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MatthewMatthew and Western Civilization

Lorin Friesen, September 2020

This is part 3 of a three-part 640-page essay that interprets Matthew 2-24 symbolically as a summary of Western civilization. This third part starts with the First World War and continues into the present and (hopefully) slightly into the future. I have included a detailed table of contents together with a historical timeline that summarizes the era in Western history that is symbolized by each passage of Matthew.

Table of Contents and Historical Timeline

Part 1

Part 2

18:1-6 Greatest in the Kingdom. European powers seek prestige through the Scramble for Africa, the Great Game, and the Naval Race.

18:7-9 Stumbling Blocks. The total war of World War I leads to great personal suffering but also overturns the existing social order.

18:10-14 Guardian Angels. Physical trauma experienced by soldiers opens spiritual doors.

18:15-20 Dealing with Conflict. The League of Nations establishes protocols for dealing with international conflict.

18:21-27 Forgiveness. Massive reparations are demanded from Germany after World War I, but this debt is eventually forgiven.

18:28-34 The Fellow Slave. Germany blames the Jews for their defeat, confiscates Jewish wealth, and kills the Jews.

18:35 Forgiving from the Heart. Communist Russia also experiences great trauma as a result of refusing to forgive after World War I.

19:1-3 Departing from Galilee. Postwar prosperity is accompanied by the world dividing into Western and Communist blocs.

19:4-6 Male and Female. Strict gender roles are emphasized in the 1950s.

19:7-12 Certificate of Divorce. Postwar technical thought pursues prosperity rather than personal wellbeing.

19:13-15 Blessing Little Children. Post-war goes on a spending binge of purchasing new labor-saving devices.

19:16-19 Obtaining Eternal Life. The Cold War causes people to ask existential questions about lasting life. The superpowers are forced to apply some of the Ten Commandments at a national level in order to avoid nuclear annihilation.

19:20-22 Giving to the Poor. The superpowers have to choose between the soft power of international aid and the hard power of military might.

19:23-26 A Camel through the Eye of a Needle. Society finds institutionalizing education easier than embracing soft power.

19:27-30 Rewarded in the Regeneration. Postwar evangelicalism arises with its focus upon being born again, popularized by Billy Graham.

20:1-7 The Vineyard Workers. Four motivations for research.

20:8-16 Paying the Workers. Looking forward to spiritual technology.

20:17-19 Jesus Predicts his Death. A secular cognitive revolution is accompanied by Protestant Christianity abandoning rational thought and being belittled by society.

20:20-28 Sitting on the Right and Left. Cognitive psychology uses rational Teacher thought to study people and their Mercy feelings.

20:29-34 The Two Blind Men. A counterculture forms in the 1960s that encourages the development of pop psychology

21:1-3 Approaching Jerusalem. The civil rights movement and the charismatic Christian movement both use grassroots methods to effect major changes.

21:4-5 A Peaceful King. Legislation is passed to promote peace, such as limiting nuclear weapons and promoting racial harmony. However, promoting peace becomes confused with protesting against authority.

21:6-8 The Triumphal Entry. New counter-cultural social groups form such as the hippies and the Jesus people, and these groups discover that they have the power to change the rules of society.

21:9-11 Hosanna in the Highest. Counter-cultural groups seek immediate solutions to problems. Taboos are questioned. ‘If it feels good, do it’ becomes the motto.

21:12 Cleansing the Temple. Moral relativity means that one can no longer gain moral ‘brownie points’. The division between clergy and laity becomes minimized. Political and religious leaders find it harder to define holiness.

21:13 A House of Prayer. Systems of authority become attentive to personal wishes. Institutional corruption becomes apparent.

21:14-17 Healing in the Temple. The youth protest and established authorities respond with indignance before succumbing to relativism.

21:18-22 The Barren Fig Tree. Postmodernism discovers that technical thought can be used to dismantle core mental networks.

21:23-27 Authority. Leaders who no longer believe in absolute truth find themselves teaching followers who still accept absolute truth.

21:28-32 The Two Sons. Hard science claims to reject God while following incarnation in practice. Religion and soft science claims to believe in God and general understanding while actually rejecting incarnation.

21:33-39 The Vineyard. As technology becomes integrated and more personal, scientific thought tries to control it, eliminate what reflects personal desires, and stop independent existence.

21:40-46 Punishing the Evil Workers. The average person responds with an attitude of personal judgment against the system. In contrast, a positive alternative emerges of laying the foundation for a new society by understanding what is happening.

22:1-7 The Marriage Feast. Modern technology emerges without any corresponding modern culture. The complexity of a modern economy causes communism to implode.

22:8-14 Inviting Other Guests. Modern infrastructure substitutes for a modern culture. Those who cannot comprehend technology become societal outsiders.

22:15-22 Tribute to Caesar. Modern infrastructure is run by technicians who must submit to natural law, but this infrastructure is used to create leaders and heroes who use emotional methods to guide society.

22:23-29 The Sadducees and the Resurrection. Leaders who are guiding society find that they have to use ever-changing technology to guide a culture that is gradually decaying and dying.

22:30-33 The Resurrection. Growing technological infrastructure creates its own culture.

22:34-38 The Greatest Commandment. Religious leaders who follow absolute truth attempt to save themselves through organization. Secular society goes beyond technical specialization and IQ to emphasize emotional intelligence, well-being, and critical thinking.

22:39-40 The Golden Rule. The megachurch indirectly follows the commandment of ‘loving God with all of one’s being’ by applying the corresponding psychological principles to the physical church organization.

22:41-46 Who is the Christ? The megachurch (and religious right) are unable to reconcile the dilemma of explicitly preaching a religious doctrine of Christ while at the same time implicitly following a secular concept of Christ.

23:1-7 Sitting in the Chair of Moses. Official experts applying accepted methodology become regarded as the sources of absolute truth for society. Official experts consider it natural to be treated and recognized as sources of truth.

23:8-12 Avoiding Personal Status. True research emphasizes interdisciplinary research and adds to the established body of knowledge.

23:13-15 The First Three Woes. Research becomes specialized. The social sciences start to study emotional rituals and experiences that previously were intellectually discredited by postmodern scholars. But these emotional experiences are studied in an objective manner.

23:16-22 The Fourth Woe. Applying scientific thought becomes replaced by blindly following scientific methodology.

23:23-33 The Last Four Woes. Political correctness governs peripheral interaction while ignoring deeper motives. The personal lives of previous experts is studied while ignoring the personal life that is required to become an expert today.

23:34-36 The Aftermath of the Eight Woes. Those who give the appearance of following righteousness in order to gain approval end up giving disapproval to those who actually follow righteousness. This process continues until official experts are driven by mystical feelings to suppress a theory that is general enough to replace mysticism.

23:37-39 Lament over Jerusalem. Incarnation realizes that working at the level of abstract theory is sufficient to induce a paradigm shift when dealing with scientific theories, but one has to work at a deeper level when attempting to change the paradigms of society.

24:1-8 Dismantling the Temple Stones. The absolute truth of society will fragment leading to ideological conflicts.

24:9-14 Hatred and Betrayal. Technical regulations will cause life to become narrow. Protests will spread as people attempt to find ‘truth’ in defining experiences. Respect for institutions of society will fade.

24:15-20 The Abomination of Desolation. People will become repulsed by the idea of viewing any group as a special source of ‘truth’ and this revulsion against holiness will become viewed as holy. Those who follow absolute truth will have to find refuge in psychology and cognitive principles.

24:21-26 The Great Tribulation. Technical specialization will become so extreme that people will lose the ability to exist as normal human beings within the physical world. Many will attempt to find answers by retreating from society or by embracing mysticism.

24:27-31 The Coming of the Son of Man. Incarnation will appear as a flash of understanding that extends to include all details. This expression of order-within-complexity will shake existing powers, and lead to a massive feeling of guilt. This will be followed by an angelic restructuring of the abstract aspects of human society.

24:32-36 The Fig Tree. One will know that this is imminent when people are focusing upon protecting core feelings through compensation mechanisms. This transition will not lead to the end of scientific thought.

24:37-41 Noah and the Ark. The precise era and timing of this transition is uncertain. However, it will be characterized by a focus upon trivia as well as the continual reconnecting of male technical thought with female mental networks.

24:42-51 The Faithful Slave. The key is to become internally motivated regardless of any external uncertainty. And those who have knowledge need to learn how to share the appropriate information in the appropriate way at the appropriate time, instead of attempting to impose truth upon others.

Part 4


Greatest in the Kingdom 18:1-6

Chapter 18 opens with the disciples arguing who is the greatest. “At that hour the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” ‘At that hour’ implies that a mindset from the same era is being described. Greatest means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’, which we have interpreted as referring to Teacher generality. The phrase ‘kingdom of heaven’ has appeared several times, but this is the first time that the disciples are acting as if they are in the kingdom of heaven. Until now, the kingdom of heaven has been something associated with the Son of Man, or something that one talks about. But here the disciples are acting as if they are living in the kingdom of heaven. And what do they want to know from Jesus? Which of the disciples has the greatest Teacher generality.

This attitude characterized Europe in the late 19th century. One can see this in what is known as the Scramble for Africa. Wikipedia summarizes that “In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was under formal European control; by 1914 this had increased to almost 90 percent of the continent… The European colonialists had several motives: a desire for valuable natural resources, the quest for national prestige, rivalry between European powers, and religious missionary zeal. Internal African native politics also played a role.” Notice how the European ‘disciples’ are attempting to prove which of them has the greatest Teacher generality in the ‘heavenly kingdom’ of science and technology.

One can also see this focus upon Teacher generality in The Great Game. Turning again to Wikipedia, “‘The Great Game’ was a political and diplomatic confrontation that existed for most of the 19th century between Great Britain and Russia over Afghanistan and neighbouring territories in Central and South Asia. Britain was fearful of Russia invading India to add to the vast empire that Russia was building in Asia… Britain made it a high priority to protect all the approaches to India, and the ‘great game’ is primarily how the British did this. Historians with access to the archives have concluded that Russia had no plans involving India, as the Russians repeatedly stated.” Notice how both Great Britain and Russia are being driven by feelings of Teacher generality to increase the domain of their empires.

The naval race between Britain and Germany at the end of the 19th century provides another example. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “For many years previously, Britain had taken naval supremacy for granted. Expensive naval projects were criticised by political leaders of all inclinations. However, in 1888 a war scare with France and the build-up of the Russian navy gave added impetus to naval construction, and… the principle that Britain’s navy should be more powerful than the two next most powerful fleets combined was established. This policy was designed to deter France and Russia from building more battleships, but both nations nevertheless expanded their fleets with more and better pre-dreadnoughts in the 1890s. In the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th, the escalation in the building of battleships became an arms race between Britain and Germany.” Finally, “In 1906, the British Royal Navy launched the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought [which] made existing battleships obsolete.” This started another arms race. “From the 1906 launching of Dreadnought, an arms race with major strategic consequences was prompted. Major naval powers raced to build their own dreadnoughts. Possession of modern battleships was not only seen as vital to naval power, but also, as with nuclear weapons after World War II, represented a nation’s standing in the world.”

A battleship was the ultimate turn-of-the-century physical symbol of Teacher order-within-complexity, because it was a technological marvel, a package of awe-inspiring might and power, and a symbol of the Teacher grandeur of a nation. This may seem like an overstatement, but when the Dreadnought was launched, automobiles were rare and primitive, flight was in its infancy, radio had barely been invented, and the rocket only existed in the science fiction of Jules Verne.

Summarizing, Western nations (along with some non-Western nations) were all vying among themselves to show who had the greatest Teacher generality. And they were doing this by coming to the technical thinking of incarnation, using science and technology to demonstrate their Teacher superiority.

Jesus answers that they aren’t even in the kingdom of heaven yet. “And He called a child to Himself and set him in their midst and said, ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are turned and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven’” (v. 2-3). The word child means ‘a little child in training’. Turn means ‘to turn, to convert by changing direction’. Become means ‘to come into being’. Like means ‘as, like as, even as’. And ‘children’ is same word as ‘child’. In other words, they are heading in the wrong direction. They are the wrong type of people. They are merely using science and technology to amplify Mercy feelings of tribalism and personal arrogance. If they want to enter the kingdom of heaven, then they need to change who they are and adopt the mindset of the little child in training who is learning how to live in a new world.

I suggest that the emerging consumer society was the ‘little child in their midst’. At the same time that these little boys in uniform were waving high-tech sticks at each other, a totally new world of consumer products was emerging in their midst. Giving some examples, the telephone was patented in 1876 as was the carpet sweeper, the phonograph and moving pictures were invented in 1878, the first commercially viable lightbulb was developed in 1879, toilet paper debuted in 1880, the first four-wheeled automobile was built in 1886, Tesla invented the motor and transformer in 1888, the zipper was invented in 1893, and the vacuum cleaner in 1899. Most of these inventions were initially rather primitive. Scientifically speaking, they represented the thinking of a little child in training. But in order to use this new technology, a person had to let go of the existing ways of thinking and become a child in training. Looking back, it is obvious that the kingdom of heaven has nothing to do with the Scramble for Africa, The Great Game, or the race to build better dreadnoughts. In contrast, the modern ‘kingdom of heaven’ of the technological society would eventually emerge out of the silly little gadgets standing in the midst of these men of power.

Jesus points this out in verse 4. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” This is the first time the word humble is used in Matthew, which means ‘to make a low, to humble’. Jesus does not say that one has to become a little child. Instead, one needs to become humble like a little child in training. This principle can even be seen in the naval warfare of the First World War. As we have seen, “Naval technology in World War I was dominated by the dreadnought battleship. Battleships were built along the dreadnought model, with several large turrets of equally sized big guns.” However, “The First World War saw no decisive engagements between battlefleets… The role of battleships was marginal to the land fighting in France and Russia; it was equally marginal to the German war on commerce and the Allied blockade.” In contrast to the awe-inspiring dreadnought, the tiny and almost invisible U-boat had a devastating impact. Wikipedia summarizes that “In the course of events in the Atlantic alone, German U-boats sank almost 5,000 ships with nearly 13 million gross register tonnage.”

Verse 5 goes further. “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.” Receive means ‘to receive in a welcoming way’. In other words, what really matters is not Teacher generality but how one behaves in specific situations. How does one respond emotionally when faced with a real little child in a South African concentration camp, or with the symbolic little child of a consumer gadget? Does one embrace this emotionally, or does one shake the stick of Mercy status and Imperial might at this specific situation?

The word in usually means ‘in the realm of’, but in this case it means (when followed by the dative) ‘upon the ground of’. In other words, one is starting with the ‘name of incarnation’— technology based in the Teacher understanding of science, and one is building upon this foundation an emotionally enthusiastic reception of the little child in training. The person who does that is receiving incarnation. Saying this another way, one primary difference between the technical thinking of science and technology and a concept of incarnation is that incarnation saves people while technical thought improves things. Those who were using the new technology to build better weapons were improving things while damning people. Notice how we are saying the same thing that was mentioned in the previous section when looking at the coin in the mouth of the fish. Revivalism added the missing component of enthusiastically receiving the little child in training. But notice also that the key element in verse 5 is not a coin in a fish’s mouth; a salvation experience is not enough. Instead, the key element is how one responds in a specific situation when faced with a little child. Will one respond with a hug or with a gun?

Verse 6 addresses this dilemma. “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” This is a strange analogy, so let us pick apart the details. Little means ‘small, little’, which would refer to specific things or people who lack the aura of Teacher generality. Believe means to ‘be persuaded’, and in means ‘to or into’. Thus, this person or thing lacks Teacher grandeur but is being guided by Teacher understanding in the direction of incarnation. This would describe all the new little gadgets being developed by inventors who are beings persuaded by rational understanding to increase the technicality of their inventions. It would also apply to believers with a personal faith who are attempting to follow Jesus in a more intelligent manner, as illustrated by the many social movements, often motivated by Christian belief.

Cause to stumble is the familiar word that means ‘to put a snare in the way, hence, to cause to stumble’. Putting this together, verse 6 is talking about using the new technological gadgets to further the goals of Empire and personal status. What this does is cause the little ones to stumble. One can see this in the total war of World War I. “Total war demanded total mobilization of all the nation’s resources for a common goal. Manpower had to be channeled into the front lines… Behind the lines labor power had to be redirected away from less necessary activities that were luxuries during a total war. In particular, vast munitions industries had to be built up to provide shells, guns, warships, uniforms, airplanes, and a hundred other weapons, both old and new.” World War I was the first total war. “World War I was a ‘total war’ that involved the governments, economies and populations of participating nations to an extent never seen before in history. This was distinct from how wars had been previously been fought. Conflicts like the Crimean War (1853-56) and 19th-century colonial wars involved national effort but did not affect the population at large.”

Continuing with verse 6, better means to ‘combine in a way that brings a profit, especially by a concurrence of circumstances’. This describes Teacher thought helping Mercy identity by ‘causing things to work together for good’ (using the words of Romans 8:28). A millstone was ‘used for grinding grain with a stationary, lower stone, ground against an upper stone that was turned’. As a footnote in the NASB points out, heavy actually means ‘of or for a donkey’ and is only used in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 9. Hung means to ‘hang, hang up, suspend’. Neck is used once in Matthew and means ‘neck’. Drowned means ‘to throw into the sea’ and occurs one other time in 14:30 where Peter tries to walk on the water and starts sinking into the sea. In is ‘in the realm of’, and depth is used twice in the New Testament and means ‘the deep, the deep sea’.

Putting this all together, the neck connects the head with the body. Grabbing someone by the neck means interrupting the flow between thought and behavior so that the body is not controlled by the head. A millstone is a stone that is used to grind wheat, and we have been interpreting wheat as intellectual food. Thus, a millstone would represent using facts to evaluate new information. A donkey is mentioned in Matthew 21:2-7 where Jesus rides into Jerusalem on the foal of the donkey. A conquering king would ride on a horse, while a peaceful king would ride on a donkey. Therefore, the millstone of a donkey would represent research that is meant for peaceful purposes. This peaceful research is being hung up around the neck of a person, which means that research is being used to control people, preventing them from behaving in an intelligent manner. Finally, this entire conglomeration is being thrown into the depths of the sea of Mercy experiences.

This accurately describes World War I because the soldier in the trench became the servant of science. Many modern weapons were either invented or first used widely in this war, including the airplane, the tank, the submarine, the machine gun, poison gas, the antiaircraft gun, and the motor truck. In each case, technological information was being factually analyzed by experimenting on humans, plunging them into a depth of Mercy experiences that had never been plumbed before.

Strangely enough, verse 6 says that this is the better alternative. But notice that ‘better’ describes Teacher thought and not Mercy feelings. Better does not mean that a person will feel good; World War I was hell on earth. Instead, ‘better’ means that things will work together in Teacher thought. One can see this to some extent in World War I stories of comradeship. A 1964 video series on the First World War explains that “‘The war years’, said one British soldier who served there, ‘will stand out in the memories of vast numbers of those who fought as the happiest period of their lives.’ He went on. ‘In spite of all differences in rank, we were comrades, brothers dwelling together in amity. We were privileged to see in each other that inner ennobled self which in the grim commercial struggle of peacetime is all too frequently atrophied for lack of expression. We could note the intense affection of soldiers for certain officers, their absolute trust in them. We saw the love passing the love of women, the one pal for his half section. We were privileged, in short, to see a reign of goodwill among men which the piping times of peace with all their organized charity, their free meals, free hospitals, and Sunday sermons have never equaled.’” (The Great War - Complete BBC Series, 1964, episode 19). Notice the intense emotions created by working together and caring for one another.

Going further, we saw previously how Victorian society was perverted by a desire for financial gain. Those who lived in the trenches despised such profiteers. In the words of one soldier, “If you were to ask me who it is we despise and hate the most, my answer would be, first of all, the war profiteers. Businessmen of all kinds and with them the professional patriots, the humbugs, the literary gents who dine each day in pajamas and red leather slippers off of dish of bosh” (episode 19).

Looking at the bigger picture, the First World War brought an end to the old nobility, leading to the collapse of four empires with their monarchies: the Russian, the Ottoman, the German, and the Austro-Hungarian.

Stumbling Blocks 18:7-9

The next section focuses upon the topic of stumbling blocks. Verse 7 says, “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” Woe is ‘an expression of grief or denunciation’ and was used in 11:21 in the phrases ‘woe to you Chorazin’, and ‘woe to you Bethsaida’. We interpreted that as predicting how the once mighty Catholic Church would be sidelined. There are also two woes in 18:7, one is directed to the cosmos, and the other to ‘the human’. Cosmos means ‘ordered system (like the universe, creation); the world’. It is used 186 times in the New Testament, and as far as I can tell by skimming through the list, the only other references to the cosmos being destroyed are in 2 Peter, where it refers to the flood of Noah and also to a coming judgment. Thus, saying ‘woe to the cosmos’ indicates that physical structure and order will be damaged in a major way. And the First World War created physical carnage on a level that had never yet been experienced. Verse 7 blames this physical woe upon the stumbling blocks. (‘Its’ is not in the original Greek.)

This word stumbling block is used three times in verse 7 and does not reappear again in Matthew. One aspect of this word describes ‘how someone is caught by their own devices, like their personal bias, carnal thinking’. This describes many of the leaders in the First World War, as well as most of the initial participants, because both had no idea where their choices would lead. Instead, everyone thought that it would be a short war, full of glory.

Necessary is used once in Matthew and means ‘a compelling need requiring immediate action’. Verse 7 says that the stumbling blocks fulfill ‘a compelling need that requires immediate action’. One might think that the compelling need would be to prevent millions of people from dying. But verse 7 indicates that there is a deeper compelling need, which I suggest is to keep the divine plan for Western history on track. This deeper need becomes apparent if one compares Western history with the history of China. Until recently, China has been more advanced than the West. But China also shows what happens to a nation when traditional power is combined with technology. It is possible that the West would have entered this sort of stability if the juxtaposition of nobility and technology had not come to a crashing end in the tragic farce of World War I.

Verse 7 then looks at the personal cost of creating a stumbling block. Verse 7 does not say that a person is the stumbling block, but rather that the stumbling block is coming through the agency of a person. Similarly, World War I cannot be divided easily into ‘good versus evil’ the way that World War II can. World War I had its truly evil leaders, such as von Hötzendorf, who was the primary driving force for starting the war, and Enver Pasha, who was responsible for the Armenian genocide, the Assyrian genocide, and the Greek genocide, but neither of these reached the level of an Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.

So what kind of personal woe can verse 7 be talking about? After all, many of the perpetrators of the war lived to a ripe old age and were regarded as heroes. In contrast, the average lifespan of a junior British officer in the First World War trenches was six weeks. The next few verses provide a possible answer, because verse 8 refers to ‘eternal fire’ while verse 10 mentions ‘angels in heaven’. These references imply that it is impossible to bring any sort of meaning to this kind of catastrophe unless one believes that life extends beyond physical death. This statement has always been true, but it is possible to ignore in normal life because one does not have to face death on a daily basis.

The language of verse 8 is especially vivid. “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.” A similar warning was given in Matthew 5:29-30, but the reference there was to the right hand and the right eye, whereas verses 8-9 refer to either hand, either foot, and either eye. Going further, chapter 5 warned about being cast into Gehenna, while chapter 18 talks about eternal fire and being cast into the Gehenna of the fire.

This intense warning relates to the idea of total war. When there is total war, then there are many ways to lose one’s soul. Going the other way, verses 8-9 also include a positive factor which has only been mentioned once before in 7:14. That positive factor is life, which refers to both physical and spiritual life. The one previous reference warned that the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. The soul has been discussed several times in Matthew and the body is mentioned in chapter 7, but chapter 18 talks about life or zoe.

Looking at verse 8 in more detail, hand would refer to technical manipulation, while foot would refer to personal growth. Cut it off means to ‘entirely remove, emphasizing complete detachment’. Crippled means ‘crippled, lame, especially in the hands’, while lame means ‘lame, deprived of a foot’. The alternative is to have two hands or two feet. The danger is to go into eternal fire. This is the first mention of the word eternal in Matthew. It means ‘age-like… the quality describing a particular age’. This word ‘does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age’. We have interpreted fire as mental networks that self-destruct through frustration.

Applying this to the soldier in the trench, the ‘fire of the age’ is quite obvious. One goes to the trenches, one lives a few days, weeks, or months, and then one dies a faceless death. For instance, one officer wrote in the battle of the Somme that “A man seemed to lose his identity as an individual. Divisions were swallowed up in corps and armies and from this point in the war one seemed no longer to regard death as individual. Reinforcements would arrive, one never knew their names, they disappeared so quickly through the gracing stations, or to swell the number of the little wooden crosses. The individual man was gone” (episode 13). Thus, the choice was between mentally embracing this environment of human carnage, or else becoming mentally split, either at a technical or personal level. The word better means ‘attractively good’. One cannot speak of intrinsic goodness in such an environment, but there was the attractive goodness of the camaraderie that was mentioned earlier.

Verse 8 talks about entering life. It does not say that one can enter life and remain whole. The cost of entering life is to become either mentally or physically maimed. I suggest that life is being mentioned because one can only make choices to the extent that one is tested. The soldiers in World War I were being tested at the level of existence itself (and because this was a total war, others were also tested at an existential level). I will not attempt to speculate how this would play out in specific situations. (My father and grandfather were both conscientious objectors. Near the end of World War II, my father faced the challenge of being the sole attendant for a ward of 50 mental patients—including epileptics—for twelve hour shifts.) Instead, I will merely state that when one is in such an environment, one is continually faced with choices where one can either exhibit some deep character trait or else remain integrated as a ‘professional’ soldier.

So what does that have to do with eternal life? My best guess is that after physical death, the disembodied soul is inexorably attracted to an environment that resonates with core mental networks. Saying this more accurately, a person’s spirit becomes developed by core mental networks during life, and after physical death this spirit pulls the soul into a spiritual environment that resonates with core mental networks. (Thus, the process becoming a Christian and pursuing Christian maturity can be cognitively interpreted as rebuilding the mind upon lasting core mental networks.) Living in the midst of hell-on-earth can be viewed as an opportunity to change one’s core mental networks. The soldier who chooses to follow a path of life in the midst of death is building core mental networks of life. This is not an optimal path because it is almost certain that will enter into life maimed. But it is a path.

Verse 9 continues, “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes and be cast into the Gehenna of fire.” The eye describes using Perceiver thought to analyze the environment. When one is living in the trenches, then personal survival itself depends upon factually analyzing the physical environment. Pluck it out means to ‘remove completely’ but it also ‘refers to a complete rescue’. The same word was used in Matthew 5:29. This verb is used six other times in the New Testament where it is translated as ‘rescued’.

The word one eye is mono-ophthalmos and is only found here and in the parallel passage in Mark 9. It can be interpreted as having only one eye, but it seems to me that another valid meaning would be single-eyed. Looking at this cognitively, those who go through a near-death experience often gain some sort of spiritual sensory awareness that they did not have beforehand. This awareness can also emerge as a result of going through intolerable experiences. Saying this another way, one’s sight becomes ‘totally removed’ from the physical environment through trauma. The person who goes through this often views it as being ‘completely rescued’. For the individual who is living in this physical world, such a person has lost an eye, but for the individual who has experienced this, they have now become single-eyed rather than two-eyed.

Curiously, there was a major increase in spiritualism in World War I. One history site explains that “Interest in spiritualism surged dramatically in 1917, as the nation endured a third full year of conflict. In fact, at one point, this religious movement – which promised believers the prospect of being able to communicate with the dead – briefly threatened to become more popular than the Anglican Church. At the heart of spiritualism’s mass appeal was its offer of individually tailored solace to bereaved parents who could not be reunited with their fallen sons.” (There is also the famous story of the Angel of Mons, but evidence seems to indicate that this story was a fabrication.) Skipping ahead a bit, verse 10 mentions angels, and so far in Matthew, we have interpreted angels as real angels and not just as human messengers. (This may appear at first glance to violate the idea of interpreting everything in Matthew symbolically. But when I talk about real angels, I am not referring to human-looking creatures in white robes with wings, sitting on clouds. Instead, I am referring to incorporeal beings who live within the realm of abstract symbols and who temporarily take on physical appearance when delivering messages to humans. Similarly, I suggest that aliens are not humanoids from other planets, but rather trans-dimensional beings. Thus, interpreting an angel or alien as real actually is a symbolic interpretation.)

Verse 9 warns against being cast into the ‘Gehenna of fire’. Gehenna refers to a valley outside Jerusalem in which garbage and bodies were consumed by a continual fire. ‘Gehenna of fire’ is more personal than ‘fire of the age’. The idea is that when one is living in inhuman circumstances, one can only avoid the fire of self-destructing personal mental networks by becoming single-eyed and viewing both physical and spiritual reality as a single, integrated entity. For instance, this single-eyed-ness is the only thing that keeps me sane while pursuing mental symmetry in a world that is going crazy, a world that—with a few exceptions—refuses to examine the theory of mental symmetry, no matter how extensively this theory is developed. And this single-eyed-ness drives me to include references to the angelic realm rather than just sticking with the physical events of Western history.

Guardian Angels 18:10-14

Verse 10 refers back to the little ones of verse 6 who are being caused to stumble: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” Despise is used twice in Matthew and ‘refers to holding someone in contempt, deeming them unworthy and hence despised’. For instance, this describes the standard academic and religious response to the theory of mental symmetry. It was used previously in 6:24 to say that one cannot serve two masters, but rather will be devoted to one and despise the other.

One could interpret verse 10 cognitively as saying that the humble who are despised gain an unusual ability to work with messages within the realm of Teacher thought. I think that this applies to my personal situation, because I am quite certain that I would not be able to do my research if I were a successful seminar speaker or an established professor. But being humble and despised does not guarantee that one is capable of thinking rationally, and verse 10 does not refer to all little ones, but rather to ‘these little ones’.

Verse 10 also raises the idea of a guardian angel. I suggested earlier when discussing angels in Matthew 13 that angels and aliens occupy bodies that are the mirror image of human bodies. Saying this another way, humans and angels appear to have the same kinds of minds (or souls). But humans occupy physical bodies that force a mind to develop concrete thought, whereas angels live in ‘bodies’ that force the same kind of mind to develop what humans call abstract thought. Thus, a guardian angel may be simply the angelic side of the human psyche. I am not suggesting that all angels are guardian angels, and it is likely that angels who are not guardian angels interact with humans. And I am not suggesting that all angels started off as guardian angels. On the contrary, the Bible seems to indicate that God created angels with angelic ‘bodies’ before creating humans with human bodies. Instead, I am addressing specifically the idea that everyone has an angel assigned to them at birth. I suggest that this concept of a guardian angel can be explained as a human mind developing its angelic side. (This topic is discussed further in another essay. I think that this angelic side is different than the spirit of a person, but I am not certain. I am quite certain that the angelic realm is different than the spiritual realm, but I am not sure how these two realms interact.)

This angelic side would be most likely to develop when a human lives in an angelic-like environment and is frustrated at a deep level from living within the human side. This would apply to a soldier living in the trenches. On the one hand, a soldier exists within the Teacher structure of an organized army and is ruled by the messages of military commands. On the other hand, a soldier lives within a physical environment that continually overwhelms Mercy thought with inhuman experiences. Summarizing, living in the trenches would provide an optimal environment for developing one’s guardian angel. Notice that we are applying a principle that was developed in Chapter 13, which is that the angelic realm functions in a manner that is analogous to elements of human existence.

Viewed from that perspective, verse 10 is saying the following: The soldier in the trench may be an insignificant nobody as far as an officer is concerned, but when it comes to the angelic realm, then it is actually the soldier in the trench who is aware of God in Teacher thought and not the officer. That is because the soldier in the trench is living a physical environment that is forcing his ‘guardian angel’ to develop as well as giving him a ‘single-eye’ that integrates physical with non-physical vision. In contrast, the officer in his comfortable surroundings will not develop his guardian angel because he is not being put through the same level of personal stress.

This interpretation is consistent with a principle that has been practiced for millennia, which is that physical hardship can open the door to the supernatural. If this sounds strange to the reader, then remember that the typical reader is like the commanding officer sitting in a comfortable chair who has no clue about what the soldier at the front lines is experiencing. Similarly, ghost stories that seem unreasonable when read in the bright sunlight feel much more legitimate when read at 3 AM in an abandoned house in the middle of a thunderstorm. (For those want to pursue this topic further, there is a thread of nursing ghost stories on the allnurses website. This online conversation began in 2000 and is still going 131 pages later in 2020. Nurses work in an environment in which people are continually dying. Thus, they would know something about life continuing after death.)

Verse 11 is not in the oldest manuscripts, but it is consistent with the context. “For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” Save means to ‘deliver out of danger and safety’, while lost ‘implies permanent destruction’. These two words were previously used in 16:25 which said that ‘whoever loses his life for my sake will find it’. The idea there was that the existing pre-industrial society was about to be replaced by a totally new technological society, and that making the transition would require allowing one’s soul to fall apart and be put back together in a new way. World War I forced millions of men (and women) to go through such a transition. Incarnation was using hell on earth to save that which had been permanently destroyed. For instance, this article describes new technological skills that were introduced to Australia as a result of World War I.

And a ‘guardian angel’ plays a central role in this salvation-to-technology. Even if this is not a real guardian angel, it is definitely a cognitive ‘guardian angel’. That is because the new technological society was driven by the Teacher theories of science, and a human will only be emotionally comfortable in such an environment if the angelic side of the human mind is developed, because angels live within the Teacher realm of heaven.

The next verses describe how an individual human attracts the attention of God in Teacher thought. Verse 12 sets the scene. “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?” The word think means to ‘form an opinion, a personal judgment’. Thus, Jesus is about to describe something that everyone knows about from personal experience. We have interpreted sheep as followers of some message in Teacher thought. This interpretation is based upon John 10, which talks about Jesus being the good Shepherd and refers to his followers as sheep who know his voice.

Using this definition, a soldier is a sheep, because he is a follower of messages that come from the Teacher structure of the military hierarchy. Astray means ‘to deviate from the correct path’. The word of is literally ‘from out of’, and a more literal translation would be ‘and has gone astray one out of them’. The idea is that one person in a group is behaving in a manner that sticks out of the crowd. Leave means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Gone means ‘to transport’, which we have interpreted as movement that transforms. And seek means ‘to seek by inquiring’. Finally, a mountain represents a pragmatic form of Teacher generality.

Putting this all together, what happens when one individual in a group of soldiers behaves in a way that sticks out of the crowd? Every soldier instinctively knows the answer, because almost every soldier will do his best not to stick out of the crowd in order to avoid triggering the resulting response. The commanding officer will ignore all of the soldiers who are following Teacher structure, change his focus from Teacher generality to Mercy specifics and then focus his attention upon the individual who is sticking out. This will be followed by a personal grilling: ‘Who do you think you are? What is your excuse? Why are you sticking out?’

This same cognitive mechanism can come into play when a soldier is missing, because the entire military system will focus upon finding and helping that one individual. And finding that one individual will probably generate more positive Teacher emotion than carrying out many normal orders. Verse 13 points this out. “If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.” Find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. Rejoice describes Teacher emotion. It was last used at the end of the Beatitudes in 5:12, which said to ‘rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great’. (That reference explicitly connects joy with the heaven of Teacher thought. And glad means much jumping, which implies entering the ‘air’ of Teacher thought.)

Looking at this cognitively, Teacher thought is emotionally sensitive to the exception to the rule. Teacher thought feels bad when some individual item sticks out from the crowd, and Teacher thought feels good when some individual item that was sticking out is reconciled back to the crowd.

Verse 14 then applies this principle to being a little one. “So it is not the will before your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish. Will means ‘to desire, wish’. ‘Will of the Father’ would refer to the Teacher emotions of God the Father. These Teacher emotions do not emerge automatically. Instead, verse 14 describes two prerequisites. The first is ‘in the realm of the heavens’. Teacher sensitivity to an exception to the rule will only emerge to the extent that there is a general rule. Saying this another way, sensitivity to the individual who sticks out of the crowd will only emerge to the extent that the crowd is being expected to behave in a structured manner. For instance, it becomes very obvious who is sticking out from the crowd when a group of soldiers marches in formation.

The second prerequisite is before, which means literally ‘in front, before the face’. Using the military analogy, this describes when one is marching in front of the officers. Applying this cognitively, personal identity in Mercy thought must behave in a way that is transparent and open to a concept of God in Teacher thought. This is quite different than saying that God sees everything while spending most of one’s time focusing upon the details and ignoring a concept of God in Teacher thought.

Notice how both prerequisites become maximized when one is little. Little is a relative term that implies that one is part of a larger group. And little becomes most obvious when one is in front of someone who is big. This explains cognitively why ‘the angels of the little ones continually see the face of the Father in heaven’. Their ‘angels’ become developed because of their inhuman, Teacher-based surroundings. Their angels see the face of God because they are little ones who are part of a group. The result is that God does not want a little one to perish, a word that ‘implies permanent destruction’. This principle would only be true to some extent in a human army, because officers are finite individuals who cannot focus on every private. But it would function fully with the infinite being of God the Father, who has sufficient attention to care about every created individual.

Dealing with Conflict 18:15-20

The next section describes a mechanism for dealing with problems in a graduated manner. Looking at Western history, one of the results of the First World War was the establishment of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations, whose purpose was to deal with international problems in a graduated manner. Wikipedia explains that “The League of Nations… was the first worldwide intergovernmental organisation whose principal mission was to maintain world peace. It was founded on 10 January 1920 following the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War… The organisation’s primary goals, as stated in its Covenant, included preventing wars through collective security and disarmament and settling international disputes through negotiation and arbitration.”

Verse 15 describes the first step in this process. “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault between you and him alone; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” The word sin means ‘to miss the mark’. The word ‘sin’ has been used several times as a noun to refer to specific sins. But this is the first use of ‘sin’ as a verb. This is significant because the average Christian today thinks of sin as a noun and not as a verb. Sin is typically viewed from the Mercy perspective of being personally connected with experiences, people, or locations that are labeled bad in Mercy thought. But the word ‘sin’ originally meant to shoot an arrow at a target and miss. Such a concept of ‘sin’ requires a Teacher understanding of procedures and behavior: Certain procedures are established, and one is supposed to follow these procedures.

The League of Nations had a significant impact in the realm of how nations did things. For instance, one branch of the League of Nations was the International Labor Organization, which set standards regarding how people worked. “The ILO successfully restricted the addition of lead to paint, and convinced several countries to adopt an eight-hour work day and forty-eight-hour working week. It also campaigned to end child labour, increase the rights of women in the workplace, and make shipowners liable for accidents involving seamen.” Similarly, “The Slavery Commission sought to eradicate slavery and slave trading across the world, and fought forced prostitution. Its main success was through pressing the governments who administered mandated countries to end slavery in those countries.”

Brother literally means ‘from the same womb’. Before the war, European nations thought of themselves as competitors rather than brothers and viewed most non-European nations as colonies or outsiders. Many colonies sent soldiers to fight in the First World War in the hope that they would receive more political freedom after the war was over, and the relationship between European countries and the rest of the world changed dramatically after the war. For instance, The British dependencies of Canada, India, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand all entered the war automatically when Britain declared war, but they signed the peace treaty as independent signatories. Looking at this cognitively, the trauma of World War I was so intense that people felt reborn after it was finished, leading to a new sense of brotherhood.

Looking in more detail at verse 15, go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’; reprove is used once in Matthew and means ‘to convince with solid, compelling evidence’. These words describe a legal procedure based in evidence. Moving on, gained means ‘to profit, gain’. Thus, the goal is to resolve the problem in an advantageous manner.

This dealing with specific problems in a fact-based manner was instituted as an aspect of the League of Nations. Wikipedia summarizes that “The Permanent Court of International Justice, often called the World Court, existed from 1922 to 1946. It was an international court attached to the League of Nations. Created in 1920 (although the idea of an international court was several centuries old), the Court was initially well-received from states and academics alike, with many cases submitted to it for its first decade of operation.” Notice that this World Court is being viewed as a superior way of dealing with international conflict. And although only some of its decisions were legally binding, “In practice, member states of the League of Nations followed advisory opinions anyway for fear of possibly undermining the moral and legal authority of the Court and the League.” Thus, the court was viewed as a way of ‘gaining one’s brother’ rather than descending into conflict.

Verse 16 describes a wider mechanism. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be confirmed.” Witness means ‘an eye- or ear-witness’. Confirmed means ‘to make to stand’. And word refers to ‘a spoken word’. Similarly, the League of Nations typically dealt with territorial disputes by forming a committee or commission that would travel to the region and then come up with a recommendation.

Verse 17 describes the final escalation. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as the Gentile and the tax collector.” The word church means ‘people called out from the world and to God’ and this is the second time that the word ‘church’ is used in Matthew. It was first used in 16:18 where Jesus said that he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail over it. I know that many Christians would rebel at the idea of associating church with a secular League of Nations, but if one recognizes that God uses Teacher thought to construct order, then one can view the League of Nations as definitely more church-like than what existed before World War I. (It is interesting that the word ‘church’ was not found in any of the chapters during which the Catholic Church played a major role. This implies that the Orthodox Church, the Protestant churches, and the Catholic Church all fall short of what God regards as church.)

Gentile means ‘national, foreign’ and typically referred to a ‘non-covenant person standing outside God’s covenant’. And we saw when looking at 9:10 that the word tax-collector refers to a tax on trade and commerce. The word as means ‘just as, even as’. This is an important distinction because verse 17 doesn’t say that the offending party becomes a foreigner and tax collector, but rather that he should be treated as a foreigner. Putting these various terms together gives the idea of excluding someone at the level of trade and commerce. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes these elements of the League of Nations. “Under Article 16 all members promised to join in common action against any other which made war in violation of the Covenant. This action was to take in all cases the form of economic sanctions as its primary coercive mechanism and, if this were not enough, of military intervention. This article also empowered the Council to expel a member which violated the Covenant.”

Summarizing, all of the elements of Matthew 18:15-17 can be seen as primary features of the League of Nations.

The League of Nations failed partially because it was unwilling to take the final step of imposing sanctions, and partially because a system that is based upon the rule of law can only function to the extent that its members are guided by the rule of law. Wikipedia quotes one American diplomatic as saying that “The League of Nations has been a disappointing failure.... It has been a failure, not because the United States did not join it; but because the great powers have been unwilling to apply sanctions except where it suited their individual national interests to do so, and because Democracy, on which the original concepts of the League rested for support, has collapsed over half the world.”

Verse 18 concludes that “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” The Greek is almost identical to what Jesus says to Peter in Matthew 16:19 when giving Peter the keys of heaven. In addition, verse 18 starts with a truly, the source of the English word ‘amen’, which means ‘so let it be’.

This is a rather striking statement, because secular organizations such as the European Union or the United Nations have historically been derided by fundamentalist Christians as precursors to the kingdom of the beast. I suggest that two factors need to be considered. On the one hand, fundamentalist Christianity is still thinking in terms of absolute truth. Thus, any organization that does not impose the absolute truth of the Bible upon the people will be viewed as not of God. However, World War I demonstrated the fundamental weakness of a mindset of absolute truth. On the other hand, moral decisions require a moral landscape. As the American diplomat pointed out two paragraphs earlier, it is difficult to follow the rule of law when democracies collapse and are replaced by dictatorships. Saying this another way, Jesus means salvation, and salvation takes a person from where they are to someplace better, and the word ‘better’ is a moral term that implies a moral landscape in which some places are morally worse while other places are morally better. Going further, being guided by a moral landscape does not mean moral condemnation and judgment. On the contrary, the last half of chapter 18 will discuss the concept of forgiveness and mercy functioning within a moral landscape.

If Matthew 18 is talking about a new form of international cooperation, then verse 18 is describing a new relationship between heaven and the physical earth of humanity. In some way, Earth is acquiring a new ability to direct what happens in heaven. As with 16:19, the verb tense indicates that Earth cannot decide arbitrarily what will happen in heaven. But earth can decide what aspects of heaven will be either locked or unlocked.

One can interpret verse 18 from a purely cognitive viewpoint as the emergence of research and development during and after the First World War. Quoting from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “World War I produced a dramatic change. Attempts at rapid expansion of the arms industry in the belligerent as well as in most of the neutral countries exposed weaknesses in technology as well as in organization and brought an immediate appreciation of the need for more scientific support. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in the United Kingdom was founded in 1915, and the National Research Council in the United States in 1916. These bodies were given the task of stimulating and coordinating the scientific support to the war effort, and one of their most important long-term achievements was to convince industrialists, in their own countries and in others, that adequate and properly conducted research and development were essential to success. At the end of the war the larger companies in all the industrialized countries embarked on ambitious plans to establish laboratories of their own; and, in spite of the inevitable confusion in the control of activities that were novel to most of the participants, there followed a decade of remarkable technical progress. The automobile, the airplane, the radio receiver, the long-distance telephone, and many other inventions developed from temperamental toys into reliable and efficient mechanisms in this period.” Research and development is different than normal scientific research because it is more intimately connected with the ‘earth’ of normal human existence.

Similarly, one can interpret verses 19-20 as the establishment of many independent laboratories. “Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”

Verse 19 begins with another truly (which the NASB does not translate). This is the first use of the word agree in Matthew, which means ‘a harmony of voices’ and is the source of the English word ‘symphony’. The word on actually means ‘from out of’. Anything is used once in Matthew and means ‘regular practice’. Thus, a more literal translation would be ‘if two have a harmony of voices from out of you on the physical earth concerning any regular practice’. This does not describe two fervent Christians holding hands and agreeing that God will give them a new car. Instead, it describes people coming to a consensus over how processes work in the real world. This idea of independent confirmation is a critical aspect of modern research.

Continuing with verse 19, ask means ‘to ask, request’. Shall be done means ‘to come into being’. By (when followed by the genitive) means ‘from beside’. More literally, ‘if they ask, it will come into being for them from beside my Father who is in the realm of the heavens’. In other words, corporate research is possible. One can start with physical processes and then use technical thought to make theoretical breakthroughs.

Verse 20 indicates that a large research lab is not necessary. Gathered together means ‘to lead together’. And in actually means ‘to or into’. Thus, people are gathering together to move into the technical thinking of incarnation, approaching this technical thinking from the theoretical perspective of names. Verse 19 concludes that incarnation is there in their midst.

The Humboldt University system introduced the idea of institutional research. I suggest that verses 18-20 are introducing the idea of independent research and development, in which a few pioneers get together and develop some new technological product. One article describes this development. “Between 1919 and 1936, U.S. manufacturing firms established over a thousand industrial research laboratories, roughly half of the total number of such facilities founded prior to 1946. New labs cropped up in industries such as autos, metals, petroleum, and pharmaceuticals, while those of electrical and chemical pioneers grew markedly. The number of scientists employed in research laboratories increased tenfold between 1920 and 1940, from 2,775 to 27,777.”

I know that verses 18-20 are typically interpreted in Christian circles as a justification for corporate prayer. And there may be something to this. However, I have attended many prayer meetings where these verses were claimed and nothing happened. In contrast, the modern world has been transformed by the corporate research and development that emerged after the First World War and exploded after the Second World War.

Forgiveness 18:21-27

The rest of the chapter discusses the topic of forgiveness. I suggest that this is relevant to the historical context, because “included in the 440 articles of the Treaty of Versailles were the demands that Germany officially accept responsibility for starting the war and pay economic reparations.”

The section begins in verse 21 with Peter asking a question. “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’” Sin means to ‘miss the mark’, to fail to meet the target that one is aiming at. Forgive means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Peter represents Perceiver thought, which deals with questions of truth and conscience. A mechanism has just been set up for dealing with sins in a peaceful manner. Peter now asks about forgiveness. Like sin, forgiveness is typically viewed from a Mercy perspective as changing the label on a Mercy experience or person from bad to good. But the word actually means ‘to send away’. In other words, will I hang on to the situation, or will I let go of it and move on?

Peter is essentially asking how long one has to follow this new legal procedure before returning to the old method of force and warfare. Verse 22 provides the answer. “Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” Forgiving a person 490 times is traditionally interpreted as being a number beyond counting. One possible interpretation is that Peter is thinking in terms of one dimension—a sequence of sinful events in which one counts from 1 to 7 before stopping. Jesus is adding a second dimension by mentioning seventy sevens. In other words, Peter is thinking of forgiveness as something that limits his right to punish others, while Jesus is trying to get Peter to realize that forgiveness opens up a whole new dimension of possibilities.

This idea of forgiveness as letting go was one of the main struggles of the negotiations after World War I. Quoting Wikipedia, “Historians have recognized the German requirement to pay reparations as the ‘chief battleground of the post-war era’ and ‘the focus of the power struggle between France and Germany over whether the Versailles Treaty was to be enforced or revised’. The Treaty of Versailles (signed in 1919) and the 1921 London Schedule of Payments required Germany to pay 132 billion gold marks (US$33 billion) in reparations to cover civilian damage caused during the war.”

When Germany defaulted on their payments in 1923, France did not move on and they did not rely upon sanctions. Instead, they reverted to the old method of military force. “Frustrated at Germany not paying reparations, Raymond Poincaré, the French Prime Minister, hoped for joint Anglo-French economic sanctions against Germany in 1922 and opposed military action. However, by December 1922 he saw coal for French steel production and payments in money as laid out in the Treaty of Versailles draining away. After much deliberation, Poincaré decided to occupy the Ruhr on 11 January 1923 to extract the reparations himself. The real issue during the Ruhrkampf (Ruhr campaign), as the Germans labelled the battle against the French occupation, was not the German defaults on coal and timber deliveries but the sanctity of the Versailles Treaty. Poincaré often argued to the British that letting the Germans defy Versailles in regards to the reparations would create a precedent that would lead to the Germans dismantling the rest of the Versailles treaty.” Notice that Poincaré is using the language of a Peter: ‘I am trying to uphold the law in Perceiver thought’. But, like Peter, he is viewing the new method as something which one follows for a short while before returning to the old method of sending in the army.

The allies didn’t realize that demanding all this money from Germany would ruin the German economy, resulting in the German hyperinflation of 1921-23. Summarizing, Germany had financed World War I by borrowing. Wikipedia explains what followed. “The government believed that it would be able to pay off the debt by winning the war, as it would be able to annex resource-rich industrial territory in the west and east and impose massive reparations on the defeated Allies… This strategy failed as Germany lost the war, which left the new Weimar Republic saddled with massive war debts that it could not afford, a problem exacerbated by printing money without any economic resources to back it… in April 1921, the Reparations Commission announced the ‘London payment plan’, ordering Germany to pay reparations in gold or foreign currency in annual installments of two billion gold marks plus 26% of the value of Germany’s exports… From August 1921, Germany began to buy foreign currency with marks at any price, but that only increased the speed of the collapse in value of the mark… Since the mark was, by fall of 1922, practically worthless, it was impossible for Germany to buy foreign exchange or gold using paper marks. After Germany failed to pay France an installment of reparations on time in late 1922, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr valley, Germany’s main industrial region, in January 1923.”

This idea of focusing upon the details while ignoring the bigger picture can be seen in the parable of Jesus that follows. Verse 23 begins, “For this reason the kingdom of heaven was compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.” Was compared means ‘to be or to be, like’. Thus, Jesus is describing what the kingdom of heaven has turned into at this time. A king describes the ruler over some domain. Slave means ‘slave’. Settle means ‘to take up together’, while accounts is logos. The word ‘settle’ is only used in this parable and in 25:19, and in both cases it is associated with the word logos. Putting this together, a day of reckoning is being imposed in an authoritarian manner. The Teacher paradigms of various subsidiary parties are being considered, and they are being ‘taken up together’, implying that they are being combined in a way to bring Teacher order. This goes beyond merely settling financial accounts to the imposition of a new world order.

This describes the Paris Peace Conference of 1919-1920. It redrew the map of much of the world and was imposed in a dictatorial manner by basically four people upon everyone else. “The Paris Peace Conference was the formal meeting in 1919 and 1920 of the victorious Allies after the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers. Dominated by the leaders of Britain, France, the United States and Italy, it resulted in five controversial treaties that rearranged the map of Europe and imposed financial penalties. Germany and the other losing nations had no voice and became embittered for decades.” Each delegation at the conference had its own agenda, but “the conference’s decisions were enacted unilaterally and largely on the whims of the Big Four” (the ‘big four’ were the leaders of the US, UK, Italy, and France).

One major debtor emerges in verse 24. “When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.” Owed means ‘a debtor, someone under obligation to pay back a debt’ and is mentioned twice in Matthew. Similarly, one of the primary elements of the Treaty of Versailles was the debt owed by Germany. Wikipedia explains that “Each of the defeated powers was required to make payments in either cash or kind. Because of the financial situation Austria, Hungary, and Turkey found themselves in after the war, few to no reparations were paid and the requirements for reparations were cancelled. Bulgaria, having paid only a fraction of what was required, saw its reparation figure reduced and then cancelled. Historians have recognized the German requirement to pay reparations as the ‘chief battleground of the post-war era’.”

Logos was mentioned in verse 24, reflecting the aspirations and agendas of the various national delegates. Logos is not mentioned again in this parable. Instead, the focus of the parable turns to talents and money, indicating a shift in focus from establishing a new world order to settling monetary debts.

Verse 25 states that the massive debt of the one debtor cannot be repaid. “But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made.” The first phrase is more literally ‘he now having nothing to give up’. In other words, the biggest debtor is broke. We saw earlier that Germany ended the war without any money, because the German strategy of borrowing money had “left the new Weimar Republic saddled with massive war debts that it could not afford, a problem exacerbated by printing money without any economic resources to back it.” As a result, “The German economy was so weak that only a small percentage of reparations was paid in hard currency.”

The Lord then commands that the assets and family of the debtor be sold in order to pay back the debt. Similarly, “To pay towards this sum, Germany could pay in kind or in cash. Commodities paid in kind included coal, timber, chemical dyes, pharmaceuticals, livestock, agricultural machines, construction materials, and factory machinery. The gold value of these would be deducted from what Germany was required to pay.”

German hyperinflation also resulted indirectly in the ‘selling off’ of the mental networks of ‘wife and children’. Wikipedia describes this relationship. “The 1920s saw a remarkable cultural renaissance in Germany. During the worst phase of hyperinflation in 1923, the clubs and bars were full of speculators who spent their daily profits so they would not lose the value the following day… the cabaret scene and jazz band became very popular. According to the cliché, modern young women were Americanized, wearing makeup, short hair, smoking and breaking with traditional mores.” Notice how the government strategy for paying off debts is indirectly causing mental networks of traditional society to fall apart. Looking at this ‘selling off’ more generally, “The worst affected were the Mittelstand (middle class) who relied on investments, savings or incomes from pensions or rents. In 1921, a family with 100,000 marks in savings would have been considered wealthy – but within two years, this would not be enough for a cup of coffee.”

In verse 26 the debtor asks for time. “So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything’.” Prostrated himself means ‘to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior’. Patience means ‘longer tempered, to defer anger’. One can see these elements in the initial Allied demands and German response. “In January 1921, the Allied Powers grew impatient and established the reparation sum at 226 billion gold marks. The Germans countered with an offer of 30 billion. On 24 April 1921, the German Government wrote to the American Government expressing ‘her readiness to acknowledge for reparation purposes a total liability of 50 billion gold marks’, but was also prepared ‘to pay the equivalent of this sum in annuities adapted to her economic capacity totalling 200 billion gold marks’.”

In verse 27, the debt is eventually forgiven. “And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.” Felt compassion means ‘to be moved in the inward parts’, and this word has been used three times in Matthew to describe the response of Jesus. Release means ‘to set free’, it ‘implies the release of an existing bond’ and is used to signify a divorce. The word debt is used once in the New Testament, and means ‘a loan’. And forgave means ‘to send away’.

Looking at the German situation, the first response was the Dawes plan of 1924, which “provided for an end to the Allied occupation, and a staggered payment plan for Germany’s payment of war reparations.” One sees in this plan the ‘release’ of bringing an end to the existing bond of military occupation. This was followed in 1929 by the Young plan, which reduced demands for German payments, which was itself made redundant by the economic crash of 1929. Therefore, in 1932 the allied countries “agreed not to press Germany for immediate payments [and] to reduce indebtedness by nearly 90%.”

The Fellow Slave 18:28-34

The servant whose debts have been forgiven responds in verse 28 by demanding payment from his fellow. “But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’” Found means ‘to discover, especially after searching’. Fellow slave combines ‘closely identified with’ and ‘slave’ and usually refers to another slave of the same master. Owe is the noun form of the verb ‘owed’ used in verse 24. A denarius is a silver coin, and in Matthew 20, workers are given a denarius for a day’s work.

This describes the German view of the Jews. The Jews had been ‘fellow slaves’ of the German people in World War I. They had assimilated into German culture. In fact, “By the early 20th century, the Jews of Germany were the most integrated Jews in Europe.” And German Jews had actually fought for their country more than other Germans. “In October 1916, in the middle of World War I, the army ordered a Jewish census of the troops, with the intent to show that Jews were under-represented in the Heer (army), and that they were over represented in non-fighting positions. Instead, the census showed just the opposite, that Jews were over-represented both in the army as a whole and in fighting positions at the front. The Imperial German Army then suppressed the results of the census.”

But many Germans felt that they were being exploited by Jews. “In Germany, the belief that Jews were economically exploiting Germans became prominent due to the ascendancy of many wealthy Jews into prominent positions upon the unification of Germany in 1871… German Jewish financiers and bankers played a key role in fostering Germany’s economic growth from 1871 to 1913 and they benefited enormously from this boom… The predominance of Jews in Germany’s banking, commerce and industry sectors during this time period was very high, even though Jews were estimated to account for only 1% of the population of Germany. The overrepresentation of Jews in these areas fueled resentment among non-Jewish Germans during periods of economic crisis.”

After Germany lost the war, the German people began to search for some group to blame. “Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists, Jews, sometimes even Catholics were viewed with suspicion due to presumed lack of national loyalty and patriotism. It was claimed that they had not sufficiently supported the war and had played a role in selling out Germany to its enemies.”

The Nazis blamed the Jews for the loss and for their economic woes. “From its inception, Hitler’s régime moved quickly to introduce anti-Jewish policies. Nazi propaganda alienated 500,000 Jews in Germany, who accounted for only 0.86% of the overall population, and framed them as an enemy responsible for Germany’s defeat in the First World War and for its subsequent economic disasters, such as the 1920s hyperinflation and Wall Street Crash Great Depression.”

Continuing with verse 28, seized means to ‘seize hold of, put under control’. Choke means ‘to choke’ and was used in 13:7 in the parable of the sower and the seed to talk about the thorns choking the growing seed. Pay back is the same verb used in verse 25, and ‘pay back what you owe’ is more literally, ‘pay if any you owe’.

