds from the state.

This happened literally in Germany in the 19th century. The German state confiscated most church property in 1803, and the government compensated the church by guaranteeing tax income for the church. About 80% of the church budget was covered by a church tax levied by the state upon official members of a church. A similar system of church tax is still in place in most European countries today.

In verse 25 Peter has to work out how he will deal with this in his conscience. “He said, ‘Yes.’ And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, ‘What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth collect customs or poll-tax, from their sons or from strangers?’”

Notice that Peter’s first response is to instinctively answer ‘yes’. That is because the church has been a source of morality during the Victorian era, and the church has enlisted government to pass many laws that benefit people. But society has become perverted, and the answer now is not so simple.

‘Entering the house’ would represent entering the subjective realm of personal identity and personal faith. First is used once in the New Testament and combines ‘before’ with ‘anticipate’. Think means ‘forming an opinion, a personal judgment’. This combination suggests that this story is describing how Perceiver thought, represented by Peter, will instinctively respond to this mixture of church and state. Jesus means ‘salvation’, while Simon means ‘to hear’. Thus, there is a personal dialogue happening, but it is being provoked by the mental concept of salvation. Symbolically speaking, such a mental concept will exist, because European society has been bringing personal salvation to people for several decades.

Two more words for tax are now used, but they both refer to government tax and not church tax. The word customs is telos and actually means ‘reaching the end’. It is also the generic word for ‘tax’ and was used in verse 24 for ‘pay’. Poll-tax was ‘the tax or tribute levied on individuals and to be paid yearly’. It ‘was not paid in Jewish, but rather in Roman money’. Thus, two forms of personal tax are being compared. The two-drachma tax is a church tax that is being levied per person. The poll tax is a state tax that is being levied per person. Looking at this symbolically, both the state and the church are making physical and financial demands upon the person. Saying this another way, there is God and there is country, and these two have become ‘thoroughly twisted’ or perverted. This twisting was fine when country was passing legislation that reflected God. But society has now become perverted and country is saying and doing things that do not reflect the morality of God—like setting up concentration camps in which many women and children die.

Or promising the world that one is involved in humanitarian and philanthropic work, while actually killing 10 million people and maiming countless others. That was done by King Leopold II, who ruled Belgium from 1865 to 1908 and ran the Congo Free State as a personal fiefdom. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Leopold was able to procure the region by convincing other Eurasian states at the Berlin Conference on Africa that he was involved in humanitarian and philanthropic work and would not tax trade… Leopold’s reign in the Congo eventually earned infamy on account of the atrocities perpetrated on the locals. Leopold II’s Free State extracted ivory, rubber and minerals in the upper Congo basin for sale on the world market through a series of international concessionary companies, even though its ostensible purpose in the region was to uplift the local people and develop the area. Under Leopold II’s administration, the Congo Free State became one of the greatest international scandals of the early 20th century.” The killing did not start right away, but by the end Leopold’s private army “burned recalcitrant villages, and above all, cut off the hands of Congolese natives, including children. The human hands were collected as trophies on the orders of their officers to show that bullets had not been wasted. Officers were concerned that their subordinates might waste their ammunition on hunting animals for sport, so they required soldiers to submit one hand for every bullet spent. These mutilations also served to further terrorize the Congolese into submission. This was all contrary to the promises of uplift made at the Berlin Conference which had recognized the Congo Free State.”

This triggered conscience from the church. “Missionaries carefully documented and exposed atrocities. Eye-witness reports from missionaries portrayed actions by the State that broke laws set by the European nations.” Eventually “The mass deaths in the Congo Free State became a cause célèbre in the last years of the 19th century. The Congo reform movement led a vigorous international movement against the maltreatment of the Congolese population.” It may be poetic justice that 95% of Belgium was occupied during World War I and that much of the trench fighting happened in Belgium.