When the Nazis gained power, they began to ‘seize and choke’ the Jews. “Throughout the 1930s, the legal, economic, and social rights of Jews were steadily restricted. On 1 April 1933, there was a boycott of Jewish businesses. On 7 April 1933, the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was passed, which excluded Jews and other ‘non-Aryans’ from the civil service. Jews were disbarred from practicing law, being editors or proprietors of newspapers, joining the Journalists’ Association, or owning farms… Jewish students were restricted by quotas from attending schools and universities.”

In verse 29, the fellow slave responds similar to the way that the slave himself responded in verse 26. “So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’” These phrases are almost the same, except in verse 29 the fellow slave pleads, which means to ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’, while the first slave prostrated himself. And the fellow slave says that he will repay while the first slave said that he would repay everything.

Similarly, Jews responded to the initial Nazi anti-Semitism with calls for calm and patience. Wikipedia summarizes, “Following Adolf Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor in January 1933, an organized campaign of violence and boycotting was undertaken by Hitler’s Nazi Party against Jewish businesses… The Central Jewish Association of Germany felt obliged to issue a statement of support for the regime and held that ‘the responsible government authorities [i.e. the Hitler regime] are unaware of the threatening situation,’ saying, ‘we do not believe our German fellow citizens will let themselves be carried away into committing excesses against the Jews.’ Prominent Jewish business leaders wrote letters in support of the Nazi regime calling on officials in the Jewish community in Palestine, as well as Jewish organizations abroad, to drop their efforts in organizing an economic boycott… After seeing no improvement in the situation in the weeks following the first protests, representatives of the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith met in New York City and established a joint committee to monitor the plight of German Jewry. At that point, they were in agreement that further public protests might harm the Jews of Germany.”

But the first slave has no mercy. “But he was unwilling but went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed” (v. 30). Willing means ‘to desire, wanting what is best’. Went means ‘to go away, go after’. Prison means ‘a guarding, guard’. The emphasis is upon being guarded, rather than placed behind walls.

This response is reflected in the two Nuremberg laws of 1935. “The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households, and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens. The remainder were classed as state subjects without any citizenship rights.” All German Jews were now officially under ‘a guarding’. These laws did not ‘want what is best’ for the Jews and violators were ‘thrown into prison’. “The Nuremberg Laws had a crippling economic and social impact on the Jewish community. Persons convicted of violating the marriage laws were imprisoned, and (subsequent to 8 March 1938) upon completing their sentences were re-arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Nazi concentration camps.”

And the Jews were forced to ‘pay back what was owed’ through a process of Aryanization, which “entailed the transfer of Jewish property into ‘Aryan’ hands in order to ‘de-Jew the economy’. The process started in 1933 in Nazi Germany with so called ‘voluntary’ transfers of Jewish property and ended with the Holocaust. Two phases have generally been identified: a first phase in which the destitution of Jewish victims was concealed under a veneer of legality, and a second phase, in which property was more openly confiscated. In both cases, Aryanization corresponded to Nazi policy and was defined, supported and enforced by Germany’s legal and financial bureaucracy. Before Hitler came to power Jews owned 100,000 businesses in Germany. By 1938, boycotts, intimidation, forced sales and restrictions on professions had largely forced Jews out of economic life… Michael Bazyler writes that ‘[t]he Holocaust was both the greatest murder and the greatest theft in history’; between $230 and $320 billion (in 2005 dollars) was stolen from Jews across Europe.”

The other slaves respond in verse 31. “So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened.” Happened means ‘to come into being’. Grieved means ‘to experience deep, emotional pain’. This same phrase ‘deeply grieved’ was used in 17:23, which we interpreted as the response to the moral twisting of Victorian society. Reported means ‘to make clear’, and is found one other time in the New Testament in 13:36.

The response of the international community to the Jewish plight can be seen in the Kristallnacht incident of 1938. Wikipedia reports that “Rioters destroyed 267 synagogues throughout Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, and 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. British historian Martin Gilbert wrote that no event in the history of German Jews between 1933 and 1945 was so widely reported as it was happening, and the accounts from foreign journalists working in Germany sent shockwaves around the world.” Thus, there was a reporting or ‘making clear’ of what was happening in Germany. Most Germans were also shocked by what had happened. “To the consternation of the Nazis, the Kristallnacht affected public opinion counter to their desires, the peak of opposition against the Nazi racial policies was reached just then, when according to almost all accounts the vast majority of Germans rejected the violence perpetrated against the Jews.”

The rest of the world was outraged. “Kristallnacht sparked international outrage. According to Volker Ullrich, "...a line had been crossed: Germany had left the community of civilised nations."… Many newspapers condemned Kristallnacht, with some of them comparing it to the murderous pogroms incited by Imperial Russia during the 1880s. The United States recalled its ambassador (but it did not break off diplomatic relations) while other governments severed diplomatic relations with Germany in protest… Kristallnacht also marked a turning point in relations between Nazi Germany and the rest of the world. The brutality of the pogrom, and the Nazi government’s deliberate policy of encouraging the violence once it had begun, laid bare the repressive nature and widespread anti-Semitism entrenched in Germany. World opinion thus turned sharply against the Nazi regime, with some politicians calling for war.”

Verse 31 does not specifically state that seeing the mistreatment motivated the fellow servants to do anything. Instead, it says that ‘they made it clear to their lord all that had come into being’. Similarly, the moral outrage of the world was not backed up by action. One website summarizes that “Kristallnacht ended up rousing a public sentiment that quickly faded. Ultimately, writes historian Rafael Medoff, ‘the words of condemnation were not always accompanied by calls for action.’ And, historians argue, even Jewish groups did little to rouse public support for their European counterparts.” This is similar to the ‘deeply grieved’ that was expressed before World War I. People were emotionally moved, but not enough to alter the chain of events.

Verse 32 describes the response of the lord. “Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. The word wicked means ‘pain-ridden’. And pleaded means to ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’.

Similarly, “Kristallnacht changed the nature of the Nazi persecution of Jews from economic, political, and social to physical with beatings, incarceration, and murder; the event is often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust… Kristallnacht was also instrumental in changing global opinion. In the United States, for instance, it was this specific incident that came to symbolize Nazism and was the reason the Nazis became associated with evil.” Notice how Nazism is being associated with pain-ridden.

The lord’s ‘making a call from being close-up and personal’ can be seen in the negotiations for ending the German payment of reparations to the Allies. In essence, the financial collapse of 1929 had ruined the world economy, making it impossible for Germany—and other countries—to pay their war debts. “The Lausanne Conference was a 1932 meeting of representatives from the United Kingdom, Germany, and France that resulted in an agreement to suspend World War I reparations payments imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles… A moratorium had been placed on the war reparations payments in 1931 and a year later the delegates to the Lausanne Conference realized that the deepening world financial crisis in the Great Depression made it nearly impossible for Germany to resume its payments. However, Britain and France and other Allies had borrowed heavily to fight the war, and in particular, France and Belgium were struggling after having had their infrastructure severely damaged by the fighting and by the deliberate destruction and plundering from retreating German forces as the war drew to a close. Therefore, the delegates came to an informal understanding that the permanent elimination of Germany’s debt and war reparations would be subject to reaching an agreement with the United States concerning their outstanding war debts.” Notice how mercy is being shown upon Germany by countries that experienced significant ‘close-up and personal’ damage from Germany.

Verse 33 continues, “Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’” Should means ‘it is necessary’. Mercy means ‘to have pity or mercy on’. ‘Have had mercy’ (ἐλεῆσαι) is actually in the infinitive in the original Greek: ‘to pity’. And as is a comparison word. Thus, a literal translation of the first phrase is ‘and is it not necessary for you to pity your fellow servant’. Notice that the lord is not referring to the specific incident but rather to a general attitude of mercy or pity. And the lord is comparing this with the attitude of mercy or pity that he has shown the slave.

Applying this to Western history, Nazi mistreatment of the Jews was not the primary factor that started World War II. Instead, World War II began because the Allied policy of appeasement was not matched by a similar response from Germany. Saying this more clearly, the Allies were showing mercy to the Nazis, while the Nazis were not showing mercy to neighboring countries. Wikipedia describes the British mindset of mercy. “Ever since the economist John Maynard Keynes had published his best-selling book The Economic Consequences of the Peace in 1919—in which Keynes depicted Versailles as an unbearably harsh Carthaginian peace imposed by the vindictive Allies—an increasingly large segment of British public opinion had become convinced that the Treaty of Versailles was deeply ‘unjust’ to Germany. By 1936, when German troops marched back into the Rhineland, the majority of British people believed that Hitler was right to violate the ‘unjust’ Versailles treaty, and it would be morally wrong for Britain to go to war to uphold the ‘unjust’ Treaty of Versailles.”

Hitler, in contrast, showed no mercy, but rather moved from one demand to another. Wikipedia elaborates: “Hitler’s diplomatic tactics were to make seemingly reasonable demands, then threatening war if they were not met; concessions were made, he accepted them and moved onto a new demand. When opponents tried to appease him, he accepted the gains that were offered, then went to the next target. That aggressive strategy worked as Germany pulled out of the League of Nations (1933), rejected the Versailles Treaty and began to re-arm with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935), won back the Saar (1935), re-militarized the Rhineland (1936), formed an alliance (‘axis’) with Mussolini’s Italy (1936), sent massive military aid to Franco in the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), seized Austria (1938), took over Czechoslovakia after the British and French appeasement of the Munich Agreement of 1938, formed a peace pact with Stalin’s Russia in August 1939 – and finally invaded Poland in September 1939.”

In verse 34, the lord punishes the slave. “And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.” Anger means ‘to show settled-opposition’. It is often used in the Bible to describe the anger of God, and describes an emotion based upon Teacher thought. Handed over means ‘to hand over’ and is also translated as ‘betray’. We saw earlier that this word implies the end of an era. Torturer means ‘a guard in a prison whose function was to torture prisoners as a phase of judicial examination’.

Turning to Western history, the Allies eventually responded to the 1939 invasion of Poland with the ‘settled anger’ of declaring war. The Second World War was also the ending of an era. The emotional connection between God and country became demolished by World War I. No longer could countries demand blind obedience from their citizens in the name of God. The second World War brought an end to policies of official racism. That is because the Nazi pursuit of the ‘racial purity’ of Arianism combined with the horrors of the Holocaust made the very concept of political racism become abhorrent.

The word ‘torturer’ is only used once as a noun in the New Testament. It occurs twelve times as a verb and is used to describe events or supernatural torment, but is not used to describe the actions of people. Thus, verse 34 is unique in referring to a person who is the source of torture. The destruction that was wreaked upon Germany during World War II can only be described as torture.

The chief torturer was probably Arthur Harris, “commonly known as ‘Bomber’ Harris by the press and often within the RAF as ‘Butcher’ Harris’.” Harris directed Britain’s bombing of German cities. Wikipedia explains that “Winston Churchill continued to regard the area bombing strategy with distaste and official public statements maintained that Bomber Command was attacking only specific industrial and economic targets, with any civilian casualties or property damage being unintentional but unavoidable. In October 1943, emboldened by his success in Hamburg and increasingly irritated with Churchill’s hesitance to endorse his tactics wholeheartedly, Harris urged the government to be honest with the public regarding the purpose of the bombing campaign, ‘The aim of the Combined Bomber Offensive… should be unambiguously stated [as] the destruction of German cities, the killing of German workers, and the disruption of civilised life throughout Germany… the destruction of houses, public utilities, transport and lives, the creation of a refugee problem on an unprecedented scale, and the breakdown of morale both at home and at the battle fronts by fear of extended and intensified bombing, are accepted and intended aims of our bombing policy.’” Unlike all the people that Harris tortured, Harris died peacefully at home in 1984.

Verse 34 says that the slave was made to pay back everything that he owed. Similarly, “Following the Second World War, West Germany took up payments. The 1953 London Agreement on German External Debts resulted in an agreement to pay 50 per cent of the remaining balance. The final payment was made on 3 October 2010, settling German loan debts in regard to reparations.” (One could say that Germany only paid back half of the initial debt, but the Greek word is in the present (‘being owed’) and they did pay back all of what the Allies said they owed without any subsequent haggling.)

Forgiving from the Heart 18:35

Verse 35 concludes with a warning. “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your hearts.” The same means ‘in this way, thus’. In other words, this story should be viewed as a general principle, and not as a specific incident. Going further, the ‘heavenly father’ lives in Teacher thought and deals with general Teacher principles. Therefore, if the heavenly father is doing something to some group, this does not mean that God has deciding to focus upon that group. Instead, it means that a general cognitive principle exists which will naturally come into play.

The second half of verse 35 describes what will cause this cognitive principle to become active. Forgive means to ‘send away, leave alone’. Each means ‘each unit viewed distinctly, as opposed to as a group’. And heart means ‘the affective center of our being’ and refers to MMNs of personal identity. ‘Heart’ is used many times in Matthew, but this is the only time that it is referred to in the plural as ‘hearts’. Thus, this is a principle that applies to the hearts of a group of people. (It is uncertain from the Greek whether ‘each’ refers to the people doing the forgiving, or the people being forgiven.)

Saying this as clearly as possible, the Holocaust should not be viewed primarily as something unspeakably evil done by the Nazis to the Jews. Instead, it should be viewed as something that any modern group is capable of doing if that group adopts an attitude of bitterness. That is because we now live in a technological society in which Teacher thought will naturally inflate Mercy hurts into universal issues. Thus, ‘they did it to us’ will turn into the universal statement of ‘they are evil’, which will be then accompanied by a search for ‘final solutions’.

Applying this to Germany, I suggest the primary blame can be placed upon the ‘stab in the back’ theory. Wikipedia summarizes this theory: “The stab-in-the-back myth was the notion, widely believed and promulgated in right-wing circles in Germany after 1918, that the German Army did not lose World War I on the battlefield but was instead betrayed by the civilians on the home front.” This became one of the founding myths of Nazism. “When the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, they made the legend an integral part of their official history of the 1920s, portraying the Weimar Republic as the work of the ‘November criminals’ who stabbed the nation in the back to seize power while betraying it. The Nazi propaganda depicted Weimar as ‘a morass of corruption, degeneracy, national humiliation, ruthless persecution of the honest ‘national opposition’—fourteen years of rule by Jews, Marxists, and ‘cultural Bolsheviks’, who had at last been swept away by the National Socialist movement under Adolf Hitler and the victory of the ‘national revolution’ of 1933.”

The Allies in World War II demanded unconditional surrender from the Germans partially to ensure that this myth would not be resurrected. “The Allied policy of unconditional surrender was devised in 1943 in part to avoid a repetition of the stab-in-the-back theme. According to historian John Wheeler-Bennett, speaking from the British perspective, it was necessary for the Nazi régime and/or the German Generals to surrender unconditionally in order to bring home to the German people that they had lost the War by themselves; so that their defeat should not be attributed to a ‘stab in the back’.”

Looking at this more generally, I suggest that communism is also an example of ‘not forgiving your brother from your hearts’. We have looked at how German bitterness against the Allies laid the seeds for Nazism and the tragedy of the Second World War. In Russia, the defeat at the end of World War I was followed by the Russian Revolution, and one key characteristics of Russian communism was that there was always an enemy to blame and fight.

Lenin and Stalin based Russian communism upon hatred for the enemy. “From the October Revolution onward, Lenin had used repression against perceived enemies of the Bolsheviks as a systematic method of instilling fear and facilitating social control, especially during the campaign commonly referred to as the Red Terror. This policy continued and intensified under Stalin, periods of heightened repression including the deportation of kulaks who opposed collectivization, and a severe famine in Ukraine.”

Wikipedia describes this systematic elimination of these ‘kulaks’. “The word kulak originally referred to former peasants in the Russian Empire who became wealthier during the Stolypin reform from 1906 to 1914… According to political theories of Marxism–Leninism in the early 20th century, the kulaks were class enemies of the poorer peasants. Vladimir Lenin described them as ‘bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten on famine’, declaring revolution against them to liberate poor peasants, farm laborers, and proletariat (the much smaller class of urban and industrial workers). During the first five-year plan, Stalin’s all-out campaign to take ownership and organisation from the peasantry meant ‘peasants with a couple of cows or five or six acres [about 2 ha] more than their neighbors’ were labeled kulaks. Under dekulakization, government officials violently seized farms and killed resisters, deported others to labor camps, and drove many to migrate to the cities following the loss of their property to the collective.”

Stalin’s regime became defined by hatred for the enemy. Enemies were found within the leadership. “Many military leaders were convicted of treason, and a large-scale purge of Red Army officers followed. The repression of so many formerly high-ranking revolutionaries and party members led Leon Trotsky to claim that a ‘river of blood’ separated Stalin's regime from that of Lenin.” And enemies were found among the people. “Historians now estimate that nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were executed in the course of the terror, with the great mass of victims merely ‘ordinary’ Soviet citizens: workers, peasants, homemakers, teachers, priests, musicians, soldiers, pensioners, ballerinas, and beggars.”

One article “estimates that Hitler was responsible for between 11 million and 12 million noncombatant deaths, while Stalin was responsible for at least 6 million, and as many as 9 million if ‘foreseeable’ deaths caused by deportation, starvation, and incarceration in concentration camps are included.” Skipping forward in time, that same article estimates that Mao of communist China was responsible for about 40 million deaths. Hatred for the enemy was exemplified by Mao’s Cultural Revolution. “Mao launched the movement in May 1966 with the help of Cultural Revolution Group, soon calling on young people to ‘bombard the headquarters’ and proclaiming that ‘to rebel is justified’. To eliminate his rivals within the CPC and in schools, factories, and government institutions, Mao charged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society and that they aimed to restore capitalism. He insisted that revisionists be removed through violent class struggle.”

Summarizing, verse 35 says that “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your hearts.” This verse describes two steps. The first step is not letting go of my brother or forgiving my brother, but rather regarding him as the enemy. The second step is that Teacher thought in heaven transforms this Mercy hatred into a universal Teacher system.

Saying this more clearly, tribal conflict has always been motivated by MMNs of xenophobia against those who are different. But tribal xenophobia turns genocidal when the physical world becomes transformed by science and technology. That is because internal MMNs of hatred become magnified by implicit Teacher emotions created by the physical expression of science and technology, while technology makes it possible to oppress hated tribes more efficiently and effectively.

This combination can be seen in the Marxist slogan of ‘seizing the means of production’. Wikipedia clarifies that “‘capitalism’ is the name for the capitalist mode of production in which the means of production are owned privately by a small class (the bourgeoisie) who profits off the labor of the working class (the proletariat). Communism is a mode of production in which the means of production are not owned by anyone, but shared in common, without class based exploitation.” Notice that the hatred of ‘the exploiters’ is happening within the context of Teacher-driven factories and ‘means of production’. Mercy hatred for ‘them’ then becomes magnified into a Teacher system of class struggle.

One final comment before we move onto the next chapter. Did Matthew 18 predict the two World Wars and the Holocaust? I suggest not. Instead, they predicted a certain cognitive sequence, and the two World Wars and the Holocaust describe the way in which this cognitive sequence expressed itself in real life. However, it is possible that the same cognitive sequence could have expressed itself in other ways that would have been less genocidal. This is merely a theoretical question for the chapters of Matthew that have already been fulfilled. But for the final chapters of Matthew that apply to the future, I suggest that the way in which the divine plan will be turned into reality has not yet been determined. That is why it is imperative for current society to apply the principle of verse 35 in order to ensure that the tragedy of the past is not repeated in the future.

Departing from Galilee 19:1-3

Before we start looking at this chapter, I should warn that the tone of this essay will start to change. That is because we are finally starting to discuss our own era. Instead of examining how some previous society dealt with its problems, we will now start to look at how our society is dealing with our problems.

Chapter 19 starts with a transition. “When Jesus had finished these words, He departed from Galilee and came into the region of Judea beyond the Jordan; and many crowds followed Him, and He healed them there” (v. 1-2). Finished means ‘to bring to an end, complete, fulfill’. Words is logos. The last use of logos was in 18:23 where the king started to settle accounts with his slaves. We interpreted that as the Paris Conference attempting to bring technical order to the postwar world. Finally, the Greek uses the word ‘to come into being’. Thus, a more literal rendition would be, ‘and it came into being when Jesus had completed these logos-es’. In other words, all of the previous machinations and struggles have finally come to an end. This describes most of the world after the Second World War.

Jesus then departs from Galilee. Galilee means ‘to roll’, which we have used to represent the cycles of society. Region means ‘a boundary’. ‘Into the region’ suggests a new focus upon a certain aspect of existence. Judea means ‘praised’. Jordan means ‘to come or go down, descend’. Beyond the Jordan refers literally to the area to the east of the Jordan River, which is currently in the country of Jordan. ‘Jordan’ was last mentioned in 4:25 where the phrase ‘beyond the Jordan’ was also used.

Mental symmetry suggests that the path to personal transformation can be divided into the three stages of constructing a concept of God in Teacher thought, following a concept of God through righteousness, and then becoming reborn in Mercy thought. This three stage process is symbolized by the Israelites leaving Egypt, going through the wilderness, and then entering the Promised Land. These three stages are separated by two major transitions, represented by leaving Egypt by going through the Red Sea, and entering the Promised Land by going through the Jordan River. Thus, the ‘other side of the Jordan’ would represent following the first two steps of personal transformation, but holding back or being unable to take the third step. A mindset of absolute truth will naturally lead to this kind of incomplete transformation, because the religious self-denial that accompanies absolute truth will motivate a person to leave the ‘Egypt’ of hedonistic pleasure in order to follow God in the wilderness, but this same attitude of self-denial will prevent personal identity from becoming reborn within a Promised Land. That is because rebirth raises my personal status which will cause my mind to doubt absolute truth.

Verse 2 says that many crowds followed Jesus. Heal is the familiar word that ‘usually involves natural elements’, and ‘healing them there’ suggests that many groups of people are being helped by this partial application of the process of personal transformation.

One can see these various elements after World War II. The cycle of struggles between European powers had come to an end because the United States had emerged as the dominant world power. Most countries praised the United States, and the Western world experienced a rebuilding and transformation guided by the example and financial aid of the United States.

This rebuilding expressed itself especially through the Marshall Plan. “President Harry Truman signed the Marshall Plan on April 3, 1948… During the four years the plan was in effect, the United States donated $17 billion (equivalent to $202.18 billion in 2019) in economic and technical assistance… By 1952, as the funding ended, the economy of every participant state had surpassed pre-war levels; for all Marshall Plan recipients, output in 1951 was at least 35% higher than in 1938. Over the next two decades, Western Europe enjoyed unprecedented growth and prosperity.” Quoting further from Wikipedia, “Belgian economic historian Herman Van der Wee concludes the Marshall Plan was a ‘great success’: ‘It gave a new impetus to reconstruction in Western Europe and made a decisive contribution to the renewal of the transport system, the modernization of industrial and agricultural equipment, the resumption of normal production, the raising of productivity, and the facilitating of intra-European trade.’” Notice how this rebuilding is happening at the second level of righteousness, because the way that things are done in Server thought is being altered to reflect integrated Teacher understanding.

One can see both ‘praise’ of American prosperity and the partial transformation of scientific production in the following quote. “A high priority was increasing industrial productivity in Europe, which proved one of the more successful aspects of the Marshall Plan. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) contributed heavily to the success of the Technical Assistance Program… The BLS could then use its expertise in the field of productive efficiency to implement a productivity drive in each Western European country receiving Marshall Plan aid. Counterpart funds were used to finance large-scale tours of American industry. France, for example, sent 500 missions with 4700 businessmen and experts to tour American factories, farms, stores, and offices. They were especially impressed with the prosperity of American workers, and how they could purchase an inexpensive new automobile for nine months work, compared to 30 months in France.”

The Pharisees show up in verse 3. “Some Pharisees came to Him, testing Him and asking, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?’” Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’ and we have interpreted Pharisees as the Mercy divisions of holiness that are required to maintain a mindset of absolute truth. Pharisees were last mentioned in 16:6-12 which warned against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. We interpreted that as the 19th century combination of religious pietism and skepticism.

One can see a Pharisaic mindset in at least two ways in postwar America. First, there was the Cold War, which divided the world into the ‘good’ democratic West and the ‘evil’ communist East. Summarizing, “The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union and the United States and their respective allies, the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc, after World War II. The period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Wikipedia describes the mindset of ‘us versus them’ expressed by the Truman Doctrine. “By 1947, US president Harry S. Truman was outraged by perceived resistance of the Soviet Union to American demands… The US government responded to this announcement by adopting a policy of containment, with the goal of stopping the spread of Communism. Truman delivered a speech calling for the allocation of $400 million to intervene in the war and unveiled the Truman Doctrine, which framed the conflict as a contest between free peoples and totalitarian regimes.” This division led to the infamous Iron Curtain. Wikipedia explains that the Iron Curtain started as a political barrier but turned into a physical barrier. “The term symbolizes the efforts by the Soviet Union (USSR) to block itself and its satellite states from open contact with the West and its allied states. On the east side of the Iron Curtain were the countries that were connected to or influenced by the Soviet Union, while on the west side were the countries that were NATO members or nominally neutral. Separate international economic and military alliances were developed on each side of the Iron Curtain.”

This pharisaical attitude was largely justified. To a first approximation, it was possible to divide between the free and democratic countries of America and her allies, and the oppressed tyrannies of Russia and her communist minions. But one is still dealing with a pharisaical mindset that treats ‘us’ as holy and good, and ‘them’ as evil and bad. And the Soviet bloc also expressed a pharisaical mindset by responding to the Marshall plan with Comecon. Wikipedia summarizes that “Moscow was concerned about the Marshall Plan. Comecon was intended to prevent countries in the Soviet sphere of influence from moving towards that of the United States. Comecon was the Eastern Bloc’s response to the formation in Western Europe of the Marshall Plan and the OEEC, which later became the OECD.”

A pharisaical attitude can also be seen in American Christianity after World War II. As Wikipedia explains, “The 1950s saw a boom in the Evangelical church in America. The post–World War II prosperity experienced in the U.S. also had its effects on the church. Church buildings were erected in large numbers, and the Evangelical church’s activities grew along with this expansive physical growth… Although the Evangelical community worldwide is diverse, the ties that bind all Evangelicals are still apparent: a ‘high view’ of Scripture, belief in the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, and the bodily resurrection of Christ.” As this quote states, the primary characteristics of evangelical Christianity are a belief in the absolute truth of the Bible, combined with a pharisaical division of the world into a saved ‘us’ and unsaved ‘them’.

Going further, America only entered World War I in the final year of the war, and America (and Canada) went through the two world wars without experiencing any physical devastation. Thus, the mental connection between God-and-country that was eliminated in Europe by World War I survived intact in America. The end result was that the average American equated the pharisaical political divide between free America and communist Russia with the evangelical divide between Christian America and godless Russia. And to a first approximation, this was a valid division, because America was predominantly Christian while the Soviet Union was virulently anti-religious. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “Soviet Marxist-Leninist policy consistently advocated for the control, suppression, and ultimately, the elimination of religious beliefs, and it actively encouraged the propagation of Marxist-Leninist atheism in the Soviet Union… The Communist Party destroyed churches, synagogues, and mosques, ridiculed, harassed, incarcerated and executed religious leaders, flooded the schools and media with anti-religious teachings, and it introduced a belief system called ‘scientific atheism,’ with its own rituals, promises and proselytizers. According to some sources, the total number of Christian victims under the Soviet regime has been estimated to range around 12 to 20 million.”

But verse 3 describes this pharisaical mindset as hypocritical. That is because the Pharisees ask Jesus a question in order to test him, and the word test actually means ‘tempt’. It was used twice in the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 and once in 16:1 to describe the Pharisees and Sadducees tempting Jesus for a sign from heaven. We interpreted that incident as liberal Christianity demanding miracles from religion. That demand was a temptation, because the liberal Christian did not really want to experience a miracle, but rather was making this demand in order to prove that miracles do not exist. I suggest that the question in verse 3 is also being asked not to get an honest answer, but rather to avoid the issue.

The question has to do with divorce: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” (The phrase ‘for a man’ is probably not in the original Greek.) Divorce means ‘to set free, release’. Lawful means ‘permitted, lawful’. The use of this word indicates that the topic is being approached from a technical, legal mindset. Reason means ‘cause, reason’, and any means ‘each part of the totality’. One could dismiss this verse as another example of ‘biblical male dominance’, and it is true that women had few rights in Roman times. But, as usual, we will take a cognitive perspective and look at this verse in terms of male and female thought. In brief, male technical thought is trying to get rid of the mental networks of female thought.

I suggest that the analogy of a man divorcing a woman applies to the postwar period, because the same male technical thought was being applied to a new set of female mental networks. Looking first at the male thought, World War II was primarily a war of technology and production. “Compared to previous wars, World War II had the greatest effect on the technology and devices that are used today. Technology also played a greater role in the conduct of World War II than in any other war in history, and had a critical role in its final outcome.” This technology continued after the war. Quoting from Wikipedia, “One of the key factors in postwar prosperity was a technology boom due to the experience of the war. Manufacturing had made enormous strides and it was now possible to produce consumer goods in quantities and levels of sophistication unseen before 1945. Acquisition of technology from occupied Germany also proved an asset, as it was sometimes more advanced than its American counterpart, especially in the optics and audio equipment fields.”

Turning now to female thought, mental networks had been shaped by the depression of the 1930s, as illustrated by the homemaking skills of women. Wikipedia describes that “In the United States, agricultural organizations sponsored programs to teach housewives how to optimize their gardens and to raise poultry for meat and eggs. Rural women made feed sack dresses and other items for themselves and their families and homes from feed sacks… Cheap foods were used, such as soups, beans and noodles. They purchased the cheapest cuts of meat—sometimes even horse meat—and recycled the Sunday roast into sandwiches and soups. They sewed and patched clothing, traded with their neighbors for outgrown items, and made do with colder homes. New furniture and appliances were postponed until better days.” Similarly, “In Germany, the government tried to reshape private household consumption under the Four-Year Plan of 1936 to achieve German economic self-sufficiency. The Nazi women’s organizations, other propaganda agencies and the authorities all attempted to shape such consumption as economic self-sufficiency was needed to prepare for and to sustain the coming war. The organizations, propaganda agencies and authorities employed slogans that called up traditional values of thrift and healthy living.” This depression mindset of austerity was reinforced by government rationing during World War II. For instance, “With the onset of World War II, numerous challenges confronted the American people. The government found it necessary to ration food, gas, and even clothing during that time. Americans were asked to conserve on everything. With not a single person unaffected by the war, rationing meant sacrifices for all.”

This austerity changed abruptly after World War II, particularly in the United States. PBS explains that “At the end of World War II, American soldiers returned home to a country quite different from the one they had left four years earlier. Wartime production had helped pull America’s economy out of depression, and from the late 1940s on, young adults saw a remarkable rise in their spending power. Jobs were plentiful, wages were higher, and because of the lack of consumer goods during the war, Americans were eager to spend.” The new American consumer tried to reconcile a splurge in spending with the ingrained attitude of austerity and self-denial: “After World War II, consumer spending no longer meant just satisfying an indulgent material desire. In fact, the American consumer was praised as a patriotic citizen in the 1950s, contributing to the ultimate success of the American way of life. ‘The good purchaser devoted to 'more, newer and better' was the good citizen,’ historian Lizabeth Cohen explained, ‘since economic recovery after a decade and a half of depression and war depended on a dynamic mass consumption economy.’” Notice how the same male thinking of technical production is attempting to divorce the old mental networks of austerity and self-denial in order to embrace new mental networks of blatant consumerism.

Male and Female 19:4-6

Jesus responds by emphasizing the need for both male and female thought. “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female’” (19:4). I know that it has become almost taboo today to suggest that one should even think in terms of male and female. But the fact still remains that “In humans, most mammals, and some other species, two of the chromosomes, called the X chromosome and Y chromosome, code for sex… Offspring have two sex chromosomes: an offspring with two X chromosomes will develop female characteristics, and an offspring with an X and a Y chromosome will develop male characteristics.” This is not a matter of personal opinion, but rather describes how the physical body functions.

Applying this to cognition, it is possible to distinguish between male thought that emphasizes technical thought, and female thought that emphasizes mental networks. These two forms of thinking are different. Looking at verse 4 in more detail, read implies focusing upon the content of absolute truth. ‘Read’ was only used previously in 12:3-5, which talked about David eating the consecrated bread. We interpreted that as questioning the church-approved system of Scholasticism. Here, a fundamental principle of absolute truth is being questioned.

Created ‘applies only to God who alone can make what was not there before’, and this word is only used once in Matthew. As the NASB indicates, ‘them’ is not in the original Greek. Beginning means ‘beginning, origin’ and this is the first use of this word in Matthew. And God is also not specifically mentioned. Instead, some being who created ‘ex nihilo’ from the beginning is being described. Male means ‘male, man’ and is used once in Matthew. Female means ‘female’ and comes from the word ‘female breast’. It is also used only once in Matthew. Verse 4 says that male and female were made, which is the normal word ‘make, do’. Thus, two concepts are being related. The first concept is that the universe had some sort of a beginning before which nothing existed. The second concept is that living in the universe leads inevitably to a division between male and female thought.

The first concept can be seen in the Big Bang theory. Wikipedia summarizes that ‘The Big Bang theory is a cosmological model of the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution… If the observed conditions are extrapolated backwards in time using the known laws of physics, the prediction is that just before a period of very high density there was a singularity. Current knowledge is insufficient to determine if anything existed prior to the singularity.” In other words, all of existing matter was initially created out of nothing, but it is not known how this happened. I have attempted in another essay to distinguish which aspects of the Big Bang theory are rooted in physics and which are based in assumptions. The goal of this essay is not to determine whether or not the Big Bang theory is correct, but rather to observe that it became publicly known in 1949, which is the postwar period that we are just discussing.

The theory was initially proposed in 1931 by the Belgian Catholic priest Georges Lemaître, but it was first given the name Big Bang theory in 1949 by the astronomer Fred Hoyle. Wikipedia adds that “It was actually Hoyle who coined the name of Lemaître’s theory, referring to it as ‘this 'big bang' idea’ during a radio broadcast on 28 March 1949, on the BBC Third Programme… Hoyle repeated the term in further broadcasts in early 1950, as part of a series of five lectures entitled The Nature of The Universe. The text of each lecture was published in The Listener a week after the broadcast, the first time that the term ‘big bang’ appeared in print.” Going further, the first atomic bombs had just been detonated, making it obvious that the something of matter could be transformed into the nothingness of energy.

My basic premise is that God is an infinite being. An infinite being can deal simultaneously with all of the details of the entire universe. Saying this more simply, an infinite being can be both detailed and universal. A finite being, in contrast, has limited attention, thought, and ability. Therefore, a limited being somehow has to make do with incomplete information. One option is to hold on to details at the expense of universality. That summarizes the essence of male thought, which uses technical thought to focus upon some specialization in a reasonably detailed manner. The other option is to hold on to universality at the expense of details. That summarizes the essence of female thought, which uses intuitive thought guided by mental networks to come up with universal answers that are usually good enough.

The post-war ‘divorce’ made the distinction between male and female thought clear. Male thought had fought in the war using weapons of unprecedented technology, and was continuing to fight a cold war using even newer weapons of unprecedented technology. Female thought, in contrast, had just made the switch from wartime austerity to postwar consumerism. This switch can be seen in the 1950s emphasis upon mothers and families, which was linked to the Cold War. PBS explains: “American society in the 1950s was geared toward the family. Marriage and children were part of the national agenda. And the Cold War was in part a culture war, with the American family at the center of the struggle. Embedded in the propaganda of the time was the idea that the nuclear family was what made Americans superior to the Communists. American propaganda showed the horrors of Communism in the lives of Russian women. They were shown dressed in gunnysacks, as they toiled in drab factories while their children were placed in cold, anonymous day care centers. In contrast to the ‘evils’ of Communism, an image was promoted of American women, with their feminine hairdos and delicate dresses, tending to the hearth and home as they enjoyed the fruits of capitalism, democracy, and freedom.”

Verse 5 then turns to marriage. “And said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” This is a quote from Genesis 2:24, while the phrase ‘male and female he created them’ comes from Genesis 1:27. And the reference to God as creator can be found in Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the 1950s, almost everyone in the West, and certainly in America, would have known that these words were written in the Bible.

Turning to the details of verse 5, leave means ‘to leave, leave behind’. The word man means ‘mankind’ and not specifically man. Father and mother are standard words. Joined is used once in Matthew and means ‘glued together’. Reason means ‘for the sake of, on account of’. Become does not mean ‘to come into being’, but rather means ‘to exist’. And flesh refers to the physical body. Looking at this at a surface level, marriage and the family were central in postwar America. Quoting from the PBS article, “In the 1950s, women felt tremendous societal pressure to focus their aspirations on a wedding ring. The U.S. marriage rate was at an all-time high and couples were tying the knot, on average, younger than ever before. Getting married right out of high school or while in college was considered the norm. A common stereotype was that women went to college to get a ‘Mrs.’ (pronounced M.R.S.) degree, meaning a husband.”

This ideal was portrayed on television. “The 1950s nuclear family emerged in the post WWII era, as Americans faced the imminent threat of destruction from their Cold War enemies. The ideal nuclear family turned inward, hoping to make their home front safe, even if the world was not. The image that we recall, largely as a result of the American television shows of the time period, is the picture perfect family consisting of the bread-winning, rule-making middle-class father, the doting housewife who was thrilled to wake up every single day and clean the house and cook all of the meals, and their children who never seemed to get into any sort of trouble that could not be fixed.”

We are focusing upon America in these quotes. I suggest that this is justified because in the 1950s, the world largely consisted of America and her allies versus the Communists. Everything else paled in significance.

Turning now to the cognitive perspective, verse 5 summarizes the transition that happened in postwar society. The ‘mother’ of society was provided by the MMNs of frugality and self-denial taught by the Great Depression, the war, and a mindset of absolute truth. The ‘father’ of society came from the technical thinking in science and technology that had just been expressed through modern weaponry. The technical thinking of postwar society was leaving both of these behind in order to marry the ‘bride’ of the consumer society.

Notice that Jesus is treating this transition as a ‘growing up and marrying’ while the Pharisees are thinking in terms of divorce. This is because a Pharisee naturally thinks in terms of divorce and is mentally incapable of truly marrying. Pharisee means ‘purist or separatist’, which refers to the division between holy and secular that must exist within Mercy thought to protect absolute truth. Absolute truth is emotionally supported by MMNs of holiness, while normal life is associated with secular MMNs. Absolute truth will only survive mentally if the MMNs of holiness have much greater emotional power than secular MMNs. This describes a mindset of divorce because one is divorcing oneself from secular MMNs in order to focus upon religious MMNs. In contrast, marrying implies experiencing personal fulfilment within the secular MMNs of daily life, which violates the attitude of personal self-denial that accompanies absolute truth.

Leaving father and mother is different than divorce. The childish mind is based in mental networks of parents and other authority figures. Leaving father and mother means growing up inside and learning to think for oneself, which includes letting go of the mindset of absolute truth in order to live within universal truth. This leaving behind of childish MMNs is then followed by ‘joining one’s wife’. Join means ‘glued together’. What happens cognitively is that holiness and absolute truth become replaced by value. Value uses technical male thought to preserve, protect, and improve the mental networks of female thought. This becomes an integrated combination that is glued together. This should happen externally within the family, and it should also happen internally within the mind of every individual—man or woman.

But the average man did not become ‘glued’ to his wife in the 1950s, either physically or cognitively. One website elaborates: “During the 1950s, television gender roles were stricter and more rigid than they ever had been. The men put on their business suits every morning, went to their conforming jobs, became part of the American rat race, and then were expected to come home and be a father figure and a husband. These were oftentimes the same men that had fought on battlefields of WWII or the Korean War, and now their duties had changed, so that they had to fight Communism at home by being the perfect American man… During the 1950’s, it was of the utmost importance to socialize boys strictly as boys. Through these television shows, boys were shown how ‘real men’ were supposed to act. These shows display clear differences between men and women, with women as subordinate. For boys in the 1950s, ‘being a man’ and never doing anything that anyone could consider feminine was a lesson taught to them by their fathers and by the popular culture of the time.” Summarizing, men replaced the absolute truth of the military officer with the authority of the company boss. Men spent their time at the job away from home. Men were supposed to suppress the feminine side of their mind and remain mentally fragmented.

And men and women did not become ‘one flesh’ because they spent most of their physical existence physically apart. Quoting further from the same website, “The father was a workingman who left in the morning and came back at night, ready for his wife to serve him dinner. The fathers were not depicted as frequently as the rest of the family, because the storylines centered on the home. Since men spent the majority of their lives outside of the home, and were not involved with household chores, the dominant screen space was reserved for women and children… It is the absence of the men in the home in these television shows that reinforces that boys and men simply do not belong there.”

Verse 6 continues, “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” Jesus repeats the statement of the physical flesh of male and female becoming one. This principle applies to physical marriage and sex. That is because sex generates strong emotional experiences, and every human is trapped within a physical body that cannot be pulled apart and cannot be changed in appearance. Thus, having sex with multiple partners will fragment the mind because John and Fred are different people with different physical bodies, which means that having sex with John will create a strong mental network that cannot be integrated with the mental network that is created by having sex with Fred.

But this principle also applies cognitively. Verse 6 is describing male and female being integrated at both a Teacher level and at a Mercy level. The Teacher level can be seen in the phrase ‘What therefore God has joined together’. Join together actually means ‘jointly-yoked’ and is only used here and in the parallel passage in Mark. Separate comes from a word that means ‘open, vacated space’. In other words, God in Teacher thought has yoked together male and female thought, like two plow animals being yoked together. Humans, in contrast, want to place a space between these two. Applying this to Western society, many women had learned technical skills in the war and people were buying technical gadgets for their home. Going the other way many postwar men worked in offices that did not require male physical strength but rather female communication skills. I know that these comments sound sexist, but the point is that male and female thought were now physically overlapping to a significant extent, thanks to science and technology. However, postwar society responded to this overlap by creating a physical separation between men and women.

The general consensus today is that there are two options. Either one divides men and women into distinctive roles, as was done in the 1950s, or one declares that there is no difference between the genders, as is being done today. Matthew 19 suggests something different, which is that male and female are distinct but also need to be integrated. Looking at this cognitively, having a fully functioning mind requires developing both male and female thought and then connecting them together. This relates to the idea mentioned earlier of functioning as a finite person within the real world. Male thought focuses upon technical details in order to make careful decisions in some limited area, while female thought is guided by intuition to come up quickly with integrated solutions. These two mental strategies are different and need to be kept distinct. But they also need to learn from each other and need to be used in an integrated manner. One can see this combination in the intuitive expert, who is guided by a trained intuition and is able to move smoothly between intuitive response and technical analysis. This distinction and relationship can also be seen in dual process theory.

Certificate of Divorce 19:7-12

Returning to Matthew, the Pharisees respond to Jesus by continuing to talk about divorce. “They said to Him, ‘Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away?’” (v. 7) Moses was previously mentioned in the Transfiguration in 17:3-4, and Moses refers to a system of law that is ‘drawn from the water’ of Mercy experiences. The phrase ‘Moses command’ emphasizes this idea of basing a system of law in MMNs of emotional status. Certificate is used once in Matthew and means ‘a paper, book’. Divorce means ‘a forsaking’ and this word is only used as a noun three times, each time in the phrase ‘certificate of divorce’. And send away means ‘to set free’ and is normally used to describe divorce.

Jesus pointed out in verse 6 that God in Teacher thought has brought male and female thought together. The Pharisees point out in verse 7 that Moses in Mercy thought is commanding male thought to send female thought away. If one interprets verse 7 as applying to physical marriage, then one must interpret this verse as a hypothetical statement. The Pharisees are describing the procedure that should be followed if one decides to divorce. But there is no ‘if’ in this verse. Instead, the words read as if Moses is commanding to divorce and send away. And ‘her’ is not in all the original manuscripts, which means that verse 7 could be interpreted as man divorcing woman or woman divorcing man. Looking at this cognitively, instead of recognizing that Teacher thought is bringing male thought and female thought together, a Teacher system is being constructed—a book of rules and regulations—to keep these two apart. One can see this in the enforced gender roles of the 1950s. Men were told that they must not develop female thought. Men were sent off to work to ensure that they did not get mentally contaminated by female thought. And when men encountered women at work, then this happened within a ‘book’ of corporate rules, ensuring that male thought was not contaminated by feminine intuition.

Why? Because people were still thinking in terms of Moses and laws drawn from the water of Mercy experience. If law and order was to be preserved, then men had to maintain their honor and their dignity. The solution is not to attack male thought as inappropriate male privilege. Instead, male thought needs to gain the mental confidence that is required to function in the midst of female emotions and intuition. Using a physical illustration, when man meets woman and feels uneasy, the solution is not to cover up the woman in a shapeless garment, or to pretend that woman is not woman. Instead, the solution is to teach man how to function intelligently in the presence of woman. Islam addresses this problem by physically covering women up with burkas. The 1950s were doing something similar at a cognitive level. Saying this another way, men may be physically stronger than women, but they are psychologically less resilient. That is because technical thought is based upon Perceiver facts and Server sequences, and will only survive intact in the midst of emotional pressure if these facts and sequences are backed up by sufficient mental confidence. And female thought provides emotional pressure.

Jesus answers their question in verse 8. “He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.’” Hardness of heart is used once in Matthew, and combines the word ‘hard because dry’ and ‘heart’. Looking at this cognitively, the heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. Liquid represents Mercy experiences, while hardness describes solid Perceiver facts. ‘Hardness of heart’ produces solid Perceiver facts by eliminating Mercy emotions from personal identity.

‘Hardness of heart’ is illustrated by a man acting tough, turning to a sobbing woman, and saying ‘just the facts ma’am’. This phrase became part of common vocabulary in 1953 as a result of a short satire. Wikipedia explains that “the spoof combined the tale of ‘St. George and the Dragon’ with the popular 1950s radio-TV series Dragnet. The recording was a #1 hit, selling over one million copies in the first three weeks. The cast featured Freberg, Butler, June Foray and Hy Averback. Freberg used a variation of the line ‘Just the facts, ma’am,’ which was popularly associated with Dragnet despite never being used in the series.” And “Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series portrayed police work as dangerous and heroic. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers.”

Permitted means ‘to turn to, entrust, hence to permit’. Divorce means ‘to set free’. And wife is explicitly mentioned. Looking at this cognitively, a system of truth that is based in Mercy experiences requires that male thought set itself free of the emotions of female thought. That is because the Perceiver facts of male thought are actually being birthed by the emotional experiences of female thought. Therefore, male thought has to divorce itself of female emotions in order to acquire Perceiver facts that are independent of Mercy emotions. In contrast, a mindset of universal truth looks for truth in connections that are repeated. This definition of truth is by its very nature independent of Mercy emotions. Saying this more clearly, how an experience feels is independent of how this experience connects to other experiences. This independence allows male thought to coexist with female thought.

Using an example that is currently in the news, the coronavirus spreads through connections. It spreads most quickly when many people are closely connected together in some social environment. This connection has nothing to do with the purpose for which one gathers together. The coronavirus does not care if people are worshiping in church, protesting that black lives matter, attending political rallies, or attempting to demonstrate personal freedom. However, a mindset that is based in absolute truth will find it difficult to separate people and their emotions from the connections between people. Thus, enforcing social distancing will be interpreted as attacking the church or suppressing political expression.

Continuing with verse 8, Jesus refers again to the ‘beginning, origin’, a word that was used for the first time in Matthew in verse 4. Has been means ‘to come into being’. And this way means ‘in this manner, in this way’. In other words, nothing has come into being since the beginning to make things work in this way. Applying this to Western society, postwar prosperity led to a new technological society that was unlike anything that had existed before. But even though male technical thought was now far more pervasive than it had been previously, this does not change the fundamental relationship between male and female thought.

Verse 9 is normally interpreted as providing a rationale for biblically justified divorce. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another woman commits adultery.” The word fornication is the source of the English word pornography and is derived from ‘to sell off’. The idea is that one is selling off true value in order to gain peripheral wealth. This could mean selling off mental wholeness in order to achieve sexual gratification, or it could mean selling one’s soul to a company or organization in order to make a living. This is relevant because male technical thought is always driven by some emotional Mercy bottom line or some Teacher paradigm. Thus, if male technical thought attempts to protect itself from emotional pressure by distancing itself from female thought, then male technical thought will inevitably become emotionally driven by some lesser goal in either Mercy or Teacher thought.

The solution runs deeper than having women join the workforce or telling men to help wife and family. That is because both of these solutions still assume an underlying mental divorce between work and home. It is this underlying division between work and home that needs to be addressed. Thus, ‘divorcing your wife because of fornication’ would mean abandoning some system with its mental networks if one has to sell one’s soul to that system in order to get ahead. This cognitive interpretation includes a literal interpretation, because physical fornication is usually preceded by cognitive fornication, and those who are attempting to justify physical fornication usually are following a mindset of cognitive fornication.

Continuing with verse 9, adultery means sex with a married man or woman. The NASB adds a second ‘woman’ but it is not in the original Greek. If ‘marrying another commits adultery’, then this can only be true if one is still mentally married to the previous partner, which means that the mental networks associated with the previous partner still remain, causing the mind to become mentally split.

Looking at this cognitively, I suggest that the investor who continually searches for the latest get-rich scheme is committing mental adultery, because he is abandoning his existing mental networks in order to pursue a new set of mental networks.

One might conclude that this cognitive interpretation would be too difficult to follow because it would rule out most of modern commerce. This is an accurate assessment, but I suggest that what would be eliminated is the part of modern commerce that does not generate wealth, leaving intact the aspect that does create wealth. More significantly, this would also eliminate the part of modern commerce that allows those who do not create wealth to siphon wealth away from those who do create wealth. (This may be somewhat of an overgeneralization, but I still think that the general principle remains.)

And the disciples also conclude that what Jesus is saying is too difficult to follow. “The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.” Looking at this physically, ‘I am a red-blooded man. I could not handle being tied down to a family’. Looking at this in more detail, the word relationship means ‘cause, reason’ and was translated as ‘reason’ in verse 3. In verse 3, Pharisees asked Jesus if it was lawful to divorce a wife for any reason. And in verse 10, the disciples say ‘If this is the reason of the man with a wife…’ Presumably, the disciples are referring back to the limited reason for divorce given in verse 9. (This word ‘reason’ is only used one other time as a noun in Matthew.) In other words, the disciples are saying that if marriage is so restrictive, that it is better not to get married in the first place. Looking at this cognitively, the disciples are saying that if technical thought is supposed to stick with a certain set of mental networks without being able to move on, then it is better to use technical thought without adding mental networks.

Better means to ‘combine in a way that brings a profit’. This is a Teacher definition, because ‘things coming together’ describes Teacher order-within-complexity. This word was previously used in 18:6 when Jesus said that it was better for a millstone to be hung around the neck and the person passed into the depths of the sea. We interpreted that as the horrors of World War I being better in Teacher thought than the alternative. Similarly, the disciples are concluding in verse 10 that it would be better for Teacher thought not to marry the mental networks of female thought. Saying this another way, they are concluding that male technical thought will lead to better Teacher results if the researcher avoids Teacher emotions by specializing and avoids Mercy emotions by remaining objective.

Jesus replies that “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given.” The word accept means to ‘to make space, place, room’. It is used four times in Matthew, three times in verses 11-12. This tells us that this is the core concept of Jesus’ reply. The word statement is logos, which we are interpreting as the paradigm of a technical specialization. Thus, a more literal translation is that ‘not all make space for this paradigm, except to whom it has been given’. Presumably, the paradigm that Jesus is referring to is the general principle that male technical thought needs to be integrated with female mental networks. Accepting this paradigm is a matter of making mental space because one has to open up the rigid specializations of technical thought in order to make room for the less rigorous intuitive thinking of female thought. Verse 6 said that God has brought male and female thought together, and a concept of God is based in Teacher thought. This means that male technical thought will view this Teacher unity as a paradigm while female mental networks will view this same Teacher unity as an intuitive theory. ‘Given’ implies that this paradigm of ‘making room for mental networks’ does not come naturally to male thought. Instead, it has to be given to male thought from some other source. That is because technical thought will naturally ignore and belittle anything that lies outside of the technical specialization, or does not meet up to the technical standards of the technical specialization. ‘You are just a dumb blonde. You do not know how to think. I need to leave you so that I can think. Stop talking, stay at home, look pretty, and take care of the kids.’ That basically summarizes how American men treated women in the 1950s. (And American culture spread throughout the world through television and movies.)

One website describes this combination. “The baby boom and the suburban boom went hand in hand. Almost as soon as World War II ended, developers… began to buy land on the outskirts of cities and use mass production techniques to build modest, inexpensive tract houses there. The G.I. Bill subsidized low-cost mortgages for returning soldiers, which meant that it was often cheaper to buy one of these suburban houses than it was to rent an apartment in the city. These houses were perfect for young families–they had informal ‘family rooms,’ open floor plans and backyards–and so suburban developments earned nicknames like ‘Fertility Valley’ and ‘The Rabbit Hutch.’ However, they were often not so perfect for the women who lived in them. In fact, the booms of the 1950s had a particularly confining effect on many American women. Advice books and magazine articles (‘Don’t Be Afraid to Marry Young,’ ‘Cooking To Me Is Poetry,’ ‘Femininity Begins At Home’) urged women to leave the workforce and embrace their roles as wives and mothers. The idea that a woman’s most important job was to bear and rear children was hardly a new one, but it began to generate a great deal of dissatisfaction among women who yearned for a more fulfilling life… This dissatisfaction, in turn, contributed to the rebirth of the feminist movement in the 1960s.”

I should emphasize that separating female thought from male thought is different than making space for female thought within male thought. In both cases, one is recognizing that female thought is different than male thought and also less rigorous than male thought. But in one case one is relegating female thought to take care of the home and the children, while in the other case one is recognizing that female thought adds a larger, more human picture to the specialized, mechanical, narrow-mindedness of male thought.

Verse 12 then describes three types of people who avoid mental networks. “For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” The word eunuch is only used in Matthew in this verse and means literally ‘alone in bed’. The only other time this word is used is in Acts 8:27-39 in the story of the Ethiopian eunuch.

The first category is ‘born that way from their mother’s womb’. Interpreted cognitively, these individuals are naturally attracted to male technical thought. In the extreme, this describes the autistic person. The second category ‘were made eunuchs by men’. Made eunuchs is a single word based in the word ‘eunuch’. And men refers to mankind. Interpreted cognitively, the social environment leads to an emphasis upon male technical thought. The third category ‘made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven’. Interpreted cognitively, they are emphasizing male technical thought in order to gain Teacher understanding. Notice that Jesus gives a Mercy reason, a social reason, and a Teacher reason.

This passage is traditionally interpreted as advocating celibacy. In other words, one accepts the statement that one should remain single like a eunuch. But I am not convinced that this is the right interpretation, because the word ‘relationship’ in verse 10 is the same as the word ‘reason’ in verse 3. In addition, verse 11 talks about a logos, which refers to Teacher thought, while verse 12 refers to the MMNs of a mother’s womb, the mental networks of human interaction, and the TMN of Teacher thought. Instead, I suggest that Jesus is saying that male technical thought will become separated from female mental networks for three reasons. The first reason is to become separated from the childish MMNs from which the mind initially develops. The second reason is to fit into the academic environment. The third reason is to do specialized abstract research. The end result will be the specialized and objective community of modern academia.

Verse 12 finishes by saying “He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” ‘This’ and ‘it’ give the impression that one is supposed to accept the idea of being a celibate Christian, but as the italics in the NASB indicate, these two words are not in the original Greek. And able means ‘to be able, to have power’. A more literal translation is ‘the having power to make space, make space!’ In other words, the command is to ‘make space’. The eunuch does not make space but rather is ‘alone in bed’. The eunuch has endurance, not power. Looking at this cognitively, male technical thought does not normally have the power to ‘make space’, but rather instinctively tries to squeeze everything within the limited framework of some technical specialization. This is known as Maslow’s hammer: ‘If the only tool you have is a hammer, treat everything as if it were a nail’. Thus, I suggest that verse 12 is saying that male thought needs to gain the power to make space for female thought—instead of responding in one of the three forms of celibacy.

I suggest that there is a cognitive reason why this passage has been interpreted as pro-celibacy. In simple terms, a mindset of absolute truth will naturally regard the female body and sex as evil. That is because absolute truth will only survive as long as personal identity is regarded as insignificant compared to the source of truth. Thus, following God will be interpreted as turning one’s back upon the childish mental networks that were acquired from growing up in a physical body. This leads naturally to the conclusion that God hates hedonistic pleasure. But the real goal is to transform childish MMNs and not just suppress them, which means satisfying physical desire in a manner that leads to long-term wholeness and happiness. One does that by developing male technical thought, and then making room for female mental networks. And one can see this principle applied to at least some extent in successful marriages.

Blessing Little Children 19:13-15

This may sound like a strange interpretation, but it is illustrated by the next three verses. In verse 13, the disciples have no space for children, but want to send them away. “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them.” Children means ‘little child in training’. Hands represent the detailed manipulations of technical thought. Lay on means ‘to lay upon, to place upon’ and has only been used once before in 9:18. Finally, pray means ‘to exchange wishes’. The word ‘pray’ was last used in 14:23, which we interpreted as the specialized research that was being done by French scientists during the time of the French Revolution. Putting this together, little children with their mental networks are being brought to incarnation, so that technical thought can be used to help them. This describes precisely what we have been discussing, which is making room in technical thought for mental networks. And ‘prayer’ means that one is doing this while interacting emotionally with a concept of God in Teacher thought, instead of restricting thought to some technical specialization.

The word rebuke means ‘warning to prevent something from going wrong’. Literally speaking, the disciples are saying, ‘Stay away from daddy’s things. You might wreck something.’ Saying this another way, ‘Don’t mess up my technical thinking with childish subjective emotions’. Looking at Western history, one can see an example of Jesus blessing the children in the research of Jean Piaget, who used technical scientific thought to analyze the cognitive development of children. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Piaget created the International Center for Genetic Epistemology in Geneva in 1955 while on the faculty of the University of Geneva and directed the Center until his death in 1980. The number of collaborations that its founding made possible, and their impact, ultimately led to the Center being referred to in the scholarly literature as ‘Piaget's factory’… However, his ideas did not become widely popularized until the 1960s. This then led to the emergence of the study of development as a major sub-discipline in psychology. By the end of the 20th century, Piaget was second only to B. F. Skinner as the most cited psychologist of that era.” In other words, Piaget was starting at this time to lay the hands of technical scientific thought upon little children in training, but it took a while before his research was regarded as appropriate.

Looking at this from a different perspective, the ‘little child in training’ was last mentioned in 18:2-5, and we interpreted that passage as the new consumer inventions of the late 19th century being superseded by military technology. Similarly, there was a flurry of new consumer gadgets after World War II. Quoting from Wikipedia, “At the center of middle-class culture in the 1950s was a growing demand for consumer goods; a result of the postwar prosperity, the increase in variety and availability of consumer products, and television advertising. America generated a steadily growing demand for better automobiles, clothing, appliances, family vacations and higher education. After the initial hurdles of the 1945-48 period were overcome, Americans found themselves flush with cash from wartime work due to there being little to buy for several years. The result was a mass consumer spending spree, with a huge and voracious demand for new homes, cars, and housewares. Increasing numbers enjoyed high wages, larger houses, better schools, more cars and home comforts like vacuum cleaners, washing machines—which were all made for labor-saving and to make housework easier. Inventions familiar in the early 21st century made their first appearance during this era.”

Jesus responds in verse 14, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Let alone means ‘to send away, leave alone, permit’. Hinder is used once in Matthew and means ‘to hinder’. This tells us that something is restricting the freedom of this new consumer society; something is blocking it.

I have mentioned numerous times that childish MMNs need to be transformed. Verse 14 may seem initially to contradict this, because it says that one should give freedom to childish MMNs. However, verse 14 also includes contains two critical aspects. First, the word child means ‘a child under training’. Childish MMNs are not being given the freedom to express themselves in any manner. Instead, the underlying assumption is that childish MMNs are being shaped and molded—the children are being trained. Second, the children are coming to incarnation. They are being taken through a technical plan that is designed to train them. For instance, a properly run school has classroom management that puts children under training, and it has a curriculum that leads children through a carefully constructed path of graduated lessons. This is quite different than the postmodern mindset, which treats children with their childish mental networks as fully functioning adults whose opinions must not be questioned. Allowing childish mental networks to function within a structured environment of training is not the same as asserting that the environment must submit to childish mental networks. The very concept of school breaks down when teachers are forbidden to teach and student cease to be students.

Returning now from the postmodern thinking of today to the mindset of the 1950s, there was a blocking force that restricted childish freedom in the 1950s, which was the fear of nuclear war. One can see this in the infamous 1951 public safety film called Duck and Cover. (This surreal film can be seen on YouTube.) Wikipedia explains that “Immediately after one sees the first flash of intense heat and light of the developing nuclear fireball, one should stop, get under some cover and drop/duck to the ground. There, one should assume a prone-like position, lying face-down, and to afford protection against the continuing heat of the explosion further cover exposed skin and the back of one’s head with one’s clothes; or, if no excess cover or cloth is available, one should cover the back of one’s head and neck with one’s hands.” This fear was not limited to the United States, because “Similar instructions, as presented in the Duck and Cover film, are contained in the British 1964 public information film Civil Defence Information Bulletin No. 5 and in the 1980s Protect and Survive public information series. Children in the Soviet Union likewise received almost identical classes on countermeasures, according to Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War authors Zubok and Pleshakov.”

This had a traumatizing effect upon children. “A common joke during these years was ‘What do you want to be if you grow up?’ Research on the effects of the nuclear threat on children is chilling. At the end of the 1950s, 60 percent of American children reported having nightmares about nuclear war.”

Verse 15 indicates a change in mindset. “After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.” The first phrase indicates that children are being helped in some way. The second phrase indicates that this does not last. Departed means ‘to transport’, and we have been interpreting this word as indicating a transition in society. We have seen that two major forces drove the 1950s. There was the consumer society, and there was the Cold War—with its fear of sudden nuclear holocaust. Verse 15 indicates that the focus was initially upon the consumer society, but then turned to another direction.

Obtaining Eternal Life 19:16-19

The next section tells the story of the rich young ruler. Verse 16 sets the context. “And someone came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good [thing] shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?’” Teacher means ‘an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning’. ‘Thing’ is not in the original Greek, and good means ‘inherently, intrinsically good’. This word is used three times in verses 16-17, and was last seen back in 12:35. Do means ‘to make, do’. Obtain means ‘to have, hold’. Life is zoe and refers to both physical and spiritual life. It was last mentioned in 18:8-9 which talked about entering into life crippled or single-eyed. We interpreted that as the spiritual breakthroughs that became possible for those fighting in World War I. This is the second use of the word eternal, which means ‘age-long’. The first reference was to eternal fire in 18:8, in the context of World War I. This is the first mention of ‘eternal life’, and this term is repeated in v. 29. Eternal life is only mentioned one other time in Matthew in 25:46, and that passage talks about judgment and compares eternal fire with eternal life.

Looking at this cognitively, breaking through to questions of eternal existence requires an existential fear. Those fighting in World War I lived within such existential fear, constantly aware that an incoming artillery shell could snuff out their existence. People of the 1950s also lived with such existential fear, constantly aware that a nuclear war could destroy the world with its consumer society at a moment’s notice. Quoting from a Scientific American blog, “We went to school and were taught to ‘Duck and Cover’ to survive nuclear attack. We built fallout shelters. A federal Civil Defense agency was created. In the decade since the atomic bombs were dropped, fear of nuclear weapons and radiation grew so widespread and deep that in the mid-1950s President Eisenhower, Weart writes, created the Atoms for Peace program not so much to develop peaceful uses of nuclear technology but as a propaganda campaign to try and put the genie of nuclear fear back in the bottle.” I should emphasize that this was the first time in human history that humanity possessed the ability to annihilate the entire world in a few minutes. We in the 21st century now focus upon other pressing issues, but the memory of World War II was fresh in the 1950s—made even fresher by the Korean War, and the idea that the world could be wiped out in an instant was new and unprecedented.

This combination of living in a consumer paradise combined with the continual threat of nuclear annihilation explains the curious juxtaposition of words in verse 16. The continual fear of annihilation causes a person to think about eternal issues. But because one is living in the relative paradise of suburban homes and shopping malls, one will think in terms of eternal life rather than death. And because one is consciously aware that all of this physical stuff could be vaporized in a few minutes, one will focus upon intrinsic goodness, rather than upon what appears to be good. The reference to ‘one’ implies that most people will try to sweep the topic under the rug and only some individuals will think in terms of eternal life and intrinsic goodness.

Quoting further from the timeline website, “A policy of silence, whether intentional or not, pervaded many Cold War households. When not directly removed from discussions of looming Soviet threats, children were the victims of their parents’ own denial. ‘The idea of exterminating ourselves is so chilling that we have decided to deny it to ourselves and to our children and pretend it cannot happen,’ wrote Carlos Salguero, assistant professor at the Yale University School of Medicine and Child Study Center, in 1983. He called the phenomenon a ‘special realm of existential absurdity.’”

Continuing with the words of verse 16, because one is living in a paradise in which one works to build and buy new objects, one will think in terms of doing Server actions in order to ‘have’ eternal life. But eternal life is not a possession that one owns. It is not something physical that one can obtain through Server actions. Instead, one inherits eternal life by becoming a certain kind of person through a process of personal transformation. (This idea of inheriting eternal life will be mentioned in verse 29.)

In verse 17, Jesus points out the inherent contradiction in this question. “And He said to him, ‘Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good.’” The word good is repeated twice in this verse, and means ‘intrinsically good, good in nature’. The sentence ‘There is only One who is good’, with ‘One’ being capitalized, gives impression that Jesus is talking about God. But as the italics in the NASB indicate, ‘only One’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, a more literal translation would be ‘one is the good’. This says that there is an intrinsic unity to intrinsic goodness. Intrinsic goodness is not a scattered collection of traits, but rather a single integrated form of existence. It may be significant that verse 16 uses the same word ‘one’ to describe the ‘someone’ coming to Jesus with the question. This word ‘one’ is found 345 times in the New Testament, and the NASB only translates it as ‘someone’ one other time. The idea being conveyed is that the person coming to Jesus with this question is someone who feels very much alone, someone who is facing the existential question that everyone else is trying to avoid discussing. (This does not necessarily mean that this verse is referring to only one person in the entire world, but rather that it describes solitary individuals who feel alone within their environment. I know from personal experience what it means to attempt to answer questions that everyone else is avoiding.)

The inherent contradiction lies in asking someone else about intrinsic goodness. That is like asking someone else what I enjoy the most. Eternal life, by definition, requires connections that remain solid and do not fall apart, which means thinking in terms of universal truth. But asking an established expert about the nature of intrinsic goodness means that one is still thinking in terms of absolute truth; one is dealing with the topic of universal truth from an underlying foundation of absolute truth. This explains why the question asks about having eternal life, rather than inheriting eternal life.

Verse 17 finishes by changing the nature of the question. “but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Wish means ‘to desire’. One of the first steps in going beyond ‘having’ to ‘being’ is to ask myself what I want, because wanting is an expression of personal identity. And instead of talking about having eternal life, Jesus talks about ‘entering into the life’, redefining life as something into which one enters as a person.

The questioner asked what he should ‘do’ to have eternal life. Jesus responds with a different word, keep, which means ‘to watch over, to guard’. Keeping is something which one does in Perceiver thought by holding on to facts, even if these facts bring personal discomfort. This is the first use of the word ‘keep’ in Matthew. A command means ‘an injunction, order, command’. Normally one views a command as something that is done, but in this case a commandment is being kept.

A similar shift happened with nuclear weapons. Wikipedia explains that “by 1954, both US and Soviet Union had assembled large nuclear stockpiles, reducing hopes of complete disarmament. In the early years of the Cold War, the US approach to nuclear control reflected a strain between an interest in controlling nuclear weapons and a belief that dominance in the nuclear arena, particularly given the size of Soviet conventional forces, was critical to US security. Interest in nuclear control and efforts to stall proliferation of weapons to other states grew as the Soviet Union’s nuclear capabilities increased.” In other words, the initial focus was upon doing more by building bigger and better bombs. However, it soon became apparent that doing would ultimately lead to global annihilation. Therefore, the focus had to turn from ‘making and doing’ to ‘keeping’. Saying this another way, nothing could be done or made to prevent people from blowing the world to bits. Instead, the only option was to come up with international agreements and hope that people would keep these agreements. And this was not just a matter of keeping truth in an abstract manner, but rather keeping the commandment that ‘thou shalt not launch nuclear missiles’.

This discussion about nuclear treaties can be viewed as ‘one’ coming to incarnation and asking what must be done to have eternal life. That is because all the political, economic, and social questions have become reduced to the single unitary issue of preventing global thermonuclear war. This was not a discussion about how an individual can have eternal life, but it was very much a discussion about how humanity can have life that continues to exist. It is interesting that verse 16 does not refer to any specific person. Instead, it says, ‘And behold, one having come to him said…’ Thus, this could be viewed as a single, unified issue bringing the question of lasting life to mind. And this would not be a question of inheriting eternal life, because personal character was not being discussed. Instead, the preservation of human life was being discussed at the physical level of continuing to have eternal life. (The NASB translates ‘have’ as ‘obtain’, but out of the 711 times that this word occurs in the New Testament, it is only translated as ‘obtain’ three of these times.)

Verses 18-19 then turns the attention to specific commandments: “Then he said to Him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” The word which ones means ‘of what sort’, and this is the first use of this word in Matthew. Thus, the focus is upon what kind of rules are needed. Jesus mentions numbers five through nine of the Ten Commandments, and then adds ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. The Ten Commandments have been discussed in a previous essay. They summarize fundamental requirements for civilized life, described using the language of mental networks.

Murder means ‘to kill, murder’. Obviously, life will cease to exist if people kill each other. Looking at this cognitively, the first principle of eternal life is that mental networks of personal identity have a right to exist. Adultery describes sex with a married person. Cognitively speaking, one cannot transplant a system of behavior from one culture to another, because each system of male technical thought has its own associated mental networks of culture. Combining the male technical structure of one society with the female mental networks of another society will not lead to lasting life. Steal means to ‘steal secretly by stealth’. One is talking here about rights of private property, but also of more insidious ways of surreptitiously taking control of another person’s property. Bear false witness is used once in Matthew and combines ‘pseudo’ with ‘martyr’. This means using words to describe events that do not line up with one’s personal experience. Honor means to ‘assign value’. Cognitively speaking, honoring father and mother means acknowledging and valuing the female mental networks and male technical thinking of one’s parent culture.

Love is agape. This is ‘love which centers in moral preference’ and ‘typically refers to divine love’. This is the first mention of agape love since the Sermon on the Mount. Philadelphia love is a friendly love which describes compatible mental networks. Agape love is Teacher-based and has to do with generality, domain, systems, and long-term existence. Neighbor means ‘near, neighboring’. This also does not convey feelings of friendship, but rather of being next door. Thus, ‘loving one’s neighbor as oneself’ would mean preserving the generality, domain, systems, and long-term existence of another the way that I preserve these for myself.

I suggest that all of these factors came into conscious awareness at a group level during the Cold War thermonuclear standoff. The first principle was not committing murder. In simple terms, America and Russia had to find a way to avoid killing millions of people. This discussion was initially prompted by the development of the hydrogen bomb. Quoting from Wikipedia, “In 1952–53, the US and Soviet Union detonated their first thermonuclear weapons (hydrogen bombs), far more powerful than the atomic bombs tested and deployed since 1945. In 1954, the US Castle Bravo test at Bikini Atoll (part of Operation Castle) had a yield of 15 megatons of TNT, more than doubling the expected yield. The Castle Bravo test resulted in the worst radiological event in US history as radioactive particles spread over more than 11,000 square kilometers… In the same year, a Soviet test sent radioactive particles over Japan.”

Relations between the Soviet Union and America changed in 1953 as a result of the death of Stalin and the end of the Korean War. Under Stalin, the main goal had been simply to stay alive. Stalin was succeeded by Khrushchev. “In December 1955 Khrushchev proposed that a commission be set up in order to investigate Stalin’s activities on behalf of the Presidium. This investigation determined that out of the 1,920,635 arrested for anti-Soviet activities – who were often arrested on fabricated evidence in the first place and confessed under torture authorized by Stalin – 688,503 were executed.” And “The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in July 1953 after the death of Stalin, who had been insisting that the North Koreans continue fighting.”

Khrushchev promoted the idea of peaceful coexistence. Wikipedia elaborates: “Khrushchev solidified the concept in Soviet foreign policy in 1956 at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The policy arose as a temptation to reduce hostility between the two superpowers, particularly in light of the possibility of nuclear war. The Soviet theory of peaceful coexistence asserted that the United States and USSR, and their respective political ideologies, could coexist rather than fighting one another, and Khrushchev tried to demonstrate his commitment to peaceful coexistence by attending international peace conferences, such as the Geneva Summit, and by traveling internationally, such as his 13-day trip to tour the United States in 1959.” Using the language of Matthew 19, the Soviet Union and the West would each have their own ‘wives’ of culture. Similarly, “Premier Zhou Enlai of the People’s Republic of China proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in 1954 during negotiations with India over Tibet.”

The prohibition against stealing can be seen in the emergence of proxy wars. Wikipedia explains that “During the Cold War, proxy warfare was motivated by fears that a conventional war between the United States and Soviet Union would result in nuclear holocaust, rendering the use of ideological proxies a safer way of exercising hostilities. The Soviet government found that supporting parties antagonistic to the US and Western nations was a cost-effective way to combat NATO influence in lieu of direct military engagement. In addition, the proliferation of televised media and its impact on public perception made the US public especially susceptible to war-weariness and skeptical of risking American life abroad.” In other words, the two superpowers could not steal directly from each other because of the fear that some incident would escalate, leading to the horror of nuclear war. This is quite different than the situation after World War I, when the French occupied the Ruhr region of Germany in 1923 and took what they wanted from the Germans after the Germans defaulted on their payments. This sort of stealing could not happen during the Cold War for fear that it might trigger global war. Proxy wars emerged as a way of fighting the opponent without directly stealing from him.

Moving on to the next point, Khrushchev proposed a moratorium on nuclear tests. But this brought up the topic of ‘bearing false witness’, because the verbal claims of political leaders regarding nuclear tests had to be backed up by independent verification. Wikipedia elaborates: “On 31 March 1958, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union approved a decision to halt nuclear testing, conditional on other nuclear powers doing the same. Khrushchev then called on Eisenhower and Macmillan to join the moratorium… On 8 April 1958, still resisting Khrushchev’s call for a moratorium, Eisenhower invited the Soviet Union to join these technical negotiations in the form of a conference on the technical aspects of a test-ban, specifically the technical details of ensuring compliance with a ban… In a widely publicized and well-received communiqué dated 21 August 1958, the conference declared that it ‘reached the conclusion that it is technically feasible to set up ... a workable and effective control system for the detection of violations of a possible agreement on the worldwide cessation of nuclear weapons tests.’”

Honoring father and mother can be seen in the bragging that America and Soviets did to demonstrate the superiority of their own systems. Wikipedia describes what became known as the kitchen debate. “In 1959, the Soviets and Americans agreed to hold exhibits in each other’s countries as a cultural exchange to promote understanding. This was a result of the 1958 U.S.–Soviet Cultural Agreement. The Soviet exhibit in New York City opened in June 1959, and Vice President Nixon was on hand the following month to open the US exhibit in Moscow. Nixon took Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev on a tour of the exhibit. There were multiple displays and consumer goods provided by more than 450 American companies… Nixon argued that the Americans built to take advantage of new techniques, while Khrushchev advocated for Communism by arguing that the Soviets built for future generations. Khrushchev stated, ‘This is what America is capable of, and how long has she existed? 300 years? 150 years of independence and this is her level. We haven’t quite reached 42 years, and in another 7 years, we’ll be at the level of America, and after that we’ll go farther.” In essence, this is like two children arguing about their parents: ‘My daddy is stronger than your daddy. Oh? Well, my mommy cooks better than your mommy.’

The statement ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ is known as the Golden Rule. “It is a maxim that is found in many religions and cultures. It can be considered an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although different religions treat it differently.” In 22:37 Jesus describes it as the second greatest commandment, which is preceded by loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Looking at this cognitively, loving the Lord your God places all of the mind within a mental framework held together by universal Teacher understanding. Loving your neighbor as yourself uses Perceiver thought to build connections of similarity between various mental networks of identity. Saying this another way, loving the Lord your God defines agape love, while loving your neighbor applies agape love equally to self and others. In verse 19, agape is applied, but it is not defined. However, the Teacher nature of agape love would become somewhat defined implicitly by the two empires of the West and the Soviets having to coexist with one another, and each assuming that the other wanted to be treated the way that it wanted to be treated. This may sound nothing like ‘the love of God’, but after communism fell, America lost its moral compass, because it no longer had a mirror into which it could look and see itself.

Giving to the Poor 19:20-22

The man replies in verse 20: “The young man said to Him, ‘All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?’” Young man means ‘young man, youth’, and is only used in Matthew in this story. We could interpret this as a man in the prime of life, or as a country in the prime of its existence. Kept is used once in Matthew and means to ‘keep watch over, keep secure, emphasizing the needed vigilance to keep what is entrusted’. This ‘vigilance to keep what is entrusted’ can be seen in the American Strategic Air Command, which kept a constant vigilance upon the Soviets in order to ensure that the principles that we have discussed continued to be honored. Wikipedia explains that “Beginning in 1955, SAC also moved a portion of its bomber and aerial refueling aircraft to a 24-hour alert status, either on the ground or airborne. By 1960, fully one third of SAC’s bombers and aerial refueling aircraft were on 24-hour alert, with those crews and aircraft not already airborne ready to take off from designated alert sites at their respective bases within fifteen minutes. Bomber aircraft on ground alert were armed with nuclear weapons while aerial tanker aircraft were sufficiently fueled to provide maximum combat fuel offload to the bombers.”

Lacking is also used once in Matthew and means ‘failing to fulfill a goal’. Similarly, SAC was continually asking itself what it lacked in order to fulfill the goal of preventing war. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Also in the late 1950s, SAC continued to enhance its intelligence collection activities and develop innovative means of improving the survivability of its forces to surprise attack… While missile operations continued to ramp up, robust training for flight crews to ensure survivability for strike missions also continued… Beginning in November 1959, in order to counter Soviet surface-to-air missile threats, SAC began adding low-altitude bombing training for its manned bomber force as an adjunct to its legacy high-altitude training.”

Jesus answers in verse 21 by changing the nature of the question. “Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’” Complete means ‘perfect, complete in all its parts’. The implication is that the current strategy is incomplete. Go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’. This suggests functioning under the rule of law, rather than attempting to impose oneself upon others. Sell means ‘to exchange or barter’. It was last mentioned in 13:44 in the parable of the hidden treasure, which we interpreted as purchasing some ‘field’ within Teacher thought. Possessions means ‘to begin, to be ready or at hand’, and this is the first use of this word in Matthew. This views possessions as tools that enable Server actions, because they are ‘at hand’. And the word ‘possessions’ is an active present participle, which is more accurately translated as ‘possessing’. Thus, Jesus is not telling the man to sell everything he has, but rather to go out under authority and exchange his possessing—his mindset of having tools ready to use. Applying this to the symbolic interpretation, one should stop thinking in terms of having strategic weapons ‘at hand’, ready to use at a moment’s notice, but rather adopt a different strategy of ‘going out under authority’. And this going out should ‘give to the poor’. Poor means ‘to crouch or cower like a beggar’. Most of the countries in the world in the 1950s were crouching and cowering like beggars in response to the mighty power of America and the Soviet Union.

This alternative response of giving to the poor under authority can especially be seen in the Peace Corps. Wikipedia describes how this began. “In 1950, Walter Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers, proposed, in an article titled, ‘A Proposal for a Total Peace Offensive,’ that the United States establish a voluntary agency for young Americans to be sent around the world to fulfill humanitarian and development objectives. Subsequently, throughout the 1950s, Reuther gave speeches to the following effect: I have been saying for a long time that I believe the more young Americans who are trained to join with other young people in the world to be sent abroad with slide rule, textbook, and medical kit to help people help themselves with the tools of peace, the fewer young people will need to be sent with guns and weapons of war.” Wikipedia continues, “While Kennedy is credited with the creation of the Peace Corps as president, the first initiative came from Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, Jr., who introduced the first bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957… In his autobiography The Education of a Public Man, Humphrey wrote, ‘There were three bills of particular emotional importance to me: the Peace Corps, a disarmament agency, and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The President, knowing how I felt, asked me to introduce legislation for all three. I introduced the first Peace Corps bill in 1957.’” A primary goal of the Peace Corps was to change international perception of America. “Concerned with the growing tide of revolutionary sentiment in the Third World, Kennedy saw the Peace Corps as a means of countering the stereotype of the ‘Ugly American’ and ‘Yankee imperialism,’ especially in the emerging nations of post-colonial Africa and Asia.” Notice the explicit connection between nuclear disarmament and the Peace Corps.

Looking at this more generally, one is dealing with the difference between soft power and hard power. Wikipedia describes this distinction. “In politics (and particularly in international politics), soft power is the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than coerce. In other words, soft power involves shaping the preferences of others through appeal and attraction. A defining feature of soft power is that it is non-coercive; the currency of soft power includes culture, political values, and foreign policies.”

Saying this more clearly, America has influenced the rest of the world through the soft power of the American dream and the hard power of the American military. For many decades, the average non-American individual has been entranced by the American dream. Even Canadians have viewed America as richer and better, and when I was younger, visiting the States felt like going to the candy store. This is no longer the case. The arrogance and ignorance of President Trump has almost single-handedly destroyed American soft power. A similar statement can be made about the American evangelical church. American Evangelicals have had soft power, which people have mentally connected with the soft power of American prosperity and freedom. Proponents of the Peace Corps recognized this connection. “In December 1951, Representative John F. Kennedy… suggested to a group that ‘young college graduates would find a full life in bringing technical advice and assistance to the underprivileged and backward Middle East… In that calling, these men would follow the constructive work done by the religious missionaries in these countries over the past 100 years.’ In 1952 Senator Brien McMahon proposed an ‘army’ of young Americans to act as ‘missionaries of democracy’.” American evangelicals have allied themselves with Trump in order to get conservative judges appointed that will reimpose absolute truth upon the American people. But they are only beginning to realize that this has caused the American evangelical church to lose its soft power.

Returning to Matthew, verse 21 promises that ‘you will have treasure in heaven’. Have is the normal word for possess which means ‘to have, hold’. Treasure means ‘a storehouse for precious things’. It was last used in the parables of treasure in Matthew 13. The phrase ‘treasures in heaven’ is used one other time in Matthew in 6:20, within the context of being guided by the TMN of a concept of God rather by than by MMNs of personal approval and status. Similarly, America in the 1950s had sufficient moral capital to make the transition from being a military superpower to being a super-example.

Verse 21 finishes with the phrase ‘and come, follow me’. Come is used once in Matthew and is an imperative that means ‘Here! Come!’ Follow is a standard word that is based on a word that means ‘road, way’. Thus, the young man is being told to follow the path of incarnation. Incarnation uses technical thought to bring salvation to people. Thus, following incarnation means using technical thought to bring salvation to people. That describes the American dream and not the American military.

Unfortunately, the man declines in verse 22. “But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” The word statement is logos. Thus, the young man is not just hearing a command, but a Teacher paradigm within which to place technical thought. In verse 11 Jesus said that not all make room for the logos of including mental networks within technical thought. Soft power makes room for mental networks of culture, humanity, and personal existence. Hard power, in contrast, crushes these mental networks under the treads of a tank.

Went away means ‘to go away, go after’. And grieving means ‘to experience a deep, emotional pain’. Thus, the decision not to exchange hard power for soft power was a deeply emotional one. Owned means ‘to have, hold, possess’. Property is used once in Matthew and means ‘possessions, property, possibly landed property, property in land’.

The Soviets chose to stick with hard power rather than make the transition to soft power in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Wikipedia describes the background. “Within the Cold War context of the time, by 1956, a fundamental tension had appeared in U.S. policy towards Hungary and the Eastern Bloc generally. The United States hoped to encourage European countries to break away from the bloc through their own efforts but wanted to avoid a United States–Soviet military confrontation, as escalation might lead to nuclear war.” In other words, the threat of nuclear war was forcing America to use soft power. And “In the summer of 1956, relations between Hungary and the United States began to improve. At that time, the United States responded very favourably to Hungary’s overtures about a possible expansion of bilateral trade relations.” Initially, Russia decided not to send in the tanks. “After some debate, the Presidium on 30 October decided not to remove the new Hungarian government. Even Marshal Georgy Zhukov said: ‘We should withdraw troops from Budapest, and if necessary withdraw from Hungary as a whole.’” But Krushchev changed his mind when it became clear that this might cause the Soviet Union to lose the ‘property in land’ of Hungary. “At that time, Khrushchev was in Stalin’s dacha, considering his options regarding Hungary. One of his speech writers later said that the declaration of neutrality was an important factor in his subsequent decision to support intervention. In addition, some Hungarian leaders of the revolution as well as students had called for their country’s withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact much earlier, and this may have influenced Soviet decision making.”

The Soviet Union then used military force to crush the new Hungarian government. However, this demonstration of hard power significantly diminished the soft power that communism had in Western Europe. “As the 1950s drew to a close the events in Hungary produced fractures within the Communist political parties of Western European countries. The Italian Communist Party (PCI) suffered a split… The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) suffered the loss of thousands of party members following the events in Hungary… In France, moderate Communists, such as historian Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, resigned, questioning the French Communist Party’s policy of supporting Soviet actions.”

The American refusal to let go of hard power in order to embrace soft power can be seen in the assassination of Kennedy. President Eisenhower warned against the emerging military-industrial complex in his farewell address in 1961. Quoting from this speech, “We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions… Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government… we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist… Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

I do not want to get into conspiracy theories about the assassination of Kennedy, because that is a very deep rabbit hole. Kennedy recognized the dilemma between soft power and holding onto property. “In April 1963, Kennedy assessed the situation in Vietnam, saying, ‘We don’t have a prayer of staying in Vietnam. Those people hate us. They are going to throw our asses out of there at any point. But I can’t give up that territory to the communists and get the American people to re-elect me.’” Kennedy tried to limit American involvement, while his successor started the fiasco of the Vietnam War. “Kennedy increased the number of military advisers and special forces in the area, from 11,000 in 1962 to 16,000 by late 1963, but he was reluctant to order a full-scale deployment of troops. A year and three months later on March 8, 1965, his successor, President Lyndon Johnson, committed the first combat troops to Vietnam and greatly escalated U.S. involvement, with forces reaching 184,000 that year and 536,000 in 1968.”

And the Vietnam War was ultimately lost politically in America and not militarily in Vietnam. “On January 30, 1968, the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese began the Tet offensive against South Vietnam’s five largest cities. While the Tet offensive failed militarily, it was a psychological victory, definitively turning American public opinion against the war effort. In February 1968, influential news anchor Walter Cronkite expressed on the air that the conflict was deadlocked and that additional fighting would change nothing. Johnson reacted, saying ‘If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America’. Indeed, demoralization about the war was everywhere; 26 percent then approved of Johnson’s handling of Vietnam, while 63 percent disapproved…” This demoralization spread to the American troops in Vietnam. “Following the Tet Offensive and the decreasing support among the U.S. public for the war, U.S. forces began a period of morale collapse, disillusionment and disobedience… Open refusal to engage in patrols or carry out orders and disobedience began to emerge during this period, with one notable case of an entire company refusing orders to engage or carry out operations. Unit cohesion began to dissipate and focused on minimising contact with Viet Cong and PAVN.”

Summarizing, both the Soviet Union and America ultimately chose not to give to the poor in order to gain treasure in heaven.

Before we continue, I would like to head very briefly down a rabbit hole by suggesting that an additional dimension may exist to this story. One could interpret treasures in heaven as literal treasures in heaven. This phrase ‘treasures in heaven’ only occurs one other time in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount. Stories suggest that America was offered a treasure in heaven in a unique way during this period. We will allow Wikipedia to set the context. “The 1952 Washington, D.C. UFO incident, also known as the Washington flap, the Washington National Airport Sightings, or the Invasion of Washington, was a series of unidentified flying object reports from July 12 to July 29, 1952, over Washington, D.C. The most publicized sightings took place on consecutive weekends, July 19–20 and July 26–27. UFO historian Curtis Peebles called the incident ‘the climax of the 1952 (UFO) flap’ - ‘Never before or after did Project Blue Book and the Air Force undergo such a tidal wave of (UFO) reports.’” Assuming that this is an accurate statement, heaven was trying to get the attention of America. I am not suggesting that aliens are angels, but if one compares descriptions of angels with descriptions of aliens, one concludes that they both seem to reside within the same realm of the supernatural. And remember our discussion earlier about ‘cleansing the temple in heaven’.

Looking at this further, aliens are probably fallen angels. However, even if that is the case, that is not the end of the story. That is because Colossians 1 makes it clear that the salvation of Jesus extends to the realm of the supernatural: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him… For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven” (1:16, 19-20). These verses clearly teach that the salvation of Jesus extends to both visible beings on earth and invisible beings in heaven. I suggested earlier that humans and angels/aliens have similar minds. If one is saved through the transforming of the mind, then this implies that both humans and angels/aliens can experience personal salvation. We have seen in our study of Matthew that God’s plan of history extends far beyond the Christian church. This does not mean that every individual in a group is automatically saved when God uses that group to further his plan. Instead, the Old Testament points out repeatedly that personal salvation only applies to the believing remnant within a group.

Returning to aliens, hearsay has it that Eisenhower met aliens in 1954. The story goes that he turned down an offer of help from ‘Nordic aliens’ and chose instead to sign a treaty with the ‘greys’. In the words of one website, “talks with the first group failed after they demanded nuclear disarmament and warned that humanity was on a path to self-destruction. They proposed instead to help humans to develop along a peaceful path to spiritual fulfillment. Because the primary interest of the U.S. government at the time was signing a treaty that gives access to advanced alien technology, the Eisenhower administration rejected the overtures from the first alien group — the Nordic aliens — during the First Contact meeting at the Edwards Air Base and agreed to sign a treaty with the second group — the Greys — during a subsequent meeting at the Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico in 1954.” My general hypothesis is that angels/aliens can take temporary physical form, but the kind of body that they take on is a reflection of their mental character. Saying this more simply, an alien that looks human will behave in a human manner, while an alien that looks inhuman will behave in an inhuman manner. This does not mean that an alien which appears human can be trusted to always behave in a human manner. Like humans, aliens can be mentally split into aspects of behavior that are compatible with human existence, and aspects that are incompatible. However, stories about aliens do portray Nordic aliens as behaving in a manner that is far more human than Greys.

Assuming that this story is accurate, Eisenhower was faced with a choice. He could have chosen to interact with ‘Nordic aliens’, but this would have required letting go of the possessions of Empire and giving to the poor. Instead, he chose the Greys because they promised to help America in the Cold War. In other words, he chose hard power over soft power. Whether this story is true or not, it is consistent with the history of the United States. Since the assassination of Kennedy, the military-industrial complex has played a primary role in American behavior, and the connection between God and country has become entrenched within the American psyche to the level of religious dogma. Saying this more simply, whether Nordics and Greys really exist or merely represent ways of thinking, the United States chose to align itself with the Greys rather than the Nordics.

A Camel through the Eye of a Needle 19:23-26

Leaving the rabbit hole of aliens, verse 23 looks at the problem more generally. “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Rich man is an adjective that means ‘rich, abounding in, wealthy’ and this is the first use of this adjective in Matthew. Hard is only found in this verse and in the two parallel passages and actually combines ‘difficult’ with ‘food’, leading to the meaning ‘difficult to digest… like when food doesn’t go down well’. Enter was last used in verse 17 when Jesus talked about entering into life. Here, Jesus is talking about ‘entering into the kingdom of the heavens’.

Putting this together, the rich finds entering into the kingdom of heaven difficult to digest. That is because he is already doing quite well, thank you very much. For instance, both the Soviet Union and America did not want to let go of hard power and embrace soft power because they had acquired substantial kingdoms through the use of hard power.

President Johnson tried to legislate a version of the kingdom of heaven, known as the Great Society. His goal was to use Teacher understanding to transform existing American society. Wikipedia describes how this began. “Johnson’s first public reference to the ‘Great Society’ took place during a speech to students on May 7, 1964, at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio: ‘And with your courage and with your compassion and your desire, we will build a Great Society. It is a society where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled.’ He later formally presented his specific goals for the Great Society in another speech at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 22, 1964. ‘We are going to assemble the best thought and broadest knowledge from all over the world to find these answers. I intend to establish working groups to prepare a series of conferences and meetings—on the cities, on natural beauty, on the quality of education, and on other emerging challenges. From these studies, we will begin to set our course toward the Great Society.’”

Johnson knew that getting involved in Vietnam would derail his efforts to build the Great Society. He eventually found entering into this ‘kingdom of heaven’ too difficult to digest, because it would mean letting go of the riches of American hegemony. Wikipedia describes Johnson’s summary of this dilemma. “Johnson once summed up his perspective of the Vietnam War as follows: I knew from the start that I was bound to be crucified either way I moved. If I left the woman I really loved‍—‌the Great Society‍—‌in order to get involved in that bitch of a war on the other side of the world, then I would lose everything at home. All my programs… But if I left that war and let the Communists take over South Vietnam, then I would be seen as a coward and my nation would be seen as an appeaser and we would both find it impossible to accomplish anything for anybody anywhere on the entire globe.”

I am not suggesting that this verse applies only to Johnson and the Vietnam War. Verse 24 is describing a general cognitive principle. However, Johnson’s struggle between the Vietnam War and the Great Society provides a poignant illustration of this cognitive principle.

Saying this more clearly, entering into the kingdom of heaven means being motivated by TMNs of generality and understanding (as well as the associated MMNs of Platonic forms) instead of being motivated by MMNs of status or prestige. For instance, Johnson wanted to enact a Great Society that would be based upon TMNs of scientific understanding and be free of the MMNs of racial prejudice, and he was motivated by the Platonic forms of ‘the Great Society’.

Verse 24 reiterates: “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Easier means ‘with easier labor’. ‘Camel’ was used once before in 3:4 to describe John the Baptist wearing a garment of camel’s hair. A camel can travel through a desert without water. Eye is used only in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke 18 and comes from a verb ‘to bore’, thus indicating a hole. Needle is also unique to this analogy and comes from a word that means ‘to sew’. Go means ‘to go in, enter’. Rich man is the same adjective derived from ‘abundance’ that was used in verse 23.

A similar analogy appears in rabbinic literature about pushing an elephant through the eye of a needle. And some have suggested that the ‘eye of the needle’ refers to a small gate in Jerusalem through which a camel could only pass if it was unloaded. However, there is no evidence that such a gate existed. Looking more closely at the Greek text, three (or possibly four) ‘enters’ are being compared in these verses. Verse 17 talks about entering into life. Verse 23 talks about a rich entering into the kingdom of heaven. Verse 24 talks about entering ‘a camel through an eye of a needle’ and contrasts this with a rich entering into the kingdom of God. (This final ‘entering’ is not in all manuscripts but the ‘into’ is.)

Looking at this analogy cognitively, a camel can travel across the waterless desert. We have interpreted a desert as an environment that is devoid of human MMNs. What normally passes through the eye of a needle is a thread. In this analogy, the camel is taking a path through the eye of the needle rather than its normal path across the waterless desert. We have interpreted sewing and fabric as symbolic of the fabric of society. Putting this together, a journey through the waterless desert is being regarded as a thread for stitching together the fabric of society. This describes the typical academic degree or path of research. One leaves MMNs of human interaction in order to take a journey through TMNs of abstract theory. The absence of Mercy emotion makes it mentally possible to discover and follow Teacher emotion. These journeys through waterless deserts of abstract research provide the thread that integrates the fabric of academia with the fabric of normal society.

Verse 24 talks about entering the kingdom of God, which goes one step further than entering the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of God was mentioned once previously in 12:28, and we interpreted that as early science being done in an environment that still believed in God. (‘Kingdom of God’ will be mentioned two more times in Matthew in 21:31 and 21:43.) Cognitively speaking, a kingdom of heaven describes a realm that is ruled by Teacher understanding, while a kingdom of God describes a realm that is ruled by a concept of God in Teacher thought. The difference between these two is that a concept of God emerges when a general theory in Teacher thought applies to personal identity. Current science and technology is a kingdom of heaven, but it is not a kingdom of God, because it avoids including MMNs of personal identity—and also avoids talking explicitly about God.

I mentioned that easier means ‘with easier labor’. Verse 24 says that the path of abstract academic research takes less labor than the path of entering into the kingdom of God. In other words, it is easier to develop and use Teacher thought in the absence of Mercy emotions, than it is to develop and use Teacher thought in the presence of Mercy emotions. Saying this another way, it is easier to work with a general Teacher theory when one views this as an impersonal theory rather than as a concept of God. However, the person who views Teacher theory in such an abstract manner will not enter the kingdom of God. Using an analogy, if I study about the country of Japan as an imaginary place that does not exist, then obviously I will never enter into the country of Japan.

Saying this comparison yet one more way, it is easier to work with the impersonal abstract theories of science and technology than it is to work with Teacher theories that have become connected with angelic/alien life. Remember that angel means messenger. In other words, angels live in messages. What we regard as impersonal abstract thought is personal existence for them. And what humans regard as impersonal abstract thought would acquire personal overtones if humans interacted with angels or aliens.

The disciples respond in verse 25. “When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’” Astonished means to ‘strike out of one’s senses, with the outcome of being utterly amazed’. It was previously used in 13:54 when Jesus returned to his home village to teach. We interpreted that as scientific understanding being proclaimed in the society that gave birth to this understanding: The pieces will remain unchanged, but the approach will be totally different. For instance, this describes how the average Christian responds to using mental symmetry to analyze Christianity. The way that mental symmetry puts the pieces together is so different that one is ‘struck out of one’s senses’. In 13:54, the audience was astonished. In verse 25, the audience is very astonished. And very comes from a word that means ‘vehement, violent’.

Looking at this cognitively, using Teacher thought in the absence of Mercy emotions may feel as restrictive as pulling an elephant through the eye of a needle, but it will not cause a person to be ‘very astonished’, because one is gradually learning to use Teacher emotion in the absence of Mercy emotion. And the Teacher emotion that emerges feels safe because it does not have any personal overtones. In contrast, constructing a concept of God in Teacher thought is not emotionally safe, because Teacher emotion does not function the way Mercy emotion does. Constructing a valid concept of God in Teacher thought will create the feeling of encountering a Being who is inhumanely holy and different. Isaiah 55:8-9 is often quoted as a religious doctrine: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Constructing a valid concept of God turns this doctrinal statement into a gut-level reaction. Similarly, the most common response that is described by those who meet angels or aliens is a gut-level response of utter alienness and non-humanness.

One could see why the disciples ask ‘who can be saved?’ Can means ‘to be able, to have power’. Saved means ‘to deliver out of danger and into safety’. Using the analogy, if being rescued out of the river by a helicopter requires clutching on to a red-hot bar of iron, then how can anyone have the power to be saved? Looking at this purely cognitively, if personal salvation means dealing with Teacher emotions in the midst of Mercy feelings, then how is this possible?

Jesus answers in verse 26. “And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Looking is used twice in Matthew and means to ‘look at in a sustained, concentrated way’. ‘At them’ is not in the original Greek. Both possible and impossible use the word ‘power’ that was used in verse 25. More literally, Jesus says, ‘with humanity is not power, but with God all power’. Looking at this cognitively, the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought will motivate a person to perform tasks that cannot be driven by human MMNs. I found this principle to be true when writing this essay. No other essay was as difficult to write as this essay. And yet I found myself driven day by day by a motivation that went beyond normal MMNs of human activity.

This motivation is related to ‘looking in a sustained, concentrated way’. We saw earlier that individuals in Mercy thought can attract the attention of Teacher thought by being exceptions to the general rule. A similar narrowing of focus happens when one is carrying out some plan that will lead to a major transition. The entire Teacher generality of the result will depend upon successfully carrying out certain critical steps. Teacher thought will then provide the motivation that is necessary to perform the specific steps motivated by the generality of the results. For instance, such a mental narrowing down happens when one is taking exams in order to graduate from school. The specific task of successfully passing the exams acquires general significance because one must pass through this door in order to open up a broad world of job opportunities.

Rewarded in the Regeneration 19:27-30

I have suggested that this passage could extend beyond the merely physical to include the supernatural. In the final verses of Matthew 19, Jesus does extend beyond the physical into the supernatural. Verse 27 begins with a question from Peter, “Then Peter said to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?’”

Looking at this literally, Peter is following religion but he is also asking what is in it for himself. These two trends can be seen in 1950s America. On the one hand, the 1950s were the high point for American church attendance. “On a typical Sunday morning in the period from 1955-58, almost half of all Americans were attending church – the highest percentage in U.S. history. During the 1950s, nationwide church membership grew at a faster rate than the population, from 57 percent of the U.S. population in 1950 to 63.3 percent in 1960.”

More generally, “The 1950s were also a time when America began to see itself as a Christian nation in a cold war with atheistic communism. President Eisenhower joined a church after being elected, becoming the first president to be baptized while in office. In 1954, the phrase ‘under God’ was added to the pledge of allegiance to signify the religious stance of the country.”

However, Christianity belief tended to be shallow and became confused with the American consumer society. “For Protestants it was a time of neo-orthodoxy lite—more Niebuhr than Barth—when the American way of life (freedom and democracy)—not faith and repentance or word and sacrament—was synonymous with Protestantism. The situation among Roman Catholics was better but not by much. As Roman Catholics (in the United States at least) left behind their ghettos for suburban parishes, they assimilated American norms in ways that prepared the way for Vatican II’s engagement with the modern world, a posture that significantly undercut rationales for becoming a priest, nun, or monk.” Thus, like Peter, 1950s Christians were no longer embracing religious self-denial, but rather starting to ask ‘what is in this for me?’

Looking at verse 27 in more detail, left means ‘to send away, leave alone, permit’. This word was previously used in verse 13 where Jesus commanded to ‘permit the children’. Followed was previously used in verse 21, where Jesus told the young man to follow him. The final phrase gives the impression that Peter is wanting some sort of physical reward, but the original Greek is more literally ‘What then will be to us?’ In other words, Peter has gone beyond thinking about having to being. Instead of asking what he will get, he is asking what he will be.

The phrase ‘we have left everything and followed you’ sounds like the religious self-denial of absolute truth. However, a different meaning emerges if one compares the word ‘left’ with the previous use of this word in verse 13. In verse 13, Jesus was telling the disciples with their objective rigorous thought to give freedom to the mental networks of little children in training. Using that meaning, the phrase ‘we have left everything’ becomes ‘we have given freedom to everything’. Putting this together, Peter is saying that he has followed the instructions of verse 13 to give freedom to mental networks and he has also followed the instructions of verse 21 to follow incarnation. Following incarnation would include ‘leaving everything’ because that is how one gains treasure in heaven—one exchanges one’s possessions by giving to the poor.

Looking at this more generally, we have interpreted chapter 19 from a secular perspective, examining the postwar interaction between the Cold War and the consumer society. Verses 27-30 indicate that there is more to the story. Western society as a whole may be going through the process of Matthew 19, but individuals who follow truth—the Peters—within this society will go further. This relates to the concept of a believing remnant that was mentioned earlier. We have interpreted chapter 19 from the perspective of God taking a group through a process of transformation. This does not mean that every individual within this group will experience personal salvation. Verses 27-30 address this believing remnant, and one of the indications that this believing remnant will experience personal salvation is that they are asking about being rather than having.

Jesus’ answer in verse 28 goes beyond existing reality to the future. “And Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of His glory, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.’” The word regeneration is used once in Matthew and is only found one other time in the New Testament in Titus 3:5. It combines the word ‘again’ with ‘birth, beginning’. Thus, it means ‘born-again’.

Applying this to the 1950s, Wikipedia relates that “After World War II, a new generation of conservative Protestants rejected the separatist stance of fundamentalism and began calling themselves evangelicals. Popular evangelist Billy Graham was at the forefront of reviving use of the term. During this time period, a number of evangelical institutions were established, including the National Association of Evangelicals, Christianity Today magazine and a number of educational institutions, such as Fuller Theological Seminary.” The Encyclopaedia Britannica adds that “Graham claimed to have preached in person to more people than anyone else in history, an assertion that few would challenge. His evangelical crusades around the world, his television appearances and radio broadcasts, his friendships with presidents, and his unofficial role as spokesman for America’s evangelicals made him one of the most recognized religious figures of the 20th century.”

Wikipedia clarifies that “In the United States, evangelicalism is a set of spiritual principles practiced by Protestant Christians who believe in the necessity of being born again, emphasize the importance of evangelism, and affirm traditional Protestant teachings on the authority as well as the historicity of the Bible.” Notice the emphasis upon belief, consistent with Peter being the one who asks asks Jesus the question in verse 27, as well as the focus upon being born again.

Looking more closely at the idea of being ‘born again’, the standard evangelical interpretation is that every Christian is ‘born-again’. Cognitively speaking, a new set of mental networks does become born within the mind when one ‘asks Jesus into your heart’. But having something come to life within the mind is different than being born again. Using an analogy, visiting Australia long enough to recognize that Australians behave in a unique fashion is quite different than being a native Australian. I have not analyzed the book of Titus, but every book that I have looked at so far contains a sequence of cognitive development. Titus 3:5 is near the end of the book of Titus, which is consistent with the idea of being born-again coming at the end of a process of transformation. Saying this from another perspective, mental symmetry suggests that the process of personal transformation can be divided into the three stages of constructing a concept of God, following a concept of God in righteousness, and becoming personally reborn in Mercy thought. Being born-again refers to the third stage in this three stage process.

‘Born-again’ is preceded by the word in, which means ‘in the realm of’. Thus, Jesus is talking about ‘in the realm of the rebirth’. Throne means ‘throne’, and this is the first mention of the word ‘throne’ apart from the Sermon on the Mount in 5:34. Verse 28 is repeated almost verbatim in 25:31, which says that “when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.” This means that verse 28 is looking forward to the future time of 25:31. Verse 28 says that this will be a realm of rebirth, while 25:31 says that it will include the presence of angels.

In other words, those who follow truth in the present will not necessarily be rewarded in the present. Instead, they will receive their reward in a future era of rebirth associated with angels. This may sound very spiritual and religious, so let me expand the context. I have mentioned Whitley Strieber once before in the context of aliens. I would not want to meet the aliens that he claims to interact with, nor would I subscribe to many of his beliefs. However, it is clear that he is really interacting with the supernatural, and it is also clear that he has gone beyond ‘having’ to ‘being’. His wife relates what happened after he published his first book Communion. “We began receiving huge bags of mail every day. I actually had to hire a secretary just to help me open them, but I read every single one and replied to each one that contained an address. I began keeping a list of the commonalties I found in them… The one item I remember most clearly is: ‘They have something to do with what we call death.’ I remember this so distinctly because I have never found it in any of the UFO literature I have read.’” In other words, there is currently a deep connection between the angelic realm and dead humans, which implies that there will also be a deep connection between the appearance of angels and the rebirth of humans. (Verse 28 appears to be looking forward to some period which involves some human rebirth. This is different from—and precedes—the Great White Throne of Revelation 20 which is a time of complete rebirth.) Relating this to Christian ideas of heaven and hell, I suggest that one can define heaven as aspects of the angelic realm that are compatible with human existence, and one can define hell as aspects of the angelic realm that are incompatible with human existence.

Verse 28 adds that “you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” This is the first use of the word tribes in Matthew, which means ‘the descendants of a common ancestor’. One could interpret this literally as twelve thrones for the twelve disciples of Jesus from which they will rule over their fellow Jews. This may happen, but when the list of twelve disciples was given in Chapter 10, we saw that this list could be interpreted as a cognitive sequence. Thus one could interpret the twelve tribes as cognitive descendents of twelve different ways of thinking.

The word Israel means ‘God strives’ or ‘striving with God’, which could be interpreted as some physical expression of the kingdom of God. (And one could interpret the actual Israel of today from such a perspective.) In other words, Israel refers to a group of people who are being led by God. This does not mean that every individual in this group is being saved. Instead, it is the believing remnant that will be personally saved. But the group as a group is being guided by God through a process of cognitive transformation. This interpretation can be applied to the Jewish people and the current country of Israel. But our analysis of the book of Matthew has shown that it can also be applied to Western civilization. God has been leading Western civilization through a process of cognitive transformation in a way that he has not been leading other civilizations.

This explains why the twelve disciples would be judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Judge means ‘to pick out by separating’. Cognitively speaking, this means using technical thought to analyze some subject. The positive side of an ‘Israel’ is that it is following God as a group in the real world. The negative side of an ‘Israel’ is that following God as a group in some physical manner leads naturally to thinking in terms of having and doing rather than being. Thus, those who think in terms of being need to rule over those who focus upon having and doing. This ruling is done by extending the careful thinking of technical thought to the realm of the subjective. We have interpreted Matthew 19 as some ‘Israel’ being led as a group. This group needs to be led by disciples of incarnation. Verse 28 says that this will not happen in the present, but it will happen in the future. This is a depressing statement, but also lines up with the facts of recent history. (Notice that as we are approaching the present, our analysis of Matthew is turning from history to prophecy.)

Verse 29 describes the general principle. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Applying this to American history, this focus upon leaving everything in order to follow Jesus can be seen in the altar calls of Billy Graham. Christianity Today explains that “Graham understood that what was important was not emotional Sturm und Drang, but making a commitment to following Jesus—and then following him. What Graham wanted to reproduce in others was not the feeling of being saved but the commitment to follow Jesus. The late Baptist evangelist and scholar Lewis Drummond argued in The Canvas Cathedral that Graham had a broad understanding of evangelism. He quoted Graham as saying, “Evangelism is more than simply encouraging decisions for Christ. It is urging people to become disciples, followers of Jesus Christ.” In other words, Graham recognized that being ‘born again’ is far more than making a decision at a religious meeting.

Looking more closely at verse 29, everyone ‘means all in the sense of each part that applies’. In other words, this is not just a vague overgeneralization, but a general principle that applies in many specific ways. All of the items in this list are related to personally significant mental networks. A house is a building in which a person lives. Brothers, sisters, father, mother, and children are all family members who are internally represented by potent mental networks. And a farm is ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’. This goes beyond possessing land to using land to grow living food. Left means ‘to send away, leave alone’. One could interpret this as giving up these items, or one could also interpret this as giving these items the freedom to exist independently. These two interpretations are related, because giving close mental networks the freedom to function independently requires mentally giving up these mental networks. ‘For the sake of my name’ means that there is nothing inherently redeeming in self-denial or in giving freedom. Instead, this must be done in the name of incarnation. In verse 22, the young man went away when he heard the logos of Jesus. He was willing to change his behavior to some extent, but he did not want to change his paradigm.

Verse 29 says that the benefit will involve both having and being. He will ‘receive many times as much’. One can see this illustrated by research and development, which follows incarnation at the level of developing new things. It lets go of the present in order to receive many times as much in the future. But there is also the deeper level of being, shown by the phrase ‘and will inherit eternal life’. Inherit has been mentioned once previously in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:5 where it said that the meek shall inherit the earth. The word inherit actually means ‘to assign inheritance by lot-casting’. This word demonstrates two critical aspects of inheritance. First, inheritance is based upon who one is and not upon what one has done. Second, inheritance is not rigorous, but rather semi-random. When one inherits by lot, one knows that one will receive something, and one also knows approximately what one will receive, but one does not know exactly what will be received. This is a natural byproduct of following a process that leads through Teacher thought. Teacher thought works with general theories and not specific situations. Following a process that goes through Teacher theories means that one cannot predict exactly what the specific result will be. And one can only follow such a process if one gives internal freedom to mental networks and does not cling either to the rigorous logic of technical thought or to specific MMNs of culture and identity in Mercy thought.

Something similar happens when doing development from first principles. Instead of trying to solve a specific problem, one attempts to approach the problem from the most general perspective possible. This will lead to solutions that are effective but also unusual. In the words of one website, “First principles thinking is basically the practice of actively questioning every assumption you think you ‘know’ about a given problem or scenario — and then creating new knowledge and solutions from scratch. Almost like a newborn baby.” Notice how this form of thinking involves a cognitive rebirth, because one is mentally reassembling specifics in the light of general principles.

Does this mean that inventors will inherit eternal life? Not necessarily. I suggest that the amount of life that one inherits depends upon the extent to which this process involves mental networks of life. That is why verse 29 begins by talking about letting go of the mental networks that relate to personal identity.

Verse 30 then adds a twist. “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” The first 15 verses of chapter 20 will describe what this means, because verse 16 concludes “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” This means that we cannot look for a fulfillment of the first half of Matthew 20 in the 1960s. Instead, this parable is describing what will happen in the future when the Son of Man sits on his throne. However, we can still analyze this parable from a cognitive perspective, because cognitive principles always apply.

One general point needs to be mentioned before we continue. One might wonder why the attitude of religious self-denial is being discussed now. One might think that it would be more appropriate to discuss self-denial back during the time of the Crusades, when society was being driven by religious self-denial. But self-denial uses Mercy emotions to overwhelm Perceiver thought, and Perceiver thought is the part of the mind that forms a self-image by asking questions about self. Thus, it is only possible to start discussing religious self-denial when Perceiver thought—represented by Peter—wakes up and asks ‘Why am I doing this, what am I going to get out of this?’ The next parable is going to address this question of motivation and reward.

Saying this another way, asking ‘what will be my reward?’ is a Contributor question because Contributor thought thinks in terms of cause-and-effect—or sowing and reaping. We talked about Perceiver connections expanding Contributor transformation when looking at the keys of Peter. When Perceiver thought starts to ask questions about Contributor sowing-and-reaping, it then becomes possible to expand the concept of religious denial into a more general version of Contributor sowing-and-reaping.

The Vineyard Workers 20:1-7

Verse 1 sets the context for the parable. “For the kingdom of heaven is like a man, a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.” This is the first mention of a vineyard in Matthew, and this term will appear ten times in chapters 20-21. A vineyard is a place for growing grapes and grapes are turned into wine. Wine is a form of liquid and liquid represents Mercy experiences. But this is not a liquid of the sea in which people live, but a liquid of culture and taste that grows out of the ground of rational thought.

Putting this into context, Western civilization has been growing for a long time. A vineyard represents Western civilization finally starting to bear the fruit of a new culture and society. Saying this another way, I have mentioned that personal transformation can be divided into the three stages of constructing an understanding in Teacher thought, following this Teacher understanding in righteousness, and becoming reborn within this system of righteousness. A vineyard represents this third stage of rebirth. Applying this to Western history, the world after the Second World War has become reborn as a result of modern technology.

The word landowner combines ‘house’ with ‘despot’. This conveys the idea that developing the vineyard is not a democratic process driven by the grassroots. Instead, a few leaders are deciding how technology will be developed. Hire means ‘a reward that appropriately compensates a particular decision’. This describes concrete technical thought, which is motivated by concrete cause-and-effect: If I perform some work, then I will be rewarded.

This parable takes place over the course of a day. We have interpreted a day as an era ruled by the light of some sun of Teacher understanding. This parable contrasts four kinds of workers who start work at different times of the day and are hired in different ways. I suggest that these four forms of workers represent four different ways in which one can approach the heaven of Teacher thought.

The first group starts early in the morning. Symbolically speaking, this means that people are just starting to grasp the nature of Teacher thought. Verse 2 describes the hiring of this group. “When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard.” Agreed means ‘voicing the same opinion because like-minded’ and is the source of the English word ‘symphony’. This word has been used once previously in Matthew in 18:19, which said that “if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my father who is in heaven”. We interpreted that as the emergence of independent laboratories after the First World War. This initial group is explicitly referred to as workmen, which is based on the word that means ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’. These workmen also agree to work for the specific wage of one denarius. Finally, the workmen are sent into the vineyard, and sent means ‘sent on a defined mission by a superior’.

Putting this all together, this initial group describes a goal-oriented mindset in concrete technical thought which views abstract technical thought as an extension of concrete thought. It recognizes that cooperation will lead to better results than competition, but it does not yet have an integrated Teacher understanding. As a result, it has to be ‘sent out’ by some superior force which does have an abstract understanding.