Returning to verse 25, Jesus tells Peter to think in terms of sons and strangers. Son means ‘son’ but means ‘figuratively anyone sharing the same nature as their Father’. Stranger is used in Matthew only in this story and means ‘belonging to another’. For instance, if one thinks of Lord Kitchener, Leopold II (or Cecil Rhodes, 1853-1902), did they share the same nature as their father or did they belong to another?

Notice that the question involves money and tax. This is significant. Applying this to the Congo, “Roger Casement, then the British Consul at Boma (at the mouth of the Congo River), was sent to the Congo Free State to investigate. Reporting back to the Foreign Office in 1900, Casement wrote: The root of the evil lies in the fact that the government of the Congo is above all a commercial trust, that everything else is orientated towards commercial gain.” Applying this to the Boer Wars, the discovery of diamonds triggered the first Boer War, while the discovery of gold triggered the second Boer War.

As for Cecil Rhodes, Wikipedia describes the relationship between Empire and money. “Rhodes used his wealth and that of his business partner Alfred Beit and other investors to pursue his dream of creating a British Empire in new territories to the north by obtaining mineral concessions from the most powerful indigenous chiefs. Rhodes’ competitive advantage over other mineral prospecting companies was his combination of wealth and astute political instincts, also called the ‘imperial factor’, as he often collaborated with the British Government. He befriended its local representatives, the British Commissioners, and through them organised British protectorates over the mineral concession areas via separate but related treaties. In this way he obtained both legality and security for mining operations. He could then attract more investors. Imperial expansion and capital investment went hand in hand.”

Here too, church spoke up, but money prevailed. “This put him on a collision course with many in Britain, as well as with British missionaries, who favoured what they saw as the more ethical direct rule from London. Rhodes prevailed because he would pay the cost of administering the territories to the north of South Africa against his future mining profits.” I don’t want to overgeneralize and say that all colonization is exploitation, but one can definitely see colonization turning into exploitation during this era.

In each case, the ‘kings of the earth’ were extracting a financial price from strangers while exempting sons. And earth means ‘space and time’, which is appropriate, because these kings were ruling over the physical earth in order to extract material wealth. And this material wealth was being extracted from the foreign lands of strangers and not from Europe. This ‘exemption of sons’ can be seen in Leopold II. Back home in Belgium, “Leopold commissioned a great number of buildings, urban projects and public works, largely with the profits generated from exploitation of natural resources and the population of the Congo. These projects earned him the epithet of ‘Builder King’.”

In verse 26, Peter makes the mental connection. “When Peter said, ‘From strangers,’ Jesus said to him, ‘Then the sons are free.’” Strangers is the same word used in verse 25 which means ‘belonging to another’. Putting this logic together, the colonial magnates are financially exploiting those who ‘belong to another’. Similarly, the official church system with its buildings and clergy that require money to support is increasingly ‘belonging to another’. Moving forward, “When war finally broke out in 1914, the majority of church officials and prominent clerics in the public sphere devoted themselves to the interests of the state. Underpinning this mindset was the belief shared by all sides that they were fighting a just war of defense against aggression. This war of civilization included religious rationales, with official churches as a key element in heightening ideological hatreds during the conflict.”

This may be complicated to explain, but it functions simply at a gut level. One looks at the church tax and state tax, and they both feel equally like strangers who belong to another. What started out as God guiding country has been perverted into country using god. And when one realizes that, then one becomes free of the mindset of God-and-country. The NASB uses the word ‘exempt’, which makes sense when one is talking about taxes. But as a footnote points out, the word is free, which means ‘not a slave’, and this is the only time that this word is used in Matthew. One can see this Christian freedom to speak out illustrated by the references to missionaries in the previous paragraphs.

Looking at this more generally, “By the 1870s Protestant missions around the world generally acknowledged the long-term material goal was the formation of independent, self-governing, self-supporting, self-propagating churches. The rise of nationalism in the Third World provoked challenges from critics who complained that the missionaries were teaching Western ways, and ignoring the indigenous culture.” In other words, Christian missionaries were becoming free of the mindset of God-and-country.