The next group has a different arrangement. “And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went” (v.3-4). The third hour is about 9 AM. Stand means ‘to make to stand, to stand’. Idle is ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’ with a negative prefix. Unlike the first group, the second group is not motivated by internal goals in Mercy thought. And marketplace means ‘an assembly, place of assembly’. It has appeared once previously in 11:16, where the children in the marketplace were calling out to each other. We interpreted that as a reference to the initial expressions of scientific research. The emphasis of this word is not so much on buying and selling goods as on people meeting to discuss important issues. Looking at this cognitively, this second group is no longer motivated by Mercy goals. Instead, they have made a mental transition to the ‘assembly’ of abstract thought.

This lack of Mercy motivation can be seen in the instructions that they are given. Go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’. In contrast, the first group was ‘sent on a mission by a superior’. ‘Sent’ gives the impression of limited authority. The landowner is sending the workmen out beyond his authority. In contrast, ‘go’ gives the idea that the authority is going along with the workers. This idea of joining an existing system can also be seen in the word ‘also’.

This second group is not told what they will receive. Instead, the word right is used, which means ‘righteous, just’. Looking at this cognitively, the second group is being driven by Teacher emotions of righteousness. And Matthew 6 made it clear that one will only be motivated by Teacher feelings of righteousness if one is not being motivated by Mercy feelings of approval or personal goals. This different perspective can also be seen in the fact that the second group is ‘standing’. Goal-oriented behavior is characterized by doing and walking, because one is moving towards some goal in Mercy thought. Abstract thought stops moving, but it is still standing. In other words, one does not abandon Perceiver facts and Servers sequences when one moves from concrete thought to abstract thought. But one uses this information in a different manner. Instead of trying to reach somewhere, one is attempting to put the facts and sequences together. Saying this another way, one must do the commandments in order to reach some goal in Mercy thought, while one must keep the commandments in order to build a Teacher understanding. Standing means that one is not doing, but one is still keeping.

Based upon what we have said in this essay about righteousness, one would regard the motivation of the second group as being cognitively more advanced than the motivation of the first group. But the situation is not quite so simple, because the first group creates the environment within which the second group can function. Saying this more clearly, one can only be driven by Teacher feelings of righteousness to the extent that Teacher feelings exist. The first group started working at the break of day when the ‘sun’ of Teacher understanding was just appearing on the horizon. Their cooperative work helped the sun to arise, making it possible for the second group to be motivated by the Teacher light of the morning sun.

Verse 5 describes a system that is being motivated by the Teacher light of the sun. “Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did similarly.” (The sixth hour is noon and the ninth hour is 3 PM.) Similarly means ‘in the same way as’. Did means ‘to make, do’. Doing in a similar manner means following an exemplar—a set of actions that set a pattern to follow. One can see this in academia because the scientific method has set a pattern to follow—an exemplar to copy. These individuals are not necessarily motivated by Teacher feelings of righteousness. Instead, they are joining a system, they are following a methodology.

The pattern changes for the final group in verse 6. “And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day long?’” This final group is found, which means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. This group, like the second group is also standing. (‘Around’ is not in the original Greek.) The master asks ‘why have you been standing here idle all day long?’ The first group agreed to work for the day. This is the second reference to a day. All means ‘whole, complete’. And idle is the same word that appeared in verse 3, which adds a negative prefix to internally motivated action. Thus, this final group resembles the second group which is following righteousness, because it is also standing and not being motivated by Mercy goals.

The final group answers in verse 7. “They said to him, ‘Because no one hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’” No one means ‘no one, nothing at all’. Hired comes from a noun that means ‘wages, hire’. ‘Hiring’ was mentioned in verse 1 at the beginning of the story. It is now being mentioned again at the end. The focus on hiring implies that people are thinking again in terms of Mercy results. Notice that this is happening both at the beginning and the end of the day. When the sun of Teacher thought is bright, then Teacher motivation takes over. However, this Teacher motivation changes from the second group to the third group. The second group is being motivated by Teacher feelings of righteousness, while the third group is being motivated by Teacher feelings of methodology. The second group is being told that it will be given what is righteous. The third group is ‘doing similarly’.

This final group has been standing around because it does not fit into the first three groups. Unlike the first group, it views abstract thought as more than just an extension of concrete behavior. Unlike the second group, it does not want to follow Teacher thought while ignoring Mercy thought. And unlike the third group, it does not want to reduce understanding to mere methodology. The master tells the fourth group to go into the vineyard. (Some manuscripts add ‘and whatever is right, you will receive’, indicating a focus upon righteousness).

This interpretation may seem like a stretch, but it is consistent with the Greek text, and it is also consistent with my experience over the years. First, many of the principles taught by mental symmetry are also taught by various seminar speakers. But these speakers package their material as a way of doing business more effectively; they view Teacher understanding as a tool to further Mercy goals. In contrast, I felt that personal identity in Mercy thought should submit to Teacher understanding. Saying this more simply, I should not treat God as my servant. Second, academic research is guided by Teacher understanding, but it pursues this understanding in an objective manner that avoids the goals of personal identity. In contrast, I have found that the Teacher goal of understanding the mind has to be combined with the Mercy goal of transforming the mind. Third, whenever some field develops, then it becomes ruled by methodology. I follow the methodology that I do because I do not want to get stuck in a dead-end. I have encountered too many researchers and speakers who have become lost in self-deception because they have refused to combine Teacher understanding with Mercy application. But even though I am not stuck, and even though I have come up with an understanding, most researchers and preachers refuse to discuss the content of my research because I am not following official methodology. The end result is that I spent the whole day standing, wishing that someone would hire me. However, this standing throughout the entire day has also forced me to develop new sources of motivation. I have found that the ultimate motivation is one of existence. One remains standing because there is no other place to stand. And this standing has caused Platonic forms of perfection to develop within my mind which have caused me to think also in terms of a vineyard. Looking at this more specifically, I have found that normal motivation is insufficient for writing this essay. Instead, the only way that I can keep going is to let go of all hope and simply stand. And yet, this simple standing seems to be the key to opening up doors to other realms.

The fourth group may have the deepest motivation, but it also requires a context. The fourth group can only emerge within the context of the first three groups. Speaking personally, it is the stress of seeing the first three groups following their incomplete motivations that turns the standing into transformation. Merely standing is not enough. Instead, one has to stand through a day wanting to be hired, while being hired by no one. (This does not mean never getting a job, but rather being unable to pursue a career.) Going further, the first three groups also provide the content for the fourth group. Their partial theories and partial results make it possible for the final group to put together an integrated understanding and visualize a more complete application.

Paying the Workers 20:8-16

The rest of the parable talks about the various groups being paid. Most of the parables so far have involved fields, crops, and seeds, which represent abstract thought and understanding. This parable is about a vineyard, which represents the application of understanding—the transformed society that emerges as a result of understanding. And this is not just referring to modern infrastructure, because that transforms the world without transforming people. Instead, a vineyard means that people themselves are experiencing the personal benefits of a transformed civilization. I do not think that we have yet experienced what this means, which means that this parable is talking about a future reward.

Verse 8 begins, “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last group to the first.’” The word evening has appeared several times in Matthew, which we have interpreted as the end of an era. For instance, the Western world is now in the evening of the modern era, because we have moved from modern to postmodern; the very idea of following the ‘sun’ of a general theory in Teacher thought has become discredited as a relic of the past.

It may be significant that a different term is used to refer to the owner. In verse 1, the owner was described as the house despot, whereas in verse 8 he is called the lord of the vineyard. This implies a change in focus from the personal realm of a house to the more social and corporate realm of a vineyard—from a personal relationship to a new social order. And I use the term ‘new social order’ deliberately not because I necessarily agree with those who are promoting a new social order, but rather to point out that this has become a topic of conversation.

The word foreman is used once in Matthew and actually means ‘a steward, tutor, or guardian’. The word ‘foreman’ conveys the concept of a worksite. A steward or guardian is more personal, consistent with the idea of transforming people and culture. Pay means ‘to give up, give back, return’. Wages means ‘pay, wages’ and is the noun of the verb ‘hire’ used in verse 1. This word is used several times in the Sermon on the Mount when talking about receiving a reward from God in heaven. But it is only used one other time either as a verb or as a noun in Matthew in 10:41, where it talked about receiving the reward of a prophet or a righteous man. We interpreted that as providing an environment for scientific thought during the time of Copernicus and Galileo. The reward there involved the practical benefits of pursuing scientific thought. In other words, the idea of getting paid is not a common theme of Matthew. Thus, this should be viewed as an unusual situation.

This is where the twist happens that was mentioned in 19:30, because the payment starts from the last until the first. Cognitively speaking, the payment starts with the final group because they have made the actual breakthrough. Looking at this in more detail, each step of the three stage process of personal transformation involves a deeper motivation. In the first step of building a Teacher understanding, one is gaining the understanding in order to be more successful within the normal world. That is because the understanding that one is constructing is a verbal understanding about which one talks and writes, but it is not something to which one necessarily submits as a person. This describes the motivation of the first group. For instance, when I started working on mental symmetry, my goal was to understand how the mind works. I realized later that I could use mental symmetry as a guide for transforming my own mind. The second stage of personal transformation follows the TMN of an understanding in righteousness. This describes the motivation of the second group who is working in the vineyard in order to ‘receive what is righteous’. This is a deeper motivation than the first group, because one is being driven by a TMN of understanding rather than MMNs of culture and approval.

The third group is motivated by methodology. This replaces the TMN of how things work with the TMN of how a group functions. For instance, Thomas Kuhn, in his groundbreaking work on paradigms, initially viewed a paradigm as an understanding of how the natural world works. However, in the 1970 appendix to his book, he redefined a paradigm to be primarily a description of how a group of scientists behave. When the following righteousness of the second group turns into the methodology of the third group, then this creates the environment for the fourth group. The second and third groups continue to come up with new developments, providing raw material for the fourth group. But any content that is developed by the fourth group will be excluded. On the one hand, the fourth group cannot follow an objective methodology that pursues Teacher understanding at the expense of suppressing Mercy feelings. On the other hand, the third group will refuse to examine any content that does not follow the officially approved methodology of pursuing Teacher understanding without Mercy emotions. The only option that remains is for the fourth group to break through to the higher motivation of existence, which means following a certain path because it is intrinsically good. And when one follows such a path of intrinsic goodness, then one will break through to non-physical realms. That is because the fourth group is stuck in the physical while unable to live within the physical. That explains why the fourth group is paid first, because this parable is discussing a future reward that extends beyond the physical realm. The payback then spreads out from this initial group to include the other groups as well.

Verse 9 describes the fourth group being paid. “When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius.” Cognitively speaking, this fourth group receives a full day’s wage, because even though they did not spend the day doing, they still had to spend the day becoming.

Verse 10 says that this changes the expectations of the first group. “When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.” The word thought means ‘to assume a prevailing custom, law, practice’. This is more than just a personal opinion, but rather based upon prevailing custom. I am not quite sure how this would express itself, but I do know that the academic community places a great emphasis upon attributing discoveries to the appropriate person. Similarly, I also know that copyright and intellectual property are fundamental attributes of the modern information society. If those who had ‘become’ were rewarded first, then the larger community would evaluate this reward on the basis of what the fourth group had ‘done’ while ignoring what they had ‘become’. That is because science and technology currently ignores what a person is and focuses upon what that person has done. Similarly, intellectual property also focuses upon what a person has. (This leads to the bizarre idea that it is possible to own an idea which one does not comprehend. But how can I own an idea if I do not understand what that idea is?) Therefore, if those who had ‘done’ most of the work received only the same reward as those who had ‘become’, this would totally violate existing norms of academic acknowledgment and intellectual property.

Looking at this further, academic acknowledgment and intellectual property are both ways of adding Teacher thought to existing Mercy structures—which defines the mindset of the first group. The existing social structure is based upon Mercy status, in which certain people are regarded as more significant and important than other people. Academic acknowledgment modifies this structure by giving greater Mercy status to those who have made scientific breakthroughs. For instance, instead of just regarding a politician such as Abraham Lincoln as important, a scientist such as Albert Einstein will also be recognized and honored. Similarly, intellectual property is an extension of physical property. Physical property assigns concrete objects to people in Mercy thought. Intellectual property expands upon this by treating ideas as concrete objects which can be assigned to people in Mercy thought.

However, intellectual property is fundamentally different than physical property. Wikipedia explains that “The intangible nature of intellectual property presents difficulties when compared with traditional property like land or goods. Unlike traditional property, intellectual property is ‘indivisible’, since an unlimited number of people can ‘consume’ an intellectual good without it being depleted. Additionally, investments in intellectual goods suffer from problems of appropriation: a landowner can surround their land with a robust fence and hire armed guards to protect it, but a producer of information or literature can usually do very little to stop their first buyer from replicating it and selling it at a lower price.”

The next two verses describe the complaints of the first group. “When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day’” (v. 11-12). Notice that this complaining starts after the first group has done the receiving. Presumably, the fourth group has achieved some sort of spiritual breakthrough, and this breakthrough is gradually spreading to the previous groups. It makes sense that existing principles of academic recognition and intellectual property would cause the first group to think that they would get a large payout, and it would come as a major shock to the first group if existing principles of intellectual property were not acknowledged.

Grumble is used once in Matthew and means ‘to murmur or mutter with muffled undertones’. This grumbling indicates that the prevailing custom has now changed. In verse 10, this first group ‘thought’—which means to assume a prevailing custom. If this custom still existed, then the first group would appeal to prevailing custom. The fact that they are reduced to grumbling and muttering indicates that prevailing custom has changed. This implies that the spiritual breakthrough has changed existing concepts of academic attribution and intellectual property.

One can tell that the first group is thinking in terms of doing rather than being because the word worked means ‘to make, do’, as does the word ‘made’ in the same verse. (In contrast, ‘laborer’ describes action that is internally motivated.) Similarly, the group that was following methodology in verse 5 also ‘did’ the same thing. The word equal is used once in Matthew and means ‘equivalent, equal in substance or quality’. Thus, the first group is not complaining about the wages themselves, but rather complaining about the general principle that the being of the fourth group has been made equivalent to the doing of the first group.

Continuing with verse 11, borne means ‘to take, carry’. Burden is used once in Matthew and means ‘weight, real substance’. And day means ‘the period from sunrise to sunset’, which would represent the era being illuminated by some sun. Thus, ‘bearing the burden of the day’ would mean carrying the weight of the Teacher understanding of the age. For instance, academia currently views itself as the guardian and burden bearer of the sun of scientific illumination. The word scorching heat is found once in Matthew. It means ‘burning heat’. The NASB translates this as an adjective of ‘the day’, but the Greek adds ‘and the burning heat’ after the phrase ‘burden of the day’. We have interpreted ‘burning’ as the fire of frustration. There is such a burning in current academia because objective research continually frustrates mental networks of culture, personal identity, and status, by eliminating subjective emotions from its thinking.

In verse 13, the owner refers to the original agreement. “But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?’” The word friend is found only in Matthew where it is used three times. It refers to someone who is ‘posing to be a comrade, but in reality only has his own interests in mind’. This is consistent with the mindset of the first group, which is viewing friendship with incarnation as a way of advancing existing MMNs of society and approval. ‘I am doing you no wrong’ is literally ‘I not unrighteous you’. In other words, incarnation is not behaving in a manner that violates TMNs of righteousness, which implies that existing concepts of intellectual property are not righteous. And agree is the verb used in verse 2, which means ‘voicing the same opinion because like-minded’. Thus, the original mindset of cooperation is still being followed.

Verse 14 describes the wishes of the owner. “Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last [man] the same as to you.” Take means ‘to raise, take up, lift’, and we have been viewing this upward movement as an expression of Teacher thought. Go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’ and was used in verses 4 and 7 to describe a response of righteousness. Yours is a common word but this is only the second time that it is used in Matthew outside of the Sermon on the Mount. Putting this together, the first group is being told to implement a new form of intellectual property. They need to take what actually belongs to them and lift this up in Teacher thought. Then, instead of viewing themselves as sources of truth, they need to behave in a manner that is under authority.

For instance, I could view myself as the expert on mental symmetry and leverage this expertise to become personally successful. That describes the mindset of the first group. Instead, I need to take the information of mental symmetry and ensure that I have intellectual ownership of this material. Then, I need to view this material from a Teacher perspective as a description of universal principles rather than as my theory. Finally, I need to behave in a way that submits to these universal principles.

Wish means ‘to desire’, and ‘man’ is not in the original Greek. Thus, verse 14 is saying that giving to the fourth group reflects the desires of incarnation. This is different than the ‘friend’ mentioned in verse 13, which does not reflect the desires of incarnation. The same as means ‘as, like as, even as’. The final phrase is more literally, ‘as and to you’. In other words, the treatment of the fourth group is being used as a pattern which is being followed in the treatment of the first group. The payment of the fourth group is establishing new guidelines of intellectual property that are being followed in the treatment of the first group.

Verse 15 describes this new standard of intellectual property. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?” Lawful means permitted, lawful’. Wish means ‘to desire’ and do means ‘to make, do’. ‘Doing what I wish with what belongs to me’ defines the essence of private property. Incarnation is reminding these defenders of intellectual property that what they think is their intellectual property actually belongs to incarnation.

The second half of verse 15 looks at basic motivation. “Or is your eye evil because I am good?” We have interpreted the eye as using Perceiver thought to analyze the environment. Evil means pain-ridden. I is a very common word in English, but in Greek it is usually implied by the conjugation of the verb. The last time in Matthew that ‘I’ was mentioned explicitly as the subject of the verb was back in 14:27 when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and he replied that ‘It is I’. We interpreted that as recognizing that the new technology of the Industrial Revolution is an expression of incarnation. Good means ‘intrinsically good’. Thus, the owner—who represents incarnation—is making a statement of identity, saying that ‘I am intrinsically good’. The young man asked in 19:16 about the nature of intrinsic goodness, and Jesus responded in 19:17 that it does not make sense to ask someone else about intrinsic goodness before pointing out that ‘One is the intrinsic goodness’. The realization there was that there is an inherent unity to intrinsic goodness. Here, the first group is recognizing through the payments of the lord that incarnation is intrinsic goodness. In contrast, the first group is viewing the environment through the pain-ridden MMNs of the childish mind.

Verse 16 concludes by emphasizing the purpose of this parable. “So the last shall be first, and the first last.” So means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Thus, the parable provides an analogy for how the future reward will happen in the regeneration, and it elaborates on the final verse of chapter 19, which said that many first will be last, and last first.

Placing this into the larger picture, I have referred several times to the theoretical return of Jesus. My study of other New Testament books has led to the conclusion that this return will be followed by the beginning of what I call spiritual technology. In some way, normal technology will acquire supernatural overtones and people will be given the ability to add spiritual overtones to existing technology. This parable in Matthew 20 helps to explain how this spiritual technology will spread. The spiritual gifting will start with the fourth group and gradually extend its way to the first group. One of the byproducts of the spiritual gifting will be a redefining of intellectual property. This may sound like a rather trivial byproduct, but the concept of intellectual property has become a central pillar of today’s information-based economy. And attempts to define intellectual property have become one of the major controversies of modern society.

Jesus Predicts his Death 20:17-19

Jesus then predicts for the third time that he will go to Jerusalem and be killed. The first time was right after Peter’s statement of faith in 16:21. That first declaration was stated from a theoretical perspective. Jesus said that his death was necessary and he verbally accosted Peter when Peter questioned this necessity. We connected that situation with the growth of integrated scientific understanding in the 19th century. This would lead eventually to an integrated understanding of the physical world, which would be incomplete because it would not include the cognitive, the spiritual, the supernatural, or the divine. Making this concept of incarnation complete would require going through a rebirth.

The second prediction was in 17:22 right after the Transfiguration, which we interpreted as the Victorian era. The principle there was that the Victorian mindset combined morality based in absolute truth with science based in rational understanding. This juxtaposition would become twisted, leading ultimately to the horrors of the First World War, which would cause people to fundamentally question the idea of basing truth in personal authority.

The third prediction contains several details that are not mentioned in the first two predictions. Verse 17 begins, “As Jesus was [about] to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them.” Go up means ‘to go up, ascend’. Jerusalem was the center of religious worship. Literally speaking, one does ‘go up’ to Jerusalem because Jerusalem is on the height of land. But this also implies moving in the direction of Teacher generality. And this same phrase is repeated in verse 18, suggesting that this is an important detail. (‘Going up’ is not in all of the manuscripts in verse 17, but it is in verse 18). Looking at this symbolically, technical thought is increasingly encroaching upon general topics that were considered to be the realm of religion.

In the first prediction in 16:21, going to Jerusalem was portrayed as a theoretical necessity, and it was described as ‘going away’ to Jerusalem. Looking at this cognitively, at that point in time scientific research was quite distinct from religious belief. In 17:22, Jerusalem was not mentioned. Instead, things were becoming ‘twisted together’ in the cycles of Galilee, describing the moral twisting between God and country that was happening in the Victorian era.

One can see this ‘going up’ in the late 20th century with the growth of psychology, sociology, and neuropsychology. The word ‘about’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, going up to Jerusalem is described as something that is currently happening. Similarly, scientific research has been moving steadily in the direction of religious topics for the last several decades.

Wikipedia describes this as the cognitive revolution. “The cognitive revolution was an intellectual movement that began in the 1950s as an interdisciplinary study of the mind and its processes. It later became known collectively as cognitive science. The relevant areas of interchange were between the fields of psychology, linguistics, computer science, anthropology, neuroscience, and philosophy. They used approaches developed within the then-nascent fields of artificial intelligence, computer science, and neuroscience. In the 1960s, the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies and the Center for Human Information Processing at the University of California San Diego were influential in developing the academic study of cognitive science. By the early 1970s, the cognitive movement had surpassed behaviorism as a psychological paradigm. Furthermore, by the early 1980s the cognitive approach had become the dominant line of research inquiry across most branches in the field of psychology.” Mental symmetry came to birth within this cognitive framework.

The phrase ‘on the way’ is more literally ‘in the realm of the road’. A road represents a Server sequence along which one travels. ‘In the realm of the road’ describes something that is happening within the context of traveling along a certain sequence. This sequence is the ‘going up to Jerusalem’–the gradual development of cognitive science with its religious implications. Jesus takes the twelve aside by themselves as they are going on this sequence. In other words, the true followers of incarnation are themselves learning from the process of the development of cognitive science. For instance, mental symmetry started with a system of cognitive styles that was initially proposed in the mid 1970s. I have been working with mental symmetry since the early 1980s. I have not been part of any official program of cognitive research. But the development of mental symmetry has been affected greatly by the growth of cognitive science over the decades. Thus, mental symmetry could be described as a theory that has developed by itself in the realm of the road to Jerusalem.

In verse 18, Jesus describes what will happen. “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death.” As was mentioned before, the phrase ‘going up to Jerusalem’ is repeated. Delivered means both ‘to hand over’ and ‘to betray’. We have discussed this previously as the major transition that brings an era to a close, which can be triggered by the negative event of a betrayal, or by the positive event of a handing over. Betrayal was not mentioned in 16:22, but it was mentioned in 17:22, which talked about the Son of Man being betrayed into the hands of men. This describes the concept of incarnation being hijacked by human leaders. In chapter 20, there is actually a double betrayal. The first betrayal is in verse 18 to the chief priests and scribes. This is followed by a second betrayal in verse 19 to the Gentiles.

Chief priests and scribes were both mentioned in 16:21 but chapter 16 mentioned elders, which are not mentioned in chapter 20. Chief priest would refer to core elements of religion, while scribe represents written truth. Chief priests and scribes would mean the core elements of absolute truth with its holy books. Elders refer to the traditions of society. Traditions played a major role in 19th century society. Traditions have played a much smaller role in the development of cognitive science. Thus, it makes sense that elders would be mentioned in chapter 16, but not in chapter 20.

Verses 18-19 describe a sequence of events. First, there is the going up to Jerusalem, representing the development of cognitive science. Second, the Son of Man is betrayed to the chief priests and scribes. This is normally interpreted as the Christian Jesus being betrayed by false religion. But we have been interpreting the Son of Man as a concept of incarnation based in the development of Western civilization. In other words, the normal Christian interpretation thinks in terms of Jesus as described in the Gospels and as experienced as ‘Jesus in your heart’. In contrast, the Son of Man is actually a developing concept of Christ, which transforms the specific life of Jesus into universal principles.

The normal Christian interpretation thinks that the Jesus of Christianity is being betrayed. A cognitive interpretation views the Christianity of absolute truth as the betrayer. Cognitively speaking, ‘chief priests and scribes’ describe fundamentalism with its mindset of absolute truth. The chief priests and scribes ‘condemn him to death’. Condemn means ‘to give judgment against’, and judging means ‘to pick out by separating’. In other words, technical thought is being used to analyze and then reject some system. Putting this together, fundamentalism is using technical thought to conclude that ‘the son of man’ has no right to exist and deserves to die.

For instance, this describes the way that the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians respond to the theory of mental symmetry. They feel at a very deep level that it is fundamentally wrong to use a cognitive theory to attempt to analyze holy doctrines—even if this cognitive theory initially came from a passage in the Bible. That is because a mindset of absolute truth feels that I am nothing compared to my source of truth. Using rational thought to analyze absolute truth will feel to such a mindset as if I am acting as if I am somebody compared to my source of truth. And this accurately describes of the typical mindset of liberal Christianity, which assigns greater emotional status to the current skeptical experts than it does to the original authors of the Bible. Thus, absolute truth will instinctively equate analyzing the Bible cognitively with becoming a liberal Christian.

More specifically, my brother Lane interacted briefly in the 1980s with a well-known (and now discredited) Christian seminar speaker who taught about Romans 12 spiritual gifts in his seminars. The seminar speaker broke off this relationship because he felt that Lane’s study of historical biographies was too secular.

Verse 18 describes the first betrayal. This is followed by a second betrayal in verse 19. “And will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” Gentiles means ‘forming a custom, culture’, which would refer to various ethnic groups and lifestyles, held together by common MMNs. Putting these two betrayals together, the fundamentalist could have responded to secular psychology and cognitive science by holding on to the content of the Bible while using psychology and cognitive science to transform the mindset of absolute truth. This summarizes the path that I have followed with mental symmetry. If this had happened, then the subjective aspect of incarnation would have become transformed. But because fundamentalism rejected secular cognitive research (typically portraying it as an aspect of ‘evil secular humanism’—the seminar speaker mentioned previously preached vigorously in his seminars against secular humanism), the subjective side of incarnation became associated in the public mindset with anti-intellectual fundamentalism.

Saying this more clearly, science and technology is a partial expression of incarnation, which ignores the subjective in Mercy thought and suppresses a concept of God in Teacher thought. Christianity teaches that the world was created by a rational God and that personal transformation is guided by the rational person of incarnation. But liberal Christianity no longer teaches this while fundamentalist Christianity teaches this as blind faith based in the absolute truth of the Bible. Therefore, the emotional extension of incarnation became associated with religious blind faith in the mind of the average person. That was the first betrayal. This made way for the second betrayal in which the various cultures and movements of society have belittled and rejected Christian blind faith.

Returning now to verse 19, the second betrayal is to the Gentiles—the various social and ethnic groups with their various MMNs. What they have done is ‘mock and scourge and crucify Him’. Mock combines ‘in’ with ‘play’, and this word is also used to describe the mocking of Jesus in Matthew 27. One can see this mocking in the typical television program of the late 20th century, which regarded fundamentalist beliefs as the butt of jokes. And whenever it was pointed out that Christianity was being mocked, the response would be ‘Can’t you take a joke?’

Flog means to whip with a ‘lash of the leathern thongs with pieces of metal sewn up in them’. The goal of flogging was to rip open the skin of the victim. Looking at this symbolically, a piece of metal is a hard solid object that has been tested in the fire. One could regard this as a tested fact. Leather comes from the skin of a cow. A cow is alive, it is a source of milk, but it is not human. This represents mental networks of psychological theory that can help people at the basic level of drinking milk, but do not lead people to the full transformation of a human mind. The basic premise of such theories is that man is driven by animal instincts. Pieces of metal sewn up in leather implies fragments of hard scientific facts placed within some psychological system of animal instincts. Flogging incarnation with such a weapon would mean using psychological theories of animal instinct with their fragments of solid scientific facts to rip into the MMNs of Christian fundamentalism. The word ‘flog’ was used once previously in Matthew in 10:17, which talked about being flogged in the synagogues. We interpreted that as the response of the medieval Christian church to the early Protestants, and this response can only be described as vicious and inhuman.

Cross has been mentioned twice in Matthew, but this is the first mention of crucify. Crucifixion kills a person by immobilizing him until he eventually dies. The two references to ‘cross’ both mentioned ‘taking up his cross’, which assumes that one fragment of personality is being immobilized while another fragment is still capable of making movement. Crucifixion means that all of personal identity has become immobilized, and that this immobilization continues until death. This describes the current response to Christianity which is to excise any remnants of Christian thought from normal behavior. Applying this to a concept of incarnation, the goal of incarnation is to save people, guided by a rational understanding of the character of God. On the one hand, it has become intellectually taboo to suggest that personal behavior can be described by a general Teacher theory. On the other hand, it has become socially taboo to suggest that any MMNs of culture or lifestyle are in need of salvation.

Notice the three stages of betrayal. It started as a game and jokes. This then turned into a frontal attack. And this has been followed by total suppression. These three stages have been carried out by the ‘Gentiles’ with their various MMNs. But the attacks were initially enabled by the fundamentalist rejection of the rational thinking of the Son of Man. However, this is not the end, because “on the third day He will be raised up”. Raised up means ‘to awaken, to raise up’. Mental networks of incarnation will come back to life. And these mental networks will be raised up by giving them Teacher generality. One can see this raising up starting to happen today. That is because secular research is now recognizing that religion plays a valid role in mental health. And people are starting to realize that developing better gadgets is not enough. People need to be saved as well.

For instance, this choice is becoming obvious during the current coronavirus pandemic, because governments have to choose between protecting the lives of people or preserving the economy. In essence, the current pandemic is causing verses 18-19 to happen at the level of physical existence. The three countries that currently have the most cases (America, Brazil, and Russia) all have leaders that appeal to fundamentalism with its authoritarianism. In each of these three countries, a mindset of fundamentalism is betraying the rational thinking of medical science. But this is being followed by a second betrayal in which liberal thinkers are first mocking the fundamentalist leaders, then attacking them frontally, and finally coming to the conclusion that the mindset of fundamentalism needs to be crucified.

Why would God allow this to happen? If only the physical universe exists, then it does not make sense for God to allow the personal side of incarnation to be treated so brutally. (But then, if only the physical universe exists, then it does not make sense to talk about God.) Looking at this personally, if mental symmetry really does describe the path to mental wholeness and is an accurate reformulation of Christian doctrine, then it does not make sense for God to lead me through decades of brief episodes of recognition interspersed by long periods of being ignored. However, if the kingdom of heaven extends beyond the physical to include both the physical and the supernatural, then this suppression does make sense, because the person of incarnation has to be suppressed until a breakthrough is made beyond the physical and the material. I have not physically experienced this breakthrough, but I mentally sense that other realms with their beings are nearby and getting ever closer. And the kind of beings that I sense are very nice people—scary, strange, and holy, but also worth having as friends and partners.

Sitting on the Right and Left 20:20-28

The next section describes the disciples vying again for domination. This happened previously in the beginning of chapter 18, which we interpreted as the various European powers vying for domination before the First World War. Matthew 20 is different because it involves the mother of two of the disciples. Verse 20 begins, “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him.” The ‘sons of Zebedee’ were mentioned previously in 10:2 in the list of disciples. We interpreted that list as a cognitive progression.

The list in chapter 10 began with Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, which we interpreted as a belief in verbal truth being interpreted using male thought. The two sons of Zebedee came next in the list. Repeating the earlier discussion about these two, James is actually Jacob, which means ‘to follow, to supplant’. Zebedee means ‘Yah has bestowed’, while John means ‘the Lord has been gracious’. Looking at this cognitively, studying the words of the holy book will lead to Teacher understanding with its associated Teacher emotions. In other words, the solid verbal truth of Simon Peter will be followed or supplanted by the Teacher feeling that ‘Yah has bestowed’. This describes the transition from verbal truth to general Teacher understanding. The mother of these two would refer to the mental networks that are associated with this transition from verbal truth to general Teacher understanding. Interpreting this cognitively, a culture of theorizing from data is becoming the dominant aspect of the disciples of incarnation.

This describes the rise of cognitive psychology, referred to earlier in the quote about the cognitive revolution, because cognitive psychology gathers data about human behavior and then comes up with general Teacher theories that describe this data. Wikipedia elaborates: “A key goal of early cognitive psychology was to apply the scientific method to the study of human cognition. This was done by designing experiments that used computational models of artificial intelligence to systematically test theories about human mental processes in a controlled laboratory setting.” This is a valid aspect of incarnation. But it only describes two of the twelve disciples. I have mentioned that incarnation includes the technical thinking of science and technology, but it goes beyond this to include personal identity in Mercy thought and a concept of God in Teacher thought. The various branches of cognitive psychology describe an aspect of academia that does go—to some extent—beyond science and technology to include personal identity and religious thought.

Verse 21 continues, “And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.’” He asks about her ‘desire, wish’, which means that we are looking at the cultural emotions driving technical thought. Command means ‘bring word, command’. It can mean command, but it is one of the common words for ‘say’. Thus, the mother is not necessarily asking Jesus to order this to happen. Right has been used several times in Matthew, but this is the first occurrence of left. Neurologically speaking, the left side of the physical body is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain and vice versa. The reference to the ‘left’ indicates that right hemisphere experiential thought with its emotions is finally being recognized. And emotions are a legitimate topic of study in cognitive science—but only Mercy emotions. The idea that abstract theorizing is driven by Teacher emotions is unknown. I have attempted several times to introduce the concept of Teacher emotions to various researchers and have consistently met a brick wall of rejection. Thus, it is accurate to say that one of the sons of Zebedee sits on the left and the other on the right. The cognitive researcher studies the human (or animal) subject with its presumed Mercy emotions and then makes the transition to Teacher theory, ignoring the fact that the researcher doing the studying has the same mind as the human subject being studied. (I have also attempted to point this out several times without success.) Summarizing, the fundamental dichotomy of cognitive science is ‘subject with Mercy emotions that one analyzes’ and ‘researcher with Teacher emotions that one does not analyze’. The transition from ‘subject’ to ‘data about subject’ describes the one son, while the building of Teacher theories describes the other son.

Jesus answers in verse 22, “‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’” Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’ and was last used in chapter 15. This describes empirical evidence, which starts out as seeing and becomes knowing. In other words, cognitive science has gained considerable empirical evidence about the people that it studies, but it has not acquired empirical evidence about the process by which cognitive science gains its empirical evidence. Using the language of Matthew, it does not understand empirically why it demands that the two sons of Zebedee sit on the left and the right of incarnation.

This is the second mention of a cup in Matthew. The first was to a cup of cold water in 10:42, which we interpreted as giving early scientific researchers an environment free of cultural and personal MMNs. It is the first reference to ‘drinking a cup’. A cup holds liquid, and liquid represents Mercy experiences. Therefore, drinking a cup means going through a certain set of Mercy experiences. This symbolism is clear in 26:39 when Jesus asks the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane to ‘let this cup pass from me’. In verse 22, Jesus asks the two if they have the power to drink the cup which he is about to drink.

We saw earlier when looking at verse 15 that the pronoun ‘I’ is rarely mentioned explicitly, but usually implied by the conjugation of the verb. In verse 15, the owner of the vineyard said that ‘I am intrinsically good’. In verse 22, ‘I’ is mentioned again, because Jesus refers to the cup that ‘I am about to drink’. This emphasizes that Jesus will be going through a set of experiences that is not shared by other people. I mentioned earlier that Teacher thought intervenes directly in personal Mercy experiences when an individual or group is going through some critical transition that leads to a new era. The coming era with its Teacher generality depends upon the individual or group successfully navigating a set of specific Mercy experiences. (This explains Romans 9, which is classically used to ‘prove’ that God directly controls every single event in the universe. The theme of Romans 9 is actually the opposite, which is to demonstrate that God is still functioning at the level of Teacher generality, even when intervening in the personal Mercy experiences of certain critical individuals.)

The two disciples answer in verse 22 that they have the power to drink this cup. What this means cognitively is that cognitive science will go beyond merely studying how the mind functions. On the one hand, as cognitive science studies minds over the decades, the minds that it studies will go through various stages of cognitive transition. For instance, cognitive science now recognizes that the mind of a Buddhist is different than the mind of a mathematician or the mind of a fundamentalist. On the other hand, cognitive science has itself acquired sufficient factual and theoretical stability to survive relatively intact while much of the rest of society has experienced the self-destruction of postmodern thought. Saying this more bluntly, I now find that I can trust the typical cognitive psychologist more than I can trust the typical Christian preacher. And when one goes to a church for counseling these days, one usually looks for a pastor who is trained in cognitive psychology, and pastors who cannot handle cases will refer them to cognitive psychologists. Thus, one can accurately say that cognitive psychology has been drinking the cup of incarnation. I am not suggesting that cognitive psychology provides a complete answer. It is based upon the supremacy of only two of the twelve disciples. But within this limited realm, it does do significant work.

Jesus continues in verse 23 by saying, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” This answer distinguishes between Mercy thought and Teacher thought. On the Mercy side of going through a certain set of experiences, cognitive psychology will follow the path of incarnation as it is belittled by the rest of society. But on the Teacher side of domains and generality, this will be decided by God the Father in Teacher thought. In verse 15, the owner stated that he had the freedom to do with his possessions as he wished. In verse 23, Jesus says that determining the relative Teacher domains of the various disciples is not one of his possessions. The word prepared means ‘make ready, prepare’ and has been used once before in Matthew in 3:3 which described John the Baptist as ‘a voice crying in the wilderness, making ready the way of the Lord’. We interpreted that as the desert hermits of the late Roman Empire preparing the way for Western civilization by reducing life to its essential elements. Verse 23 appears to be saying that God the Father in Teacher thought will be using the process of ‘reducing life to its essential elements’ in order to determine what will reign on the left and right sides of incarnation.

Looking at this from a cognitive perspective, Contributor combines Perceiver and Server. Therefore, incarnation has to have a right side provided by the left hemisphere thinking of Server, and a left side provided by the right hemisphere thinking of Perceiver. Historically speaking, the Server side of incarnation comes from Judaism, while the Perceiver side comes from Christianity. That is because Judaism emphasizes doing, while Christianity emphasizes believing. Verse 23 also implies that this question may not yet have been settled, and may depend upon the Teacher generality that is achieved using a methodology of cognitive psychology.

This interpretation is consistent with the next verses, because Jesus describes the process of by which one acquires Teacher generality. The other disciples respond in verse 24. “And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers.” Indignant means ‘to grieve much, hence to be indignant’. This response indicates that researchers are still thinking in terms of personal MMNs rather than TMNs of understanding. In other words, cognitive science does not reach the level of an integrated hard science, but rather remains at the level of soft science based in schools of thought. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that the specific facts and theories of cognitive science can usually be trusted. But cognitive science does not appear to be interested in tying all these facts together with a general theory. I think that this is because a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general Teacher theory applies to personal identity in Mercy thought. Cognitive science studies personal identity. Therefore, it can only avoid being ruled by a concept of God if general theories are avoided. If a general theory is required, then it will tend to be the godless theory of evolution rather than a general theory of how the mind works.

This needs to be repeated. One would think that researchers who are studying the mind would welcome a general theory of the mind. But in my experience, researchers will use the theory of evolution to integrate their experimental findings about the mind, without addressing the obvious question of why they feel mentally driven to use the theory of evolution rather than look for a theory of the mind. The theory of evolution often pretends to be a theory of the mind, but DNA mutations and the physical environment have at most an indirect bearing upon thought.

Jesus addresses the underlying mindset in verse 25. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.’” Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. Thus, cognitive psychologists know from their research that what Jesus is saying is accurate. Ruler means ‘a commander with authority’ and was last used in 12:24 to refer to Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Gentiles means ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture’. Lord it over is used once in Matthew and adds ‘according to’ to ‘exercise lordship’. This combination describes a major topic of investigation for cognitive psychology, which studies the MMNs of culture and looks in detail at personal sources of authority. (For instance, the one concept of mental symmetry that has been described in an official Master’s thesis is the concept of mental networks, taken from the essay on third culture kids.) Great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ and refers to Teacher generality (‘Men’ is not in the original Greek.). Exercise authority over is also found once in Matthew and adds ‘according to’ to ‘exercise authority’. This describes TMNs of organization, and organizational structure is also a major topic of cognitive science. In other words, cognitive science knows about MMNs and TMNs, and it knows that these two are not the same. (Cognitive science studies how humans function within organizational structure, but it does not take the next step of concluding that humans are being driven by Teacher emotions to function within organizational structure.)

Verse 26 describes a different method. “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.” This way means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Thus, Jesus is saying that the researcher should not follow the pattern of behavior that is being studied. The NASB translates ‘is’ in the present, but in the original Greek it is in the future tense. More literally, ‘not this pattern will be in the realm of you’. Jesus then does not say that it is wrong to seek the ‘greatness’ of Teacher generality, but instead describes how this is achieved. Notice that this process is a personal process. Literally, ‘if wishes in the realm of you to become great’. Greatness is not something that one achieves, but rather that one becomes. In other words, studying the mind and following personal transformation cannot be divorced when doing cognitive science.

Verse 26 explains that becoming great means being a servant. This is the first use of the word servant in Matthew which means ‘a servant, minister’ and is the source of the English word ‘deacon’. A servant does not set his own agenda but rather performs Server actions for others. Looking at this cognitively, one is using the principle of righteousness to extend the domain of Teacher understanding. One performs Server actions that express the theories of other cognitive researchers. Doing this sets up patterns within Server thought that makes it possible to gain further Teacher understanding. That is because Server actions create solid sequences which act as the starting point for Teacher theorizing.

In essence, one is turning the fact that the mind is understanding itself into an advantage. For instance, I have found over the years that whenever I discover a new concept about the mind, it is important to apply this concept personally through some sort of Server action. This action solidifies the concept within my mind, making it possible to move further. Going further, most of my research over the years has been guided by others who have given me books to read or systems to analyze. I have found that this is an effective way to extend the domain of mental symmetry

Verse 27 extends this principle from doing to being—from righteousness to rebirth. “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” First means ‘first, chief’ and could be interpreted either as first in Teacher generality or as first in the sequence of events. The parable of the vineyard at the beginning of Matthew 20 show that these two are related, because the fourth group that works in the vineyard at the level of existence is rewarded first. Similarly, verse 27 says that functioning at the level of existence will lead to being first in Teacher generality. A slave means ‘someone who belongs to another, without any ownership rights of their own’. A servant involves doing while a slave involves being. This means allowing the work of others to influence a person at the level of personal identity. This goes beyond adding actions to understanding to allowing understanding to reshape personal character.

Speaking again from personal experience, I have found that applying understanding through some sort of action is good, but it is also not enough. Instead, I have found that choosing to apply some principle as a servant invariably seems to be followed by some situation that forces me to apply the principle as a slave. A servant chooses to act; a slave cannot choose but must act. It seems that both of these stages are required. Simply behaving as a slave who has no rights is not the answer, because that leads to feelings of self-denial. Instead, one chooses first to apply Teacher understanding, and then this creates the mental context for being forced to apply Teacher understanding. If one skipped the first step, then one would be a slave of people. But taking the first step ensures that one is a slave of Teacher understanding and not a slave of people in Mercy thought.

Verse 28 points out that this is similar to the path of incarnation. “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His soul a ransom for many.” Just as is a strong comparison word which means ‘just exactly like’. In verse 23, Jesus said that these two disciples would drink his cup. Verse 28 is pointing out that following the process of being a servant and a slave is ‘just exactly like’ the cup that incarnation is drinking. Speaking from personal experience, I have been following this process of being a servant and being a slave within the context of cognitive psychology for several decades. One of the results is that when I read about incarnation in the New Testament, then what the Bible says resonates with my personal experience, making it possible for me to understand what the Bible has to say. In other words, the cup that I have been drinking appears to be ‘just exactly like’ the cup of incarnation; there is a cognitive resonance between these two cups.

Be served and ‘to serve’ are both verb forms of the noun ‘servant’ in verse 26. (This verb was used twice before in Matthew in 8:15 and 4:11.) Looking at this cognitively, incarnation is based in Contributor thought and Contributor combines Perceiver and Server. This means that a valid concept of incarnation requires Server thought. If others perform the Server actions, then a concept of incarnation will be limited to abstract technical thought. Extending abstract technical thought to concrete technical thought means adding Server actions to abstract verbal sequences.

As the NASB points out, the word life is actually ‘soul’, which refers to the integrated mind. The noun ransom is used twice in the New Testament: in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 10:45. It means ‘the ransom money to free a slave’. Concrete technical thought thinks naturally in terms of buying and selling, and the Contributor person is naturally talented at business. Verse 28 talks about buying freedom for a slave, which is consistent with the idea of incarnation going beyond normal technical thought to save people rather than things. This expansion from things to people requires extensive mental reprogramming, which includes transforming Contributor concepts of value and following internal sequences of personal transformation. The typical Contributor person achieves an integrated mind within the context of some technical specialization. Achieving the larger mindset that is required to save people means giving up this integrated mind. Finally, the Contributor person wants to be a free person who is not controlled by others, and the typical Contributor person expresses this as a desire to achieve financial freedom. The larger mindset of incarnation brings total freedom to people, rather than simply giving them objective financial or physical freedom.

The Two Blind Men 20:29-34

The chapter finishes with an encounter with two blind men. A similar situation happened back in 9:27 where Jesus was also followed by two blind men. And in both cases, the blind men ask for mercy and refer to Jesus as the son of David. We interpreted 9:27 as a reference to alchemy, with its two goals of gaining personal wealth and achieving spiritual enlightenment. Alchemy was an inadequate form of proto-science that mixed mental networks of magic with principles of science.

Similarly, cognitive psychology has also been followed by two blind men who have applied psychology in a mixed manner, known as pop psychology. Pop psychology is the mental equivalent of alchemy, because it mixes cognitive principles with mental networks of wishful thinking. Like alchemy, pop psychology is also driven primarily by the two goals of gaining personal wealth and achieving spiritual enlightenment.

Wikipedia summarizes that “Popular psychology… is the concepts and theories about human mental life and behavior that are purportedly based on psychology and that find credence among and pass muster with the populace. The concept is cognate with the human potential movement of the 1950s and 1960s.” Pop psychology is an admixture of wishful thinking and useful principles. “The term is often used in a pejorative fashion to describe psychological concepts that appear oversimplified, out of date, unproven, misunderstood or misinterpreted; however, the term may also be used to describe professionally produced psychological knowledge, regarded by most experts as valid and effective, that is intended for use by the general public.”

Turning now to the story, verse 29 begins, “As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him.” Leaving combines ‘out from’ with ‘going through a particular process’, and we have interpreted this second word as a journey that includes some sort of change. This is the only mention of Jericho in Matthew. The name means either ‘moon’ or ‘fragrance’. A moon is a reflected Teacher light, as opposed to a sun which is a source of Teacher light. Fragrance relates to mental networks, because smell triggers mental networks within the mind.

One can see this combination in the human potential movement. Notice in the previous quote that pop psychology is described as ‘cognate with the human potential movement’. In the words of Wikipedia, “The Human Potential Movement (HPM) arose out of the counterculture milieu of the 1960s and formed around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential that its advocates believe to lie largely untapped in all people. The movement took as its premise the belief that through the development of ‘human potential’, humans can experience an exceptional quality of life filled with happiness, creativity, and fulfillment. As a corollary, those who begin to unleash this assumed potential often find themselves directing their actions within society towards assisting others to release their potential. Adherents believe that the net effect of individuals cultivating their potential will bring about positive social change at large.” The focus upon ‘quality of life filled with happiness, creativity, and fulfillment’ can be summarized symbolically as fragrance, because one is looking at the mental aroma that is being conveyed by mental networks.

The Wikipedia quote describes the human potential movement as ‘arising out of the counterculture milieu’. Wikipedia explains that “Several factors distinguished the counterculture of the 1960s from the anti-authoritarian movements of previous eras. The post-World War II baby boom generated an unprecedented number of potentially disaffected youth as prospective participants in a rethinking of the direction of the United States and other democratic societies. Post-war affluence allowed much of the counterculture generation to move beyond the provision of the material necessities of life that had preoccupied their Depression-era parents.” We looked previously at postwar prosperity and saw that a choice was made to focus upon the Cold War rather than helping people, leading among other things to the Vietnam War. Wikipedia explains that “The Vietnam War, and the protracted national divide between supporters and opponents of the war, were arguably the most important factors contributing to the rise of the larger counterculture movement.”

Putting this together, ‘leaving Jericho’ summarizes the 1960s counterculture. Postwar physical prosperity created a ‘moon’ of reflected Teacher structure. When governments chose to pursue the Cold War rather than human prosperity, then this moon of external prosperity turned into mental networks of desirable fragrance. Saying this more simply, youth became motivated by the motto ‘make love not war’. And when one leaves a physical society in a manner that induces a change, this describes a countercultural movement.

Verse 30 contains the cry for help that has already been discussed. “And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, ‘Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!’”

Verse 31 describes the response of the crowd. “The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’” Sternly told means ‘warning to prevent something from going wrong’. This was last used in 19:13 where the disciples rebuked those who brought children to Jesus. We interpreted that as postwar male technical thought not wanting to make room for the subjective mental networks of home and family. This is the first use of be quiet in Matthew, which means ‘to be silent’. Applying this to Western history, the children that were ignored in the 1950s are starting to speak up in the 1960s and they are being told to shut up in order to prevent something from going wrong with society. All the more means ‘great, in the widest sense’, which indicates that this speaking up is acquiring Teacher generality. And cried out means ‘cry out loudly with an urgent scream or shriek’.

Applying this to Western history, the youth are responding to demands that they be silent and not rock the boat of society by expanding their counter-cultural message and protesting all the more. Wikipedia describes this expansion of the message. “As the 1960s progressed, widespread social tensions also developed concerning other issues, and tended to flow along generational lines regarding human sexuality, women’s rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the ‘American Dream’. Many key movements related to these issues were born or advanced within the counterculture of the 1960s.” Notice the critical role being played by the cognitive ‘fragrance’ of the ‘moon’ of the ‘American Dream’. As for ‘crying out loudly with an urgent scream’, one of the hallmarks of the 1960s counterculture movement was the large protests against the establishment.

I should point out that we are looking here at two related movements. There is the crowd that is leaving Jericho and there are the two blind men that are being encountered while leaving Jericho. Similarly, there is the countercultural movement that is leaving postwar prosperity, and there is the human potential movement that is spawning pop psychology. These two are not the same, but they are related. Wikipedia explains that “HPM was regarded by some as being related to psychedelic culture such as hippies and Summer of Love… As Elizabeth Puttick writes in the Encyclopedia of New Religions: ‘The human potential movement (HPM) originated in the 1960s as a counter-cultural rebellion against mainstream psychology and organised religion. It is not in itself a religion, new or otherwise, but a psychological philosophy and framework, including a set of values that have made it one of the most significant and influential forces in modern Western society.’” I should also point out that pop psychology is more than just the human potential movement. However, HPM did play a major role in enabling and encouraging pop psychology, especially through the Esalen Institute. Finally, I am not endorsing this movement as good, or condemning it as totally evil. Instead, I suggest that it should be viewed as an admixture of helpful and harmful cognitive principles, the same way that one now views alchemy. But in the same way that alchemy was based upon a core of magical thinking, so the faulty mindset of meditation and Buddhism appears to lie at the heart of much—if not most—pop psychology.

Returning to Matthew, verse 28 says that “Jesus stopped and called them, and said, ‘What do you want Me to do for you?’” Stopped means ‘to make to stand’. This verb was last used in verse 6 where Jesus asked the fourth group of vineyard workers why they were standing idle. This is the first appearance of the world called, which means to ‘give forth a sound’. The next use of this word is in Matthew 26 to describe the crowing of a rooster. In verse 21, Jesus asked the mother of the sons of Zebedee what she wants. In verse 28, Jesus asks the two blind men what they want to be done to them, and do is the familiar word that indicates Server actions. They answer in verse 29, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” (‘We want’ is not in the original Greek.) Thus, the emphasis is upon having one’s eyes opened.

Putting this all together, these words convey the concept of searching for some sort of spiritual breakthrough. The fourth group was forced to look for deeper answers because it had no option except to stand. But when Jesus stands for the two blind men, he calls out to them with a sound rather than intelligent communication. This implies that his response to the blind men does not involve rational Teacher understanding. And while they are motivated by internal desire, they are associating Mercy desire with the concrete world of doing actions. Finally, their request is for their ‘eyes to be opened’. One could interpret this as seeing the physical world in a new way, or as having some sort of transcendental experience that causes one to view physical reality in a new way. One can see many of these elements in the following Wikipedia description of the Esalen Institute. “The Institute played a key role in the Human Potential Movement beginning in the 1960s. Its innovative use of encounter groups, a focus on the mind-body connection, and their ongoing experimentation in personal awareness introduced many ideas that later became mainstream. Esalen was founded by Stanford graduates Michael Murphy and Dick Price in 1962. Their intention was to support alternative methods for exploring human consciousness, what Aldous Huxley described as ‘human potentialities’.”

Jesus answers their request in verse 34. “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.” Moved with compassion means ‘to be moved in the inward parts’. This is the fifth of five times that it is used in Matthew. The first was in 9:36 which we interpreted as compassion for the 13th-century crowds who lacked proper religious leaders. The second was in 14:14 where he healed the sick right after John the Baptist was beheaded. We interpreted that as 18th century scientific solutions during the age of absolute monarchy. The third was in 15:32 which was interpreted as the Romantic science of the early 19th century. And the fourth was in 18:27 in the forgiving of the slave who owed all the money, which we interpreted as the War reparations of Germany being forgiven in the 1930s. In each case, people are looking for help from incarnation and only a partial solution is available. I suggest that the same principle applies to this final incident.

Eyes is omma and is only used twice in the New Testament, both times to describe healing a blind person. This is a different word than the word ‘eyes’ in verse 33. Touch means ‘to modify or change by touching’. This same phrase ‘touched their eyes’ was used in 9:29, but the normal word for ‘eye’ was used there. Vine’s dictionary says that ‘omma’ is more poetical than the normal word ‘ophthalmos’. This is consistent with the human potential movement, which was searching for a metaphysical poetic sight rather than either literal sight or a new way of rationally viewing the environment.

Immediately means ‘at once, directly’. Regained their sight is used three times in Matthew and means ‘to look up, recover sight’. It is translated as ‘receive sight’ in 11:5 and as ‘looking up’ in 14:19. (In 9:30 the eyes of the two blind men were openedin.) We have interpreted ‘looking up’ as heading in the direction of Teacher generality. Thus, ‘immediately regaining their sight’ could also be translated as ‘immediately looking up in the direction of Teacher generality’. This describes the mystical breakthrough in which the rational mind has its ‘eyes opened’ by breaking through to Teacher overgeneralization.

Verse 34 finishes by saying that the two men followed Jesus. That brings to mind the following question. This passage seems to be describing the entry of Eastern mysticism into Western society. Why would this be described as following incarnation? I suggest two possible answers. First, it appears that the ultimate goal of incarnation is not to transform human society, but rather to build a transformed society that includes both the human and the angelic (as well as the spiritual). A Christianity that is based in the absolute truth of the Bible is incapable of making such a breakthrough. That is because thinking in terms of ‘words from heaven’ is too narrow a mindset to encompass the concept of ‘living messengers from heaven’. In order to make such a transition, the words of the Bible have to be fleshed out, which requires moving beyond absolute truth to universal truth. Thus, God has to look to other non-Christian groups to help with this transition. Second, incarnation goes beyond male technical thought to include subjective emotions. We saw in verse 18 that the chief priests and scribes are betraying Jesus and condemning Him to death. Saying this another way, most Christians who have a personal faith are rejecting the idea that technical thought can be used to analyze their personal faith. The only remaining option is to juxtapose rational scientific thought with Eastern mysticism. This is not a stable option, but this juxtaposition will last long enough to lead Western society through a spiritual breakthrough. This does not mean that practicing such a juxtaposition leads automatically to personal salvation. Personal salvation is still a matter of personal transformation; it goes beyond having transcendental experiences to becoming a transformed person.

Approaching Jerusalem 21:1-3

Chapter 21 describes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Verse 21 uses symbolism to establish the context. “When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples.” Approached means ‘to come near’. ‘Approaching Jerusalem’ would represent coming close to the center of the religious system, but not directly at the center.

Bethphage means ‘house of unripe figs’. Figs were mentioned once before in 7:16 in the Sermon on the Mount, and figs will be mentioned later on in Chapter 21, when Jesus curses the barren fig tree. Repeating the explanation given earlier, the fig is the first plant mentioned by name in the Bible in Genesis 3:7, when Adam and Eve infamously used fig leaves to cover their nakedness. In 21:18-22 Jesus will curse a fig tree because he finds that it only has leaves and not figs. This suggests that fig leaves represent compensation mechanisms for hiding core mental networks, while figs represent adequate methods of dealing with core mental networks.

Thus, a house of unripe figs indicates a mental context of dealing with core personal mental networks while having only partially developed methods for dealing with these mental networks. Saying this more carefully, one is in a house of personal identity, one is dealing with figs, but they are not ripe. This is the first mention of olives in Matthew. The Bible associates being anointed with oil with the Holy Spirit. This makes symbolic sense, because oil is a form of liquid which relates to Mercy thought. Oil in Roman times came from olives. Thus, the Mount of Olives would represent a pragmatic form of general Teacher theory related to Platonic forms of the Spirit.

One can see such a ‘mount of olives’ in the charismatic movement which began in the 1960s. The Pentecostal movement with its emphasis upon the Holy Spirit began in 1900 but was initially regarded as too extreme by most churches. Wikipedia describes the transition that happened in the 1960s. “Before 1955 the religious mainstream did not embrace Pentecostal doctrines. If a church member or clergyman openly expressed such views, they would (either voluntarily or involuntarily) separate from their existing denomination. However, by the 1960s many of the characteristic teachings were gaining acceptance among Christians within mainline Protestant denominations. The charismatic movement represented a reversal of this previous pattern as those influenced by Pentecostal spirituality chose to remain in their original denominations.” The theory of mental symmetry came to birth in one of the early centers of the charismatic movement—and was rejected by the leadership of that church as ‘lacking the Holy Spirit’. (And mental symmetry was an ‘unripe fig’ back in the 1980s.)

The charismatic movement combined the doctrinal content taught by traditional Christian churches with the ‘freedom of the spirit’ of the Pentecostal movement. This juxtaposition of intellectual content plus spiritual freedom was unstable and only lasted till about the 1980s. The charismatic movement was also willing to address personal issues at a deep level. This also did not last, but eventually turned into the appearance of deep spirituality. (I know that there are exceptions, but this seems to describe the general progression.) Using the language of Matthew, the charismatic movement was a house of unripe figs on the Mount of Olives.

The last sentence in chapter 20 is connected with the first verse in chapter 21 by an ‘and’. The Greek says that ‘immediately they received sight and they followed him, and when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives’. This gives the impression that the two ex-blind men are part of the group that came to Bethphage.

This participation can be seen in the Jesus People. Wikipedia explains that “The Jesus movement was an evangelical Christian movement beginning on the West Coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s and spreading primarily throughout North America, Europe, and Central America, before subsiding by the late 1980s. Members of the movement were called Jesus people, or Jesus freaks. Its predecessor, the charismatic movement, had already been in full swing for about a decade. It involved mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics who testified to having supernatural experiences similar to those recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, especially speaking in tongues. Both of these movements held that they were calling the church back to a closer biblical picture of Christianity, in which the gifts of the Spirit would be restored to the Church.”

The peak of the Jesus movement was Explo '72. Wikipedia explains that this “was an evangelistic conference sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ, planned and directed by Paul Eshleman. Explo '72 has been called the most visible event of the 1970s Jesus movement… It was held in various locations in Dallas, Texas from June 12 to June 17, 1972, with a nightly gathering in the Cotton Bowl… Attendance at the daytime conference was estimated at 80,000, with about 95% from a white background… Billy Graham spoke on six different occasions during the event including the final event which was a public, eight-hour-long, Christian music festival on Saturday, June 17, 1972. Dubbed ‘The Christian Woodstock’, the event drew an estimated attendance between 100,000 and 200,000.”

The Jesus movement was different than the human potential movement described earlier, but both movements were expressions of 1960s counterculture. In the words of Wikipedia, “Jesus freak is a term arising from the late 1960s and early 1970s counterculture and is frequently used as a pejorative for those involved in the Jesus movement. As Tom Wolfe illustrates in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, the term ‘freak’ with a preceding qualifier was a strictly neutral term and described any counterculture member with a specific interest in a given subject; hence ‘acid freak’ and ‘Jesus freak’.”

Continuing with Matthew 21, Jesus tells the disciples in verse 2 to “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.” Go means ‘to transport’ and we have associated this term with movement that involves some change. Village implies a grassroots movement as opposed to the city of organized society. Opposite means ‘over against, opposite’, and this supposedly common word is only used once in Matthew.

Donkey is only mentioned in Matthew in this passage. According to Jewish tradition, if a king rode into a city on a donkey, then he would be coming in peace, but if he rode on a horse, then he would be coming as a conqueror. The donkey is tied, which means ‘to tie, bind’. With this donkey is a colt. The word untie means ‘to loose, to release’ and is used six times in Matthew. Four of these times were in Matthew 16 and 18, which talked about ‘loosing on earth’ and ‘loosing in heaven’.

Putting this together symbolically, a grassroots focus upon peace that has been tied is being set free. This movement is associated with a ‘mother’ of mental networks as well as a young male ‘colt’ of technical thought. In other words, it starts off as an emotional movement, but this then triggers a new form of rational analysis.

One can see this transition from focusing upon emotional issues in a peaceful manner to using rational thought to address these issues in the American civil rights movement. The first stage was epitomized by Martin Luther King. In the words of Wikipedia, “Many popular representations of the movement are centered on the charismatic leadership and philosophy of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance.” This was accompanied by using rational thought to pass legislation. “In the 1960s, moderates in the movement worked with Congress to achieve the passage of several significant pieces of federal legislation that overturned discriminatory practices and authorized oversight and enforcement by the federal government. The Civil Rights Act of 1964… expressly banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in employment practices; ended unequal application of voter registration requirements; and prohibited racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and in public accommodations. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 restored and protected voting rights for minorities… The Fair Housing Act of 1968 banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.”

Verse 3 explains that any opposition will be easily silenced. “If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” Send means ‘sent on a defined mission by a superior’. The same word was used in verse 1 with Jesus sending the two disciples. One can see this in the 1960s counter-cultural movement. In the words of Wikipedia, “The post-World War II baby boom generated an unprecedented number of potentially disaffected youth as prospective participants in a rethinking of the direction of the United States and other democratic societies… The era was also notable in that a significant portion of the array of behaviors and ‘causes’ within the larger movement were quickly assimilated within mainstream society, particularly in the US, even though counterculture participants numbered in the clear minority within their respective national populations.” Similarly, the American civil rights movement is typically viewed as a struggle to end racial discrimination, but it also happened within a social climate which realized that change was inevitable. For instance, Wikipedia describes the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. “Some Senators and Representatives publicly stated they would not be intimidated or rushed into legislating because of the disturbances. Nevertheless, the news coverage of the riots and the underlying disparities in income, jobs, housing, and education, between White and Black Americans helped educate citizens and Congress about the stark reality of an enormous social problem. Members of Congress knew they had to act to redress these imbalances in American life to fulfill the dream that King had so eloquently preached.” Notice how the mental networks of protest are immediately being followed by the technical thinking of introducing new legislation, and how easily any opposition is being overcome.

Similarly, the human potential movement also started a trend that became embraced by the larger society. “The human potential movement (HPM) originated in the 1960s as a counter-cultural rebellion against mainstream psychology and organised religion. It is not in itself a religion, new or otherwise, but a psychological philosophy and framework, including a set of values that have made it one of the most significant and influential forces in modern Western society.” Likewise, “The Jesus movement left a legacy that included the formation of various denominations as well as other Christian organizations, and it also influenced the development of both the contemporary Christian right and Christian left. Jesus music, which grew out of the movement, was very influential in the creation of various subgenres of contemporary Christian music during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.” One might feel that there is nothing unnatural about such immediate, widespread influence. However, I have learned when developing mental symmetry that even overwhelming evidence will be insufficient to convince the average person when one is moving against the stream of society.

A Peaceful King 21:4-5

Verses 4 and 5 describe this as a movement based in prophecy: “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, behold your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” This is a quote from Zechariah 9:9. Fulfill means ‘to make full’. Prophet combines ‘beforehand’ with ‘elevating one idea over another, especially through the spoken word’. Thus, one can view fulfilling prophecy as something coming true that was predicted in the Bible, or one can also view it cognitively as someone pointing out a certain trend of society and that trend growing to its full measure. For instance, futurists in the late 20th century talked about the development and spread of computers. This trend has now grown to its full measure with almost everyone having a globally connected computer in their pocket in the form of a smartphone.

Verse 5 describes the trend that is growing to its full measure. Daughter implies the development of new mental networks. Zion is mentioned once in Matthew. It refers literally to the mountain on which the temple was built in Jerusalem. Zion probably means ‘dryness, drought’. Thus, a ‘daughter of Zion’ would represent mental networks returning to an area of thought that has been devoid of Mercy emotions.

‘Your King is coming to you’ suggests that these mental networks are being followed by government rules and legislation. Gentle is translated as ‘meek’ in the Beatitudes and means ‘demonstrating power without undue harshness’. Mounted is found once in Matthew and means ‘to go aboard, to go up to’. This implies entering some sort of ‘vessel of organization’. But what is being ‘boarded’ is the peaceful animal of a donkey. Putting this together, legislation that ‘demonstrates power without undue harshness’ is being passed and turned into organization that promotes peace.

One can see this combination in the civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s which was discussed earlier. One can also see a legislative focus upon peace in the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which Wikipedia describes “is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. Between 1965 and 1968, the treaty was negotiated by the Eighteen Nation Committee on Disarmament, a United Nations-sponsored organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. Opened for signature in 1968, the treaty entered into force in 1970. As required by the text, after twenty-five years, NPT Parties met in May 1995 and agreed to extend the treaty indefinitely. More countries are parties to the NPT than any other arms limitation and disarmament agreement, a testament to the treaty’s significance.”

Finally, the charismatic movement was also a form of institutional peace, because it transcended denominational categories and led to a new kind of church that was not connected with any specific denomination. The charismatic renewal even crossed the fundamental boundary between Protestant and Catholic. In the words of Wikipedia, the “Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a ‘Current of Grace’ within the Catholic Church that incorporates aspects of both Catholic and Charismatic Movement practice. It is influenced by some of the teachings of Protestantism and Pentecostalism with an emphasis on having a personal relationship with Jesus and expressing the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” And the ‘gentle rule’ can be seen in the following quote by a Catholic Cardinal: “The Renewal is not a Movement in the common sociological sense; it does not have founders, it is not homogeneous and it includes a great variety of realities; it is a current of grace, a renewing breath of the Spirit for all members of the Church, laity, religious, priests and bishops. It is a challenge for us all. One does not form part of the Renewal, rather, the Renewal becomes a part of us provided that we accept the grace it offers us.”

Returning to verse 5, colt was mentioned in verse 2 and refers to a young male animal. Foal simply means ‘son’ and beast of burden literally means ‘under the yoke’. Thus, ‘the foal of a beast of burden’ would describe a form of male thought that results from mental networks of oppression—thinking that emerges from being ‘under the yoke’. This definitely describes civil rights legislation, which emerged out of racial prejudice against blacks. Similarly, the antiwar movement grew out of thousands of young men being sent to Vietnam to give their lives for their country. Wikipedia explains that “The draft, a system of conscription that mainly drew from minorities and lower and middle class whites, drove much of the protest after 1965… The prevailing sentiment that the draft was unfairly administered inflamed blue-collar American, especially African-American, opposition to the military draft itself.”

A similar statement can be made about the charismatic movement. In the short term, emphasizing the spirit over doctrinal content was beneficial for cognitive growth. But in the long-term, this has led to a mindset known as ‘spiritual but not religious’ which equates spirituality with breaking free from being ‘under the yoke’ of rigid theology and rational thought.

I need to emphasize that experiencing poverty or social disapproval does not automatically mean that one is being exploited or oppressed. That is because poverty and social disapproval can also be the result of following bad choices. For instance, a person who commits a crime will experience the social disapproval and personal oppression of being put in prison. But this does not mean that all prisoners should be released. Blacks in the 1960s were experiencing extensive, systemic oppression. But this does not mean that all black misfortune is the result of systemic oppression.

When looking at the two blind men at the end of chapter 20, I mentioned the central role played by mysticism. Mysticism is emotionally driven by the Teacher overgeneralization that ‘we are all one’. This Teacher feeling of ‘oneness’ will drive people to transcend Mercy categories of race, gender, and nationality, which is good, because these are secondary divisions that stand in the way of pursuing mental wholeness. However, this same overgeneralization of oneness will also drive people to question the cognitive structure that is required to achieve mental wholeness. The end result is a mindset that makes sweeping statements about problems while rejecting the careful thinking that is required to solve these problems.

For instance, the distinction between male technical thought and female mental networks is based in the wiring of the mind. Expecting men to use only male thought and women to use only female thought, as was done in the 1950s, is mentally harmful because it only permits people to develop part of their minds. But denying the distinction between male thought and female thought is also mentally harmful, because it prevents major areas of the mind from developing. Summarizing, a mystical mindset can be productive in the short term by questioning artificial social categories, but in the long term it will turn into a postmodern mindset that questions everything. This was mentioned a few paragraphs earlier. We now see why this is the case.

Going further, viewing the harmful results of personal inadequacy as oppression by others can lead to a vicious circle. When one experiences personal pain, such a mindset will blame others for this pain. But this will take the focus away from the inadequate personal MMNs that are the actual source of the pain, while disregarding any disapproval from others that is limiting the expression of inadequate personal behavior. This will result in greater personal pain, which will be followed by blaming others more stridently for this pain. This vicious circle will continue, with each cycle making the inadequate personal behavior more entrenched and less discussable. Eventually, it will become taboo to mention even the possibility of moral improvement, and those who are blaming others most strongly for their inadequate behavior will become the arbitrators of social morality, culturally canceling anyone who makes them feel bad. This will then lead to a backlash from the rest of the population, which will conclude that the group which is behaving inadequately and blaming others is inherently inferior, because it appears to be incapable of learning from its mistakes. The group that is behaving inadequately will then interpret this blame as proof that it really is being oppressed, adding fuel to the fire of protests.

Thus, one needs to distinguish between two different situations that appear on the surface to be similar. The first is one of systemic prejudice in which one group consistently suppresses another group. Systemic prejudice will have two primary characteristics. First, it will focus upon differences that are peripheral, such as skin color or ethnic background. Second, any member of an oppressed minority will remain suppressed, regardless of the cognitive maturity, education, or wealth of that individual. Summarizing, the oppressed group is attempting to develop cognitively while being put down by the majority. That described most of the racial and ethnic prejudice that existed in the 1960s.

The second situation is the vicious circle of mutual blame that we have just described. This also will have two primary characteristics. First, the difference between the groups will involve major character attributes that involve fundamental cognitive principles. Second, any negative consequences that the ‘oppressed’ group experiences as a result of its lifestyle will be blamed upon the majority as a form of ‘systemic suppression’. Summarizing, the oppressed group is resisting cognitive development, while blaming its pain upon the majority. Much of what is called racial and ethnic prejudice today falls into this category.

These two kinds of conflict often overlap. For instance, suppose that blacks live in an inner city environment of poverty, crime, and violence. This could be a matter of systemic racial prejudice. But it could also be a matter of blacks refusing to deal with fundamental character flaws and blaming their problems upon whites. And if this second alternative continues, then the average white will conclude that the average inner-city black is incapable of change, leading to a form of systemic prejudice. The way out is not more blame and protest, but rather character development on both sides. Both sides needs to stop following a combination of blame and overgeneralization. Similarly, I suggest that the protests of the 1960s were also somewhat of a mixture, because the response to systemic racism was significant protest and blame.

One can see this principle illustrated in the nonviolent resistance of the 1960s. Wikipedia explains that at a practical level, non-violent resistance “teaches demonstrators ‘how to be a protestor—how to sit-in, how to picket, how to defend yourself against attack, giving training on how to remain cool when people are screaming racist insults into your face and pouring stuff on you and hitting you.’” In simple terms, one is demonstrating a superior moral character in the face of blatant prejudice. Wikipedia adds that “According to a 2020 study in the American Political Science Review, nonviolent civil rights protests boosted vote shares for the Democratic Party in presidential elections in nearby counties, but violent protests substantially boosted white support for Republicans in counties near to the violent protests.” In other words, when oppressed blacks demonstrated a superior moral character, this encouraged whites to adopt a more open response. But when blacks protested with violence, then this increased the level of fear and blame from whites.

More generally, a recent Harvard study found that “Countries where resistance campaigns were nonviolent were 10 times as likely to transition to democracy compared to countries where resistance turned violent—regardless of whether the campaign succeeded or failed in the short term. Even when nonviolent campaigns were not immediately successful, Chenoweth and Stephan found, they still tended to empower moderates or reformers within the ruling elites who would gradually initiate changes.”

The Triumphal Entry 21:6-8

Verse 6 relates that “The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them.” Went again means ‘to transport’. Did means ‘to make, do’. The word instructed means ‘to arrange together’. This is the first of three times that this word is used in Matthew and it is not found anywhere else in the New Testament. This indicates that incarnation is using a new way of guiding people, which is to arrange them together rather than give them commands. This describes following a movement rather than being part of an organization. For instance, the charismatic movement was a movement that crossed organizational boundaries and was not controlled by any specific organizational structure. Wikipedia describes this flavor of this movement. “The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the use of spiritual gifts (charismata). Among mainline Protestants, the movement began around 1960. Among Roman Catholics, it originated around 1967.” Instead of creating new organizational structures, the charismatic movement worked within existing organizational structures. Repeating part of an earlier quote, “Before 1955 the religious mainstream did not embrace Pentecostal doctrines. If a church member or clergyman openly expressed such views, they would (either voluntarily or involuntarily) separate from their existing denomination… The charismatic movement represented a reversal of this previous pattern as those influenced by Pentecostal spirituality chose to remain in their original denominations.”

A similar working together of many different streams of society can be seen in the antiwar protests. “Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War began with demonstrations in 1964 against the escalating role of the United States in the Vietnam War and grew into a broad social movement over the ensuing several years… Many in the peace movement within the United States were students, mothers, or anti-establishment hippies. Opposition grew with participation by the African-American civil rights, women’s liberation, Chicano Movements, and sectors of organized labor. Additional involvement came from many other groups, including educators, clergy, academics, journalists, lawyers, physicians—such as Benjamin Spock—and military veterans.” Notice also that this arranging together is itself a transformative process, consistent with the idea that the disciples are being changed as they ‘arrange together’.

The same statement can be made about the civil rights movement. Wikipedia quotes a sociologist as saying that “there was no singular civil rights movement. The movement was, in fact, a coalition of thousands of local efforts nationwide, spanning several decades, hundreds of discrete groups, and all manner of strategies and tactics—legal, illegal, institutional, non-institutional, violent, non-violent. Without discounting King's importance, it would be sheer fiction to call him the leader of what was fundamentally an amorphous, fluid, dispersed movement.”

In verse 7, the disciples prepare for the triumphal entry. “And brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on them.” The coat refers to the ‘outer garment’ which we have been interpreting as social interaction. The only unusual word in this sentence is the second on which means ‘on the top of, above’. It was previously used in 5:14 in the Sermon on the Mount to describe a city set ‘on the top of’ a hill. This implies that the mental networks of a mindset of peace with its ‘son’ of male technical thought are resting upon social interaction. This definitely describes the movements that we have been examining. They were primarily social movements that affected social interaction rather than theoretical developments or personal transformations. ‘Sitting on top of’ this would indicate that incarnation is using this social milieu as a basis for constructing new systems of technical thought.

Verse 8 describes the spread of this movement. “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.” ‘Most of the crowd’ is not a good translation, because most means ‘very many, very much’, and the Berean Literal Bible translates this as ‘the very great crowd’. (If one were simply analyzing the English text, then it would make sense to use a literal translation such as the Berean Literal Bible or the Darby Bible Translation. However, the NASB is a widely used translation that is fairly accurate. These essays use the Greek definitions given on biblehub, and biblehub provides links to both the KJV and the NASB. Tools such as these make it easier to stick with the NASB.) Applying this to Western history, the antiwar and civil rights marches led to very great crowds. For instance, about 250,000 people participated in the 1963 March on Washington where Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech. Coat again refers to the outer garment. ‘In the road’ is more literally ‘in the realm of the road’. A road represents a Server path or sequence. If ‘coats are being strewn in the road’, then this means that a path is being followed that involves a haphazard succession of social interactions.

Spread is used in Matthew only in this verse and means ‘to strew’. One can see this with the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, and the counter-cultural movement in general, which were all driven by a succession of social interactions. In the words of Wikipedia, “The confrontations between college students (and other activists) and law enforcement officials became one of the hallmarks of the era.”

This succession of social interactions is also apparent in the various communities and communes that were established. Wikipedia summarizes that “Communes, collectives, and intentional communities regained popularity during this era. Early communities, such as the Hog Farm, Quarry Hill, and Drop City in the US were established as straightforward agrarian attempts to return to the land and live free of interference from outside influences. As the era progressed, many people established and populated new communities in response to not only disillusionment with standard community forms, but also dissatisfaction with certain elements of the counterculture itself. Some of these self-sustaining communities have been credited with the birth and propagation of the international Green Movement.”

This was also true of the Jesus movement. “Perhaps the most illustrative aspect of the Jesus movement was its communal aspect. Many Jesus people lived in communes. Although there were some groups, such as the Calvary Chapel movement, which did not live in communes, these remained more on the fringes of the Jesus movement. Within the commune, the group became more important than the individual and communal sharing of possessions was the norm.”

Continuing with verse 8, cutting means to ‘cut, cut off’. Branch means ‘a branch’ and is used three times in Matthew. The first occurrence was in 13:32 which described the birds of the air nesting in the branches of the mustard seed tree. 13:32 is also the previous time that a tree was mentioned, but in chapter 13 a tree was growing and the birds were nesting in the branches, while in chapter 21 branches are being cut off from the trees. Like the coats, these branches are also being ‘strewn on the road’. Verse 8 says that this cutting is being done by others, which means ‘another of the same kind’. Looking at this symbolically, branches of learning are being cut off from the tree of knowledge and these episodes of academic questioning are forming part of the road on which society is traveling. Notice that the tree itself is not being questioned, but rather specific branches of the tree.

For instance, one can see this limited questioning in the ‘bodies upon the gears’ speech made by Savio in 1964 in which he compares the University with a machine. “If this is a firm, and if the board of regents are the board of directors; and if President Kerr in fact is the manager; then I’ll tell you something. The faculty are a bunch of employees, and we’re the raw material!… There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels ... upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!” Notice that mental networks of personal identity are complaining about being placed within a system of technical thought. But the content being taught by the system is not being questioned.”

More generally, “As disenchantment with social institutions spread with the 1960s counterculture, alternative schools sprouted outside the local public school system. Funded by tuition and philanthropic grants, they were created by parents, teachers, and students in opposition to contemporaneous schooling practices across the United States and organized without central organization, usually small and grassroots with alternative curricula… The movement did not subscribe to a single ideology, but its ‘free schools’ tended to fall into the binaries of either utopian cultural withdrawal from external concerns, or built on the legacy of freedom schools with direct political address of social injustices… Author Ron Miller defined the free school movement’s principles as letting families choose for their children, and letting children learn at their own pace.” Again, one sees a haphazard lopping off and strewing of branches from the tree of knowledge. No general theory is being followed. Instead, existing practices are being questioned. Instead of leading students through some program, students are being given freedom from traditional teaching and discipline.

Hosanna in the Highest 21:9-11

Verse 9 describes the response of the crowds. “The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!’” Hosanna means ‘save now’, and is found only in this chapter and in the parallel passages in Mark and John. The name Jesus means ‘salvation’ and salvation is a natural outcome of the cause-and-effect thinking of concrete technical thought. We have seen that modern science and technology focuses upon saving things rather than people. Thus, when people are calling for salvation, then they are recognizing that the objective salvation of science and technology needs to include people as well. This realization can be seen in the ‘bodies upon the gears’ speech mentioned earlier, which pointed out that students are people and not just numbers on computer punch cards.

Looking at this further, computers in the 1960s used punch cards. Wikipedia relates that punch cards were often printed with the instructions “‘Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate’… [This] became a motto for the post-World War II era (even though many people had no idea what spindle meant), and was widely mocked and satirized. Some 1960s students at Berkeley wore buttons saying: ‘Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. I am a student.’” Again, one sees illustrated the collision between objective technology and personal identity.

But asking for salvation now indicates an inadequate understanding of salvation, because salvation requires mental wholeness which cannot be acquired in an instant. It is possible to have salvation, and it is possible to have things now, but it is not possible to have salvation now. It is possible to start being saved now, but this is like enrolling in a school in which one acquires the status of being a student, but one still has to take and pass the classes. A mindset that calls to be ‘saved now’ is thinking in terms of absolute truth, because it is possible to use a new set of emotional experiences to instantly redefine absolute ‘truth’. (That brings us back to the evangelical concept of being ‘born again’. New life can be born within the mind when a person becomes a Christian, but becoming truly born again requires completing the entire three stage process of personal transformation.)

Going further back, absolute truth itself cannot be reformulated in an instant. Instead, absolute truth matures over time as experts write down the truth and then pass on from the scene leaving their books behind. One can use emotional pressure to attempt to redefine absolute truth, but this will not lead to new absolute truth, but rather bring absolute truth down to the level of emotional ‘truth’. Saying this more carefully, absolute truth is based in the words of a holy book or textbook, and books do not change. Emotional ‘truth’ is the sense of Perceiver certainty that comes from being overwhelmed by some emotional experience. Thus, appealing to emotional ‘truth’ can produce significant short-term results, but it leads in the medium-term to moral relativity, and in the long-term to the social-media-driven arbitrary morality that can be seen today.

This mindset of using emotions to redefine absolute truth can be seen in the words used in verse 9. Crowds have been mentioned many times in Matthew, and, as usual, the crowd is following Jesus. But this is the only time in Matthew that the crowd is also described as going ahead of Jesus, a word that means ‘to lead forth’ when followed by a direct object. Looking at this cognitively, the crowds are creating an emotional experience which is redefining emotional ‘truth’. This redefined ‘truth’ is leading technical thought, which is then creating a new environment for the crowds that are following. Thus, the crowds are both leading and following, which describes the crowd-led 1960s movements that we have been examining.

The NASB says that the crowds are ‘shouting’, but the Greek uses two words. The first word is ‘generally used of inarticulate cries, to scream, cry out’. This is then followed by the normal word which means ‘to say’. In other words, the crowd is first shrieking out in order to create a defining Mercy experience. This shrieking then creates the context of emotional ‘truth’ for the speech that follows.

The first thing the crowd says is ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’. We have already seen that ‘hosanna’ is an inadequate concept because it wants immediate solutions. We also saw earlier that ‘Son of David’ reflects an inadequate understanding of the kingdom of heaven, because David was the military hero who established the Jewish kingdom. This term ‘Son of David’ was previously used in 20:30-31 by the two blind men, which we interpreted as following incarnation in a semi-mystical manner, and in 15:22 by the Syrophoenician woman, which we interpreted as local people appealing for help from European colonizers.

The crowd continues by saying ‘Blessed is [he] who comes in the name of the Lord’. ‘He’ is implied. Therefore a more literal rendition is ‘Blessed is the coming in the realm of the name of the Lord’. A name refers to a person from a Teacher perspective. ‘Name of the Lord’ would describe a Teacher mindset that thinks in terms of submitting to the lordship of incarnation. This describes legislation, which uses verbal technical thought to come up with rules to which people submit. ‘Coming in the name of the Lord’ would represent passing new legislation to which people submit.

Blessed adds the prefix ‘good’ to the word logos. It was previously used in 14:19 in the feeding of the five thousand, which we associated with the encyclopedia movement of the 18th century. If the ‘coming in the name of the Lord’ is blessed, then one is coming up with paradigms to explain the new legislation that has been passed. Putting this together, the 1960s were driven primarily by crowds and not by intellectual thought, but the legacy of the 1960s has been extensive intellectual technical thought.

The Encyclopedia website describes this transition. “Prior to the 1960s, organized mass protests were a fairly uncommon experience in American life. The civil rights movement, however, became a pioneer in the creation of public actions designed to sway government policy. With its bus boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins, marches, and mass rallies, the movement demonstrated the political power that lay in a mass of well-organized and disciplined people… The 1960s introduced many issues and events that had long-lasting effects on U.S. culture and American beliefs. Issues connected to the role of the American military in foreign conflicts, the legal separation of church and state, the way that art and literature reflect cultural change, and the way that the Olympic Games have a role in international politics offer significant parallels between the early 2000s and the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. For better or for worse, the decade of the 1960s was a testing ground for some of the most controversial and engaging issues that continued to affect Americans in the twenty-first century.”

The final phrase stated by the crowd is ‘Hosanna in the highest’. Highest is used once in Matthew and means ‘highest, most high’. And in means ‘in the realm of’. ‘Highest’ would refer to Teacher universality, the highest level of Teacher generality. ‘In the highest’ would describe thinking in terms of Teacher universality. ‘Hosanna in the highest’ would mean regarding ‘salvation now’ as a universal theory in Teacher thought.

Translating this into the language of the 1960s ‘Pursue instant gratification. If it feels good, do it!’ One woman who grew up in a hippie household describes (on a liberal website, so this cannot be disregarded as a ‘conservative knee-jerk response’) what this felt like. “The hippie creed of ‘no rules, no limits’ combined with a horror of hypocrisy sent groovy parents skidding down a dangerously slippery child-rearing slope. If you smoke pot, what are you going to do when your kids ask to try it? It would be hypocritical not to let them. And if pot’s OK, why not mushrooms or acid? If you tell your kids sexual expression is great, and you yourself frequently ‘ball’ (to use the mot juste) with abandon, how do you explain to your daughter that it’s not OK for some crusty old guy at a Grateful Dead show to feel her up in the child-care tipi? The old standby ‘It’s wrong because I said so’ was out, because they’d taught us from birth that such a statement is fascistic. So, to avoid the hypocrisy of potentially arbitrary limits, hippie parents placed few or none.” This motto of ‘instant salvation’ has become a primary characteristic of the consumer society.

There is also a cognitive angle to a crowd crying ‘Hosannah in the highest’. That is because a crowd will naturally trigger Teacher feelings of generality. This can be seen with television, which also became widespread during the 1960s. If I perform some specific action, then this has no Teacher generality. But if I perform the same action in front of millions of television viewers, then the fact that millions of people are watching me perform the specific action gives that action the illusion of Teacher generality. Similarly, if I protest some government policy, then this will be regarded as personal opinion in Mercy thought. But if I gather together with thousands of people to protest the government policy, then our personal Mercy emotions will acquire the feeling of Teacher generality. This makes it possible cognitively for crowds to cry out ‘Hosannah in the highest’. Because many thousands of individuals are corporately crying out, their words will feel as if they are in the highest. And the potent Mercy emotions being expressed by the people, combined with the Teacher emotion created by a group of people, will create a defining emotional experience that alters emotional ‘truth’ for many people in a short period of time. In the words of Marshall McLuhan, who wrote his famous book in 1964, ‘the medium is the message’.

Verse 10 describes the more general reaction. “When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’” If one regards Jerusalem as the home of the ‘scribes, high priests, and elders’, then entering Jerusalem would mean entering the realm of established written truth, religion, and societal norms. In verse 2, the disciples went into the village to find the donkey and colt. In verse 10, the city is being affected. Saying this cognitively, what began as local change is now affecting society at large. The word stirred means ‘to shake’ and the noun form of this verb means ‘earthquake’. Looking at this cognitively, society at large is experiencing a moral earthquake in which the solid facts of society are being shaken. And this earthquake is happening in Jerusalem.

For instance, one can see this in the ‘the long hot summer of 1967’, which “refers to the 159 race riots that erupted across the United States in the summer of 1967… The most destructive riots of the summer took place in July, in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan, and many contemporary newspapers headlines describe them as ‘battles’.” One can also see it in ‘the summer of love’, which “was a social phenomenon that occurred during mid-1967, when as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior, converged in San Francisco’s neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury. More broadly, the Summer of Love encompassed the hippie music, drug, anti-war, and free-love scene throughout the American west coast, and as far away as New York City.”

Wikipedia describes the ‘quaking of the city’ of the 1960s. “‘The Sixties’, as they are known in both scholarship and popular culture, is a term used by historians, journalists, and other academics to describe the counterculture and revolution in social norms about clothing, music, drugs, dress, sexuality, formalities, and schooling; and in others to denounce the decade as one of irresponsible excess, flamboyance, and decay of social order. The decade was also labeled the Swinging Sixties because of the fall or relaxation of social taboos that occurred during this time… Norms of all kinds were broken down, especially in regards to civil rights and expectations the men would go off to meaningless wars.” And this quaking was not limited to America. Instead, “In Western Europe and Japan, organizations such as those present at May 1968, the Red Army Faction, and the Zengakuren tested liberal democracy’s ability to satisfy its marginalized or alienated citizenry amidst post-industrial age hybrid capitalist economies… In Africa the 1960s was a period of radical political change as 32 countries gained independence from their European colonial rulers.”

The reference to ‘those present at May 1968’ is cognitively interesting because this movement deliberately used emotional ‘truth’ to try to overturn the assumptions of the consumer society. Wikipedia explains that “Essential to situationist theory was the concept of the spectacle, a unified critique of advanced capitalism of which a primary concern was the progressively increasing tendency towards the expression and mediation of social relations through objects… Another important concept of situationist theory was the primary means of counteracting the spectacle; the construction of situations, moments of life deliberately constructed for the purpose of reawakening and pursuing authentic desires, experiencing the feeling of life and adventure, and the liberation of everyday life.” And “The Situationist International reached the apex of its creative output and influence in 1967 and 1968.”

Returning to Matthew, the crowd asks ‘Who is this?’ Who is a generic pronoun that means ‘who, which, what’. Notice that the crowd is focusing upon the specific situation or person of ‘this’. They are not being amazed, falling down in worship, or attempting to gain an understanding. Instead, the spectacle has created an uncertainty, and the crowd wants to learn Perceiver facts about the spectacle.

The answer is given in verse 11. “And the crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’” In the previous reference to crowds in 20:31 the crowds sternly told the two blind men to be quiet, but this is the only time in Matthew that the crowds are described as ‘saying’ something. Usually, Jesus says something and the crowds listen, or Jesus goes somewhere and the crowds follow. But here the crowds are acting as the source of verbal truth.

Notice that the crowds are answering by defining ‘this’. They refer to Jesus, which means ‘salvation’. And they describe Jesus as a prophet. A prophet is a source of truth, who predicts what will happen. Similarly, the 1960s focused upon proclaiming truth in order to change what would happen so that salvation would be brought to the people. This truth and coming salvation is being implemented through the use of technical thought, but the crowds are putting the words into the mouth of technical thought; the crowds are doing the speaking and Jesus is following along.

The name Nazareth means ‘separated, crowned, sanctified’. Nazareth is mentioned two other times in Matthew. It was used in 2:23 to describe the birthplace of Jesus, and in 4:13 where ‘Jesus deserted Nazareth’, which we interpreted as incarnation leaving the still glorious Byzantine Empire to take root in the West Europe during the Dark Ages. And Galilee comes from a Hebrew word that means to ‘roll’ which we have interpreted as the cycles of society. Thus, ‘from Nazareth of Galilee’ would indicate that the powerful people of society are coming from the cycles of society.

This is a new way of thinking about political, social, and religious power. Until now, people and institutions with special Mercy status have been regarded implicitly as the source of absolute truth—a truth that was viewed as solid and free of change. But now the sources of ‘truth’ themselves are being seen as subject to the cycles of society. This leads to the expectation that what is regarded as ‘true’ today will no longer be regarded as ‘true’ tomorrow—that what is it socially acceptable today will cease to be socially acceptable tomorrow. In the short term, this will enable incarnation, because concrete technical thought brings salvation by taking people from one location to another location. Here, society is being brought from one moral location to another. In the long term, though, the very concept of moral locations will be lost. Using an analogy, suppose that a car is frozen in the snow. Applying some heat will release the car from the snow, making movement possible. But if too much heat is applied, then the frozen ground will turn into mud, making further progress impossible.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes this trend. “Beginning in the 1960s and ’70s, ethical relativism was associated with postmodernism, a complex philosophical movement that questioned the idea of objectivity in many areas, including ethics. Many postmodernists regarded the very idea of objectivity as a dubious invention of the modern—i.e., post-Enlightenment—era. From the time of the Enlightenment, most philosophers and scientists believed that there is an objective, universal, and unchanging truth about everything—including science, ethics, religion, and politics—and that human reason is powerful enough to discover this truth. The eventual result of rational inquiry, therefore, was to be one science, one ethics, one religion, and one politics that would be valid for all people in all eras. According to postmodernism, however, the Enlightenment-inspired idea of objective truth, which has influenced the thinking of virtually all modern scientists and philosophers, is an illusion that has now collapsed… ‘Truths,’ including the truths of science as well as ethics, should be recognized as beliefs associated with particular traditions that serve particular purposes in particular times and places. The desire for absolutes is seen as a misguided quest for the impossible.”

Cleansing the Temple 21:12

The triumphal entry is followed by Jesus cleansing the temple. Verse 12 describes what Jesus does. “And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.” The word temple refers to ‘the entire temple complex’. What is being cleansed in this verse is not the core of religion but rather aspects of the religious system. (Matt. 24:2 talks about the stones of the Temple being dismantled, which indicates that core aspects of religion will be attacked.)

Jesus attacks three groups. The first is those ‘who were buying and selling in the temple’. Buy means ‘to make purchases in the marketplace… as ownership transfers from seller to buyer’. Sell means ‘to exchange or barter’. Doing this ‘in the realm of the temple complex’ is being thrown out.

This is the only group that is ‘thrown out’. The other two groups are ‘overturned’. This suggests that the first group is being dealt with in a definitive manner, whereas the second and third groups are only being hampered. The first group has to do with buying and selling and transfer of ownership. This is a religious form of business that is being conducted in the Temple.

This relates to the concept of cognitive ownership. Physical ownership is only possible within a societal framework of law and order. People must have sufficient mental confidence to know what belongs to them and what does not. Similarly, moral ownership is a form of cognitive ownership that requires a societal framework of moral expectations. Moral ownership is possible within a system of solid truth—such as absolute truth. Saying this crudely, a fixed societal set of rules makes it possible to gain and lose moral ‘brownie points’. One can lose moral standing by doing something disapproved and one can regain moral standing by doing something approved. Saying this, more generally, one can buy and sell moral standing.

This ceases to become possible when absolute truth becomes overturned by crowd-proclaimed emotional ‘truth’. Instead, the moral standing of a political or religious leader can be totally eliminated as result of a single massive protest. Saying this another way, what is the point of doing something morally good if the definition of moral goodness changes in five years? For instance, JK Rowling, the writer of the Harry Potter series, gained moral capital with some groups when she declared in 2007 that the character Dumbledore was gay. But none of this mattered when she made disparaging remarks about transgender rights in 2020. That is because the moral currency had changed. What used to be regarded as morally virtuous no longer had any moral value. (I should point out that we are not looking here at the actual moral value of these various lifestyles, but rather at how perceived moral value changes over the years.) The point is that once absolute truth becomes replaced by crowd-determined emotional ‘truth’, then actual moral value ceases to exist, and all that remains is perceived moral value.

Applying this to verse 12, replacing absolute truth with crowd-determined emotional ‘truth’ effectively ‘drove out’ those who were ‘buying and selling’ in the Temple. The average person today is convinced that only emotional ‘truth’ exists. Mental symmetry, in contrast, hypothesizes that one can discover universal truth based in cognitive principles, and mental symmetry backs up this hypothesis by using a theory of the mind to bring moral cohesiveness to many areas of human thought and behavior. A system of universal moral truth would bring back the idea of cognitive ownership, but this would no longer be a buying and selling that happened within the Temple complex of absolute truth. Instead, there would be a single concept of ownership that would stretch all the way from the ownership of character to the ownership of things.

The second group in verse 12 is the money changers. We saw when looking at the story of the coin in the mouth of the fish that the Temple tax had to be paid in religious coinage and not with Roman coins. The money changers ‘converted heathen currency into Jewish money so worshipers could make payments into the Temple-treasury’. The word table is used one other time in Matthew in 15:27 to describe the dogs eating the crumbs which fall from their master’s table. We interpreted that as local people deriving incidental benefits from the culture of Western colonizers. The word overturn is only used in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 11 and means ‘to turn upside down’.

Looking at this cognitively, this money changing describes how one moves between normal life and institutions of societal power. Absolute truth is based in MMNs that are regarded as special and different—or holy. And absolute truth will only survive as long as the emotional sources of ‘truth’ remain distinct from normal life. But some movement has to occur between normal MMNs and MMNs of holiness, and this movement requires the presence of money changers. This distinction is visually apparent in a traditional Catholic Church which separates the nave of the church, where everyone can enter, from the chancel, where only the clergy can enter. The money changing can be seen in the ritual of the mass, which transforms bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. The Catholic Church asserts that no physical transformation occurs, but there is a cognitive changing of currency in which an object that was associated with normal mental networks now becomes associated with mental networks of holiness.

The movement between ‘nave’ and ‘chancel’ became more transparent in the 1960s but the distinction itself remained intact. That is because emotional ‘truth’ also requires a distinction between sources of ‘truth’ and the average person. Looking at this religiously, one of the legacies of the Jesus movement was a more informal form of worship. Wikipedia explains that “Although the Jesus movement lasted no more than a decade… its influence on Christian culture can still be seen. Thousands of converts moved into leadership positions in churches and parachurch organizations. The informality of the Jesus movement’s music and worship affected almost all evangelical churches. Some of the fastest growing US denominations of the late 20th century, such as Calvary Chapel, Hope Chapel Churches, and the Vineyard Churches, trace their roots directly back to the Jesus movement, as do parachurch organizations like Jews for Jesus and the contemporary Christian music industry. Perhaps the most significant and lasting influence, however, was the growth of an emerging strand within evangelical Christianity that appealed to the contemporary youth culture.”

Using the language of verse 12, the role of the money changers in moving between secular and religious was reduced. In fact, many of these worshipers did not go through any process of money changing, but simply used secular currency within the Temple. In the words of Wikipedia, “Jesus music, also known as gospel beat music in the UK, primarily began when street musicians of the late 1960s and early 1970s converted to Christianity. They continued to play the same style of music they had played previously but began to write lyrics with a Christian message.”

This approach of using secular currency within the Temple describes the primary mindset of the Christian music industry. “Christian artists generally use secular styles, pairing them with lyrics that display faith and spirituality to varying degrees. Generally speaking, the industry is influenced by mainstream culture. Musical trends, for instance, follow those of the secular scene, though usually a few years behind. The Christian music industry carries the distinction of being the only music subculture whose content is labeled by its lyrical dimension rather than its music.” Notice that a money changing is still happening at a verbal level because secular words are being replaced by religious words, but it is no longer happening at the Mercy level of cultural MMNs. (In contrast, mental symmetry uses the same words to describe both religious and secular experiences. And instead of preserving holiness, it seeks lasting value.)

Similarly, the church started using the secular currency of technology in place of the religious currency of spiritual transformation. For instance, The Century of the Holy Spirit concludes that “The most important legacy of the Oral Roberts media revolution at the end of the 1960s was the introduction of professional production techniques and entertainment content aimed at competing with secular programming… In many ways, the modern electronic church was born with the airing of Robert’s first prime-time special in March 1969” (p.336).

Turning now to secular power, a reduction in money changing can be seen in Freedom of Information legislation. (Notice how we are using the same verbal concepts to describe both religious and secular experiences.) Government can be viewed as a source of absolute truth, because special people functioning within special institutions pass legislation, which then becomes a written source of rules for the average person. Wikipedia describes how the FOIA (freedom of information act) attempts to minimize the changing of currency as one moves between normal experiences and government. “A federal court has concisely described the vital role of the FOIA in democracy: It has often been observed that the central purpose of the FOIA is to ‘open ... up the workings of government to public scrutiny.’ One of the premises of that objective is the belief that ‘an informed electorate is vital to the proper operation of a democracy.’ A more specific goal implicit in the foregoing principles is to give citizens access to the information on the basis of which government agencies make their decisions, thereby equipping the populace to evaluate and criticize those decisions.”

The initial enactment in the United States was in 1967. “The Freedom of Information Act was initially introduced as the bill S. 1160 in the 89th Congress… [It was] enacted July 4, 1966, but had an effective date of one year after the date of enactment, or July 4, 1967. The law set up the structure of FOIA as we know it today. President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his misgivings, signed the Freedom of Information Act into law.”

The third group is those selling doves. Doves are mentioned three times in Matthew. The first reference was to the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus like a dove during his baptism. ‘Selling’ is the same word used earlier in the verse, which means ‘to exchange or barter’. In this case, the ‘seats’ are being overturned. The word seat is cathedra and is used three times in the New Testament: twice in Matthew and in the parallel passage in Mark. The other reference in Matthew is in 23:2 which says that ‘the scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses’. As Wikipedia explains, the word cathedra has acquired religious overtones. “A cathedra is the raised seat, or throne, of a bishop in the early Christian basilica. When used with this meaning, it can be also called the bishop’s throne. With time, it became synonymous with the ‘seat’, or principal church, of a bishopric.” Going further, “the main church of a diocese, used as the primary church by its bishop, received the title ‘cathedral’. The cathedral is literally the church into which a bishop’s official cathedra is installed.” And “The doctrine of papal infallibility, the Latin phrase ex cathedra (literally, ‘from the chair’) was proclaimed at the First Vatican Council by Pius IX in 1870.”

Looking at this cognitively, ‘overturning the seats of those who sell doves’ could be interpreted as limiting the ability of those who occupy some religious, political, or social seat of power to assign holiness to people and institutions. For instance, any item or reward that comes from the President of the United States automatically carries with it feelings of specialness. This American respect for government dropped precipitously during the 1960s and 70s. For instance, “When the National Election Study began asking about trust in government in 1958, about three-quarters of Americans trusted the federal government to do the right thing almost always or most of the time. Trust in government began eroding during the 1960s, amid the escalation of the Vietnam War, and the decline continued in the 1970s with the Watergate scandal and worsening economic struggles.”

This questioning of existing religious authority was a core element of the hippie movement. “In his 1991 book, ‘Hippies and American Values’, Timothy Miller described the hippie ethos as essentially a ‘religious movement’ whose goal was to transcend the limitations of mainstream religious institutions. ‘Like many dissenting religions, the hippies were enormously hostile to the religious institutions of the dominant culture, and they tried to find new and adequate ways to do the tasks the dominant religions failed to perform.’ In his seminal, contemporaneous work, ‘The Hippie Trip’, author Lewis Yablonsky notes that those who were most respected in hippie settings were the spiritual leaders, the so-called ‘high priests’ who emerged during that era.”

Similarly, the Catholic Church recently concluded that the moral questioning of the 1960s deeply affected the behavior of Catholic priests in America. “A report on the child abuse scandal in the US Catholic Church has provoked condemnation for concluding that the permissive society of the 1960s was to blame for the rise in sexual offences by priests. The investigation commissioned by Catholic bishops said that the peak incidence of sexual abuse by priests in the 1960s and 70s reflected the increased level of other deviant behaviours in American society in the period, including ‘drug use and crime, as well as social changes, such as an increase in premarital sex and divorce.’ Researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice said most of the abusive priests were ordained in the 1940s and 50s and were not properly trained to confront the social upheavals of the 1960s.” Using the language of verse 12, the doves being dispensed by Catholic leadership lost the ability to function as Platonic forms of the spirit that could guide priestly behavior. Notice also that this report ‘provoked condemnation’, illustrating the principle that moral buying and selling has now been thrown out of the Temple.

A House of Prayer 21:13

In verse 13, Jesus sets a new standard. “And He said to them, ‘It is written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer”; but you are making it a robbers’ cave.’” Written was last used in 11:10, which we interpreted as a reference to the written revelations studied by Scholasticism. Jesus refers to the temple as ‘my house’. A house is a place for personal identity. I have mentioned several times that a concept of incarnation goes beyond the technical thinking of science to include personal identity. By calling the temple ‘my house’, incarnation is regarding the religious system as the subjective side of incarnation.

Prayer means an ‘exchange of wishes’, which means cognitively that MMNs of personal identity are interacting emotionally with the TMN of a concept of God. Called means that this will be the Teacher perspective. Made means to ‘make or do’. Putting this together, Teacher thought will be guided by the general principle that institutions of religion and power are supposed to exchange emotions with the people. One can definitely see this with civil rights legislation. The people expressed their wishes through demonstrations and protests. The government responded with legislation, imposing new systems of Teacher order upon the people.

A similar emphasis upon personal interaction with God can be seen in the charismatic movement. In the words of Wikipedia, “Charismatic Christians believe that the gifts (Greek charismata χαρίσματα, from charis χάρις, grace) of the Holy Spirit as described in the New Testament are available to contemporary Christians through the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit, with or without the laying on of hands. Although the Bible lists many gifts from God through his Holy Spirit, there are nine specific gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8–10 that are supernatural in nature and are the focus of and distinguishing feature of the charismatic movement: word of wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different tongues (languages), and interpretation of tongues.” Notice the direct emotional interaction between God and people through the charismatic gifts of the spirit. More specifically, one of the characteristics of a charismatic church service was that individuals in the audience would stand up during the service and announce some ‘word of prophecy’ prefaced with a claim that ‘The Lord says that…’ In my experience, most of these pronouncements would be some version of the Teacher overgeneralization that ‘God loves you’, but occasionally there would be meaningful messages.

For instance, I still have a recording of a ‘presbytery session’ from the early 1980s in which three ‘spiritual leaders’ who didn’t know me from Adam made meaningful statements about the path that I was starting to follow. Going further, notice also that this quote from Wikipedia focuses upon the supernatural charismatic gifts, ignoring the cognitive spiritual gifts described in Romans 12 upon which mental symmetry is based. Similarly, the presbytery message may have stated that I was able to read the spirit almost the way that one calculates mathematics, but that didn’t stop the church leadership from ultimately rejecting mental symmetry for being insufficiently spiritual.

The point is that calling the Temple a ‘house of prayer’ is both a positive and a negative statement. On the positive side, this recognizes that people can appeal to the government and that government can enact legislation that helps the people. On the negative side, this means that government will be entering the realm of social programs and personal morality, while religion will become reduced to social programs and personal emotional help. For instance, we have looked of the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. In addition, “The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States launched by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. It was coined during a 1964 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson at the University of Michigan and came to represent his domestic agenda. The main goal was the total elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, and transportation were launched during this period.”

Similarly, the charismatic movement had the positive side of involving people in a more direct relationship with God. But it had the negative side of reducing much of religion to an emotional encounter with God.

Continuing with verse 13, cave is found once in the book of Matthew and means ‘a cave’. This is the first use of robbers in Matthew, which refers to ‘a thief who also plunders and pillages’. And making means ‘to make, do.’ A cave is a small pocket of air within the ground. Cognitively, this represents a pocket of Teacher thought within a general environment of solid Perceiver facts. For instance, when some famous person dies, then they are placed symbolically within some cave. (John 11:38 describes Lazarus as being entombed within a cave.) The personal and societal facts of a dead person turn into ‘solid rock’ that cannot be changed, but one can still do limited Teacher theorizing about that person by examining topics such as motives and meaning.

Interpreting this symbolism more generally, making the temple a cave of robbers would represent hiding personal attacks on people and property within institutions of power. In America this hidden abuse was revealed by the Church committee (named after Senator Frank Church) in 1975. Wikipedia explains that “By the early years of the 1970s, a series of troubling revelations had appeared in the press concerning intelligence activities. First came the revelations by Army intelligence officer Christopher Pyle in January 1970 of the U.S. Army’s spying on the civilian population and Senator Sam Ervin’s Senate investigations produced more revelations. Then on December 22, 1974, The New York Times published a lengthy article by Seymour Hersh detailing operations engaged in by the CIA over the years that had been dubbed the ‘family jewels’. Covert action programs involving assassination attempts on foreign leaders and covert attempts to subvert foreign governments were reported for the first time.” There is a contrast in verse 13 between ‘calling’ and ‘making’. The temple has been called a house of prayer but it has been made a cave of thieves. Similarly, the American government was verbally talking about helping the people. But in practice, this same government was acting in a reprehensible manner with many foreign nations. For instance, the American government was proclaiming itself to be the bastion of democracy, but “According to one study, the U.S. performed at least 81 overt and covert known interventions in foreign elections during the period 1946–2000. Another study found that the U.S. engaged in 64 covert and six overt attempts at regime change during the Cold War.”

We have looked at group-led government change in the Western protests of the 1960s. Similar elements appeared in a much more malicious form in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 to 1976. Chairman Mao appealed to the methodology of government change through group protests. Wikipedia explains: “Launching the movement in May 1966 with the help of the Cultural Revolution Group, Mao soon called on young people to ‘bombard the headquarters,’ and proclaimed that ‘to rebel is justified.’ In order to eliminate his rivals within the CPC and in schools, factories, and government institutions, Mao charged that bourgeois elements had infiltrated the government and society with the aim of restoring capitalism.” And this turned into ‘caves of robbers’, because “China’s youth, as well as urban workers, responded by forming Red Guards and ‘rebel groups’ around the country. They would begin to hold struggle sessions regularly, and grab power from local governments and CPC branches, eventually establishing the revolutionary committees in 1967. The groups often split into rival factions, however, becoming involved in ‘violent struggles’… for which the People’s Liberation Army had to be sent to restore order.”

The Cultural Revolution replaced the absolute truth of traditional Chinese authority with the emotional ‘truth’ of the protest group. “The Cultural Revolution damaged China’s economy and traditional culture, with an estimated death toll ranging from hundreds of thousands to 20 million… Red Guards destroyed historical relics and artifacts, as well as ransacking cultural and religious sites… Millions were accused of being members of the Five Black Categories, suffering public humiliation, imprisonment, torture, hard labor, seizure of property, and sometimes execution or harassment into suicide; intellectuals were considered the ‘Stinking Old Ninth’ and were widely persecuted—notable scholars and scientists such as Lao She, Fu Lei, Yao Tongbin, and Zhao Jiuzhang were killed or committed suicide. Schools and universities were closed with the college entrance exams cancelled. Over 10 million urban intellectual youths were sent to the countryside in the Down to the Countryside Movement.”

Healing in the Temple 21:14-17

Verse 14 describes the positive benefits. “And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. Blind means ‘blind’ and lame means ‘lame, deprived of a foot’. The last reference to helping the crowds was in 15:31, which referred to the mute, the crippled, the lame, and the blind, which we connected with the beneficial results of the research university developed in 19th century Germany. Crippled means ‘lame, especially in the hands’, while mute means ‘dumb, dull, deaf’. Comparing these two, the social programs and the charismatic movement of the 1960s helped people to see the injustices and inequities of the social environment. They also put many people ‘on their feet’ and helped them to make personal progress. But unlike university research, this did not involve the hands of technical thought. Neither did it help the mute with greater abstract understanding. On the contrary, there was a movement away from technical thought and abstract theory. Notice that this therapy is happening within the realm of the Temple complex. In other words, it was primarily a social, religious, and political change rather than a transformation in rational or scientific understanding.

Verse 15 describes the reaction of the existing leadership. “But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they became indignant.” Chief priests and scribes were previously mentioned in 16:21 and 20:18, where Jesus predicted that he would be killed by them in Jerusalem. The word wonderful things comes from an adjective that means ‘to regard with amazement, and with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter’. These wonderful things are being done, which refers to the concrete world of actions. In 15:31 the crowds were ‘amazed’ when they saw the marvelous results of the new research university system. Here, it is the leadership that is amazed.

The word children means ‘a child under training’. Shouting means’ inarticulate shouts of express deep emotion’ and was used to describe the shouting of the crowds in verse 9. This shouting is happening ‘in the realm’ of the Temple complex.

The reference to ‘a child under training’ is appropriate, because “Much of the 1960s counterculture originated on college campuses. The 1964 Free Speech Movement at the University of California, Berkeley, which had its roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the southern United States, was one early example. At Berkeley a group of students began to identify themselves as having interests as a class that were at odds with the interests and practices of the University and its corporate sponsors.” Similarly, the Chinese Cultural Revolution was initially spearheaded by the Red Guards, which “was a mass student-led paramilitary social movement mobilized and guided by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1966 through 1967, during the first phase of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which he had instituted.” Similarly, “The Shiloh Youth Revival Centers movement was the largest Jesus People communal movement in the United States in the 1970s. Founded by John Higgins in 1968 as a small communal house – House of Miracles – in Costa Mesa, California, the movement quickly grew to a very large movement catering mostly to disaffected college-age youth. There were over 100,000 people involved and 175 communal houses established during its lifespan.”

These ‘children in training’ are shouting ‘Hosanna to the son of David’. Hosanna means ‘save now’ while ‘son of David’ focuses upon physical heroes setting up physical kingdoms. Similarly, in each of the three cases referred to in the previous paragraph, the youth are using physical actions to attempt to implement immediate societal solutions. And these physical and social changes are attracting the attention of the established leadership.

Verse 15 says that ‘they became indignant’, which means ‘to grieve much, to be indignant’. The indignant leadership then responds by focusing upon the words of the protesters. “And said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these children are saying?’” (‘Children’ is not in the original Greek.) One university historical site explains that “The beginning of the student activist era is usually dated from the unrest that occurred at the University of California at Berkeley in the fall of 1964. What began as an apparent drive by a small band of students to preserve an element of free speech burgeoned into a massive display of student displeasure with the general administrative policies of the university. Berkeley students began to raise questions about the relevance of the curriculum and their power in shaping it. They complained about their alienation from faculty and administrators and demanded that they, not the institution, set the rules that governed their lives outside the classroom. The issues aroused strong feelings. Violence threatened to erupt several times in the course of three months of unrest as buildings were occupied, strikes called, and police summoned. What was significant about the disorder was not which side was right but rather that the same issues were being raised at colleges and universities across the nation. In loco parentis, for example, had been a point of contention at Berkeley. It was the concept whereby the university exercised parental-like authority over the social lives of undergraduates, and it was to be the issue that sparked the first major confrontation between students and administrators at Penn State.” In other words, students were demanding better treatment now, the authorities responded with indignance, and the students called for free speech.

Another paper summarizes that “The quite common pattern, seen equally in Berkeley, in Berlin or in Paris, involved a quite small minority of radical or revolutionary students seizing the opportunity provided when college administrations turned to authoritarian measures to contain or crush incipient student rebellions, and managing to rally much larger numbers of students behind them around essentially ‘liberal’ demands about freedom of speech and the like.”

Jesus answers in verse 16, “Yes; have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?” ‘Read’ focuses upon written revelation, whereas ‘mouth’ emphasizes verbal communication. An infant is ‘a simpleminded or immature person’, and this is the second of two times that this word is used in Matthew. The first time was in 11:25, which we interpreted as learning starting again from scratch with science rather than building upon Scholasticism and the Renaissance. A nursing baby means ‘to nurse, suck milk’, and this is the first of two times that this word is used in Matthew. Milk is liquid nourishment that comes from a female. Stated cognitively, milk uses mental networks to guide immature minds. You have prepared for yourself is a single word that is used twice in Matthew and means to ‘exactly fit (adjust) to be in good working order’. It was previously used in 4:21 to describing mending nets. Praise is used once in Matthew and means ‘praise’.

These terms summarize the essence of social constructionism. Wikipedia explains that “Constructionism became prominent in the U.S. with Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s 1966 book, The Social Construction of Reality. Berger and Luckmann argue that all knowledge, including the most basic, taken-for-granted common sense knowledge of everyday reality, is derived from and maintained by social interactions. When people interact, they do so with the understanding that their respective perceptions of reality are related, and as they act upon this understanding their common knowledge of reality becomes reinforced. Since this common sense knowledge is negotiated by people, human typifications, significations and institutions come to be presented as part of an objective reality, particularly for future generations who were not involved in the original process of negotiation. For example, as parents negotiate rules for their children to follow, those rules confront the children as externally produced ‘givens’ that they cannot change.” And “In 1998 the International Sociological Association listed The Social Construction of Reality as the fifth-most important sociological book of the 20th century.”