(I know that revisionist history would question this statement, but preserving every element of an indigenous culture is not salvation. But it is possible to save people in a way that respects local culture. In the words of Wikipedia, “An equally important dimension of missions strategy is the indigenous method of nationals reaching their own people… Most modern missionaries and missionary societies have repudiated cultural imperialism, and elected to focus on spreading the gospel and translating the Bible. Sometimes, missionaries have been vital in preserving and documenting the culture of the peoples among whom they live. Often, missionaries provide welfare and health services, as a good deed or to make friends with the locals. Thousands of schools, orphanages, and hospitals have been established by missions.”)

The Coin in the Mouth of the Fish 17:27

Verse 27 concludes with a fish story. “However, so that we do not cause them to stumble, go to the sea and throw in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up; and when you open its mouth, you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for you and Me.” We have seen the word stumble several times. The disciples of incarnation may be getting free of the ‘thorough twisting’ of God-and-country, but the average person still views the state-supported church as the voice of God. It is important not to scandalize such a person.

Go means ‘to transport’ and comes from the word ‘passageway’. This implies that the going involves some sort of transformation. The sea represents the realm of Mercy experiences. Transporting to the sea would mean viewing Mercy experiences in a different light. This different light becomes apparent in the story because one is opening the mouth of a fish and discovering a valuable coin. This is physically bizarre, and it is also symbolically bizarre. Fish live within the realm of Mercy experiences while birds live in the realm of Teacher theory. If one wants theory, then one should go to the mouth of a bird and not the mouth of a fish. And even if one does look inside the mouth of a fish, one certainly will not discover valuable theory. But in this case, one finds enough value to pay the temple tax for both Perceiver and Contributor thought.

I suggest that one can find this juxtaposition in the revivalism that became popular during the late 19th century, as epitomized by preachers such as Charles Spurgeon and Dwight L. Moody. The coin in the mouth of the fish that is drawn from the water can be seen in ‘the testimony’. Spurgeon describes the centrality of the testimony in one of his sermons: “THE most important question concerning any man living is this–is he a saved soul or not? It is of comparatively little consequence whether he is rich or poor, educated or uneducated, compared with this–is he among the living before God–or is he dead in sins? Is he pardoned or unpardoned?… Therefore of all the days of a man’s history the most important is the day in which he is born-again. If the man is, indeed, saved, and a new man in Christ Jesus, he will look back upon the day of his regeneration as his chief birthday. His new birth is second in order of time, but he will always put it first in importance… For this reason the circumstances which surround our new birth are to us among the most deeply interesting incidents of our own or any other human history. The details may be very simple. They may not suffice to make a biography, but still, to us, they are most important. We delight to think of the place where Jesus met with us, the Providence which brought us to the spot where we first heard the words which convicted us of sin… The first doctrine, this morning, is that HUMAN TESTIMONY IS FREQUENTLY MADE THE MEANS OF PRODUCING FAITH IN MEN’S HEARTS… Observe that this woman’s testimony was personal, and there was the secret of its power.” (The capitalized words are in the original.) Notice the various characteristics of verse 27. The person who becomes a Christian is being hooked from the sea of experience. One then opens the mouth of this newly caught fish and finds the coin of ‘the testimony’, a verbal declaration of the personal experience of becoming a Christian. The focus upon personal experience indicating that one is dealing with a mental fish and not a bird. And one is not being choosy about the fish, looking for a ‘better’ testimony. Instead, one is opening the mouth of the first fish. One is then treating what comes out of the mouth of the fish as a general theory that can be used to explain the experiences of one’s life.

Related to this is the practice of ‘handing out tracts’. Quoting again from Spurgeon, “Let each one of us, if we have done nothing for Christ, begin to do something now. The distribution of tracts is the first thing.” A tract is another example of a coin found in the mouth of a fish. The person handing out the tract may still be mentally a fish living in the world of Mercy experiences. But this fish can open its mouth and produce the verbal coin of a short verbal message. Going further, the typical tract contains the short verbal message of a testimony.