Looking at this cognitively, constructionism basically describes how MMNs of society form and are passed on to succeeding generations. Using the language of Matthew, the ‘praise’ or approval of society becomes ‘adjusted to be in good working order’ as it is passed down to the ‘immature persons’ of the next generation who acquire it by ‘sucking the milk’ of the mental networks of female thought. This adjusted order of social approval then becomes spread through ‘the mouth’ of language. Or, to quote Berger and Luckmann, “the symbolic universe ‘puts everything in its right place’. It provides explanations for why we do things the way we do. Proverbs, moral maxims, wise sayings, mythology, religions and other theological thought, metaphysical traditions and other value systems are part of the symbolic universe. They are all (more or less sophisticated) ways to legitimize established institutions.”

Summarizing the response of Jesus in verse 16, he is basically saying to the academic experts: ‘What are you complaining about? Your written literature says that this is how things work. You are simply experiencing in real life what you have talked about in the academic literature.’ Notice that he does not say that this has been prophesied or written in the Bible. Instead, he merely says ‘have you never read’, implying that this may be written, but these written words do not necessarily describe how things really work.

One can tell that no further progress is possible because verse 17 says that “He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.” Left means ‘to leave behind, desert, abandon’. It was used in 16:4 when Jesus abandoned the Pharisees and Sadducees who were testing Jesus by calling for a sign from heaven. We interpreted that as 19th century liberal Christianity demanding miracles—and expecting none—in order to disprove Christianity.

Looking at this cognitively, social constructs are based in mental networks, which are accepted blindly by the next generation. But that only describes one aspect of thought. Science, in contrast, has discovered that the technical thinking of mathematics is capable of describing the behavior of the physical universe. Going further, I have found that those who promote social constructionism (or its current equivalent of postmodern thought) are invariably scientifically illiterate individuals with degrees in the soft sciences. These individuals can pretend that science does not exist precisely because science and technology has been used to create a modern world that buffers the average person from the harmful impact of natural cause-and-effect. They can preach to their students that everything is a social construct precisely because they work within air-conditioned offices and lecture halls maintained by invisible technicians who cater to their physical whims. If that sounds cynical, it matches the response of Jesus in verse 17.

One can find a similar observation in Wikipedia. “Christian philosopher William Lane Craig has said ‘The idea that we live in a postmodern culture is a myth. In fact, a postmodern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unlivable. People are not relativistic when it comes to matters of science, engineering, and technology; rather, they are relativistic and pluralistic in matters of religion and ethics. But, of course, that’s not postmodernism; that’s modernism!’”

Verse 17 says that Jesus ‘went out of the city’. This implies that incarnation is leaving structured society. That is because incarnation saves people, and salvation is only possible if people can be placed within a moral map in which morality is determined by some standard that is independent of social interaction. Before the 1960s, this was determined by absolute truth. Mental symmetry suggests that one can find such a moral standard in structure of the mind: Whatever causes more of the mind to function in a harmonious manner is morally good. Social constructionism (or postmodern thought) makes salvation impossible because one can no longer speak of one situation or set of behaviors being morally superior to another. Ultimately, the only morality is that there is no morality. Everything becomes acceptable, except for the suggestion that everything is not acceptable.

The word Bethany means ‘house of affliction’, or possibly ‘house of dates’, and this is the first of two times that this location is mentioned in Matthew. This name illustrates two remaining sources of implicit morality that remain in a mindset of social constructionism (or postmodernism). The first source of morality is to fall below the norm. Those who are ‘down and out’, have debilitating accidents, or suffer from some major disease will know at a deep emotional level that their personal experiences fall below the norm of society. Such people are mentally capable of being saved within a mindset of social constructionism. Turning to the second meaning, dates grow in desert oases, and we have associated a desert with an environment that lacks MMNs of social interaction. Thus, a person who lives apart from normal social interaction can be motivated by the occasional taste of fruit in a way that the average person who lives within social interaction is not. For instance, I occasionally have opportunities to speak at academic conferences and interact with individuals at an academic level. These events are sufficiently rare that I value them and learn from them in a way that the average person does not. What the average attendee sees primarily as a way of building social networks, I view as an opportunity for adding valuable experience to cognitive theory.

The word spend the night is found once in Matthew and means ‘to lodge in the open, to lodge’. Looking at this cognitively, incarnation has to wait for a paradigm shift in order to make further progress.

The Barren Fig Tree 21:18-22

The next section describes what happens in the morning. “Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry” (v. 18). In the morning means ‘at dawn’, and this is the last of three times that this word is used in Matthew. Cognitively, this implies that a new way of thinking is just starting to emerge. Looking at Western history, this would describe the transition from modern to postmodern thought. Returning is used once in Matthew and means ‘to put out to sea, to return’. The other two times it is used in the New Testament it is translated as putting out from the shore. This secondary meaning may be significant because the postmodern era could be summarized as putting out to sea, in which one leaves the land of solid truth and heads ever deeper into an ocean of shifting Mercy experiences. This ‘heading out to sea’ is also a ‘returning to the city’. These two concepts are related, because the stability and provisions of the modern city make it possible to mentally head out to sea and pretend that no truth exists. Saying this another way, in a city all needs are provided by people, making it possible to hold to a mindset of social constructionism which asserts that nothing exists except people and their preconceptions.

Hungry implies a desire for intellectual food. One of the characteristics of postmodern thought is that it questions existing truth without providing any alternatives. In fact, postmodern thought insists that there is no such thing as intellectual food and that all apparent intellectual food is fake food. The result is intellectual hunger. In the words of Wikipedia, “Postmodernism is a broad movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century across philosophy, the arts, architecture, and criticism, marking a departure from modernism… Postmodernism is generally defined by an attitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies associated with modernism, often criticizing Enlightenment rationality and focusing on the role of ideology in maintaining political or economic power. Postmodern thinkers frequently describe knowledge claims and value systems as contingent or socially-conditioned, describing them as products of political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies. Common targets of postmodern criticism include universalist ideas of objective reality, morality, truth, human nature, reason, science, language, and social progress.”

Verse 19 describes an encounter with a fig tree. “Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, ‘No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.’ And at once the fig tree withered.” We saw when looking at the town of Bethphage in verse 1 that figs represent personal compensation mechanisms, because Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness with fig leaves. Thus, a fig leaf would represent a mechanism for attempting to cover personal vulnerabilities while a fig fruit would represent an adequate method for dealing with personal vulnerabilities.

‘Along the road’ suggests that this fig tree becomes apparent as the path of society is unfolding. The word fig tree is mentioned five times in Matthew, four times in verses 19-21, and once in 24:32, which talks about learning the parable from the fig tree. What is special about the fig tree in verse 19 is that it is standing by itself, rather than with a group of fig trees. What happens to this fig tree illustrates the nature of the new day of postmodernism. In brief, to explain is to explain away.

Looking at this in more detail, it is possible to use technical thought to analyze absolute truth to some extent. One can see this in the technical thinking of theology. I have noticed that older theological works are typically composed of technical analysis interspersed by episodes of worship. The technical thought analyzes the content of absolute truth while the poetic passages reinforce the feelings of holiness that support the absolute truth.

In contrast, the emotional ‘truth’ of a postmodern society cannot survive technical analysis, especially if this ‘truth’ is in the form of a lone fig tree. A normal ‘tree’ does not deal with core emotional issues. Therefore, the analysis of such a tree will be overshadowed by deeper mental networks that remain unanalyzed. This describes what happens under absolute truth, because the core mental networks that are supporting absolute truth remain holy and unanalyzed. However, with postmodernism every topic is fair game, and even the fig trees that deal with ‘personal nakedness’ will be analyzed. If one fig tree among a group of fig trees is analyzed, then the emotional ‘truth’ will be preserved by the remaining fig trees. In contrast, if a lone fig tree is analyzed, then it will not survive.

One can understand what is happening by examining the relationship between technical analysis and mysticism. This is illustrated by the common mystical analogy of pointing a finger at the moon. One website explains that “All words about spiritual values are just hints. Don’t hold onto the words as if they are realities. They are hints, almost the way I can point to the moon with my finger - but don’t catch hold of my finger. My finger is not the moon. Although my finger was pointing to the moon, it was only a hint. In one of the temples of Japan, there is no statue of Gautam Buddha in the temple. Instead of a statue, there is a finger pointing to a far away moon. It is a temple of its own kind - because Buddha is nothing but a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t go on worshiping the finger - that will not help. Look at the moon where the finger is pointing. Forget the finger, forget the scriptures, forget the masters, forget all your religions; just try to find out what they are hinting at, and you will be surprised to find that thousands of fingers are pointing at the same moon.”

There is a Teacher reason and a Mercy reason for this, and they are related. The Teacher reason has to do with the nature of overgeneralization. Overgeneralization comes up with Teacher theories by making sweeping statements that ignore the facts. Overgeneralization will naturally emerge in a postmodern society that questions all truth. The Mercy reason relates to identification. When a group of people protest, then everyone in the group assumes that they are identifying with the same cause. However, if technical thought is used to analyze the issue, then people will realize that their personal desires are actually different and that they are not fighting for the same cause.

Mysticism combines overgeneralization with identification. Overgeneralization says that ‘all is one’ while identification asserts that ‘I am the oneness’. The cognitive result is an ecstatic joining of Mercy and Teacher emotions. But this unifying of Teacher and Mercy emotions will only happen if rational thought steps out of the way. That is why one has to ‘forget the finger, forget the scriptures, forget the Masters, forget all your religions’. The technical description of mysticism points out the kind of thinking that one has to use—it provides cognitive hints. But the ecstatic experience of being one with the universe will only happen if technical thought steps out of the way and allows overgeneralization to be combined with identification. That is because the precise definitions of abstract technical thought will subdivide the oneness into different technical categories, while the cause-and-effect of concrete technical thought will insist that one cannot identify with the goal but rather must step towards the goal following principles of cause-and-effect.

A similar emotional process happens with a large protest. Wikipedia explains that “Herd mentality… describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.” Looking at this cognitively, the Mercy emotions created by a few individuals will overwhelm Perceiver thought in the average person, causing the average individual to identify with the group and think in terms of ‘us’ rather than ‘me’. This feeling of ‘us’ will then be emotionally amplified by Teacher thought, which will view personal identity as one element in the general Teacher theory of ‘us’. Overgeneralization will then cause the behavior of ‘us’ to become, at least temporarily, the universal theory that overshadows all other theories.

Technical thought will naturally limit these emotions. For instance, one can see this factual limiting of identification in the Columbia University protests of 1968. Wikipedia explains that “An important aspect of the 1968 Columbia University protests was the manner in which activists were separated along racial lines. The morning after the initial takeover of Hamilton Hall, the 60 African-American students involved with the protest asked the predominantly white SDS students to leave. The SAS decision to separate themselves from SDS came as a total surprise to the latter group’s members. SAS wanted autonomy in what they were doing at that point in the protest, because their goals and methods diverged in significant ways from SDS. While both the SAS and the SDS shared the goal of preventing the construction of the new gymnasium, the two groups held different agendas. The overarching goal of the SDS extended beyond the single issue of halting the construction of the gym. SDS wanted to mobilize the student population of Columbia to confront the University’s support of the war, while the SAS was primarily interested in stopping the University’s encroachment of Harlem, through the construction of the gym.”

Returning now to verse 19 and the lone fig tree, suppose that the technical thinking of incarnation attempts to find intellectual food in some fig tree. This search will reveal fig leaves and not figs. That is because emotional ‘truth’ is always based ultimately in my personal feelings. It leads to relative ‘truth’ that is ‘true’ for me and not necessarily ‘true’ for my neighbor. This is different than absolute truth, which is based in feelings of holiness that are kept distinct from personal identity. The end result is that all apparently rational thought is merely a way of rationalizing my personal feelings. In fact, one of the basic premises of postmodern thought is that all apparent ‘truth’ is simply some power group imposing its personal opinions upon the rest of the population. And if one ignores the structure of the mind and the laws of the physical universe, then this is a valid conclusion. The word found means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. On the one hand, this searching will stop the mind from performing identification and overgeneralization, ruining the emotional effect of either crowd protests or mystical thinking. On the other hand, this searching will discover only the rationalization of fig leaves, leading to the conclusion that the protesters themselves are potential tyrants against whom one needs to protest.

Verse 18 describes two results. First, the fig tree loses its ability to generate fruit. More literally, ‘no more fruit come into being from you, to the age’. In other words, postmodern thought can deconstruct, but it cannot reconstruct. Once the technical thinking of postmodern thought is used to analyze some ‘fig tree’, it is not possible to restore the functioning of that fig tree, because postmodern thought has no way of putting things back together. Instead, one will have to wait until the end of the age before reconstruction becomes possible.

Second, the fig tree withers at once. The word at once is only found in Matthew in this verse and in the next verse, and means ‘instantly’. Wither means ‘to dry up, waste away’, and this word occurs one other time in Matthew in 13:6 in the parable of the Sower and the Seed. We have interpreted ‘drying up’ as losing the moisture of Mercy experiences. One can see this immediate drying up in the ‘fingers pointing to the moon’ of mysticism. As soon as one uses technical thought to analyze a mystical experience, one eliminates the emotions of ecstasy. Similarly, using technical thought to analyze some emotional cause will instantly remove the emotions from that cause. That is why the protester, the worshiper, and the mystic will all instinctively attack rational thought. For instance, I have found that those who practice a mystical form of Christianity will be driven at a gut level to reject the rational analysis of mental symmetry. No reason will be given for this rejection, and the topic will never be raised again. And if the topic of mental symmetry ever comes up, then it will be instantly suppressed. I have received this kind of response consistently over the years, even from people who know me and consider me to be their friend. I can say many things to such people, but I must not place the statements within the framework of an integrated Teacher understanding. That is because such a person fears at a deep level that to explain is to explain away.

The disciples are amazed in verse 20 at what happened. “Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, ‘How did the fig tree wither all at once?” The word amazed means ‘to marvel, wonder’ and was last seen as a noun in verse 15, where the chief priests and scribes marveled at what Jesus had done. In verse 15 the leadership is amazed at the changes that the students are achieving. In verse 20, the disciples discover that technical thought has acquired an amazing power over fig trees. What amazes them is how the fig tree immediately dried up—how the application of technical thought immediately stopped the core mental network from providing emotional support.

This power expressed itself in the 1970s and later as the college professors who used technical thinking to dismantle the superstitions, cultural assumptions, and religious beliefs of incoming students. The success with which a professor could use technical thought to immediately wither fig trees reinforced the conclusion that nothing existed except emotional ‘truth’ that needed to be questioned. One can see why the typical conservative Christian started to view college professors as atheists on a mission to destroy Christian faith.

PBS addresses this subject in one interview. “Since the 1960s, there’s been a widely accepted orthodoxy that colleges are hotbeds of liberal activism. Opposition to the Vietnam War rocked campuses across the country, and the works of atheist philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Emma Goldman were influencing anti-establishment thought. Conservatives have long argued that academia unfairly tilts left — and they have stats to back it up. A controversial study in 2005, for example, found that more than two-thirds of college professors described themselves as ‘liberal.’ … ‘It’s no wonder President Obama wants every kid to go to college. The indoctrination that occurs in American universities is one of the keys to the left holding and maintaining power in America,’ [presidential candidate] Santorum said at a rally last month in Florida. ‘As you know, 62 percent of children who enter college with a faith conviction leave without it.’ And Santorum isn’t the only presidential candidate who thinks college is anti-religion. Newt Gingrich shared some of the same concerns in a speech to a group of pastors in Florida last year. ‘I for one am tired of the long trend towards a secular, atheist system of thought dominating our colleges, dominating our media,’ Gingrich said.” I suggest that incorrect universal conclusions are being drawn about the nature of religion and science. However, a scientific questioning of religious faith will naturally happen when the objective realm is ruled by technical thought and absolute truth is replaced by emotional ‘truth’ in the subjective. Thus, given the historical context, these are accurate observations.

Jesus adds in verse 21 that this is a generic power which is only a small example of what is actually possible. “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea,” it will happen.’” Faith means to ‘be persuaded’. Faith was last mentioned in 17:20 when talking about the faith of a mustard seed. Doubt is mentioned twice in Matthew and means ‘to separate throughout or wholly’. Faith means being guided by rational understanding. Postmodern thought is capable of tearing down, but it cannot rebuild. Faith is needed to rebuild, because one has to be willing to be guided by rational understanding even when one cannot see. Absolute truth, in contrast, is ultimately based in MMNs that can be seen and experienced. Saying this more simply, faith is not irrational but it is willing to be persuaded based upon partial evidence.

One can understand this distinction by comparing the child with the teenager and the adult. The child follows emotional ‘truth’, ‘knowing’ what is right or wrong because ‘daddy said so’ or ‘mommy told me’. The teenager questions emotional ‘truth’, no longer ‘knowing’ what is right or wrong because he no longer views adults as all-powerful and omniscient. This transition from childhood to teenager is like the transition from the 1950s to the 1970s. It is not possible for a teenager to return to the certainty of the child. But it is possible for a teenager to move on to the ‘being persuaded’ of the adult. The adult mind is never totally certain. However, it is possible to gain increased certainty by building Perceiver and Server confidence and by encountering more evidence for one’s beliefs. But one must follow persuasion in a manner that does not ‘separate throughout’ by making distinctions such as science versus religion, my group versus other groups, or one specialization versus another.

If one follows this path of being persuaded without separating, then one can ‘wither fig trees’ and do something more, which is to “say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea’.” Be taken up means ‘to raise, take up, lift’, which suggests moving in the direction of Teacher generality. ‘Cast into the sea’ implies being submerged within Mercy experiences. Verse 21 specifically refers to ‘this mountain’. A mountain represents a pragmatic form of general Teacher theory. Presumably, ‘this mountain’ refers to the whole general mindset that is driving the withering of fig trees—which is motivating college professors to attack the emotional ‘beliefs’ of their students. In other words, one can view this technical analysis of emotional ‘belief’ as building material for putting together a theory of cognition, but one must be willing to be persuaded—one must be convinced that rational thought and general theory exist, and one must not ‘separate throughout’ by dividing thought and behavior into different groups. That describes the approach which I have been using with mental symmetry. The end result is that the whole system of deconstructionism ends up ‘thrown into the sea’—it becomes viewed as an expression of human MMNs that has no basis in TMNs of rational understanding.

Using rational thought to attack emotional ‘truth’ leads to immediate results. Casting a mountain into the sea, in contrast, will come into being. That is because a mountain is a form of general theory that is held together by the TMN of a general understanding. Moving a mountain means rethinking all of the various facets of the underlying general theory, while questioning some authority in Mercy thought is sufficient to cause a lone fig tree to wither. These two processes are both mentioned in the same verse because the same societal conditions make both possible. The fact that all topics are open to question makes it possible to discredit all absolute truth, but this also makes it possible to rethink all absolute

Verse 22 concludes with what sounds like a grandiose statement. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Ask means ‘to ask, request’. Asking is different than the protester who is demanding. The protester imposes MMNs of personal desire upon society and the mind. The asker requests Teacher thought to come up with a theory that applies to personal MMNs. These two are not the same. Prayer means an ‘exchange of wishes’, and one is asking in the realm of prayer. In other words, a concept of God in Teacher thought is exchanging wishes with personal identity in Mercy thought. Normally, when two mental networks come into contact with one another then one will impose its structure upon the other. But it is possible for a TMN of God and MMNs to simultaneously exchange wishes because a concept of God deals with generalities, whereas personal identity focuses upon specifics. Believing means to ‘be persuaded’. Believing implies that personal identity is submitting itself to the TMN of a rational concept of God. And receive means to ‘actively lay hold of to take or receive’, which suggests that one is not just passively wait for God to answer.

It is important to place this verse within the cognitive and historical context. First, in the late 20th century, the content of biblical and scientific absolute truth still existed as common knowledge within society. (The average student learns science as absolute truth taught by textbooks.) Second, postmodern questioning meant that every topic could be rationally analyzed, no matter how religious or emotional. Saying this another way, there were no sacred cows. Third, technical thought was still being taught within the university system and used by technical experts. The first point means that one has adequate content to build an answer. The second point means that nothing will stand in the way of building an answer. And the third point means that one has the tools that are needed to build an answer. Given this combination, asking in prayer and believing will receive all things. For instance, I have tried to follow this path in developing mental symmetry, which has now expanded to the point of dealing with most major topics. I do not know if it would be possible to construct such a grand theory at any other point in Western history.

Authority 21:23-27

The next section describes the juxtaposition of skepticism in the professional, combined with the memory of absolute truth in the average person. “When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’” Jesus reenters the temple complex, but this is the dawn of the new day of postmodernism. Jesus is teaching, which means to ‘instruct, impart knowledge’. While Jesus is teaching content, the authorities come and ask about personal status. Elder refers to the sources of authority behind the MMNs of society. And chief priest describes the caretakers of religious MMNs. Notice that in verse 15 it was the chief priests and scribes who came to Jesus in the Temple. This distinction illustrates the difference that has occurred overnight with the shift from modern to postmodern thought. Modern thought associated the chief priests of religion with the absolute written truth of the scribes, while postmodern thought associates the chief priests of religion with the emotional ‘truth’ of the elders.

The experts also ask a different question. In verse 15, they were listening to the words being spoken by the students. In verse 23 they are focusing upon the personal status of Jesus. Similarly, absolute truth focuses upon the content contained within the sources of written truth that everyone agrees are authoritative. In contrast, postmodern thought bases its current emotional ‘truth’ in the experts that currently have emotional status. The word authority means ‘power to act, authority’. This word is repeated four times in verses 23-27, telling us that the focus of attention has shifted from ‘what’ to ‘who’.

Going further, the situation begins in verse 23 with Jesus teaching. But the word ‘teaching’ does not appear again in this chapter. Instead, the chief priests and elders ask Jesus by what authority he is doing these things. Doing is an expression of concrete thought. Looking at this cognitively, abstract thought ceases to have an independent existence within postmodernism. Instead, abstract theories are regarded as propaganda being imposed by people and groups with Mercy status. Wikipedia describes this skepticism of theory. “Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or mode of discourse defined by an attitude of skepticism toward what it describes as the grand narratives and ideologies of modernism, as well as opposition to epistemic certainty and the stability of meaning.” Instead, “Postmodern thinkers frequently describe knowledge claims and value systems as contingent or socially-conditioned, describing them as products of political, historical, or cultural discourses and hierarchies.”

The phrase “who gave you this authority” implies that nothing exists except people with emotional status. If one has authority to teach, then one must have received that authority from some person. The result is a deep anti-science bias. In the words of Wikipedia, “H. Sidky pointed out what he sees as several ‘inherent flaws’ of a postmodern antiscience perspective, including the confusion of the authority of science (evidence) with the scientist conveying the knowledge; its self-contradictory claim that all truths are relative; and its strategic ambiguity. He sees 21st-century anti-scientific and pseudo-scientific approaches to knowledge, particularly in the United States, as rooted in a postmodernist ‘decades-long academic assault on science.’”

I pointed out earlier that the postmodern authors whom I have read are consistently scientifically illiterate, and they confuse ‘the authority of science with the scientist conveying the knowledge’. Common sense would point out the obvious fact that the law of gravity, for instance, does not depend upon social status to function. A Berkeley professor of sociology who steps off a cliff will fall in exactly the same manner as a fundamentalist Baptist preacher, even if the preacher has lost all of his emotional status to the professor. This obvious contradiction is dealt with by the ‘strategic ambiguity’ of simply ignoring the problem. After all, if I am an expert and if experts define the ‘truth’, then there is no problem if I choose to ignore the problem. As I have mentioned before, one can maintain such a contradiction as long as there are enough invisible technicians who function behind the scenes to keep society functioning.

The reply of Jesus points out the fundamental contradiction of postmodern thought, which is that if all theories are merely propaganda being imposed upon the population by people with emotional status, then postmodern thought itself is merely propaganda being imposed upon the population by professors with emotional status. Saying this more simply, postmodern thought deconstructs itself. Quoting verse 24: “Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one word, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.” Word is logos, which means that Jesus is asking for the Teacher paradigm that drives the mindset of postmodernism. According to postmodernism, paradigms do not exist. But every system of abstract technical thought, including systems of postmodern analysis, is emotionally driven by some Teacher paradigm. Jesus says that if they tell him this paradigm, then he will reveal to them his MMNs of personal authority.

Verse 25 describes the Teacher paradigm that Jesus wants to know. “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?” Notice that Jesus does not refer to John the Baptist, but rather to the baptism of John. This appears to be referring to the experience of becoming a Christian, in which one allows the religious experience of conversion to become the emotional source for Christian absolute truth. (Looking at this more carefully, the basic premise of evangelical Christianity is that one is not physically born a Christian, but rather needs to have a conversion experience. This conversion experience provides a new set of MMNs which acts as the basis for believing the absolute truth of Christianity.)

The NASB uses the word ‘source’, implying that Jesus is focusing upon personal status in Mercy thought. But the word that Jesus uses actually means ‘from where’, indicating a focus upon different realms. From is more precisely ‘out from and to’. And the two realms are heaven, which refers to the realm of Teacher thought, and men, which means ‘mankind’. One could interpret this literally as comparing a real heaven with humans. Jesus’ question would then be, ‘What is the basis for Christian conversion? Is it a change that comes from heaven, or is it merely the result of a preacher using psychological mechanisms to induce emotional changes in members of a religious crowd?’ One could also interpret this cognitively as comparing the heavenly TMNs of Teacher thought with human MMNs. The question would then be, ‘What is generating the emotional change in a Christian conversion? Is this based in a general Teacher understanding of the nature of God, or is this merely another example of using MMNs of personal status to create the illusion of a general Teacher theory?’

This leads to a dilemma. Verse 25 describes one possible response: “They began reasoning among themselves, saying, ‘If we say, “From heaven,” He will say to us, “Then why did you not believe him?”’” Notice that they are thinking in terms of people. They are not saying to themselves, ‘we are following a general theory that contradicts itself’. Instead, they are thinking, ‘he will say to us’. Reasoning means to ‘go back-and-forth when evaluating, in a way that typically leads to a confused conclusion’. This back-and-forth reasoning appears to be happening socially rather than internally because it is happening ‘in the realm of themselves’, and ‘themselves’ is in the plural.

The first option is for them to say that the baptism of John comes ‘out of heaven’. But if they respond that way, then Jesus will ask them why they did not believe, which means to ‘be persuaded’. Looking at this literally, if the experience of becoming a ‘born-again’ Christian really is supernatural, then why doesn’t the born-again Christian treat the Bible as a supernatural book that needs to be followed? Applying this question to the postmodern evangelical Christian, a 2005 article points out that “The findings in numerous national polls conducted by highly respected pollsters like The Gallup Organization and The Barna Group are simply shocking. ‘Gallup and Barna,’ laments evangelical theologian Michael Horton, ‘hand us survey after survey demonstrating that evangelical Christians are as likely to embrace lifestyles every bit as hedonistic, materialistic, self-centered, and sexually immoral as the world in general.’ Divorce is more common among ‘born-again’ Christians than in the general American population. Only 6 percent of evangelicals tithe. White evangelicals are the most likely people to object to neighbors of another race. Josh McDowell has pointed out that the sexual promiscuity of evangelical youth is only a little less outrageous than that of their nonevangelical peers.”

Looking at the same question from a cognitive perspective, if Christianity really is based in the TMN of a rational concept of God, then why do Christians embrace MMNs of religious experience and shy away from the Teacher theories of science?

Verse 26 describes the second option. “But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the crowd; for they all regard John as a prophet.” Almost the same language was used in 14:6 where Herod refrained from killing John because he feared the crowd, since they held John as a prophet. We interpreted that as absolute monarchy refraining from directly attacking the church because of the beliefs of the average person. The cognitive principle is that those who have emotional status will begin to doubt absolute truth before the average person does. That is because a belief in absolute truth requires regarding the source of truth as far more important emotionally than personal identity. Religious or political experts will feel that they have personal emotional status, causing them to doubt the absolute truth that they are supposedly administering.

Applying this to the postmodern professor, the professor who is teaching absolute truth will be the first to doubt the material that he is teaching, while the student who is learning the material will still believe that it is true. This will lead to the strange combination of experts who don’t believe teaching students who do believe, which is the opposite of the normal situation in which those who believe teach those who do not believe. Similarly, the famous preacher or televangelist will start to doubt the message that he is preaching and view his preaching as using psychological tricks to manipulate the crowds. But he will have to continue pretending that he believes what he preaches because the crowds still believe in absolute truth.

One can tell that the preachers and professors do not really believe the message that they are preaching because they fear the crowds. If the message that they were preaching had formed TMNs within their minds, then they would fear the message. For instance, what ultimately frightens me is the cognitive consequences that I would suffer if I turned my back on mental symmetry. In addition, I have experienced enough strange rejections—and unusual connections—over the years to become very suspicious that supernatural entities are guiding my path. This fear of both cognitive and supernatural consequence drives me to continue working on mental symmetry even though I experience almost total rejection from the crowds. I am not suggesting that every soft science professor and every famous preacher is a hypocrite. Most probably started their journey as true believers. But the emotional experience of being treated for years as a respected expert will, by its very nature, corrupt a person’s belief in absolute truth. And when absolute truth becomes downgraded to emotional ‘truth’, then it is almost inevitable that the successful preacher or professor will eventually view himself as a legitimate source of ‘truth’.

This cognitive principle is illustrated by the succession of scandals that have plagued the Pentecostal movement since its beginning. Pentecostalism is the predecessor to the charismatic movement. One of the primary principles of Pentecostalism is that people today can receive direct messages from God. In other words, the absolute truth of the Bible can be supplemented by emotional ‘truth’ from people. This is quite invigorating in the short term, but in the long-term it leads naturally to preachers who no longer feel obligated to obey the moral code of Scripture. Mental symmetry suggests that the solution is to replace fading absolute truth with universal truth—by using Perceiver thought to look for connections that do not change. That requires following the path of ‘faith which does not divide’ that was mentioned in verse 21.

The end result is that postmodern professors and preachers both find themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They do not practice what they preach, because they do not really believe that they are preaching truth. But they must pretend to believe what they are preaching, because they are still being regarded as experts by their followers. And if they stopped pretending that they would lose their status as experts—as well as their jobs and their paychecks.

Thus, they respond in verse 27 by avoiding the question. “And answering Jesus, they said, ‘We do not know.’ He also said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.’” The word know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’, which refers to empirical evidence. The generic answer ‘we do not know’ implies that the postmodern expert is referring to a general mindset rather than a lack of knowledge about this specific question. Saying this another way, the postmodern expert does not believe in empirical evidence. Jesus responds by saying that he will not interact with them at their level of emotional status. The pronoun ‘I’ is explicitly mentioned, implying that it is a fundamental characteristic of incarnation not to think in terms of personal authority.

In other words, a separation will start to emerge between the soft sciences and the hard sciences. The soft sciences will move away from thinking in terms of empirical evidence, forcing the hard sciences with their technical thinking to recognize the need to hold on to a form of knowing that is independent of personal opinion and personal authority.

The Two Sons 21:28-32

The next section compares two mindsets: On the one hand, there is the typical Christian who claims to believe in God but does not really follow God (or possibly the postmodern scholar who claims to teach rational understanding, but does not believe in rational understanding). On the other hand, there is the typical scientist who says that there is no God, but acts as if a real God exists in the form of Nature. Which of these two is closest to the kingdom of God? I suggest that this is the appropriate comparison because verse 31 refers to the kingdom of God and not just the kingdom of heaven. ‘God’ was last mentioned in 19:26.

The parable begins in verse 28. “But what do you think? A man had two children, and he came to the first and said, ‘Child, go work today in the vineyard.’” The word think means ‘to have an opinion’. Thus, Jesus is not looking for a rational response, but rather a personal opinion, because that is all that ultimately exists within the postmodern mind. The word child means ‘a child living in willing dependence’. This is different than the ‘child under training’ mentioned earlier. We are not looking here at what a child is learning, because content is no longer relevant in postmodern thought. Instead, we are looking here at the reality of living as a vulnerable human being who depends upon God and Nature for continued existence.

A vineyard was first mentioned in the parable of the vineyard at the beginning of chapter 20. A vineyard represents the society that incarnation is attempting to produce. The modern technological society is a partial example of this because things have been transformed but not people. The parable in chapter 20 gave an overview of the entire day of working in the vineyard. This parable provides a snapshot within this day which examines two kinds of workers that are laboring in the vineyard.

Chapter 20 talked about laborers working in the vineyard, and the same word for work is used in verse 28, which refers to ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’. Looking at this cognitively, both children are internally motivated and not just servants or slaves who are being told what to do. The two children are easy to determine from the context. One child is religion, as represented by the typical Christian pastor or theologian. The other child is science, as represented by the typical professor or researcher. The father is presumably incarnation, and both Christianity and science are expressions of incarnation.

Verse 29 describes the response of the first child. “And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went.” The first son says that he will not work. More literally, he ‘does not desire’. In other words, he has no motivation to work in a vineyard. This describes the typical scientist who is not thinking in terms of developing a better society governed by God, but rather is focusing upon some specific specialization.

This is the first use of the word regretted in Matthew, which means ‘to experience a change of concern after a change of emotion and usually implying regret’. This is not a rational shift, but rather a change in emotions that results in altered motivation. In other words, even though science verbally states that it does not believe in God and that it is just doing objective research, scientists find themselves emotionally drawn to talk about Nature, to think as if biological and social life is heading in the direction of greater Teacher order, and to recognize that their objective research has personal consequences. This is not a rational shift, because whenever one points out to such a scientist that Nature is being treated as if it is a deity, then the common response will be that this is just a verbal mistake and that the scientist does not really believe in God. But that same scientist will inevitably find himself saying that ‘Nature designed…’ or ‘Nature created…’

Verse 30 describes the response of the second child. “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I [will], sir’; but he did not go.” The word ‘will’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, the second child says ‘I sir’. In contrast, the first child says ‘Not wish’ without explicitly mentioning the word ‘I’. In other words, the second child is focusing upon people and personal relationship: ‘I, sir’, but there is no mention of desire or action. And unlike the first child who eventually goes, the second child does not go.

Verse 31 then asks the question and provides the obvious answer, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, ‘The first.’” The word did means ‘to make, do’. Thus, we are looking here at actions, not words. And will again means ‘desire, wish’. The question here is not a matter of doctrinal statement or abstract theory, but rather of pragmatics and mental networks. This is characteristic of a postmodern society, in which words lose their meanings and mental networks become the driving force.

Jesus then concludes, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you” (v. 31). Tax collector means ‘paying at the end’. This was primarily a tax upon commerce and we associated the tax collectors of 11:19 with the commerce and trade of the Hanseatic League. Similarly, tax collectors here would refer to those who add subjective emotions of monetary gain and corporate empire to objective science and technology. Prostitutes are only mentioned in Matthew in this verse and the next verse. The word prostitute comes from a word that means ‘to sell off’. This conveys the idea of selling off personal value in order to gain peripheral wealth. This would refer not just to the woman who sells her body, but also to the person who sells his (or her) soul to a company or organization. Both the tax collector and the prostitute are adding subjective emotions to objective science and technology in an inadequate matter.

Get before means ‘to lead forth, to go before’. The NASB uses this verb in the future (‘will get’), but the Greek verb is actually in the present. A more literal rendering would be ‘go before you to or into the kingdom of God’. Thus, Jesus is not saying that tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of heaven, while the religious believers will not. Instead, he is saying that at the present time, tax collectors and prostitutes are leading the way to (or into) the kingdom of God.

Applying this to postmodern society, the Christian church likes to think that God always works through the church. Similarly, academic experts like to think that academia is at the forefront of societal growth. But the chief priests and elders are not being referred to as the first child. Instead, they are described as the second child. This is certainly true of the postmodern church, which tends to follow secular trends while remaining about five years behind. Similarly, the postmodern scholar can deconstruct but is incapable of reconstructing. Instead, progress during the last 50 years has been driven primarily by science and technology, to which both the postmodern scholar and the Christian preacher respond.

Matthew has referred numerous times to the kingdom of heaven, which we have interpreted as the realm of Teacher thought. But verse 31 refers to the kingdom of God. This term was previously used in 19:23-24 which said that it is difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, and then added that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The implication is that entering the kingdom of God goes beyond entering the kingdom of heaven. A kingdom of heaven follows Teacher thought. A kingdom of God follows integrated Teacher thought in a manner that affects personal identity. (That is because a concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general Teacher theory applies to personal identity.)

The computer revolution has been turning the scientific ‘kingdom of heaven’ into a technological ‘kingdom of God’. (I am using quotes because one is dealing with implicit partial kingdoms.) On the Mercy side, people now interact with computers as if they are intelligent devices, and computers enable new forms of social interaction. On the Teacher side, the computers that we use are now integrated into a worldwide network to which one can turn for answers about almost anything. This computer revolution began with the introduction of the personal computer in the 1970s.

Returning to verse 31, the postmodern scholar pretends that science and technology do not exist, while the postmodern Christian views religion as a refuge from science and technology. In contrast, both business and those who sell their soul to some organization have embraced the technological ‘kingdom of God’ with vigor.

Verse 32 compares these two attitudes. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him.” John presumably represents absolute truth. Jesus does not say that John came in righteousness, or that John preached a message of righteousness. My experience is that very few who preach the absolute truth of the Bible have a concept of righteousness. They do not grasp that following God can be driven by Teacher emotions of understanding how God works. Instead, they tend to view the law of God as a set of boundaries—moral fences that one must not cross.

Verse 32 says that John ‘came to you in the realm of the way of righteousness’. In other words, if one looks at the path by which the mindset of absolute truth has changed over the years, one notices a path of righteousness. One can see that the knowledge of absolute truth has developed and progressed over the centuries. This is an appropriate statement, because one of the characteristics of postmodern thought is that it claims to go beyond the message to the social context that drives the message. But the postmodern scholar was not persuaded. The postmodern scholar claims to use rational thought to analyze the process by which absolute truth has changed over the centuries. But the postmodern scholar is unwilling to be persuaded by the logic of his own analysis, concluding instead that truth does not exist. As far as I can tell, this is because the ultimate goal of the postmodern scholar is not to build understanding but rather to attack ‘truth’. This principle applies both to the postmodern scholar and to the postmodern preacher.

In contrast, “the tax collectors and the prostitutes did believe him”. Saying this another way, which group of people has done the most to create today’s integrated, technological, computer-driven society? It has not been the postmodern scholar or the Christian preacher. Instead, it has been the tax collector who is seeking to optimize trade and commerce, and the prostitute who gives his (or her) soul to promote some new product. I should clarify that these two have not produced the vineyard of incarnation. In fact, the rest of the chapter will talk about the workers in the vineyard rebelling from the owner of the vineyard. But they have led the way for entering the kingdom of God—a realm in which the Teacher generality of science and technology affects all personal MMNs.

Verse 32 concludes, “and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him. Seeing is actually in the past tense: ‘having seen’. Remorse is the same word used in verse 29, which means ‘to experience a change of concern after a change of emotion’. And afterward means ‘afterwards, later’. In other words, even after the postmodern scholar and the postmodern preacher saw all the transformation that was produced by science and technology, they did not change their emotional focus. Even when modern technology provides all of the physical needs for the postmodern scholar and postmodern preacher, they do not respond by attempting to understand how their needs are being met. Instead, they use the fact that technology is providing for their needs as an excuse to continuing pretending that science and technology do not exist and that only personal opinion matters.

I have asked myself what emotion would drive such blatant hypocrisy, and the only answer I can come up with is Teacher overgeneralization. The liberal scholar is motivated by an overgeneralized concept of social justice, in which one achieves oneness by ignoring any human factual distinctions. Similarly, the Christian theologian appears to be motivated by an overgeneralized concept of God, in which one finds religious ecstasy and/or comfort by believing that God transcends all rational human thought. Both of these versions of Teacher overgeneralization can only survive as long as rational thought is disregarded as inferior to notions of societal and cosmic oneness. Thus, the more that science and technology develop and the more that is known about the human mind, the more the postmodern liberal scholar and postmodern Christian preacher have to insist mentally that the unity and oneness that they are pursuing transcend rational content.

The Vineyard 21:33-39

The rest of the chapter presents a parable about the vineyard. Verse 33 provides the context for the parable. “Listen to another parable. There was a man, head of a household who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.” The word another means ‘another of the same kind’, which tells us that the two parables of the vineyard are related. The previous parable presented a scene from the vineyard, comparing two sons who were told to work in the vineyard. Verse 33 begins by stepping back and looking at the big picture, because the parable starts with the planting of a vineyard. This is also a larger scope than the parable in chapter 20 which looked at some day in the development of vineyard. The word planted is found one other time in Matthew in 15:13, which says that every plant which the heavenly father did not plant will be uprooted. 15:14 compared this Teacher source ‘of the Father’ with a ‘blind leading the blind’ system of instructors teaching students within a self-contained system that has no relationship to the Teacher order of the universe.

In verse 33, a vineyard is being planted, and steps are being taken to protect the development of this vineyard. A fence is placed around it and a tower is constructed. Cognitively speaking, this describes the two ways that one can define some item. One can either distinguish it from other items through the use of walls, or one can define it by the central focus of some tower. Applying this to Western society, one can define it either by contrasting it with other societies or by thinking about the focus of Western society. These two are not the same. For instance, for many years, Canadians primarily defined themselves as being ‘not American’, and only recently have Canadians started to come up with an emotional concept of what it means to be Canadian.

I am not exactly sure what is entailed in digging a wine press, but the only other references to a wine press are in Revelation 14 and 19. Revelation 14 talks about angels gathering the vines of the earth and throwing them into the wine press of the wrath of God. This implies that the wine press is some sort of preparation that will come into play in the future judgment of angels that was discussed earlier in Matthew 13:39-49.

The word vine-grower is only found in Matthew in this parable, where it occurs six times. It combines the word earth, which we have interpreted as referring to space and time, with the word work, which describes ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’. We have seen the internally motivated worker in previous two vineyard stories. This parable adds an extra element, which is that this worker is functioning within space and time. In other words, we are dealing here with human workers functioning within the physical universe with a materialistic mindset.

The word rent out means ‘to give up, give out, let out for hire’ and is only found in this parable and the parallel passages in Mark and Luke. ‘Rent out’ indicates that the workers are thinking in terms of wages and not in terms of identity. This describes one of the primary characteristics of a materialistic mindset which thinks in terms of objects, things, and ownership, because it lives within a material universe which is composed of objects and things that can be owned. Went on a journey means ‘to be or go abroad’. It is found one other time in Matthew in 25:14-15 in the parable of the talents, which also began with a man arranging things with his workers and then going abroad on a journey.

Putting this together, a vineyard that extends beyond physical reality is being set up. The owner is then renting out this vineyard to workers who think in terms of physical reality, and the owner is then leaving the region, allowing the workers with their materialistic mindset to run the vineyard. One could interpret this cognitively as a vineyard of civilization that includes mental networks of culture and identity being rented out to workers who follow the objective materialistic mindset of science and technology. One could also interpret this as a vineyard of God’s kingdom that includes both humanity and angels being rented out to human workers who follow an objective, materialistic mindset which assumes that only physical reality with its objects exist. And both of these interpretations could be valid.

Verse 34 then jumps ahead to a period of time that is near the harvest. “When the fruit season approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.” Approach means to ‘come near’, season refers to time as opportunity—‘the right moment’, and fruit is a generic word that means ‘fruit, generally vegetable, sometimes animal’. In this case, the fruit is grapes, which describe MMNs of pleasant culture. In other words, Western civilization has finally matured to the point of generating the fruit of a good society. This Consumer Revolution started with the Victorian prosperity of the late 19th century but it was sidetracked by the two world wars and the cornucopia of new gadgets, entertainment, and the good life really blossomed in the 1960s and 70s.

The owner responds by sending his slaves to the vine-growers. A slave is ‘someone who belongs to another’. Notice that these slaves belong to the owner and are not working in the vineyard. If the owner represents God in Teacher thought, then a slave of the owner would be some item that has no choice but to follow the commands of Teacher thought. One could interpret a slave cognitively as the typical machine of technology, which implements the laws of nature in a mindless fashion. Saying this more carefully, before the advent of cheap computers, each gadget performed a specific function that could not be changed. For instance, one could not turn a typewriter into a television. This is the technological equivalent of a slave. In contrast, most current gadgets are controlled by computers, and computers can be reprogrammed. For instance, one can use a computer as a word processor that replaces the typewriter, watch videos on the Internet as a replacement for television, or program a computer to perform many other tasks.

This may sound initially like a strange interpretation, but the gadgets of modern society fulfill the role that was played by slaves within Roman society. And one of the reasons that Roman society did not develop technology further is because they had enough slaves and did not really need better gadgets.

What matters is that the owner is sending his slaves to receive his fruits. God in Teacher thought wants to receive the fruit of a new society from the workers within space and time. This means going beyond the materialistic and objective mindset of science to recognize a concept of God in Teacher thought and include mental networks of personal identity in Mercy thought.

Verse 35 describes the response. “The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.” The original Greek does not use the numbers ‘one’ and ‘three’. Instead, a generic pronoun is used that means ‘who, which, that’. The word took in verse 35 is the same verb as ‘receive’ in verse 34, which means to ‘actively lay hold of to take or receive’. Thus, two ‘takes’ are being contrasted. The owner wants to take his fruit while the workers are taking the slaves. Interpreting this in terms of cognitive ownership, the fruit of the new technological society is being viewed in one of two ways. God in Teacher thought wants the new society with its technological ‘slaves’ to be viewed as the fruit of a concept of God in Teacher thought, whereas the workers want to view these same ‘slaves’ as objects to be taken and used.

Again, it may be strange to think that the gadgets of technology are anything more than merely objects to be taken and used. I am not suggesting that technology is physical alive, because it is not. However, I suggest that it is important to mentally treat technology as if it is alive—which means consciously associating it with mental networks. I would like to suggest three ways in which this concept is significant.

First, a mindset of treating gadgets as merely things leads to a throwaway society in which one uses some gadget and then throws it into the trash when it is no longer wanted. We are discovering that major problems result when billions of people in the world treat gadgets as merely objects, because the resulting garbage and pollution eventually prevents the vineyard of the consumer society from generating its fruit. If I mentally represented the coffee cup that I use once and then throw away as a mental network, then I would feel emotionally driven to give this coffee cup a more permanent existence, by reusing it or at least recycling it.

Second, associating inanimate tools with mental networks leads to a more effective use of tools. For instance, I play the violin and I treat my violin as if it is alive. This does not mean that it really is alive, but rather that I consciously use mental networks to represent the violin. When I play the violin, I regard making a beautiful sound as making the violin feel good, and I think of the various resonances within the instrument as ways in which the violin ‘wants to respond’. When I play the violin, I do not impose myself upon the instrument, but rather cooperate with the instrument in order to help it to express a good tone. One could also apply this mindset to driving a car. When one turns the steering wheel suddenly and the tires squeal, then one could interpret this emotionally as the car complaining. Driving smoothly could be interpreted as using the car in a manner that makes the car feel good. Again, this does not mean that the car is alive, but a mindset of mental networks will radically alter the way that one treats the tools of modern society.

Third, I have suggested that there is a coming theoretical return of Jesus which will be followed by spiritual technology. I do not know exactly what spiritual technology means. My best guess is that the analogies that I just used regarding a violin or a car will in some way acquire spiritual overtones. My general hypothesis is that the mind interacts with the spiritual realm through mental networks. Spiritual technology implies that in some manner the tools of technology will acquire some kind of spiritual life.

Finally, I need to emphasize that using mental networks to deal with objects does not mean abandoning rational thought. The modern split between objective and subjective leads to the assumption that one is either an engineer who uses rational thought to exploit nature, or an environmentalist who is driven by mental networks to hug trees. One of the fundamental premises of mental symmetry is that it is possible to combine these two forms of thought; one can nurture a feeling for mental networks, while at the same time remaining rational. I know personally what this means because I am both an electrical engineer and a professional violinist.

Returning now to verse 35, the space/time workers respond to these slaves by beating, killing, and then stoning. Beat means ‘to skin, to thrash’. This means adding unpleasant Mercy emotions. Using the analogy of the car, instead of treating the car as if it has feelings, one abuses the vehicle or uses it to bring pain. Kill means to ‘put to death’. Stated simply, one refuses to think in terms of living mental networks, but rather reduces everything—and everyone—to the level of inanimate objects. Stone combines the word ‘stone’ with the word ‘to throw’, and this is the first of two times that this word is used in Matthew. Stones represent Perceiver facts while throwing represents movement through the air of Teacher thought. Thus, stoning would mean using Perceiver facts and Teacher understanding to eliminate personal life within Mercy thought. Putting these three steps together, one first mistreats the item in Mercy thought, then one eliminates any mental networks that are associated with the object, and finally one constructs a system of rational thought that eliminates the idea of treating objects as if they are alive.

This happened in the First World War, because this was the first war in which technology played a major role. People find Victorian technology emotionally attractive because it feels more personal and alive than modern technology. Stating this more carefully, Victorian technology tends to have a personal touch that one does not find in later technology. The First World War ‘beat’ these technological gadgets by using them to inflict pain. This was then followed by the ‘death’ of technology in which the inanimate guns became the enemy of living flesh. The war which started as a fight between people turned into an inanimate total war of matériel, in which entire countries were transformed into a rational systems of production. Eventually, the Allies won World War I because they had bigger economies.

Notice how the line between technological gadget and human slave became blurred. Not only were gadgets being treated as impersonal objects, but this viewpoint expanded to treat humans as impersonal objects as well. And one of the major complaints that people have about modern Western society is that it tends to treat people as inanimate objects within the machine of society. In other words, if I treat my car as an object to be abused and trashed, then I will be tempted to treat my friends and family as objects to be abused and trashed.

Verse 36 describes this process repeating on a larger scale. “Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.” Another means ‘another of the same kind’. Nothing is said about the second group of slaves, except that there were more than in the first group. Did means ‘to make, do’, which means that one is dealing with the concrete world of physical action. The same thing means ‘in like manner’. This word was first used in 20:5 in the first parable about the workers in the vineyard, which we interpreted as following an established methodology. Similarly, the Second World War followed the methodology that had been established during the First World War, but on a grander scale.

In verse 37 the owner follows a different strategy. “But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’” Afterward indicates that the time of the first two attempts has passed. Thus, one is dealing with the post-war era. The word respect is used once in Matthew and means ‘in a state of turning, to turn one’s attention to in a riveted way’. If a slave represents some technological tool or gadget, then the son would represent an integrated technical system that is an expression of Teacher understanding. This describes the modern, interconnected world. For instance, the precursor to the modern Internet known as ARPANET was invented in the 1960s and 70s, with the first computers being connected in 1969. And telephone calls and television images were first transmitted across the Atlantic by the Telstar satellite in 1963. The first single-chip microprocessor was built in 1971 leading to the development of personal computers in the 1970s.

What matters cognitively is that technology started to influence society in a totally new way in the 1970s, a manner that was more integrated, more intelligent, and which ‘attracted one’s attention to in a riveting way’. The goal was to add Teacher and Mercy emotions to the impersonal realm of science and technology, and one can see this kind of amalgam of technology and humanity in many of the TV programs of the 1970s, such as the Six Million Dollar Man, which ran from 1973 to 1978. Programs such as these portrayed a combination of man and machine that still felt human. The hero of the Six Million Dollar Man was a human with superhuman abilities and not just a cold, emotionless cyborg. This is quite different than The Terminator, a movie filmed in 1984, in which “The Terminator, a Cyberdyne Systems Model 101, is an efficient killing machine with a powerful metal endoskeleton and an external layer of living tissue that makes it appear human.”

Verse 38 describes this contrast between having and being, between object and person. “But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’” Vine-grower means ‘earth-worker’, which we are interpreting as a materialistic, self-motivated mindset. The word see is the normal word used in Matthew which often means ‘to see with the mind’. Thus, the response of those who are working with a physical mindset emerges when they mentally grasp the larger implications and realize that what has been produced is an integrated technical system: this is not just a bunch of gadgets, but a technological world.

This leads to a discussion among the workers. The workers are not consulting others, referring to any system of absolute truth, or thinking about the order of the universe. Instead, the community is deciding.

The word heir means ‘someone who inherits’ but the precise meaning is to ‘distribute by lot’. That is because Jewish inheritance in biblical times was distributed by lot. This is different from materialistic technical thought in two ways: First, it is based in mental networks of personhood. One inherits because of who one is, and not because of what one has done. Second, it is less precise than technical thought, because one does not know exactly what one will inherit because inheritance is distributed by lot. This unpredictability is a characteristic of life, because mental networks determine how life will behave in a general way, but one does not know exactly how a person will respond.

Killing turns a person into an object. Seize means ‘to have, hold’. Putting this together, one sees a progression in verse 30 from person to thing. First, they see the person of the son. Then they move mentally from the person to the objects that belong to the person because of who he is. This is followed by a decision to kill the person in order to turn ownership based upon who one is to the simple ownership of having.

Verse 39 says that this is done in three steps. “They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.” Take means ‘to actively lay hold of’ and was seen in verses 34 and 35. Throw means to ‘throw out’ and was previously seen in verse 12 with Jesus casting out the money changers, except verse 39 adds an extra ‘out of’ for emphasis, leading to ‘throw out of’. This is then followed by killing. Looking at this cognitively, the idea of a living system is first brought under control, then it is thrown out of the vineyard of the technological society. Once the idea has been rejected, then any concept of it being alive is killed.

For instance, one can see this in the concept of Nature. First, the habit of referring to Nature is brought under control, then it is rejected as incompatible with modern scientific thought, and finally every effort is taken to regard this personal language as a shorthand for impersonal mechanisms. One can also see this progression happening today with the Internet. The Internet began as a sort of living organism in which anyone could participate and one wasn’t certain what would happen next. The first step was to try to control the Internet so that it was less living and more predictable. This was followed by rejecting the more living elements of the Internet out of the vineyard, leading to the concept of a walled garden, in which everything that is unpredictable or grassroots is ejected from the garden. Finally, what remains of life outside the walled garden is killed. This is how the workers of the vineyard take the inheritance of the son and turn it into mere possessions owned by them.

One can relate this process to the two sons mentioned in the previous parable. The work is being done by the first son who said that he would not work but ended up doing the work. We related this to the mindset of objective science. Therefore, any work that is done will be primarily the objective scientific work of the first son, leading to a vineyard of objective possessions. Going further, because the subjective vacuum is being filled by the ‘believing tax collectors and prostitutes’, much of the subjective material that makes it into the garden will be inappropriate, leading naturally to the conclusion that it needs to be controlled and thrown out of the garden. For instance, a significant portion of the subjective content on the Internet is composed of either the ‘tax collecting’ of rank commercialism or the ‘prostitution’ of pornography. This leads naturally to the conclusion that the Internet needs to be turned into a walled garden so that all the inappropriate content can be controlled, thrown out, and killed.

Summarizing, the split mentioned in the previous parable of the two sons will naturally lead to the mistreatment of the son mentioned in the current parable of the landowner.

Punishing the Evil Workers 21:40-46

In verse 40, Jesus asks his audience what happens next. “Therefore when the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?” Vine-grower is the standard word that combines ‘earth’ with ‘worker’. This verse is curious for several reasons. First, why would Jesus be asking the crowd? The implication is that one is now living in a postmodern era in which crowds determine emotional ‘truth’. Second, the focus has shifted from the vineyard to the vine-growers. The parable began by talking about growing a vineyard and then focused upon the time when the fruit was getting ripe. This shift is also a symptom of postmodern thought, which ignores content in order to focus upon sources of ‘truth’. Third, the crowd is being asked how the vine-growers should be treated. Similarly, postmodern thought typically responds to problems by using the crowds to attack the people in power who are deemed to be responsible for causing these problems.

The crowd answers in verse 41. “They said to Him, ‘He will bring those wretches to a wretched end.’” Wretches means ‘inwardly foul, rotten’. Wretched is the adverbial form of ‘wretches’. Finally, bring to an end ‘implies permanent destruction’. The original Greek is more literally, ‘wretches wretchedly will permanently destroy them’. I suggest that these words describe the Mercy-based thinking that rules postmodern morality. There are two primary words for evil in Matthew. The word ‘pain-ridden’ emphasizes the harmful consequences of evil, while ‘inwardly foul’ focuses upon the internal nature that is evil. Postmodern thought does not think in terms of cause-and-effect. Instead, it believes that unpleasant Mercy results are caused by people who are evil. Such a person is not just doing evil; rather, he is evil. And the way that postmodern thought judges an ‘evil person’ is by permanently eliminating his Mercy status—he must be destroyed.

Looking at this from a religious perspective, one sees a similar mindset illustrated by the end-time prophecy literature of the 1970s. The most famous book of the genre is The Late, Great Planet Earth, which Wikipedia explains “is a best-selling 1970 book by Hal Lindsey with Carole C. Carlson, and first published by Zondervan. The New York Times declared it to be the bestselling nonfiction book of the 1970s.” AndThe Late, Great Planet Earth was the first Christian prophecy book to be published by a secular publisher (Bantam, 1973) and sell many copies. Despite some dated content, 28 million copies had sold by 1990.”

The basic plot of The Late, Great Planet Earth is that God will ‘bring those wretches to a wretched end’ through a process known as the pre-tribulation rapture. One article summarizes: “As the end times approach, the Antichrist, disguised as a global peacemaker, comes to power. True Christians are transported to heaven (the rapture). Seven years of tribulation—floods, famine, disease, plagues, war—follow, at the end of which Jesus returns to lead Israel’s army against the rest of the world. Christ’s victory ushers in his thousand-year reign (the final dispensation).” In other words, the current vineyard of Western civilization is a travesty which God will bring to a permanent end.

Verse 41 continues by describing what will happen after this judgment. He “will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons”. Rent out is the same word that was used in verse 33 to describe what happened when the vineyard was planted. And this word is only used in this parable in the New Testament. The word other means ‘another of the same kind’. And the same word ‘vine-grower’ is used, which combines ‘space time’ with ‘worker’. In other words, the people are still thinking in terms of ownership and not character—having rather than being. They are still approaching the topic from a materialistic perspective—looking for a new batch of workers who are like the old batch and they are still thinking in terms of human space and time. The difference is that these new workers will ‘return, especially as a payment’ the fruits in the realm of the opportune times. This replacement with a new set of workers can be seen in the final sentence of the quote about the Late Great Planet Earth in the previous paragraph: “Christ’s victory ushers in his thousand-year reign (the final dispensation).”