An article on the revivalism of Moody describes how he met the needs of the late Victorian age. “Industrialization was gathering force; by 1880 nearly half the American and well over half the British workforces were employed in industry. The ups and downs of the business cycle meant that unemployment, with its attendant misery and discontent, was a serious threat. More strikingly, however, industry had brought prosperity. In both countries real wages roughly doubled between 1860 and 1890. With increased leisure time and improved transport, working people had money to spend on entertainment—in saloons and music halls, billiard parlors and sports grounds. And more of them lived in urban areas—by 1870 a quarter of the American population and already more than half the people of Britain. Chicago and Glasgow—the two cities Moody knew best—experienced a mushroom growth and felt proud of their modernity. Could evangelical religion flourish in the new urban—industrial age as it had in the less—developed past? It was Moody’s achievement to help ensure the future of evangelicalism by adaptation. Already, before Moody’s rise to prominence, revivalism had been altering its character. Moody observed the direction of change, identified himself with it, organized it, and accelerated it.” Notice how a perversion is happening as a result of the cycles of society. Notice also the growing prosperity of a ‘village of consolation’.

The focus upon verbalizing the salvation experience can also be seen in the wordless book, invented by Spurgeon and modified by Moody. Spurgeon’s version consisted of a black sheet representing the sinful nature, a red sheet representing the blood of Jesus, and a white sheet representing the righteousness of God. Moody added a fourth gold-colored page to represent heaven.

These two men had a massive effect. Spurgeon often preached to crowds of 10,000 and his church had a seating capacity of 6000. Moody preached to over 100 million people in his revival campaigns, back when the population of the United States was about 75 million, and there was no television, no radio, and no electronic amplification.

I am familiar with this mindset, because my mother’s father was an evangelist, and my mother was continually handing out tracts. My analysis may seem disparaging, but several points need emphasizing. First, this was sufficient in the Victorian era, and remained sufficient during the early 20th century. This sufficiency is illustrated by a story involving Spurgeon preaching to his largest crowd of 23,000 people in the Crystal Palace—the location of the British National Exhibition discussed earlier. “In 1857, a day or two before preaching at the Crystal Palace, I went to decide where the platform should be fixed; and, in order to test the acoustic properties of the building, cried in a loud voice, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ In one of the galleries, a workman, who knew nothing of what was being done, heard the words, and they came like a message from heaven to his soul. He was smitten with conviction on account of sin, put down his tools, went home, and there, after a season of spiritual struggling, found peace and life by beholding the Lamb of God. Years after, he told this story to one who visited him on his death-bed.” Summarizing, the message of Christianity was common knowledge. It merely had to be applied to personal identity, as illustrated by ‘the testimony’.

Second, this was a legitimate coin. The salvation experience of revivalism produced a genuine cognitive effect by causing the social and legislative message of Victorian morality to enter the personal realm of mental networks.

Third, the cognitive effect may have been legitimate, but it was also limited to ‘providing the church tax for Peter and Jesus’. There was the belief of Peter and the salvation experience of Jesus, but not much else. This fulfilled the function of church turning people into good citizens of the state, but it did not necessarily question the relationship of church acting as a servant of state. This does not mean that revivalism had no moral effect upon the state. For instance, Spurgeon was strongly opposed to slavery. But the fundamental relationship between church and state was not questioned. One article observes that “One of the things which stands out prominently in the picture of the First World War is the uncritical identification of the cause of Christianity with the cause of the Allied Nations. ‘The flag and the Cross,’ a trusted Christian leader declared in 1917, ‘are now both working for the same ends.’ This over-idealization of the Allied cause came to clearest focus in the work of what was called The Committee on the Moral Aims of the War… The ‘moral aims’ were specifically those which had been enunciated by the American Government, including President Wilson’s commitment to a League of Nations. The churches accepted the governmental aims without qualification, baptizing them in wholesale fashion with the Christian name, and made little or no independent effort to formulate objectives derived from a consideration of Christianity itself… There was a conspicuous lack of any sense of tension between what the Church stood for and what the nation stood for.”

Part 3