The article quoted above also describes the intimate connection that developed between the Jesus people and The Late Great Planet Earth. “Readers were told they had a special role in convincing others of the truth so they could accept Jesus as their savior in time to be rescued from the impending apocalypse. One subset of evangelicals, the ‘Jesus People,’ particularly responded to the message. The Jesus Movement, a vast, amorphous revival and renewal movement among youth, had many faces (churches, communes, coffeehouses, free newspapers, street ministries) that shared an anti-institutional approach to religion and a fundamentalist theology. Time magazine’s 1971 cover story about the Jesus People characterized the movement as ‘a May–December marriage of conservative religion and the rebellious counterculture.’ Jesus People were like the counterculture—placing subjective experience at the center of spiritual life, emphasizing protest against established institutions, seeking a ‘high’ as a form of spiritual transcendence. They were unlike the counterculture, however, in that they pursued these ends not through drugs, but through Bible study and prayer… The Late Great Planet Earth was unarguably the Jesus Movement’s textbook. It appeared next to the Bible in almost every movement commune, church, or coffeehouse, and was responsible for drawing in converts.” In other words, the cognitive connection that we have described between the mindset of protest politics and the pre-tribulation message of ‘damn them to hell’ was reflected in the real connection that formed between the Jesus people and The Late Great Planet Earth.

(The New Testament clearly describes a kingdom of the beast that will be ruled by the antichrist. But if one places the passages that mention this kingdom within the larger context, one concludes that this kingdom of the beast will happen in the future as a backlash to the spread of spiritual technology.)

Jesus does not attack this viewpoint but rather interprets it from a positive perspective in verse 42. “Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” This is the first reference to scriptures in Matthew, which means ‘a writing, Scripture’. The word read is used seven times in Matthew, but this is the only combination of ‘read’ and ‘scriptures’. Looking at this cognitively, Jesus is trying to get the postmodern mind to stop fixating upon people and actually focus upon what people are saying. In verse 16, Jesus asked ‘have you never read’, implying that his audience at least knew what they should be reading. In other words, Jesus was asking that question in a society that still had the memory of absolute truth. In verse 42, Jesus asks ‘did you never read in the Scriptures’, suggesting that absolute truth has now been replaced by emotional ‘truth’. Not only does Jesus have to tell them to read the content, but he also has to tell them which content to read.

This postmodern attitude of a book being a symbol of emotional ‘truth’ rather than a conveyor of content can be seen in the typical attitude to The Late Great Planet Earth. “Religious historian Martin Marty has called The Late Great Planet Earth a ‘flag book’—a book whose purpose was—at least in part—‘rallying the troops.’ As he surveyed the religious books landscape in 1976, Marty discerned ecumenical movements crystallizing out of reading communities around popular books by Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place), David Wilkerson (The Cross and the Switchblade), and Lindsey. Readers made themselves partisans of their flag book, but did not engage with those outside their reading circles. Lindsey’s premillennial dispensationalist readers, for example, were profoundly suspicious of the Pentecostal and charismatic readers of Wilkerson. Readers did not read these books for information as much as they did for ‘belongingness,’ Marty argued. To read and talk about these books was a way of publicly claiming a particular religious identity and membership in a community of believers.”

A stone represents a solid Perceiver fact and this word is repeated in verse 44. Rejected means ‘to cast away after thorough investigation’ and is used once in Matthew. Builder means ‘to build a house’. Putting this together, Jesus is telling the postmodern scholars who are using rigorous thinking to reject absolute truth that their behavior was predicted by the absolute truth that they are rejecting. In other words, the postmodern scholars and preachers who think that they are so much smarter than their predecessors are actually following a predictable cognitive path. One might think that pointing this out to a postmodern scholar might make a difference. My experience is that it does not. That is because Perceiver thought is not just the part of the mind that deals with solid facts. It is also the part of the mind that constructs a self-image and points out internal inconsistencies. A postmodern mindset that rejects the concept of Perceiver truth has no self-image and is incapable of being aware of cognitive disconnects. All it knows is that might makes right: If other groups have the might, then one needs to protest against them to stop them from using their might to make right, and if the postmodern group achieves the might, then obviously it becomes right, and anyone else who questions this right is obviously wrong, because they do not have the might. This mindset can be seen in both the postmodern scholar and the postmodern preacher. The primary difference is that the postmodern preacher tends to be a little more polite than the postmodern scholar when he is totally rejecting the views of others.

The solution is not to attack postmodern thought, but rather to use the facts that it rejects to build an alternative structure. Looking at verse 42, became means ‘to come into being’, which implies that this will not happen instantly. Chief cornerstone is more literally the head of the corner. These two words are used five times in the New Testament, each time to quote the passage in Psalm 118 which says that ‘the stone which the builders rejected became the head of the corner’. One could view this as a cornerstone—a fundamental Perceiver fact in the edifice of a Teacher understanding. Or one could also view it as the ‘head of the corner’—an intelligent method of making a transition from one direction to another. The first describes the viewpoint of Perceiver thought, while the second describes the viewpoint of Contributor thought.

This ‘came about from the Lord’. In other words, the lord which the first son is officially rejecting while implicitly following, and the second son is officially acknowledging while refusing to follow—that lord is actually using the transition from modern to postmodern thought to institute a major change in the direction of society. And this ‘is marvelous in our eyes’. The word marvelous means ‘moving the beholder to their deepest emotions’ and is the adjectival form of the verb that was used in verse 20 to describe the response of the disciples to the withering of the fig tree. Eyes represent using Perceiver thought to analyze the environment. Thus, the postmodern mind may ignore Perceiver truth, but it is very aware of the facts of the environment. As I have pointed out, the only reason that the postmodern individual can insist that truth does not exist is because this same individual lives in a technological world filled with solid objects and reliable infrastructure. Thus, the postmodern mind may be impervious to logic, but it is vulnerable to physical change. This does not mean talking about the physical world or referring to empirical evidence, but rather physically changing the external environment.

Verse 43 describes the physical transition that will happen. “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation, producing the fruit of it.” Verse 31 said that the tax collectors and prostitutes are getting into the kingdom of God ahead of the religious leaders. We see here that this was a temporary state of affairs, because the kingdom of God is now being taken away. The cognitive reason that this is temporary is that postmodern thought will only continue to make progress as long as the memory of absolute truth remains. The postmodern pioneer may verbally state that there is no such thing as truth, but the thinking and behavior of the pioneer will continue to be guided implicitly by any remaining mental content that has not yet been deconstructed.

The word taken away means ‘to raise, take up, lift’, and we have interpreted upward movement as heading in the direction of Teacher generality. Thus, the way to take the kingdom of God away from postmodern thought is to head in the direction of Teacher generality. Saying this another way, the Teacher overgeneralization that drives postmodern thought needs to be replaced by the Teacher generalization of a carefully constructed understanding; sweeping statements that ignore the facts need to be replaced by rational understanding that builds upon the facts. This describes the method that I have been attempting to follow with mental symmetry.

Verse 43 finishes by saying that the new group of people will have a different character than the previous group. They will not just be another set of space/time workers. Instead of being workers, they will be a nation, which means ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture’. Stated cognitively, they will be motivated by common mental networks rather than by goal-oriented technical thought. And instead of giving the Lord the fruit in the appropriate season, they will do the fruit. Culture and doing are normally viewed as characteristics of immature concrete thought that needs to be transformed. Verse 43 is describing concrete thought that has been transformed.

Verse 44 predicts that this will lead to a form of truth that is more solid than anything that it encounters. “And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” The NASB uses the personal pronouns he, whomever, and him, but the original Greek uses impersonal pronouns which could refer to either people or things. If ‘lift’ implies moving in the direction of Teacher generality, then fall implies moving away from Teacher generality. Broken to pieces is only used in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke and actually combines ‘together with’ with ‘crush’. Looking at this cognitively, anything that falls from Teacher generality onto this solid truth will lose its internal integrity and become integrated as part of the solid truth. For instance, this happens when I analyze some book or theory. What begins as an independent theory becomes an aspect of the facts upon which the theory of mental symmetry is constructed.

Scatter like dust is also used only in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke and means ‘to winnow, to scatter’. Winnowing implies that grain is being harvested, and we have interpreted grain intellectual food. This describes the process of using solid facts to analyze material in order to ‘separate the wheat from the chaff’. For instance, one can use mental symmetry perform this winnowing because mental ‘chaff’ is not just random, but rather the result of cognitive mechanisms.

Verse 45 describes the response of the officials. “When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.” In verse 23, the chief priests and elders asked Jesus to prove his Mercy status. In verse 45 the response comes from the chief priests and Pharisees. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. In other words, a transition has happened in the thinking of the chief priests. Initially, they were focusing upon the emotional ‘truth’ of the elders. This has been replaced by a mindset of separatism and puritism. This describes what happens when postmodern thought acquires power. When postmodern scholars do not have personal status, then they will emphasize that all apparent truth is actually emotional ‘truth’ based in emotional status. But when postmodern scholars acquire personal status, then a different emphasis will emerge, which is that the postmodern scholar who has emotional status needs to be treated as special and different than the average person. ‘Truth is just a matter of personal opinion’ will turn into ‘I am right because I am special’.

The focus upon parables is also significant, because they describe one form of intellectual thought that still remains in the postmodern scholar, which is myth and conversation. Wikipedia describes this kind of theological thinking. “Postmodern religion acknowledges and accepts different versions of truth. For example, rituals, beliefs and practices can be invented, transformed, created and reworked based on constantly shifting and changing realities, individual preference, myths, legends, archetypes, rituals and cultural values and beliefs. Individuals who interpret religion using postmodern philosophy may draw from the histories of various cultures to inform their religious beliefs - they may question, reclaim, challenge and critique representations of religion in history based on the theories of postmodernism, which acknowledge that realities are diverse, subjective and depend on the individual’s interests and interpretations.” For instance, postmodern religion would approve of using the book of Matthew in a symbolic manner to interpret Western civilization, as long as this analysis remained sufficiently vague and did not make any moral judgments. However, the analysis that we have been doing would be regarded as unacceptable because it contains far too many technical details, treats the biblical text as if its words have precise meanings, and does not compare the Bible with Roman and Greek myths. Going the other way, I have found that I can learn from postmodern scholars who interpret the Bible from the perspective of myth, and I have also learned that one can find deep cognitive principles in the myths of society.

The word understood means experiential knowledge, and this word was last seen in 16:8. The postmodern scholar does not really have an understanding, because postmodern thought does not believe in the existence of Teacher understanding. But postmodern scholarship does lead to experiential knowledge and this experiential knowing is sufficient for the postmodern scholar to recognize when a myth or parable is warning others about him.

But the postmodern scholar also lacks the internal character to go against the status quo. “When they sought to seize Him, they feared the crowds, because they considered Him to be a prophet.” Seeking means ‘to seek by inquiring’. Seize means to ‘seize hold of, put under control’. And fear means ‘to put to flight, to terrify’. In other words, the postmodern scholar is using careful thinking to try to gain control of the evolving situation. But it cannot because it is ultimately driven by the MMNs of the crowd.

I have suggested earlier that postmodern thought is talented at tearing down but is incapable of rebuilding. One might think that learning from myth is a form of rebuilding, and this would be the case if the postmodern scholar actually used his analysis of myth to build rational understanding or guide personal behavior. But the typical postmodern scholar might be willing to discuss myth, but he will not take the next step of being ‘persuaded by’ myth. In other words, he will not follow analysis with belief. Thus, any actual rebuilding tends to be done by those who learn from the postmodern scholar and not by the postmodern scholar himself.

The Marriage Feast 22:1-7

Chapter 22 opens with another parable. “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven was compared to a man, a king who made a wedding feast for his son’” (v. 1-2). The word was compared means ‘to make like’, and both the interlinear and Berean Literal Bible translate this as ‘has become like’. In other words, society has changed and this parable will describe what it now resembles. Notice that we have returned from a ‘kingdom of God’ to a ‘kingdom of the heavens’. A concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general Teacher understanding applies to personal identity. During the 60s and 70s, there was such a sufficiently general Teacher understanding in the form of the Teacher overgeneralization of equality and freedom from personal oppression. A kingdom of the heaven implies a more fragmented approach to Teacher understanding that is not driven by any overarching Teacher theory.

The word wedding feast means ‘a wedding celebration’. This word is used eight times in this parable, and only occurs one other time in Matthew, in 25:10. This same word is used to describe the ‘marriage supper of the Lamb’ in Revelation 19. These two are not the same, because the wedding feast in Matthew 22 is described in verse 4 as a dinner, which ‘refers to the meal eaten anytime before the main meal’. In contrast, the marriage supper of the Lamb is described in Revelation 19:9 as a supper, which is ‘the chief meal, usually in the evening’. This implies that these two events will be cognitively similar, but the wedding feast of Revelation 19 will be a much grander event that happens after the wedding feast of Matthew 22.

In Matthew 22, the king arranges a wedding feast for his son, but there is no mention of any bride. This is consistent with the shift from kingdom of God to kingdom of heaven. That is because a kingdom of God implies a concept of God, which emerges when an integrated TMN applies to personal MMNs. Going further, the presence of mental networks implies the presence of female thought that emphasizes mental networks. If no bride is mentioned, then this implies that such mental networks are lacking. (Looking at this from a psychological perspective, women tend to be more religious than men.) In contrast, Revelation 19:7 specifically mentions that the bride has made herself ready for the wedding. Looking at this symbolically, Matthew 22 is describing a society in which male technical thought has been used to set up the framework for a ‘bride’ of transformed mental networks, but there is no bride. This summarizes the predicament of modern Western civilization, because objective technical thought has been used to transform the physical world, while subjective mental networks remain largely untransformed. There is a groom but no bride.

Verse 3 describes this predicament. “And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.” Notice that the king is sending out his slaves. We interpreted this in the previous parable as technological gadgets that follow the Teacher laws of nature in a fixed manner that cannot be reprogrammed. Call implies the use of Teacher thought with its words, and ‘invited’ is actually the same Greek word. Willing means ‘to desire’, which refers to emotionally driven motivation. Applying this to Western society, the ‘son’ of male technical thought was used to develop technical gadgets in the hope that these gadgets would create a Teacher desire to extend beyond male technical thought to a marriage of male technical thought with female mental networks.

This may sound like a far-fetched interpretation, but it describes one of my main motivations over the last few years: If science and technology have transformed the physical world, then extending the thinking of science and technology to the subjective should transform the personal world. I am not talking about embedding technology within the physical body in some sort of cybernetic manner, and I am also not referring to treating people as cogs within the machine of society. Instead, I suggest that there is a Teacher similarity between the three-stage societal path of Scientific Revolution to Industrial Revolution to Consumer Revolution, and the three-stage path of personal transformation, and that one can learn about the path of personal transformation by studying the path of societal transformation. This Teacher similarity is reflected in verse 3 by the slaves ‘calling’ those who have ‘been called’.

The rejection in verse 3 implies that the initial introduction of consumer gadgets is not enough to trigger an emotional change in thinking. People are not emotionally driven to the idea of marrying the ‘male’ thinking of science and technology to the ‘female’ mental networks of a transformed society.

In verse 4, the king tries again in a more extended manner. “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’” Other means ‘another of the same kind’, and these are also referred to as slaves. This implies the development of more gadgets, which are fancier and more numerous, but still single-purpose. (For instance, when I ordered my first tablet computer, my mother asked me what this small device could do. I replied to her that it did not just have a single function, but rather contained an entire world. A tablet is an example of a gadget that is multi-purpose.)

This second invitation contains Teacher content that is more explicit, because the king ‘says to his slaves to speak to those who have been called’. This time dinner is explicitly mentioned, which we saw describes the meal before the big meal of the day. A dinner implies the consumption of intellectual food, and the king describes the kind of food that has been prepared. Oxen are mentioned once in Matthew and refer to bulls. Fattened livestock is mentioned once in the New Testament and literally means ‘to feed with grain’. Butchered means ‘to kill as a sacrifice and offer on an altar’ and is used once in Matthew. And this is the first time that ready is used in Matthew, which means ‘ready because prepared’. Looking at this literally, the only time that the average Roman citizen would eat meat was during a ceremony such as this, and most meat that was eaten was butchered as part of some sort of religious ceremony.

Looking at this cognitively, the mind uses mental networks to represent living beings such as livestock. We have interpreted grain as intellectual food. Eating butchered livestock that has been fed on grain would represent analyzing the mental networks that drive the process of consuming intellectual food, otherwise known as educational psychology. Similarly, oxen would represent living mental networks interpreted from a male perspective, which would correspond to fields such as cognitive psychology and sociology. And if one associates a concept of God with Teacher thought, then butchering an animal as a sacrifice and offering it on an altar would mean analyzing the mental networks of life from the viewpoint of integrated Teacher understanding. Thus, one is not just dealing with anecdotal evidence, but rather cognitive science—data about human behavior that is diced and sliced in a manner that satisfies the god of Nature.

Verse 5 describes the response. “But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business.” The word paid no attention is used once in Matthew and means ‘viewing something as being without significance’. Went their way means ‘to go away, go after’. A farm is ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’. If food represents intellectual food, then going away to a field would represent focusing upon the technical specialization of some field of learning. In other words, instead of using cognitive science and psychology to transform the mental networks of society in order to create a ‘bride’ that is suitable for the ‘groom’ of technological progress, the primary response has been to perform psychological and cognitive experiments within some specialization.

The word business means ‘a business trip for the purpose of trading, and is the source of the English word ‘emporium’. This specific word is only used once in the New Testament, but a related word was used to describe the merchant seeking a pearl in Matthew 13. Going on a trip suggests that growth and learning are happening, but the purpose of this growth is not character development, but rather to develop a business.

The his own used to describe the field actually means ‘uniquely one’s own, peculiar to the individual’. Whereas the his used to describe the business is simply the possessive pronoun. Specializing in some field is a way of avoiding Teacher emotion because one limits one’s thinking to the area that is ‘uniquely one’s own’, in essence ignoring the fact that one is in a forest by focusing upon one of the trees in this forest. Focusing upon possessions is a way of avoiding Mercy emotion because one can improve objects or services rather than improving people and subjective experience. One can tell that emotions are being avoided because the invited guests are viewing the wedding as ‘being without significance’.

Summarizing, going to one’s unique field is the primary way that abstract technical thought avoids TMNs of integrated understanding, while pursuing the possessions of business is the primary way that concrete technical thought avoids MMNs of subjective experience. This also prevents the technical thinking of science and technology from expanding to form a concept of incarnation. Using the language of Matthew 22, one is disregarding as emotionally insignificant the idea of marrying the ‘son’ of technical thought with any ‘bride’ of female thought.

In the previous parable, the slaves were beaten, killed, and stoned. What is happening in this parable is more subtle. The slaves of the king are having an indirect impact, because they are causing some people to focus upon fields and businesses. Saying this another way, psychological principles are being studied in a specialized way and being applied in an objective way.

Verse 6 describes a more extreme response. “And the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.” Seized means to ‘seize hold of, put under control’. Mistreat is used once in Matthew and comes from a noun which describes ‘that type of damage or injury where the reproach adds insult to injury’ and is the source of the English word ‘hubris’. This is followed by killing. In the previous parable, the standard response was to beat, kill and stone the slaves. In this parable, this mistreatment is the uncommon response.

And when this mistreatment happens, then there is a punishment. “But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire” (v.7). This is quite different than the previous parable in which the only response was a verbal reprimand from the crowd.

The word army is used once in Matthew and means ‘an expedition, an army, a company of soldiers’. This suggests some form of organized response and not just the random behavior of robbing and killing. Destroyed ‘implies permanent destruction’. Murderer is used once in Matthew and means ‘committing unjustified, intentional homicide’. A city was a center of civilization in Roman times. And set on fire is used once in the New Testament and means to ‘burn up’.

The king is described as enraged, which comes from a noun that refers to ‘an internal disposition which steadfastly opposes someone or something based on extended personal exposure’. This describes Teacher anger, which is a long-term anger that results when there are exceptions to the rule that refuse to conform to the general principle. And I suggest that it is the presence of Teacher emotion that causes the different response of this parable as opposed to the previous parable. One is no longer dealing merely with technical gadgets. Instead, there is enough Teacher emotion to recognize the value of psychological research and sufficient education to recognize that psychological principles can be an effective tool of marketing. Going further, when one mistreats this psychological content, one is not just using a tool inappropriately but doing violence to psychological data, adding ‘insult to injury’ by pretending that one can ignore psychological principles without experiencing psychological results. Saying this another way, when I mistreat an object I am not automatically harming myself, but when I mistreat psychological principles, then I am automatically harming myself because my mind is also subject to psychological principles.

So far we have not applied this parable directly to Western history. This is partially because the application is so obvious. We are now close enough to the present time to recognize these characteristics in current society. But I suggest that verse 7 makes it possible to nail down more carefully which modern era is being described. Communism can be summarized as seizing control of the ‘slaves’ of technology and mistreating these slaves through the imposition of central planning. This may work to some extent when the goal is to produce more iron or grow more cotton but it will break down completely when technology becomes too advanced. Saying this another way, psychological principles become impossible to avoid when gadgets become sufficiently complicated. One cannot use slave labor and central planning to build a modern economy.

The primary destruction of technological societies that misused psychological principles happened in 1989 with the fall of communism. Wikipedia summarizes that “The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond.”

A major aspect of this revolution was the policy of perestroika instituted by Gorbachev. Wikipedia explains that “Perestroika allowed more independent actions from various ministries and introduced many market-like reforms. The alleged goal of perestroika, however, was not to end the command economy but rather to make socialism work more efficiently to better meet the needs of Soviet citizens by adopting elements of liberal economics. The process of implementing perestroika created shortages, political, social, and economic tensions within the Soviet Union and is often blamed for the political ascent of nationalism and nationalist political parties in the constituent republics. Perestroika and its associated structural ailments have been cited as major catalysts leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.” Notice how the Teacher structure required by a modern economy turned into an army that defeated the communist empire. This led eventually to the permanent downfall of the ‘murderous city’ of communism, and economies that attempted to follow the central planning of communism were ‘burned up’ with the frustration of economic waste and inefficiency.

A similar transition happened in China led by Deng Xiaoping. Looking again at Wikipedia, “the Chinese economy was dominated by state ownership and central planning. From 1950 to 1973, Chinese real GDP per capita grew at a rate of 2.9% per year on average… Starting in 1970, the economy entered into a period of stagnation, and after the death of Mao Zedong, the Communist Party leadership turned to market-oriented reforms to salvage the failing economy. The Communist Party authorities carried out the market reforms in two stages. The first stage, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, involved the de-collectivization of agriculture, the opening up of the country to foreign investment, and permission for entrepreneurs to start businesses. However, 87% [of] industry remained state-owned. The second stage of reform, in the late 1980s and 1990s, involved the privatization and contracting out of much state-owned industry.”

Looking at this cognitively, Russia, China and other communist nations realized that the imposed Teacher order of central planning made it impossible to achieve the Teacher structure of a modern integrated economy. Since then, many countries have retreated from political freedom, but they have not retreated from the concept of economic freedom.

Inviting Other Guests 22:8-14

This critical element of Teacher integration can be seen in verses 8-9. In verse 8, the king changes his mind about whom he will invite. “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.’” The word ready means ‘ready because prepared’ and was used in verse 4 to say that ‘everything is ready’. ‘Ready because prepared’ suggests the presence of Teacher order-within-complexity. The modern economy has been set up. It now needs to be ‘married’ to some sort of culture. Worthy means ‘of weight, of worth, worthy’ and this word was last used back in 10:37-38 to describe the new mindset that was required to move from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Here too a new kind of thinking is required.

Verse 9 describes the new kind of thinking. “Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.” This is normally interpreted as inviting the homeless off the streets, but the original Greek suggests something more significant. Go means ‘to transport’, which we have interpreted as a journey that produces a change. Thus, the process of going ‘to the main highways’ will generate a new form of thinking. The word highway means ‘road’, which we have interpreted as the Server sequences of society. However, the word translated main occurs once in the New Testament and means ‘a meeting-place of roads’. And the word find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. This description is cognitively significant because one constructs an integrated mental map by using Perceiver facts to interconnect Server sequences. Saying this another way, the mental grid of thought is composed of Server roads and Perceiver intersections—roads and ‘meeting-places of roads’. This same principle can be seen in physical infrastructure, which is composed of many roads of many different kinds interconnected by many forms of intersections. Similarly, the slaves are instructed to go to these intersections and call as many as they can discover after searching. Many combinations of many paths interconnected by many intersections describes the modern economy. A central plan, in contrast, is composed of a few pathways with only limited opportunities to move from one path to another.

The change in direction is that instead of looking for some culture composed of feminine mental networks to add to male technical thought, the goal shifts to using technical thought to create an integrated infrastructure. Saying this another way, if people will not follow an internal integrated concept of God in Teacher thought, then the alternative is to create a physical infrastructure that mimics the integrated Teacher order of a concept of God.

Verse 10 says that this new strategy succeeds in attracting attention. “Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with those reclining at the table.” The word gathered together means ‘to lead together, bringing together’. The initial invitation was followed by a ‘going their own way’ into unique specializations and the ownership of business. This invitation is followed by a gathering together, which indicates the development of Teacher order. However, this gathering together includes both good and bad within Mercy thought. Evil means ‘pain-ridden’, while good means ‘intrinsically good’. Notice that the intrinsic evil of ‘inward rottenness’ is not mentioned. That is because those who are intrinsically evil are incapable of using a system of Teacher order. In contrast, intrinsic goodness can use Teacher order, because there is an inherent structure and integration to intrinsic goodness. We saw this in 19:17 where Jesus said to the rich young ruler that there is an inherent unity to intrinsic goodness.

Saying this in more detail, a technological tool is largely amoral. For instance, pointing a gun at a person and pulling the trigger does not require significant mental maturity. Even dogs have managed to occasionally shoot their owners. In contrast, an integrated technical system is semi-moral, in the sense that some mental maturity is required to use such a system. Going further, a simple gadget like a gun will continue to function even in the middle of a war. But technical infrastructure requires a modicum of peace and tranquility to continue functioning.

The end result is that the wedding feast is filled, a word that is used twice in Matthew, which means to ‘fill to the maximum’. And one can see from recent history that the entire world has become ‘filled to the maximum’ by the infrastructure of international trade, commerce, telecommunications, and the Internet. This filling to the maximum began about the same time as the fall of communism. The World Wide Web was first invented in 1989. FedEx grew rapidly in the 1980s and became the largest full-service cargo airline in the world in 1988. Similarly, “UPS Next Day Air Service was launched in 1985 for all 48 contiguous states plus Puerto Rico. In 1988, UPS Airlines was launched with authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. UPS Airlines became the fastest-growing airline in FAA history and today is the 10th largest airline in the United States.”

In verse 11 the king enters: “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes.” The king has been mentioned in several recent parables, but this is the first time that he actually shows up in the parable. In 21:33, the king planted the vineyard and then left. In 21:28, the king told his two sons to go to the vineyard. And in 20:8 the owner of the vineyard sent his foreman to pay the workers. Here the king enters and looks. The word look over means ‘to observe intently, especially to interpret something’, and is the origin of the English word ‘theatre’. It was last used in 11:7 to describe people going out into the wilderness to see John the Baptist.

If the king represents integrated Teacher thought, then it makes cognitive sense for the king to show up after all the guests have been invited through the development of integrated infrastructure. And the intense observation of the king is also a sign of Teacher thought, because once a Teacher system has become set up, then Teacher thought will become sensitive to the exception to the general rule. And in verse 11 the king notices an exception to the general rule, which is a man who is not in wedding clothes. Dressed has ‘the sense of sinking into a garment’. It was used once previously in 6:25 to say that one should not worry about what one will put on. The word clothes is the noun form of the same verb, which refers especially to the outer robe. We have interpreted outer clothing as social interaction. ‘Sinking into’ outer clothing would represent an extensive form of social interaction. And one of the characteristics of the modern infrastructure is that one has to ‘sink into’ this clothing.

Saying this another way, the modern individual is enveloped by the social fabric of technical infrastructure. That is why I said earlier that technical infrastructure is semi-moral. One has to have some mental content to be able to sink effectively into the fabric of social media; MMNs of personal identity have to submit some extent to the integrated Teacher order of society. But this is still a peripheral transformation that affects one’s clothing and not one’s essential character. Going further, the clothing that one has to sink into is a wedding robe. Using cognitive language, one has to accept that the male technical thinking of scientific technology has become married to the fabric of female mental networks of social interaction.

In verse 12, the king accosts the guest. “And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless.” The word friend means ‘supposed friend’, and it is only used in Matthew where the word appears three times. It was used in 20:13 in the parable of the landowner to describe the workers who were hired for a specific wage, representing those who view abstract thought as merely an extra tool to add to concrete behavior. And Jesus uses the same word in 26:50 to address Judas when being betrayed. In each case, the person is pretending to follow while actually being driven by other motives. ‘Without’ actually means not having, indicating a focus upon having rather than being. The king is not accusing the guest of breaking the rules, but rather wondering how the guest managed to get in. In other words, the king is not asking ‘why did you walk in the door?’ but rather ‘how did you manage to climb over the ten meter high wall?’ Using modern language, this is like asking how a person can function in today’s interconnected world without having some sort of mental marriage between technical knowledge and social skills. Notice that this is still at the level of ‘having’ rather than ‘being’, but it is a rather substantial level of ‘having’, because one has to ‘sink into’ the wedding robe of modern society—one has to embrace technology.

The king talks to the guest, while the guest is speechless, a word that is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to muzzle, to put to silence’. Applying this to modern society, the digital imposter becomes immediately apparent as soon as he is questioned by the ‘king’ of Teacher understanding. He may be able to slip into the wedding and fool some of the guests, but he will be silenced if he is questioned by those who have Teacher understanding, because they will see through his words and recognize the underlying ignorance. This happens regularly on the Internet.

The unwanted guest is then ejected by the king. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (v.13). This is normally interpreted as being sent to hell, and it makes sense that a real heaven of Teacher thought would function similarly to the simulated heaven of integrated technical infrastructure. This is the second use of the word servant in Matthew, which means ‘servant, minister’. So far, this parable has been talking about slaves, but verse 13 mentions servants. A servant has more freedom and performs more intelligence service than a slave. Applying this modern infrastructure, the intelligent service of a servant is required to recognize the imposters who are not wearing wedding garments.

Bind means ‘to tie, bind’ and was used when talking about loosing and binding what is on earth and heaven. Binding hands and feet means being immobilized and prevented from manipulating anything. Saying this another way, a person who is bound is prevented from participating and is forced to be merely a spectator. This happens on the Internet when one is banned from a forum. But it also happens in real life when one is prevented from piloting an airplane, from administering medicine, or even from selling insurance. In each case, only those who have passed tests demonstrating a certain level of technical competence are permitted to participate, and anyone who slips in without these ‘wedding clothes’ will be ejected by the servants. Saying this more generally, the more that the modern world has become transformed by technical infrastructure, the more that participation in such a world is limited to those who have the right technical qualifications—which are enforced by the servants of the king of Teacher thought.

The phrase ‘into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ is a verbatim copy of the phrase used in Matthew 8:12. In Matthew 8, secular leaders started to apply the learning of the monasteries in the Carolingian Empire, and this phrase was used to predict what would eventually happen to Christianity with its churches and monks. And this same phrase will be repeated once more verbatim in 25:30. If light represents Teacher understanding, then being cast into outer darkness means being relegated to the peripheral of society without understanding. This happens today to individuals who lack technical accreditation or technical know-how. Weeping means ‘bitter grief that springs from feeling utterly hopeless’. And for those who lack technical skills today there is a hopelessness and a wailing in Mercy thought, because there is no way to escape the outer darkness. Teeth are used to tear food into pieces. Gnashing of teeth would represent an ineffectual attempt to break intellectual food into digestible chunks. In other words, when such individuals attempt to comprehend their environment, their attempts lead nowhere, but rather are like trying to understand a foreign language, because they lack the mental ability to chunk what is happening into digestible fragments.

For instance, the following paragraph is taken from the Wikipedia article on quantum field theory. “QFT treats particles as excited states (also called quanta) of their underlying fields, which are more fundamental than the particles. Interactions between particles are described by interaction terms in the Lagrangian involving their corresponding fields. Each interaction can be visually represented by Feynman diagrams according to perturbation theory in quantum mechanics.” I am not an expert in physics, but I know enough about physics to be able to take the words of that paragraph and translate them into meaningful concepts. For the average reader, such a paragraph is incomprehensible, because their minds lack the knowledge that is required to ‘chew’ these concepts. For the untrained individual, modern existence itself is like being faced continually with paragraphs such as these. Someone who is in such a predicament will find himself cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Verse 14 concludes, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” The adjective called comes from the verb translated ‘invited’ in this parable. Chosen means ‘chosen out, elect, choice’, and this is probably the first time this word is used in Matthew. (Some manuscripts use this word in 20:16). Chosen or elect is often interpreted as God deciding sovereignly whom he will choose. But we are seeing something different here. The calling was to a wedding—an invitation to combine male technical thought with female mental networks. Many were invited or called to the wedding, but they chose to specialize in abstract technical thought or pursue business in concrete technical thought. Others chose to misuse technical thought through the mistreatment of communism. And when enough guests were found through the development of modern infrastructure, some of the guests lacked the technical qualifications to participate. Thus, one could view this calling more as a calling to enroll in some school of applied science. I am not suggesting that the kingdom of God is merely a school of applied science, but rather observing that the partial expression of the kingdom of God that has emerged within current society is restricted largely to a school of applied science.

Tribute to Caesar 22:15-22

I mentioned in the previous parable that technical infrastructure is moral-ish, and that those who are ‘pain-ridden’ can still participate. The next section describes the resulting moral conflict. “Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might trap Him in word” (v. 15). Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. We saw in the previous parable that the male technical thinking of the ‘groom’ is present, while the female mental networks of the ‘bride’ are absent. Council means ‘a body of advisers’. This word has been used once previously when the Pharisees held a council in 12:14, which we interpreted as the Counter-Reformation. The word trap is used once in the New Testament and means ‘to set a trap’. Finally, ‘in word’ literally means ‘in the realm of logos’.

Putting this into the context, the spread of technical infrastructure means that the role of technical thought has to be acknowledged by the leaders of society. But technology can still be limited so that it does not challenge the supremacy of existing leadership. This is similar to the way that the Counter-Reformation recognized that the Reformation could not be eliminated, but it could still be limited.

The precise nature of the dilemma is described in verse 16. “And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and it is not a concern to You about anyone; for You are not partial to any.’” This is a profound statement. Truthful means ‘true to fact, reality’, and this is the only time that this word is used in Matthew. Similarly, this is the only use of the associated noun truth in Matthew. Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. Putting this together, these disciples have learned through empirical evidence that the technical thinking of incarnation is consistent with the facts of reality. Going further, way means ‘a way, road’. The ‘way of the Lord’ was mentioned back in 3:3, but this is the only reference in Matthew to the ‘way of God’. The ‘way of God’ is a description of righteousness, in which Server sequences reflect the nature of God in Teacher thought. These disciples are calling incarnation a teacher and they are recognizing that the Server sequences that are taught by incarnation are consistent with an integrated Teacher understanding.

The guests to the wedding lunch were invited from a similar combination of Server paths and Perceiver intersections in verse 10, which we interpreted as technical infrastructure. Thus, the statement in verse 16 is being made by these individuals. Saying this more clearly, I have a Master’s degree in engineering, and I often maintain the technical infrastructure for the people around me. Working with technology requires a brutal recognition of the facts of reality. In addition, one must have a deep grasp of how things work, guided by an integrated understanding of natural law. I have suggested previously that the postmodern skeptic can pretend that science does not exist because his technological environment is being maintained by invisible technicians. (I do not mean that they are actually invisible, but rather that they do most of their work away from the awareness of the postmodern scholar.) Verse 16 describes the mindset of these ‘invisible technicians’. For an engineer or technician, if one does not practice brutal honesty and technical understanding, then one may experience failure which may be accompanied by bodily harm or death. I still remember one of my engineering professors saying that ‘lawyers can send people to jail; doctors can kill people; engineers can kill hundreds at a time.’

Going further, it is a concern means to ‘be concerned with, especially paying attention’, and this word is used once in Matthew. Anyone is a strong word that means ‘no one, nothing at all’. And ‘not partial to any’ is more literally ‘not look on the face of humans’. Stated simply, natural law does not care about anything or anyone; it simply is. As I have mentioned before, the law of gravity does not care if it is a peasant or a president who steps off the cliff. This principle cannot be overstated. For an engineer or technician, it is utterly insane to think that natural law has anything to do with personal identity or status. Thus, the engineering mindset looks at the postmodern scholar, shakes his head in disbelief, and concludes that such a person is insane.

And engineering lore is filled with stories of devices blowing up and objects falling down when engineers defer to the opinions of those who lack technical training. One of the most vivid examples—which both blew up and fell down—was the space shuttle Challenger disaster of 1986. Quoting from Wikipedia, “NASA managers had known since 1977 that contractor Morton-Thiokol’s design of the SRBs contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings, but they had failed to address this problem properly. NASA managers also disregarded warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning, and failed to adequately report these technical concerns to their superiors.”

But most engineers and technicians work for organizations run by people without technical training. And technical specialists may think logically when it comes to things and gadgets, but this rational thinking does not necessarily extend to the subjective realm of mental networks. This explains why these ultra-rational individuals are described as disciples of the Pharisees and come with the Herodians. Herod means ‘son of a hero’ and has been used several times in Matthew, but this is the only mention in Matthew of the Herodians, who were ‘partisans of Herod’.

Putting this together, technological systems are ultra-rational, but they are still used by people. And modern society uses technical infrastructure to make people look like heroes. For instance, a person who waves an imitation sword around in his hand and pretends to fight is not a genuine hero. But if modern infrastructure is used to transmit this pretense to millions of viewers, then the fake hero becomes idolized by society as an actor. I am not suggesting that actors have no skills. But the primary skill of actors is to pretend to be what they are not.

One of the best illustrations I know of this contrast was when Leonard Nimoy—who played the ultra-rational Spock of Star Trek— visited a state-of-the-art computer lab in the 1970s. One article relates that Nimoy smelled of alcohol and spent time looking at the fish in an office aquarium. When shown the amazing new invention of computer-generated music, Nimoy commented that he had recorded albums of his own, and the article makes the comment that ‘we had the record there in the office, and he was so bad’. The last straw came when it became evident that Nimoy could not even play chess, despite the fact that Spock was famous on Star Trek for pretending to play Tri-dimensional chess.

This type of pretend heroism that is amplified by technical infrastructure is symbolized by the Herodians, who were partisans of Herod. And ‘disciple of a Pharisee’ summarizes a mindset that uses the rationalism of technical expertise to ennoble the typical semi-rationalism shown by the actors, politicians, bosses, and preachers. That is because such a mindset regards actors, politicians, bosses, and preachers as different than technicians and also as far more important than technicians. The actor who waves around a pretend sword gets paid far more than the technicians who design and run the infrastructure that makes such an individual look like a hero.

I am not suggesting that all actors, politicians, bosses, and preachers are fakes. Unfortunately, many of them are. Instead, I am trying to clarify what happens when the groom of science and technology shows up and there is no bride of transformed mental networks, and when wedding guests are invited to a marriage between technical thinking and mental networks and no one cares, forcing the king to substitute technical infrastructure for a transformed culture.

Notice in verse 16 that the disciples of the Pharisees describe incarnation using a combination of positive and negative definitions. On the positive side, they have learned that working with technical infrastructure requires factual honesty and a deep understanding of natural processes. But on the negative side, instead of associating this with the mental networks of a transformed society, they have learned that their technical thinking must not be swayed by the mental networks of their current un-transformed society.

In verse 17, the disciples of the Pharisees ask a question. “Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?” The word think means to ‘form an opinion, a personal judgment’. In other words, they are not asking for a universal law, but rather a personal opinion. Lawful means ‘permitted, lawful’. Poll-tax was first used in 17:25 and refers to the yearly tax that had to be paid by each individual to the secular Roman government using secular money. Caesar is only mentioned in Matthew in this passage. Notice the combination of rational facts and personal status. These disciples are asking what is lawful, which involves rational facts. But they are also asking for a personal opinion, which is determined by emotions and not by facts. And they are not focusing upon the structure of secular government, but rather upon the hero—the person with emotional status—who leads secular government. Translating this into current language, the engineer or technician who works within the system that we have described faces an internal moral struggle. He has to decide for himself where he will draw the line between submitting to technical expertise and following non-technical leaders and pseudo-heroes.

Phrasing this another way, at what point does an engineer open his mouth and become a whistleblower in order to save lives? An article in the Scientific American describes this dilemma. “‘Fundamental Canon No. 1’ of the American Society of Engineers states that ‘Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.’ Most engineering societies have this principle in their codes of ethics. This duty frames the decades of struggles by conscientious engineers—whether employees or consultants—who strive to balance professional ethics with occupational survival… The word whistle-blower—once popularly meant to describe a snitch or a disgruntled employee—now describes an ethical person willing to put his or her job on the line in order to expose corrupt, illegal, fraudulent and harmful activities.”

Jesus responds in verse 18 by addressing the underlying contradiction. “But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?’” The word perceive means ‘to know, especially through personal experience’. These disciples are asking for a personal opinion, a dividing line where the Perceiver facts of rational technical knowledge become replaced by MMNs of personal opinion. Jesus, in contrast, responds with experiential knowledge, which uses Perceiver thought to analyze MMNs of personal experience. Malice means ‘pain-ridden’ and is the noun of the adjective that was used in verse 10. I suggested back in verse 10 that technical infrastructure leads to a mindset that is moral-ish because it includes both the pain-ridden and the intrinsically good. We see now more clearly what that means, because the technician is asking moral-ish questions.

The word testing actually means to tempt, and was used in Matthew 4 to describe Satan tempting Jesus. (The Bible dictionary suggests that the context determines whether tempting means negative tempting or positive testing. However, abstract technical thought demands that words always have the same meaning whenever they are used, and I have found that passages make sense if this Greek word is always translated as ‘tempting’. There is another Greek word that is used for positive testing.) And a hypocrite is ‘like a performer, acting under a mask… someone who says one thing but does another’. This is doubly true of the typical technician or engineer. He is a hypocrite because he is pretending to be totally rational, while actually submitting to the leadership of those who do not follow rational thought. And he is an enabler of hypocrites because he uses technology to give various kinds of actors the appearance of being special. I am not suggesting that all technicians and engineers are hypocrites. But the technological society in which we live will exert strong pressure upon technically trained individuals to become hypocrites, and this statement applies to everyone who has a professional training and not just to the engineer. Using the language of verse 18, the professional conscience of the technically trained specialist is continually being tempted by the hypocrisy of modern society.

Jesus answers in verse 19 by telling these disciples to use their technical training to analyze the subjective. “‘Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax.’ And they brought Him a denarius.” The word show means to ‘show upon, i.e. demonstrating something in terms of its natural spinoffs’ and was used once before in 16:1. This is the only time that the word coin is used in the New Testament. And brought means ‘to bring to, to offer’. Looking at this cognitively, Jesus transforms the question from a vague moral dilemma based in personal opinion to a specific objective situation that can be analyzed using technical thought. Using modern language, Jesus asks for a specific example of the kind of hero being fabricated using technological infrastructure. And back in Roman times, putting the face of the emperor upon a coin was an example of a hero being fabricated using technological infrastructure. Quoting from one paper, “Roman coinage… served a propagandist purpose far greater than has any other national coinage before or since… This was the means which the Roman government… used to insinuate into every home in the empire each changing nuance of imperial achievement and policy.”

Verse 20 continues, “And He said to them, ‘Whose likeness and inscription is this?’” The word likeness is used once in Matthew. It is the source of the English word ‘icon’ and ‘assumes a prototype, of which it not merely resembles, but from which it is drawn’. In other words, Jesus is asking for the Platonic form behind the specific situation—the archetype behind the specific example. A mind that uses Perceiver thought to build Teacher understanding will naturally think in terms of Platonic forms and archetypes. For example, Spock of Star Trek is regarded as an archetype of the rational technician, who follows only rational thought despite being surrounded and led by semi-rational humans.

Inscription is also found only once in Matthew and means ‘inscription, title, label’. A mind that ‘follows the way of God’ will naturally recognize the Teacher laws that are inscribed on some situation or specific example. For instance, any technically trained geek can analyze the scientific plausibility of procedures portrayed on a science fiction series such as Star Trek.

Putting these two words together, Jesus is asking the technical professional to analyze the specific situation and determine which aspects represent the rational thinking of a professional and which represent the crowd manipulation and personal status of a Caesar.

The reply in verse 21 has only two words: ‘they say’ and ‘Caesar’. In other words, if the technician uses his technical training to analyze the message that he is enabling, he will probably conclude that he is enabling a message that has nothing to do with rational technical thought. One thinks, for instance, of the sound technician in a church service providing amplification for a preacher who says that God transcends rational thought. Or the company that develops satellites to transmit television signals so that people can watch soap operas, actions movies, or other forms of fantasy that have nothing to do with real life.

Jesus concludes, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (v.21). Render means ‘to return, especially as a payment’. ‘Things’ is not explicitly in the original Greek. A more literal rendition would be ‘therefore, return the of Caesar to Caesar and the of God to God’. In other words, one should not take the technology that comes from God and use this to enable the hero worship of Caesar. Going the other way, one should not take the mindset of hero worship and attribute it to God. Instead, one should recognize that there are two different realms: There is a realm of natural law and there is also a realm of social and political organization. They both have meaningful roles, but these roles should not be confused or mixed.

Verse 22 describes the response. “And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.” Amazed means ‘to regard with amazement’ and was previously seen in 21:20 where the disciples were amazed that technical thinking could be used to immediately wither the fig tree of subjective rationalization. There the amazement was being performed by the technical thinker. Here the amazement is being performed upon the technical thinker. Leave means ‘to send away, leave alone’. And depart means ‘to go away’. The implication is that this type of logic will probably cause the technician to move away from incarnation rather than to embrace incarnation. In other words, the more the technician reflects about what he is doing, the more he will become a disciple of the Pharisees who associates himself with the Herodians.

The Sadducees and the Resurrection 22:23-29

The next section describes an interaction with the Sadducees. “On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him” (v. 2). Day means ‘a day, a period from sunrise to sunset’, and we have been interpreting this as a period of time illuminated by the sun of some general theory. Thus, ‘on that day’ would mean during the era of infrastructure when science and technology are constructing an interconnected physical world while at the same time postmodern questioning is deconstructing subjective mental connections. A Sadducee was ‘a member of the aristocratic party among the Jews, from whom the high-priests were almost invariably chosen’.

The word resurrection in Matthew literally means ‘a standing up’. It is only found in Matthew in this section, where it is used four times. Thus, resurrection is the theme of this story. The story begins by explaining that the Sadducees say there is no resurrection. Cognitively speaking, the TMN of a concept of God is capable of rebirthing MMNs of personal identity. A person who says that there is no resurrection is saying that no Teacher theory exists that is strong enough to transform personal identity.

One would think that it would be strange to choose high priests from a class of people who do not believe in the resurrection, but as the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Using cognitive language, the common person believes in emotional ‘truth’ because he lacks personal status, the educated person doubts emotional ‘truth’ because he has gained personal status, and the religious leader becomes the source of emotional ‘truth’ which he uses to control the common person. This is a natural byproduct of the postmodern era, which insists that only emotional ‘truth’ exists. (Under absolute truth, it is possible—though difficult—for a religious leader with emotional status to maintain a belief in absolute truth.)

The Sadducees then pose a strange question. They begin by quoting Moses. “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother’” (v.24). Exodus 2:10 explains that Moses means ‘drawn from the water’, and Moses represents the Mosaic law that was drawn from the water of tribal experience. Thus, one is dealing with a viewpoint which assumes that cultural and personal MMNs are the starting point for personal existence, and as Piaget’s stages of cognitive development indicate, this does describes the starting point for human existence.

The word child means ‘a child living in willing dependence’, and this describes how cultural MMNs are passed down from one generation to another: the MMNs of adults are automatically absorbed by ‘children living in willing dependence’. The word marry is found once in the New Testament and means ‘take to wife after’. The word raise up is the verb form of the noun ‘resurrection’. Thus, what appears initially to be a strange theological question is actually describing an alternative form of resurrection.

The word die is not the normal word, but rather means to ‘die off’, and it ‘stresses the ending of what is former’. Looking at this cognitively, the Sadducees are posing a situation in which a system of male technical thought comes to an end without giving birth to any MMNs of culture or identity. Supposedly, the next related system of male technical thought is supposed to take over the responsibility of creating cultural MMNs.

This predicament would naturally arise within the environment described in the previous verses. First, technical thought is transforming society through continually evolving systems of technical infrastructure. Second, this technological transformation is happening too fast for cultural MMNs to keep up; as soon as society starts to come to grips with the current transformation, another technical transformation arrives. For instance, one executive of a technological company writes in his blog that “Technology is changing every aspect of our lives. The benefits provided by new digital approaches are having a huge impact on our societies. However, one of the greatest business challenges is not about the devices, software or solutions – it is about how we manage the process of cultural change.” Third, what really matters to Sadducees is maintaining their position of authority by manipulating societal MMNs. In other words, the Sadducees are the ruling class of the postmodern era who are using their emotional status to impose their ‘truth’ upon the rest of the population. Fourth, the technically trained disciples of the Pharisees in the previous section have shown that technological infrastructure can be very effective for manipulating social and personal MMNs.

Putting this all together, the social elite is asking how they can use male technical thought to guide social and cultural MMNs when technical thought keeps transforming. This predicament is described in verses 25-27. “Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died.” The phrase ‘among us’ suggests that the Sadducees are describing their own predicament and not just dealing with some abstract doctrine. After all, they addressed Jesus as a teacher in verse 24, which means ‘an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning’. The first word died means ‘to complete, to come to an end’. And so means ‘likewise, in like manner’. In other words, systems of male technical thought are not being destroyed, but rather coming to completion, one after another. This describes the way that new technology replaces old technology. The old technology is not destroyed. Instead, it comes to an end as it is superseded by new technology that functions much better. In contrast, the final word died means ‘to die off’ and is the same word that was used in verse 24. This means that female mental networks of society do eventually fall apart and come to an end. Saying this another way, when it comes to male technical thought, then existing systems are being superseded by new systems. But when it comes to female mental networks, then the existing mental networks are being deconstructed and are dying off. Saying this more simply, technology is transforming while society is fading and dying.

Verse 28 poses the question. “In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her.” As the NASB indicates, the word ‘married’ is not in the original. Instead, the verb is had, which means ‘to have, hold’. In other words, male technical thought approached female mental networks from a viewpoint of ownership, treating MMNs as something to have. Verse 23 said that the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, while in verse 28 they are asking a question about the resurrection. Verse 28 indicates the Sadducee’s concept of resurrection, which is a restoration of existing cultural MMNs. The same woman is assumed to be connected with several men; male technical thought may have gone through several transformations, but female mental networks are simply preserved and not transformed. This type of mindset views heaven as a more idealized version of existing earth.

This was discussed a few pages earlier. Repeating the relevant part of that discussion, Platonic forms can emerge in more than one way. One way is to lose something good in physical reality. What remains is the memory of the good experiences. If one uses Teacher thought to think about these past experiences, then one will ‘remember the past through rose-colored glasses’, because Teacher thought will focus upon the idealized essence of lost experience. This idealized memory of the past is a Platonic form. Another way is to gain a Teacher understanding of how things work. As usual, Teacher thought will focus upon the idealized essence. This too will lead to the formation of Platonic forms, but these Platonic forms will be internal images of how things could be—if one used an understanding of how things work to modify current experiences. The Sadducees are viewing resurrection as a juxtaposition of these two kinds of Platonic forms. The Platonic forms of male thought are images of how things could be guided by a rational Teacher understanding of how the physical world functions. In contrast, the Platonic forms of female thought are idealized memories of how things were before society went downhill. Saying this another way, a Renaissance mindset of science and technology is being married to a Dark Age mindset of religion and culture.

For instance, a friend of mine who is familiar with messianic Judaism has often posed the question of how the agricultural laws of the Old Testament can be made relevant within today’s technological society. The underlying assumption is that Jewish law can be analyzed using modern rational thought but must be applied within an agricultural society. Similarly, the typical American fundamentalist Christian views the ideal Christianity as a restoration of the lost American culture of the 20th century, and often fills the home with trinkets of Americana, while at the same time embracing the latest technological gadgets.

Looking at another example, this essay on Matthew uses a cognitive interpretation to connect the book of Matthew with Western civilization. If one applies the same cognitive analysis to other books in the New Testament, one ends up with prophetic images of the future, and these prophetic images are unlike anything that I have read in the Christian prophetic literature. Instead, the description that emerges is more like science fiction than Christian prophecy. That is because my analysis is based upon a Teacher understanding of how the mind works, rather than a memory of a culture that has been lost.

Jesus points out the inadequate thinking of the Sadducees in verse 29. “But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.’” Mistaken means ‘to cause to wander, to wander’ and was used previously in 18:12-13 to talk about sheep going astray. In other words, this is not a matter of getting the facts wrong, but rather of going down the proverbial garden path in which one is led astray by false assumptions. The word understand means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’ which refers to empirical knowledge that is drawn from the senses.

The first thing that they do not know is the Scriptures, a word that means ‘a writing, scripture’. This word was first used in 21:42 when Jesus asked if the chief priests had ever ‘read the Scriptures’. In other words, the religious and societal leaders are assuming that there is no connection between the content of the Bible and empirical reality, or for that matter, the content of any textbook and empirical reality. That is because postmodern deconstructionism asserts that all apparent abstract words are merely personal opinions to be deconstructed. For instance, a postmodern theologian would never conceive of writing anything like this essay on Matthew, because this essay assumes that there is a detailed connection between the content of Scripture and empirical evidence.

The second thing they do not know is the power of God. Saying this cognitively, they do not realize that a general Teacher theory can transform society. The postmodern scholar talks a lot about general theories but treats them as ideologies—overgeneralized slogans that have emotional power but have no connection with the details of physical reality. A concept of God, in contrast, is based in a general Teacher theory that applies to personal identity with all of its nitty-gritty details.

The Resurrection 22:30-33

Verse 30 then describes how one should view the resurrection. “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” The resurrection needs to be distinguished from heaven. Looking at this literally, heaven is a region within the angelic realm where godly disembodied spirits currently dwell. In the future, disembodied spirits will receive resurrected physical bodies. That is standard Christian theology. Looking at this cognitively, heaven refers to Teacher thought with its abstract theories, while the resurrection describes personal MMNs that have become reborn within a mental grid of rational understanding. Applying this to the partial example of current Western society, heaven describes the realm of academia and other forms of theoretical thought. The resurrection refers to the human world that has been physically transformed by the infrastructure of science and technology.

Verse 30 specifically says that there is no marrying or giving in marriage in the resurrection. This is typically interpreted to mean that there will be no sex, but it does not say that. (It also does not say that there will be free love.) Revelation 19:17 talks about the marriage of the Lamb and his bride, implying that something like marriage will exist. And Revelation 21:2 compares the New Jerusalem to a bride. What appears to be absent in the resurrection is the pairing up of men and women, or the pairing up of male and female thought. Consistent with this, Revelation does not convey the idea of the bride or husband looking around to choose some partner. Going the other way, Matthew 24:38 describes the period before the flood of Noah as a time of ‘eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage’, using the same two Greek words, giving the impression that the problem lies with the pairing and re-pairing of male with female. And this summarizes the story told by the Sadducees, because one female was continually being re-paired with a succession of males.

Verse 30 says that the future resurrection will be like the angels in heaven, which means that one can decipher what will happen by understanding what it means to live within Teacher thought. This recently became clearer to me, and I have attempted to describe my current understanding in another essay. The basic principle is that humans think that Mercy thought is fundamental. That is because the childish human mind begins with a mind that is based upon childish MMNs acquired from emotional experiences within the environment. But if one looks deeper, one comes to the conclusion that Teacher thought is fundamental while Mercy thought is derived.

This can be seen physically with protein formation. Quoting from the linked essay, each human cell contains about one billion proteins, and proteins carry out almost all functions in cells. A protein takes the form of a three-dimensional structure, and acts as a building block of biological activity. But a protein is not fundamentally a three-dimensional structure. Instead, a protein is a linear sequence of amino acids. This linear sequence then folds in upon itself to form a three-dimensional structure. The function of a protein emerges as the chain of individual amino acids acquires its three-dimensional shape. Using the language of this essay, a protein is a Teacher string, and the Mercy function of a protein is an emergent property that emerges when the Teacher string forms into a Mercy clump.

This needs to be repeated. Mercy thought thinks naturally in terms of living entities. But biological activity is actually generated by proteins that are composed of Teacher strings that have clumped into Mercy objects. There is no such thing as inherent biological activity in Mercy thought. Instead, biological activity is an emergent property resulting from Teacher sequences of amino acids that have folded in upon themselves to form what the mind interprets as Mercy-based biological activity.

Similarly, culture with its MMNs also tends to be an emergent property that forms over the generations as behavior is repeated. Many cultural traditions begin almost through chance. For instance, La Tomatina “is a festival that is held in the Valencian town of Buñol, in the East of Spain 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Mediterranean, in which participants throw tomatoes and get involved in a tomato fight purely for entertainment purposes.” It “started the last Wednesday of August in 1945 when some young people spent the time in the town square to attend the Giants and Big-Heads figures parade… One participant’s Big-head [fell] off. The participant flew into a fit of rage, began hitting everything in his path. There was a market stall of vegetable that fell victim to the fury of the crowd. People started to pelt each other with tomatoes until the local forces ended the fruit battle. The following year, some young people engaged in a pre-planned quarrel and brought their own tomatoes from home. Although the local forces broke it up, this began the yearly tradition.”

Applying this to modern society, technical infrastructure began as an alternative to culture. But the next generation that grew up within this technical infrastructure viewed it as a culture based in MMNs, leading to the current culture of social media. Biological life emerges when strings of amino acids fold up and begin to interact as three dimensional objects. Similarly, living within an interconnected infrastructure will naturally turn TMNs of natural process into MMNs of cultural experience. This also means that if the infrastructure of society changes sufficiently, then existing cultural MMNs will become inadequate. The solution is not to try to preserve existing cultural MMNs, or to suppress the development of science because it threatens existing culture, but rather to come up with cultural MMNs that are appropriate for the new infrastructure.

For instance, in 1951 Bell Telephone published a booklet instructing people on the appropriate way to use a telephone, including such helpful details as ‘When using the telephone, hold the receiver close to your ear. The receiver is the end without the cord.’ And ‘Be natural and polite when using the telephone, and you will make a good impression.’ Anyone who reads this book today considers the content to be totally obvious, because we all acquired this content as MMNs of culture. But back in the 1950s, today’s social culture was only beginning to form.

Using the language of Matthew, one needs to ‘understand the Scriptures’ because the starting point is information in Teacher thought and not experience in Mercy thought. And one needs to recognize the ‘power of God’ because the kind of culture that eventually emerges in Mercy thought will be determined by the concept of God in Teacher thought with which one begins. That is why I have spent years expanding the theory of mental symmetry in order to generate a concept of God that is big enough to contain the details of human life. And I have also thought extensively of what it would be like as a person to live within this Teacher understanding. This theme will come up in a few verses.

In verse 31 Jesus addresses the concept of resurrection. “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God.” The topic of resurrection has been discussed, but Jesus now broadens the subject to include the resurrection ‘of the dead’. The goal of the Sadducees was to find a way of passing on ‘female’ culture before it died off by pairing it with a succession of systems of ‘male’ technical thought. But Jesus is talking about resurrection that occurs after female mental networks die off.

Postmodern thought thinks that all written theories in Teacher thought are merely the opinions of people in Mercy thought. Jesus, in contrast, describes Scripture as ‘spoken to you by God’. In other words, there is a living person behind the theory, but this person is God and not some human person or group.

Verse 32 describes what God has spoken: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” This composite name is found several times in the Old Testament. Exodus 3 describes what happens when Moses has his first encounter with God in the burning bush. “God, furthermore, said to Moses, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.” This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, ‘I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.’”’” (Yes, there are four nested quotes.) Notice that God uses this name twice in this passage. He also says that it is his name forever, and that it is his memorial name to all generations. Consistent with this, versus 32 begins with an explicit ‘I’: “I am the God...”

This essay has referred several times to the three-stage path of personal transformation. These three stages are represented in personal form by the three names of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham left the MMNs of civilization to follow God. Isaac his son was a son of promise who lived in tents, representing the second stage of righteousness. And Jacob wrestled with an angel in order to gain his birthright, representing the third stage of rebirth. Applying this to the topic of resurrection from the dead, Abraham left his culture rather than attempting to preserve it, while Jacob returned to culture with the transformed name of Israel rather than continuing to hunt the ‘game’ of intellectual food like his brother Esau.

The computer revolution and emergence of the Internet in the late 20th century made this three-stage nature of God implicitly obvious. That is because Western society during the late 20th century experienced the third stage of ‘Jacob’ at the level of personal intelligence. Looking at this in more detail, a computer is more than just a gadget. It is an intelligent tool with which one communicates and interacts. The personal computer affected personal identity in Mercy thought, because a person could have his own computer in his own house. But one had to interact with this computer at the level of Teacher thought, because early personal computers were controlled by typing in written commands. One could experience the process of Teacher words descending down to Mercy experiences, because each generation of personal computer had a greater ability to generate Mercy experiences of sound and sight. And as computers became increasingly interconnected, this created the concept of a universal Teacher-based intelligence. That summarizes the experiences of my generation. Succeeding generations do not know what this feels like because they interact with computers at the Mercy level of clicking and dragging visual icons on screens, and they associate computers with MMNs of culture because they grew up surrounded by computers.

For this early personal computer generation, using a computer meant going through a miniature version of the three stages of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. One left the Mercy experiences of reality in order to interact with a computer at a Teacher level of words. One spent hours programming computers and entering commands into computers. Like Esau, it was possible to get lost within a computer at this second level of Teacher words, but it was also possible, like Jacob, to emerge from these words back to Mercy experiences with the birthright of some computer-generated result. Today’s generation does not generally know what this means, because most interaction with a computer now remains at the Mercy level of experiences. The average person no longer has to enter the realm of Teacher words and theoretical concepts.

Jesus continues in verse 32 by saying, “He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” The word living refers to both natural and spiritual life and was previously used in 16:16 when Peter made his profession of faith and referred to Jesus as ‘the Christ, the son of the living God’. We interpreted that as Perceiver thought recognizing that it can expand and unfold the technical thinking of Contributor thought by building connections of similarity. In verse 32, God is a God of living people, which means that people are experiencing life and they are regarding this life as coming from God in Teacher thought.

The spread of personal computers and the emerging worldwide technical infrastructure was creating this impression because computers were exhibiting behavior that until then had only been exhibited by living beings, and it was obvious that this artificial life came from Teacher thought because one had to be somewhat of a geek to use a computer. Comparing this with Peter’s statement of faith in chapter 16, the personal computer was an enabler for Perceiver thought. Server thought can express itself through the movement of the physical body. Perceiver thought, in contrast, feels trapped because one cannot use the physical body to impose facts upon the environment. The computer, and electronics in general, gave the Perceiver person a way of affecting the environment in a more direct manner.

Saying this another way, postmodern questioning of truth essentially tells the Perceiver person that he has no right to exist. Computers and technology provide Perceiver persons with an alternative form of reality where truth reigns and Perceiver thought is required rather than condemned.

The idea of following a God of the living rather than a God of the dead was also conveyed in the late 20th century by the fall of communism. When the Cold War finally ended, the United States remained the world’s only superpower. But the victory over communism had not been achieved by the imposition of force in Mercy thought. Instead, communism fell because it was unable to cope with the Teacher order of an integrated economy. This led to the implicit conclusion that the god of capitalism was a god of the living, while the god of communism was a god of the dead. I put the term ‘god’ in small letters because we are dealing here with a partial concept of God, but the deep connection that the average American makes between God, country, capitalism, and the consumer society indicates that one is dealing with a concept of God.

Verse 33 concludes that “When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.” The word astonished means to ‘strike out of one’s senses’. Teaching means ‘a summarized body of respected teaching’ and is found three times in Matthew. Being struck out of one’s senses by a summarized body of respected teaching implies that integrated technical understanding is transforming the physical world. This describes the manner in which science was expressing itself physically in technical infrastructure.

The Greatest Commandment 22:34-38

Verse 34 describes the next encounter. “But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.” Silenced means ‘to muzzle, to put to silence’. This verb occurs one other time in Matthew in verse 12 to describe the silencing of the man without the wedding clothes, which we interpreted as the fake technological expert being silenced by real experts. Similarly, we have seen that the Sadducee claim that there is no resurrection has been silenced by the reality of living in a society that is experiencing a form of resurrection, both politically and technologically.

Silencing the Sadducees also suggests that people are realizing that a purely materialistic solution is not enough. Instead, something more is needed that goes beyond merely the biological and the physical to include the spiritual.

Gathered means ‘to lead together, bring together’ and was previously used in 22:10 to describe gathering together wedding guests from the intersections of the roads, which we interpreted as technical infrastructure substituting for culture. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. The Pharisees ‘gathered themselves together’ suggests that the existence of physical infrastructure is having implicit affect upon the behavior of separatists. They are realizing that being separate in Mercy thought is not enough. Instead, they need to organize themselves in Teacher thought if they are to be effective.

One can see this mindset illustrated by what is known as ‘the seven mountains of culture’. The standard explanation for this movement is that “In 1975, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had lunch together in Colorado. God simultaneously gave each of these change agents a message to give to the other. During that same time frame Francis Schaeffer, founder of L‘Abri and Pat Robertson of Regent University and the Christian Broadcasting Network was given a similar message. That message was that if we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we would have to affect the seven spheres, or mountains of society that are the pillars of any society. These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion… It was here where culture would be won or lost. Their assignment was to raise up change agents to scale the mountains and to help a new generation of change agents understand the larger story.” Notice the juxtaposition of cognitive strategies. First, the underlying assumption is that Christianity is different in Mercy thought from normal secular culture, indicating the mindset of the Pharisee. Second, the focus is primarily upon influencing MMNs of culture rather than constructing an integrated Teacher understanding. However, this Mercy influence is being carried out in an organized manner that reflects Teacher thought. I have examined the seven mountains of culture in an earlier essay and it appears that in each case, secular MMNs have influenced religious MMNs and not the other way around.

The seven mountains of culture were first formulated in 1975, but they are part of a larger movement known as the religious right. Wikipedia explains that one of the strengths of the religious right is their ability to organize themselves. “Much of the Christian right’s power within the American political system is attributed to their extraordinary turnout rate at the polls. The voters that coexist in the Christian right are also highly motivated and driven to get out a viewpoint on issues they care about. As well as high voter turnout, they can be counted on to attend political events, knock on doors and distribute literature. Members of the Christian right are willing to do the electoral work needed to see their candidate elected.” The religious right is primarily a pharisaical movement because it is governed by a mental concept of purity and separatism which believes that society needs to be governed by the absolute ‘truth’ of Christianity. In the words of Wikipedia, “The Christian right or the religious right are Christian political factions that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies. Christian conservatives seek to influence politics and public policy with their interpretation of the teachings of Christianity.” (One of the differences between US and Canada is that the religious right in Canada tends to appeal more to universal moral principles.)

The Pharisees began by focusing upon moral issues in a rational manner. “One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’” (v.35) This is the only reference to a lawyer in Matthew, which ‘implies someone even more learned in the law than a typical scribe’. However, this lawyer is testing Jesus, which means to tempt. Looking at this cognitively, technical thought is being used to analyze laws of government and absolute truth, but the goal is not to extend the thinking of incarnation, but rather to use technical thought to impose a pharisaical mindset upon society.

For instance, one can see this in the current American attempt to appoint conservative judges to the courts. A 2019 article in the Guardian, a liberal newspaper, observed that “Trump is positioned to bequeath a much more substantial legacy, one that progressive activists and civil rights advocates warn will harm the cause of equality in the United States for decades to come. That legacy is a judiciary remade deeply conservative in Trump’s own image. In securing the confirmation of his 50th appeals court judge earlier this month, Trump cemented his status as the most accomplished sponsor of federal judges in the modern history of the presidency.” And a more recent Guardian article reports that appointing conservative judges is a higher priority than fighting the current coronavirus pandemic. “Even as the virus rages, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has vowed to make confirming the judges the first order of business when the chamber reconvenes early next month. ‘My motto for the year is leave no vacancy behind,’ McConnell said in a radio interview on Wednesday. ‘That hasn’t changed. The pandemic will not prevent us from achieving that goal.’”

This is a current example which does not come from the era that we are currently examining in Matthew. But this focus upon conservative lawyers began in the era that we are studying. “The Federalist Society, organized at various law schools in 1982, provided an outlet for conservative legal ideas in an environment traditionally dominated by liberals. Today it is arguably the most influential conservative legal community in the United States, supporting libertarian, business, and socially conservative legal interests. The 1980s also saw the emergence of expressly Christian legal interest groups. John Whitehead’s Rutherford Institute was one of the earliest of these, focusing mainly on defending religious freedom and opposing abortion. And though its mission has since evolved beyond the Christian legal movement, Rutherford’s successes helped set the stage for the CCLOs [Christian Conservative Legal Organizations] today.”

Looking now at the question posed by the lawyer in Matthew, the word great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ and refers to Teacher generality. However, the lawyer is asking for a limited definition of generality—which is a contradiction in terms. The lawyer does not ask, ‘What is the most general principle?’ Instead, the lawyer asks ‘What is the most general commandment in the realm of the law?’ In other words, Teacher generality is being used within the limited realm of absolute and emotional ‘truth’. Saying this another way, given the assumption that a pharisaical Mercy division should be made between religious law and secular common sense, what happens when one uses Teacher thought within the realm of Mercy holiness?

Jesus responds in verse 37 by bringing universality in through the back door. “And He said to him, ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”’” (The double inside quote means that Jesus is being quoted as quoting someone.) The word love is agape, which means ‘love which centers in moral preference’ and ‘preeminently refers to what God prefers’. And what God prefers is cognitive universality—loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Looking at this first from a general perspective, one can define universality in one of two ways. A theory is universal if it applies everywhere. This describes the universal laws of nature, which appear to apply everywhere in the universe. But a theory is effectively universal if it applies to all of my mind. We have seen several times in this essay that Teacher thought is emotionally sensitive to any exceptions to the general rule. Teacher thought will treat a theory that has no known exceptions as a universal theory. One can use this as a mental trick to enable mysticism by claiming that statements about God transcend all rational facts—which mentally eliminates all exceptions to the ‘universal’ theory. But one can also use this principle to extend the universality of a concept of God, by applying this concept to more aspects of the mind. Going the other way, if one claims to believe God and is consciously aware of personal behavior that violates one’s concept of God, then one does not have an adequate concept of God.

For instance, mental symmetry started as a theory of cognitive styles—a theory that applied to all of the primary facets of human thought. It turned into a universal cognitive theory as my brother and I examined each of the seven cognitive modules in detail. This generated a mental concept of God, because a concept of God emerges whenever a sufficiently general theory applies to personal identity. Going further, I have tried very hard to maintain an adequate concept of God by ensuring that my personal behavior remains consistent with my current understanding of the mind. And mental symmetry began in the 1980s, the period of Western history that we are currently examining. Therefore, it is a valid historical example of this principle.

Looking at verse 37 in more detail, heart is ‘the affective center of our being’ and describes MMNs of personal identity. Soul is psyche and refers to the integrated mind. Mind is used once in Matthew. It combines ‘thoroughly, from side-to-side’ with ‘to use the mind’ and means ‘critical thinking, literally thorough reasoning’. All three of these go beyond the limited rigorous thinking of technical specializations. And these three all emerged as major areas of emphasis in the 1980s and 90s.

Looking first at the emotions of the heart, Wikipedia relates that “In 1983, Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences introduced the idea that traditional types of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully explain cognitive ability. He introduced the idea of multiple intelligences which included both interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations)… The first published use of the term ‘EQ’ (Emotional Quotient) is an article by Keith Beasley in 1987 in the British Mensa magazine. In 1989 Stanley Greenspan put forward a model to describe EI, followed by another by Peter Salovey and John Mayer published in the following year. However, the term became widely known with the publication of Goleman’s book: Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ (1995). It is to this book’s best-selling status that the term can attribute its popularity.”

Notice that the starting point was the realization that human intelligence is more than just an ability to use technical thought. Notice also that emotions are being approached from a theoretical perspective—one is loving God from the heart. I am not suggesting that those who do research in emotions automatically have a deep love of God. However, studying human emotions from the perspective of rational Teacher understanding is a significant step in the direction of loving God with all one’s heart. And remember the parable of the two sons in Matthew 21. The son who was closer to the kingdom of God was not the one who said he would follow God but did not, but rather the one who verbally stated that he would not follow God but eventually did.

The second point deals with the mind in an integrated manner. One can see this in the history of the DSM (Diagnosis of Mental Illness), the guidebook that is used to diagnose mental illness, which was first published in 1952. One website summarizes that “The DSM has undergone various revisions (in 1968, 1980, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2013), and it is the 1980 DSM-III version that began a multiaxial classification system that took into account the entire individual rather than just the specific problem behavior.” Notice the emphasis upon the integrated mind which began with the 1980 edition.

Turning from illness to health, the focus upon the entire mind can be seen in theories of well-being. Wikipedia summarizes that “Diener’s tripartite model of subjective well-being is one of the most comprehensive models of well-being in psychology. It was synthesized by Diener in 1984, positing ‘three distinct but often related components of wellbeing: frequent positive affect, infrequent negative affect, and cognitive evaluations such as life satisfaction’.” Similarly, “Carol D. Ryff developed her multidimensional model of well-being in the late eighties.” Another website explains that “She ended up creating one of the first systematic models of Psychological Well-Being, and her model remains one of the most scientifically verified and empirically rigorous today… Carol Ryff’s model of Psychological Well-being differs from past models in one important way: well-being is multidimensional, and not merely about happiness, or positive emotions. A good life is balanced and whole, engaging each of the different aspects of well-being, instead of being narrowly focused. Ryff roots this principle in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, where the goal of life isn’t feeling good, but is instead about living virtuously.” Notice the focus upon the entire mind, and also the emphasis about living virtuously rather than merely pursuing emotional pleasure.

Turning to the third point of critical thinking, a widespread emphasis upon critical thinking emerged in the 1980s. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy, “Since 1980, an annual international conference in California on critical thinking and educational reform has attracted tens of thousands of educators from all levels of education and from many parts of the world. Also since 1980, the state university system in California has required all undergraduate students to take a critical thinking course… Researchers have developed standardized tests of critical thinking abilities and dispositions… Educational jurisdictions around the world now include critical thinking in guidelines for curriculum and assessment. Political and business leaders endorse its importance.”

Looking at this topic more generally, universal cognitive principles entered into the church through the ‘back door’ of psychology. The Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation website describes their history. “A ‘biblical counseling’ movement emerged in the late 1960’s. The initial spokesman for this approach to pastoral care and counseling was Jay Adams. In 1968, Jay Adams and John Bettler started the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation just outside of Philadelphia… CCEF’s early history was largely prophetic and therefore polemic. The church was challenged to rethink its beliefs about why people struggle and how to help them when they do. CCEF called pastors and seminaries back to the primacy of Scripture as the basis for thoughtful and effective pastoral care and counseling… As CCEF entered the 1980’s and 90’s, it was apparent that the second and third generation of leaders benefited from the strengths of their predecessors as well as learned from their weaknesses. They moved CCEF in a direction of increased sensitivity to human suffering, to the dynamics of motivation, to the centrality of the gospel in the daily life of the believer, the importance of the body of Christ and to a more articulate engagement with secular culture.” Summarizing, this movement started with the polemics of preaching the Bible as absolute truth, but moved in the 1980s in a new direction of using universal psychological principles to encourage mental and spiritual well-being.

I am not suggesting that all psychology is Christian. But psychology has proved to be an effective tool for moving the Christian mindset out of absolute ‘truth’ to universal truth. This can be seen by the loathing that those hold to absolute truth typically have for the very concept of Christian psychology. For instance, one can see the mindset of absolute truth in the following quote: “The only possible justification for the existence of ‘Christian’ psychology in the church would be if the Bible did not contain all of the counsel, wisdom, and guidance that Christians need for living sanctified lives pleasing to God in today’s modern world. For thousands of years, both Old and New Testament believers found God and His Word more than sufficient in every way.” Notice how the Bible is being viewed as the only source of absolute truth. A mindset of absolute truth does not feel any need to learn from any other sources because it thinks that it already possesses the entire sum of all absolute truth. This website concludes that “Christian psychology is an attempted marriage of the Bible to theories of the atheistic inventors of psychology. It is worse than trying to mix oil and water; it is the attempt to blend the Word of God with atheism and occultism. This is impossible to do honestly. Even ‘Christian psychologists’ themselves admit they can’t quite find a way to put that mixture together.”

Mental symmetry, in contrast, suggests that the Bible is an accurate source of truth, and that it can be analyzed at the level of a textbook when interpreted from a cognitive perspective. In other words, not only can one combine Christianity with psychology, but the Bible is actually a textbook on psychology. Again, I am not suggesting that all psychology is Christian. It is not. However, I have found that psychological methods that are based in solid empirical research can be trusted. And I have yet to find any contradiction between cognitive research and mental symmetry, or between biblical theology and mental symmetry.

Jesus concludes in verse 38 that “This is the great and foremost commandment.” Great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ and describes Teacher generality. Foremost means ‘first, foremost’. And commandment ‘focuses on the end result of a command’. Looking at this cognitively, if one wants to transform MMNs of personal identity, then one needs to balance the Mercy pain of changing identity with some other positive emotion. This positive emotion can be found in the Teacher emotion of a general theory, but this Teacher emotion can only help personal identity if the theory applies to personal identity—and a general theory that applies to personal identity is a concept of God. Saying this another way, the extent of salvation that a person or society can receive depends upon its concept of God. At the most basic level, this means recognizing the existence of Teacher emotion. This would seem like an obvious principle, but I have found in my study of neurological and cognitive literature that one can find significant evidence for Teacher emotion but almost no one comes out and explicitly asserts that Teacher emotion exists.

Applying this to mental symmetry, the theory of mental symmetry is a general Teacher theory that applies to personal identity, which, by definition, will create a concept of God. It is possible to use mental symmetry to reformulate Christian doctrine and the Christian path, explain neurology, provide a philosophy of science, and act as a meta-theory within which one can place other theories of cognition and psychology. This is not a grandiose overgeneralized claim, but rather a summary of what has been done using mental symmetry. In other words, mental symmetry began in the 1980s, the time period that we are currently examining, and it is an example of the great commandment.

The Golden Rule 22:39-40

Verse 39 adds another commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Like means ‘like, resembling, the same as’. Love is again agape. Neighbor means ‘near, neighboring’. And as means ‘as, like as, even as’. This is known as the Golden Rule and may possibly be the most universally acknowledged religious principle. Wikipedia says that “this concept appears prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and ‘the rest of the world’s major religions’. 143 leaders of the world’s major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 ‘Declaration Toward a Global Ethic’.” Looking at this cognitively, the Golden Rule says that Perceiver thought should be used to build connections of similarity between various MMNs of culture and identity.

In essence, the Golden Rule is the opposite of a pharisaical attitude. The Pharisee builds mental and physical walls that separate MMNs, regarding some people, groups, and experiences as more pure than other ones. The Golden Rule, in contrast, bridges these walls with connections of similarity. This does not mean that all experiences, people, and groups are identical. Regarding all cultures and religions as identical is an example of the Teacher overgeneralization of liberal tolerance. Instead, the Golden Rule recognizes the existence of Mercy feelings and then looks for similar patterns in other situations and people. Notice that one is instructed to love one’s neighbor. Neighbor is a non-emotional term based upon locality. In other words, one does not practice the Golden Rule by seeking out some emotional cause to support, because that is usually based upon an implicit pharisaical mindset—one is supporting this cause or person specifically because one regards it as special and different than other causes and persons. (Notice also the implicit contradiction of maintaining in Teacher thought the overgeneralization that all groups are equal while simultaneously protesting in Mercy thought against one ‘equal’ group in support of another ‘equal’ group.) Instead, one loves one’s neighbor, which means applying Perceiver thought in a Perceiver manner, looking for solid connections in the incidental connections that one encounters. Saying this more bluntly, when some white individual drives across town to participate in a ‘black lives matter’ protest, that is not an example of loving one’s neighbor. Instead, loving one’s neighbor means relating my personal desires with the personal desires of the person who lives next door to me.

Wikipedia suggests that the Golden Rule “is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely, but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it.” However, I suggest that this is only partially accurate. Verse 39 says that the Golden Rule is like the commandment to love God with all the one’s being. This means that both of these rules will lead to similar conclusions. For instance, mental symmetry began as a system of cognitive styles. But a major breakthrough occurred when I realized that my mind was composed of seven different cognitive modules. My mind was not just composed of Perceiver thought. Instead, I was conscious in Perceiver thought, but my mind also contained a subconscious Exhorter module, Mercy module, and so on. I then decided that I would cognitively love my neighbor as myself. My deepest desire was for conscious Perceiver thought to exist. This sounds like an obvious principle, but try being a Perceiver person in a postmodern world that is doing its best to kill Perceiver thought. It is not easy. Therefore, I decided that I would give the other six subconscious modules of my mind the right to exist. For instance, I would treat my Exhorter module as a person and allow myself to become excited and not behave like the typical Perceiver person who squelches Exhorter excitement. As I continued to apply this cognitive version of the Golden Rule, it gradually became apparent that the theory of mental symmetry could also be used to explain the Christian concept of a Trinitarian God. In other words, the second rule was like the first one; they both led to similar conclusions.

But I suggest that one will end up with incomplete results if one follows the Golden Rule without including belief in God. That is because a concept of God in Teacher thought provides the emotional drive that is needed to carry out the Golden Rule. Mercy thought naturally separates between me and others, between my culture and other cultures. The Golden Rule without a concept of God will think that applying the Golden Rule means going across town to protest on behalf of some other race or culture. No matter how hard it tries to bridge MMNs of culture and identity, it will still think in terms of MMNs of culture and identity. A concept of God in Teacher thought provides a different vantage point, because Teacher thought is emotionally driven to come up with simple theories that summarize the purified essence of many similar situations. Instead of thinking in terms of this group matters, those people are important, or that lifestyle is special, one thinks in terms of universal principles such as justice and the rule of law. Saying this another way, the Golden Rule by itself will tend to lead to a mindset that thinks in terms of equality of outcome: I will feel that every group needs to have the same Mercy experiences. The Golden Rule combined with a love of God will tend to lead to a mindset that thinks in terms of equality of opportunity: I will feel that every group needs to be ruled by the same set of universal laws.

Verse 40 summarizes that “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ‘The law’, with a ‘the’, usually refers to the law of Scripture. In verse 36, the lawyer asked what is the greatest commandment in the law. In other words, the lawyer was looking for Teacher generality within some limited context of absolute truth. Prophecy means ‘elevating or asserting one idea over another’. Looking at these two words literally, Jews referred to the Old Testament as the Tanach, an acronym which stands for the law, the prophets, and the writings. Thus, Jesus was referring to the Jewish Scriptures.

The word whole means ‘where all the parts are present and working as a whole’. Depend is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to hang’. The other use was in 18:6 to describe a millstone being hung around the neck of a person, which we interpreted as the World War I soldier being controlled by the development of new wartime technology. In other words, in the same way that the fate of the World War I soldier became controlled by emerging technology, so the fate of the law and the prophets as an integrated entity is controlled by the application of the two greatest commandments. Saying this another way, the way that one interprets the Bible will be shaped by how one defines a concept of God and how one interacts with one’s neighbor. Verse 40 does not say that one can ignore the law and the prophets and replace them with the two greatest commandments, because that leads to Teacher overgeneralization and Mercy identification—platitudes and protests that have nothing to do with reality. Instead, verse 40 says that the two greatest commandments will determine how one fits all of the other laws together and gets them to work as a whole. This is similar to the World War I soldier. Technology did not change the laws of military structure, but rather changed the way that these laws functioned as a whole, and military structure eventually reshaped itself in the light of the new technology.

We have looked at the two great commandments from a cognitive perspective. One can also see these principles being applied physically by churches in the 1980s. A ‘great’ concept of God is a Teacher understanding that applies to many aspects of personal identity, as illustrated by loving God with all of once being. Such a concept of God can be externally simulated by a physical megachurch that talks about God in many different ways to many different people. Wikipedia notes that “A megachurch is a church with an unusually large membership, who also offers a variety of educational and social activities, usually Protestant or Evangelical. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research defines a megachurch as any Protestant Christian church having 2,000 or more people in average weekend attendance. The concept originated in the mid 19th century, continued into the mid 20th century as a phenomenon, and expanded rapidly through the 1980s and 1990s; it is widely seen across the US in the early 21st century.” Notice that the megachurch became prominent in the 1980s and 1990s, the period of time that we are examining. A megachurch ‘loves God’ with all of its being by offering a variety of educational activities within a Christian context. And it ‘loves its neighbor’ by offering social activities. This leads to a megachurch that conveys Teacher feelings of being ‘great’.

The characteristics of a megachurch are described in more detail in an essay written in 1996 by Scott Thumma. This article may now be somewhat dated, but it also portrays how the mega-church was viewed in the era in which it became popular. The next few paragraphs will quote from Thumma’s article, and Thumma has also co-authored a book on the subject. Thumma notes that “mega-churches are a new phenomenon… Nearly all current megachurches were founded after 1955. The explosive growth experienced by these congregations, however, did not begin in earnest until the decade of the eighties. The 1990’s have not slowed this growth.”

The ‘greatness’ of a megachurch creates Teacher feelings of generality that attract people. “Once a congregation reaches a critical mass of around 2000, its numeric strength alone becomes a powerful attraction. One megachurch member astutely commented on this fact. You hit a certain size and you can become self-generating. You attract people by your sheer size.”

A megachurch is usually based in the absolute truth of the Bible, consistent with the context of the biblical lawyer coming to Jesus. “Nearly all megachurches have a conservative theological orientation. An overwhelming majority would be considered Evangelical, Charismatic, or Fundamentalist. Even the megachurches from moderate and liberal denominations often stand out as having a more conservative theology than do their counterparts.”

The typical megachurch attempts to transcend the pharisaical mindset of distinguishing between religious and secular. “The goal of this approach is to create new religious forms, to remake the traditions, so they are acceptable and relevant to a modern person who had been turned off by traditional religion. To accomplish that, the buildings of churches using this approach are quite ordinary looking, duplicating everyday structures such as office complexes, schools, warehouses. Inside these structures, persons are greeted by large lobbies with well-lighted signs, information booths, and often a mall-like court yard complete with refreshments. Their sanctuaries are usually spacious auditoriums, with comfortable theater seating, large stages, and a minimum of religious symbols. The architecture of this orientation, ‘communicates a message - that religion is not a thing apart from daily life’. The sermon, probably delivered from a clear plexiglass removable podium, conveys a biblical but practical, non-dogmatic, this-worldly message that also suggests religion should not be separate from daily life.”

The megachurch loves God with its heart, which is expressed through worship. “Worship is one of the central drawing cards that anchors the church. The worship service in megachurches is a high quality, entertaining and well planned production. Given the congregation's size, this service cannot be left to ‘the flow of the spirit,’ especially if there are multiple services on a Sunday morning. As a megachurch grows, worship becomes more professional and polished, but also more planned and structured. Many megachurches offer a diverse array of additional religious services of differing styles throughout the week.”

The megachurch loves God with its soul, which is expressed through a variety of educational programs that deal with the entire mind. “Nowhere is the characteristic of programmatic choice more evident, however, than in the range of internal ministries and the diversity of groups offered by megachurches. Some of these ministries are oriented specifically to religious and spiritual issues such as age-graded Bible studies, prayer groups, new member sessions, and religious education classes. Other ministries focus more on enhancing interpersonal ties and strengthening fellowship and social interaction through home groups, covenant communities, recreational activities, sports events, and organized celebrations. There are always groups which organize and train church volunteers both to assist in the functioning of the church and in the performance of its ministries. Often programs address the physical and psychological well-being of members with health fairs, preventative health clinics, employment support, vocational training, job fairs, various 12-step type recovery groups, and individual counseling services. In addition, there are any number of interest groups and activities from musical lessons and choir rehearsals to political action committees and auto repair clinics. Many megachurches support elementary and secondary private schools, day care centers, scout troops, head-start programs, and countless teen and young adult activities.”

And the megachurch loves God through critical thinking, expressed as preaching and teaching that addresses real issues. “Megachurch sermons are often inspirational, motivational, and well-delivered. The message empowers members with the challenge that everyone has choices, but that they are also responsible for what they choose. The listener is instructed, ‘You can do it, make a change, and make a difference.’ Sermons are almost always powerful, practical, down to earth, and relevant. As John Wimber stated, ‘We recognize we must answer the questions people actually are asking.... We seek to deal with today’s issues in a practical, Biblical manner--a manner that will make a difference in the way people actually live’. About Hybels, Willow Creek’s pastor, Sammonds writes, ‘The people come to hear God’s word ‘explained in a practical, relevant manner....the senior pastor vowed early on that he would never preach a sermon that couldn't be used by people in their everyday lives.’”

The megachurch attempts to love its neighbor. “A common identity motif for many megachurches was that of the ‘Church as refuge.’ Earl Paulk specifically identified Chapel Hill Harvester in this manner. John Wimber, the recently deceased founder of the Vineyard movement, described his church in similar terms… Lakewood Church of Houston, Texas characterized itself similarly as ‘the oasis of love in a troubled world.’ A pamphlet of Valley Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona portrayed the church’s revealed vision as being ‘a forgiveness center, and not a guilt center, a city of refuge, where many who had been injured by the organizational machineries and other religious groups could gather and be healed.’ Willow Creek Community church has even been described in terms of being a refuge for those who have given up on religion. Robinson argued that megachurches are unique in that they realize persons have a high degree of emotional broken, individual uncertainty, and family dysfunction.”

Megachurches typically defines ‘neighbors’ as those who live close by rather than focusing upon specific emotional causes. “Megachurches are a suburban reality. Nearly all megachurches are to be found in the suburbs of large cities… There are many reasons why concentrations of megachurches exist in rapidly developing, suburban, Sunbelt metropolitan areas… Most importantly, the suburbs provide a continuous influx of exactly the type of person attracted to megachurches—consumer oriented, highly mobile, well-educated, middle class families.”

And megachurches try to interact with other churches guided by the similarities of being ‘like one another’. “A large number of megachurches are involved in networking with other smaller churches. For instance, Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard Christian Fellowship each have several hundred churches affiliated with them (including several other megachurches), many of which were started or ‘planted’ from within their ministries… These networks are often a loose affiliation of egalitarian congregations gathered around one or several outstanding ministries with the intent of sharing information, gathering resources, and linking up with other churches that share a similar vision of ministry.”

Does this mean that the megachurch is the ideal expression of Christianity? Not necessarily. We saw in the parable of the wedding feast that physical infrastructure substituted for culture. Similarly, the megachurch is a physical substitute for the two great commandments. Those who participate in a megachurch may internalize these two commandments, but it is also possible for loving God with all of one’s heart, soul, and mind to become replaced by loving one’s mega-church with its worship, programs, and practical sermons. And loving one’s neighbor can become replaced by loving other people in the megachurch who are involved in different programs. In contrast, mental symmetry attempts to follow the two great commandments internally. In my experience, a megachurch may deal with a variety of topics in a similar manner to the theory of mental symmetry, but attending a megachurch does not make a person receptive to the theory of mental symmetry. In other words, the peripheral elements are similar, but the core focus is different.

This difference in core focus can be seen in the ‘seeker friendly’ nature of many megachurches. One pastor remarks that “I began pastoring in September of 1994 – right in the middle of the seeker sensitive craze. The first two churches I worked in were 100% on board with the program… Both those churches are gone now and the movement itself appears to be in terminal decline. It was a season of my life but I am very glad that it is over… The basic logic of the seeker sensitive movement was that we would get people in the door by playing contemporary music, singing contemporary songs, speaking contemporary jargon and addressing contemporary issues. [But] If you sell them on Christianity Lite then you need to continue to offer Christianity Lite week after week after week.”

Looking at this cognitively, MMNs of secular culture and identity are ultimately in charge. A physical representation of ‘loving God with one’s heart, soul, and mind’ and ‘loving one’s neighbor as oneself’ is not enough, because it does not contain sufficient Teacher emotion to transform the MMNs of the surrounding society. Instead, only the TMN of a general theory has sufficient emotional potency to actually transform societal and personal MMNs. Without this integrated understanding, the MMNs of ‘seeker friendly’ will eventually overshadow any TMNs of following God.

We began this section by pointing out that the pharisaical lawyer was seeking Teacher generality within the limited realm of absolute truth. That describes the evangelical megachurch. It is attempting to generalize the message of Christianity, but it still starts with the narrow mindset of absolute truth; it still is built upon a fundamental set of beliefs that come from treating the Bible as the source of truth. In contrast, mental symmetry can be used to reformulate all of Christianity as universal cognitive principles based in a theory of the structure of the mind. As we have seen in this essay, this does not mean that the Bible is irrelevant. On the contrary, mental symmetry makes it possible to study the Bible at a new level of rigorous detail.

Who is the Christ? 22:41-46

Jesus then turns the attention to the topic of Christ. This is significant, because current Christianity may have a well-developed concept of Jesus, but it has only a partially formulated concept of Christ. “Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: ‘What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’” (v. 41-42)

While gathered together means ‘to lead together, bring together’, and the same word was used in verse 34 to describe the Pharisees gathering together. Looking at this cognitively, one cannot normally discuss the topic of Christ with a pharisaical mindset. That is because Christ refers to the abstract side of incarnation, which expresses itself through universal principles that transcend Mercy divisions of purity and holiness. In contrast, a pharisaical mindset will view the historical description of Jesus as the story of a special person in Mercy thought who must not be compared with other people. Thus, one can only discuss Christ with Pharisees while they are gathering together—while they are pursuing Teacher generality.

Think means ‘forming an opinion, a personal judgment’. Thus, Jesus is asking the Pharisees about their personal concept of Christ—the abstract side of incarnation. This may sound like an esoteric question, but there is a cognitive reason why it will be bubbling up within the minds of anyone who is working within a megachurch. Remember that a concept of incarnation combines abstract technical thought with concrete technical thought. Using theological language, it combines a concept of Christ with a concept of Jesus. I have also mentioned several times that incarnation goes beyond abstract technical thought to work with a concept of God in Teacher thought, and it goes beyond concrete technical thought to save people rather than things in Mercy thought.

Dealing with a mental concept of Jesus is easy. One tells people to ‘ask Jesus into their hearts’ and then form a personal relationship with this concept of Jesus. This is both cognitively natural and effective. And one can learn about the nature of Jesus by studying the stories of Jesus in the Gospels. But how does one generalize from there to a concept of Christ? To some extent one can turn a specific example of Jesus into general principles of Christ by asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do in such a circumstance?’ And this method was commonly used in the 1990s. Wikipedia explains that “The phrase ‘What would Jesus do?’, often abbreviated to WWJD, became popular particularly in the United States in the late 1800s after the widely read book by Charles Sheldon entitled, ‘In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do.’ The phrase had a resurgence in the US and elsewhere in the 1990s and as a personal motto for adherents of Christianity who used the phrase as a reminder of their belief in a moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through the actions of the adherents.” (This motto originally emerged in the Victorian era, when biblical ethics were first being applied to modern life.)

But generalizing from the life of Jesus is not enough when one is attempting to run a megachurch. That is because a megachurch requires extensive technical structure to function. Thumma describes this in his essay: “The organizational demands of these enormous churches necessitate a rational bureaucratic operation with a strong business leader at the helm. Yet, not all megachurch pastors are skilled business persons. Their spiritual visions and ministerial gifts which helped them generate a successful operation may in fact hinder them in managing their religious business… As the church has gotten so huge, it’s harder to make decisions based on an understanding of the Holy Spirit’s leading. One pastor remarked that upon taking the leadership of an established megachurch he found himself, ‘acting more like a mayor or governor than a pastor’... By the time [a spiritual decision] gets down to the implementation level, it’s nothing but sort of a bureaucratic ‘do this’ or ‘do that.’” Looking at this cognitively, ‘a rational bureaucratic operation’ describes abstract technical thought, while ‘a strong business leader’ describes concrete technical thought. Notice how the participant in a megachurch is having to form a personal opinion of the nature of Christ—how does one extend beyond the specific example of Jesus to the general spiritual principles of Christ?

Verse 41 describes the nature of this question more precisely: “Whose son is He?” Whose is a generic pronoun that means ‘who? which? what?’ Son means that we are dealing with male technical thought. In other words, how can one distinguish between ‘following the spirit’ and ‘a bureaucratic do this or do that’? Does one build up a megachurch by applying psychological principles or by teaching the Bible? Verse 41 also describes the typical answer: “They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’” ‘Son’ was mentioned in the question, but is not mentioned explicitly in the answer. In other words, the official verbal answer that is given will downplay ‘son’ and focus upon ‘of David’. We saw earlier that ‘son of David’ focuses upon physical heroes setting up physical kingdoms. That describes a mega-church, because a megachurch is a physical kingdom; the previous quote described how leading a mega-church was ‘acting more like a mayor or governor than a pastor’. And the typical megachurch is founded by some hero. Quoting again from Thumma, “Megachurches are more often than not the product of one highly gifted spiritual leader. The majority of contemporary megachurches were either founded by or achieved mega-status within the tenure of a single senior minister. The character of these churches usually reflects the vision and personality of this one person. These pastors are usually personally charismatic, exceptionally gifted men. As senior minister, and often the church’s founder, these persons occupy the singular, most prominent, high profile position in the congregation.” Thus, the megachurch may teach and preach about Jesus and even try to act as Jesus would, but the implicit mental concept of Christ will tend to be shaped by the system of the mega-church.

Jesus addresses this internal confusion in verses 43-44. “He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him “Lord,” saying, “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.”’” Notice that David is ‘speaking in the spirit’. Compare this with the reference to the spirit a few paragraphs earlier: “As the church has gotten so huge, it’s harder to make decisions based on an understanding of the Holy Spirit’s leading.” A person who makes such a statement is assuming that following the organization of the megachurch is fundamentally different than following the Holy Spirit. That is because these two lie on opposite sides of the pharisaical split. ‘The spirit’ is mentally associated with the absolute truth of the Bible, while ‘church organization’ is mentally connected with secular concepts of business and psychology. In verse 43, David in the spirit is calling Christ lord. If David represents the physical kingdom with its hero, then how can David even be ‘in the spirit’, because these two occupy opposite sides of the secular/religious split? Going further, how can David in the spirit submit to the lordship of Christ when a mindset that splits between secular and religious is incapable of forming a concept of Christ? What typically happens in a megachurch is that the ‘David’ of the physical kingdom will function outside of the spirit, this functioning will create an implicit concept of Christ, and this implicit concept will be followed rather than any explicit concept of Christ.

Verse 45 poses the dilemma more clearly: “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” Translating this into the dilemma of the megachurch, how does one reconcile the two directions of ‘the megachurch submitting to Christ’ and ‘the megachurch forming a concept of Christ’?

Verse 46 describes the lack of an answer. “No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him any longer.” Word is logos, which refers to the Teacher paradigm driving a system of abstract technical thought. John 1 makes it clear that logos relates to the abstract, divine side of incarnation. In other words, if one attempts to run a megachurch upon a foundation of absolute truth, then one will be unable to come up with a logos or paradigm for the nature of Christ. That is because absolute truth is a pharisaical mindset that separates between religious and secular, while the megachurch juxtaposes the religious with the secular, leading to two different concepts of Christ.

Dare is used once in Matthew and means ‘to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk’. In other words, attempting to determine the nature of Christ is too dangerous a question to ask in the context of megachurches because the theological implications are too extensive. The last phrase of verse 46 implies that people are giving up attempting to integrate technical thought with spiritual worship. This will result in the new direction of spirituality without technical content.

Mental symmetry addresses this problem by using a single cognitive definition to define the nature of Christ, and mental symmetry then deliberately applies this single definition to both the religious and the secular. Mental symmetry justifies this unified definition by using the same theory of cognition to explain both Christianity and psychology—in detail. And mental symmetry justifies this approach theologically by noting that this theory of cognition ultimately comes from the list of spiritual gifts in Romans 12. One can see this unified approach in this essay on Matthew because we are looking simultaneously at the book of Matthew in the original Greek and Western history in detail, using the theory of mental symmetry to tie these two together. This combination felt strange when I began doing the research for this essay. It now feels almost natural.

Our discussion has focused on the megachurch. I should emphasize that the same principles would apply more generally to the religious right, which also came into prominence in 1980s. And these principles also apply beyond the United States. As Wikipedia explains, “Although the term Christian right is most commonly associated with politics in the United States, similar Christian conservative groups can be found in the political cultures of other Christian-majority nations.”

We skipped over verse 44. That is because I want to look at it in more detail, because it brings up another topic that was prominent in evangelical churches in the 1980s and 1990s, which is the topic of spiritual warfare.

Verse 44 says, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet.’” I have wondered when reading this verse which lord is which. There is ‘lord’, and there is ‘my lord’ and both use the same Greek word. I realized when writing this essay that one of these two is more personal than the other. The general principle is that the personal lord needs to do the sitting while letting the other lord do the talking. This may sound like a strange principle, but it summarizes the dilemma of the legislator. (This is discussed in more detail when looking at apostleship in 2 Corinthians.) Suppose that some legislator passes a law. That law is merely a set of words. In order to actually become law, those words have to be applied by some group of people. Going further, if the legislator himself wants to treat these words as law and not just as his own words, then the words of the legislator have to be applied by some group of citizens and the legislator himself has join this group of people as a fellow citizen who submits to the rule of law. Saying this more simply, one of the critical questions in a democracy is whether leaders are above the law or also subject to the law. Using the language of verse 44, my lord has to sit at the right hand of the lord, and allow the lord to do the talking and the fighting.

Applying this to the megachurch (and similar institutions), the real question is not whether a concept of Christ comes from the Bible, from psychology, from some other source, or from some combination of these. That is because a concept of Christ is an abstract concept of incarnation which is based in general principles that apply to many situations. Thus, one can learn about the abstract side of incarnation from both religious and secular situations. Instead, the real question is whether one is treating a concept of Christ as a concept of Christ—is one viewing this as a set of general laws to which one personally submits.

Looking at verse 44 in more detail, sit ‘to be seated’. At means ‘from out of’. And right means ‘the right hand or side’. We have interpreted the right hand previously from a neurological perspective as referring to Server thought. Putting this together, ‘sit at my right hand’ would mean behaving as subordinate within Server thought. Server thought deals with procedures and sequences and ‘how things work’. One of the key distinctions between concrete technical thought and abstract technical thought is that abstract technical thought thinks in terms of Server sequences while concrete technical thought thinks in terms of Perceiver facts and objects. For instance, suppose that I throw a watermelon through the air. Concrete technical thought will interpret the situation in terms of cause-and-effect: I am throwing the object of a watermelon; throwing the watermelon will probably ruin the watermelon, because if it lands on a hard surface, then it will go splat and fragment into pieces. Abstract technical thought, in contrast, will focus upon the Server path: What path does the watermelon take as it flies through the air? How does this path compare with throwing a baseball through the air? Looking at this from another perspective, one can also see this focus upon Server sequences in most government rules. What matters is following the proper procedures—going through the right sequences.

Applying this to the megachurch, we saw earlier that Thumma quoted one staff member of a mega-church complaining that “By the time [a spiritual decision] gets down to the implementation level, it’s nothing but sort of a bureaucratic ‘do this’ or ‘do that.’” We see here that this transition from ‘spirit’ to ‘bureaucracy’ is actually an aspect of ‘sitting at my right hand’. This does not necessarily mean that a church should turn into a bureaucracy. That is because a bureaucracy is an external simulation of ‘sitting at my right hand’; it is a physical substitute for the internal characteristic of righteousness. Righteousness ensures that my Server actions reflect a Teacher understanding of God’s character. Bureaucracy ensures that my Server actions reflect the external laws that tell me how to do things. The less righteous that people are, the more bureaucratic rules will be required. Most bureaucratic rules were initially set in place because some individuals behaved in an unrighteous manner, and a new bureaucratic procedure was established to ensure that this would never happen again. One of the problems of the megachurch is that it is focusing upon the ‘son of David’—it is building a physical kingdom rather than a cognitive and spiritual kingdom. This does not mean that physical kingdoms are bad. Instead, it means that one should always attempt to increase righteousness while paring down bureaucracy.

Continuing with verse 44, enemy means ‘someone openly hostile, animated by deep-seated hatred’. Cognitively speaking, this describes someone who is driven by totally incompatible mental networks in Mercy thought. For instance, a liberal postmodern who is trying to question traditional morality is an enemy of biblical morality. But verse 44 does not say that one should attack an enemy. Instead, one should sit at the right hand of the Lord. Put means ‘to place, lay, set’. In other words, the enemy will not be destroyed, but rather put in his place. Putting something in its physical place is only possible within a physical landscape of objects. Similarly, putting someone in their mental place is only possible within the moral landscape of a system of law. This relates to the third stage of personal transformation in which personal identity becomes reborn within a structure of righteousness. The modern interconnected society with its social media demonstrates what it means to become reborn within the physical landscape of technical infrastructure. Similarly, one deals with moral enemies by sitting in a moral landscape and then allowing the rule of law to put the enemies in their place.

Going further, beneath is used once in Matthew and combines ‘down’ with ‘under’. One rests one’s weight upon the feet. Similarly, feet would represent the current location of personal identity, and one uses one’s feet mentally to move personal identity. These terms describe the Teacher relationship between people. A law that has greater Teacher generality applies to more situations—it rules over a large domain of experiences. Similarly, a person who has greater Teacher generality rules over a domain of more people. Thus, a pastor of a megachurch has a greater Teacher domain than a pastor of a small church. Acquiring Teacher generality in a righteous manner has two primary aspects. First, what matters is the position of one’s feet. What a leader says, writes, claims, proclaims, orders, or decides is all secondary to what a leader is. What a leader is is determined by his feet. Second, one allows the rule of law to put other individuals down under my feet. My personal responsibility is to become a certain person in Mercy thought. Teacher thought then carries out the function of arranging people in the appropriate Teacher hierarchy. And there will be a personal hierarchy, because when one is dealing with people, Teacher domain is determined by being above or below people.

1 Peter 5:5-6 describes this kind of process. “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” Notice that there is a hierarchy, but one does not grab authority. Instead, one submits my lord to the lord, becomes the right kind of person, and waits for God in Teacher thought to establish the proper hierarchy.

Now that we have examined verse 44, I would like to look briefly at the topic of spiritual warfare. The modern focus upon spiritual warfare began with a novel. Quoting from Wikipedia, “This Present Darkness is a Christian novel by well-known suspense, horror, and fantasy author Frank E. Peretti. Published in 1986 by Crossway Books, This Present Darkness was Peretti’s first published novel for adults and shows contemporary views on angels, demons, prayer, and spiritual warfare as demons and angels interact and struggle for control of the citizens of the small town of Ashton. It is critical of Eastern and New Age spiritual practices, portraying meditation as a means of demonic possession. This book sold in excess of 2.5 million copies worldwide and remained on the CBA top best sellers list for over 150 consecutive weeks after its release. It has been instrumental in promoting belief in Territorial Spirits.”

There is scriptural support for the concept of spiritual warfare. As Wikipedia points out, Peretti took the title of his book from Ephesians 6:12, which reads “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Looking at this cognitively, the ultimate conflict is not with people in concrete thought, but rather with words and ideas in Teacher thought. However, this abstract struggle is not just a question of the words that are being spoken, but rather the words that are being embodied.

Spiritual warfare is an ancient concept, but a new element was introduced in the 1990s. Wikipedia explains that “In the version of spiritual warfare of Wagner and his associates and followers, ‘spiritual mapping’ or ‘mapping’ involves research and prayer, either to locate specific individuals who are then accused of witchcraft, or to locate individuals, groups, or locations that are thought to be victims of witchcraft or possessed by demons, against which spiritual warfare is then waged. Peter Wagner claims that this type of spiritual warfare was ‘virtually unknown to the majority of Christians before the 1990s’. According to Wagner, the basic methodology is to use spiritual mapping to locate areas, demon-possessed persons, occult practitioners such as witches and Freemasons, or occult idol objects like statues of Catholic saints, which are then named and fought, using methods ranging from intensive prayer to burning with fire.” I suggested earlier that one needs to allow the rule of law to put moral enemies in their place. Spiritual mapping does this physically by allowing the facts of history to put evil behavior within the appropriate physical location.

Thus, spiritual mapping is applying verse 44 to some extent in a physical manner, similar to the way that the megachurch is applying verses 37-39 to some extent in a physical manner.

For instance, one major aspect of ‘spiritual mapping’ is the ‘prayer walk’ in which one physically goes to the location where the spiritual evil supposedly resides. The CRU website explains that “Prayer-walking involves taking our prayers to the very places where we desire to see God’s presence manifested and our prayers answered. Prayer-walking is the powerful dynamic of praying on-site with God’s sight. Prayer-walking uses the sights, sounds, even smells to engage both body and mind in the ministry of prayer.” But placing one’s feet physically in a physical location is not the same as placing one’s mental feet in a moral location. Where I am cognitively in the map of mental wholeness is more fundamental than where my physical body is in the map of the physical world.

Going further, verse 44 says that one should sit at the right hand of the lord, which means focusing upon behavior in Server thought rather than upon facts and locations in Perceiver thought. For instance, the word Satan means ‘adversary’. A focus upon Server thought will recognize that behaving in an adversarial manner automatically places oneself within the domain of Satan. In contrast, a focus upon Perceiver thought will associate Satan with evil places, people, and events. This does not mean that physical location does not matter. Rather, it is secondary. One sits at the right hand of the lord until the lord places the enemies in their proper location. And physical location can play a useful role in triggering various spiritual realms. This error in thinking naturally occurs when one thinks in terms of absolute truth. That is because absolute truth is based in Mercy places, people, and events. A Teacher understanding, in contrast, describes behavior and sequences. That is why one’s cognitive location is important. If one is to overcome a spiritual enemy, one must have a character that does not behave like the spiritual enemy.

Finally, verse 44 says that ‘my lord’ should sit and wait while allowing ‘the lord’ to do the talking and fighting. Spiritual warfare typically involves a lot of verbal prayer and verbal proclaiming. This also is a natural byproduct of a mindset of absolute truth, which thinks that truth has to be proclaimed by some source of truth. In contrast, a mindset of universal truth recognizes that universal principles are discovered and not created. If one submits to a universal principle, then one will eventually experience the benefits of submitting to that principle, and talking too much about this principle will deflect from the primary goal of applying the principle.

Sitting in the Chair of Moses 23:1-7

Chapter 23 talks about the scribes and Pharisees. “Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses’” (v. 1-2). A scribe is ‘a writer, scribe’, while Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. A scribe would refer to a source of written truth, while a Pharisee would describe someone who thinks in terms of absolute truth. Chapter 22 ended with Jesus talking with the Pharisees. In chapter 23, he is talking about the Pharisees and scribes to the crowds and his disciples. Jesus has talked about the Pharisees before, but chapter 23 is the first time where Jesus directly attacks these individuals as a group.

The end of chapter 22 described what happens when Teacher generalization was applied within a general context of absolute Christian truth. This juxtaposition was initially successful, leading to movements such as the megachurch, parachurch organizations, and the religious right. But this organizational success caused a confusion to emerge between the explicit words about Christ being proclaimed by absolute truth and the implicit concept of Christ that emerged from applying principles of psychology to the large organizations. This confusion could not be addressed directly, because that would mean putting biblical truth on the same footing as secular psychology, which would question the very concept of absolute biblical truth. However, what happened in practice was that the presentation of the biblical truth became implicitly shaped by organizational principles, which meant that the evangelical church ceased to be an independent voice of society. Thus, when one discusses the scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem in Chapter 23, one is no longer dealing with a group of religious individuals based in the absolute truth of the Bible. Instead, moral truth now comes from a group of technical experts who view themselves as special and different from normal society. This group of technical experts may include some religious leaders.

This transition can be seen in verse 2, which says that “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses”. The word chair means ‘a seat’ and is used twice in Matthew. We saw when discussing Jesus overturning the seats of those selling doves in the Temple in 21:12 that this word cathedra is used to describe a seat of authority. Moses means ‘drawn from the water’ which we are interpreting as truth and law that is based in the ‘water’ of Mercy experiences. Regarding the Bible as the source of absolute truth is an example of the chair of Moses. What is new is that the scribes and Pharisees have now seated themselves in this chair. They are now acting as sources of absolute truth by placing themselves in positions of emotional status and authority within society.

Saying this another way, science uses technical thought to understand the functioning of the universe. Religion and the social sciences, motivated by the success of science and technology, have learned to use technical thought. Meanwhile, postmodern thought has been questioning the various sources of absolute truth within society. The end result is that technical thought becomes viewed as the source of absolute truth, which it does by using the methodology of technical thinking to come up with verbal conclusions which are then spread in written form. One can see this illustrated by the publishing of papers in official journals. Knowledge is gathered by professional scholars using approved methods, this officially gathered knowledge is then evaluated by professional scholars using approved methods, and the results are published within officially approved journals. These published papers then become sources of absolute truth for the rest of the population.

I mentioned earlier that absolute truth cannot be instantly constructed. Instead, the starting point is emotional ‘truth’. Experts who have emotional status declare ‘truth’, which is then written down. This written truth then goes through some sort of transformation during which it acquires stability, becomes widely known, and is separated from its original source. It then becomes absolute truth. The transformation from emotional ‘truth’ to absolute truth typically happens by writing down the words of the esteemed author, giving copies of these words to many people, and then waiting for the author to die. Succeeding generations will then view what was emotional ‘truth’ as absolute truth.

But it is also possible to transform emotional ‘truth’ into something that resembles absolute truth by going through some sort of legislative or peer-review process. What goes into this process is the opinion of important people. What comes out is government legislation, official corporate policy, or peer-reviewed, officially published papers. Matthew 23 describes what happens when all traditional absolute truth becomes questioned and all that remains is government legislation, corporate policies, and scientific papers. Using language of Matthew, we will see what happens when the scribes and the Pharisees seat themselves in the chair of Moses. As usual, we will be interpreting the following ‘list of woes’ as a cognitive sequence in which one statement leads to the next.

Jesus clarifies in verse 3 that one must distinguish between the content taught by the ‘scribes and Pharisees’ and the mindset of the scribes and Pharisees. “Therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” This distinction became clear to me when studying the Bible. The Bible is treated as a source of absolute truth, and religious experiences are used to emotionally reinforce this mindset. On the one hand, it is essential to transcend the mindset of absolute truth. But on the other hand, the content of the Bible needs to be studied carefully as an accurate description of universal truth. Saying this another way, if a person (or book) is in a position of authority, this does not automatically mean that everything that the person says is wrong. But speaking from authority will tend to warp a description of truth in certain predictable ways.

Looking at verse 3 in more detail, do means ‘to make, do’, which refers to Server actions. Observe means ‘to watch over, to guard’ and refers to Perceiver facts. In other words, one should hold on to the Perceiver and Server content that is being taught by the ‘scribes and Pharisees’. This is different than Jesus’ instructions in 16:12 to beware of ‘the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees’. That is because chapter 16 was describing the mindset of 19th century liberal Christianity, in which academic words were being used to question the content of absolute truth. In contrast, the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23 are an expression of the modern era with its emphasis upon rational technical thought. Thus, the content that is being taught by the books and authorities of the modern era can usually be trusted, which lines up with my personal experience. I have found that modern peer-reviewed research can be trusted. The problem usually lies in the way that this data is interpreted.

This principle is no longer true of postmodern research, which tends to replace empirical research and statistical analysis with case studies and ideology. Using cognitive language, intuitive thought is being used to jump directly from the Mercy experience of the case study to the Teacher overgeneralization of the ideology. One can still learn from case studies, but one has to filter the information much more carefully, because it is easy to cherry pick examples that fit one’s ideology. That is why I analyze entire systems and complete books. It is much more difficult to cherry pick when one has to go through an entire system. Thus, I suggest that it is significant that Jesus makes this statement at the beginning of chapter 23, before the cognitive progression of the eight woes. By the end of these eight woes, it will no longer be possible to trust the content of the scribes and Pharisees.

Continuing with verse 3, a deed ‘is a deed that carries out an inner desire’, which we have interpreted as internally motivated behavior. Jesus says that one should not do according to their internally motivated behavior. In other words, one needs to distinguish between data—the Server sequences and Perceiver facts that are taught, and the mental networks that motivate this gathering of data. This underlying motivation is generally seen in the way that data is being interpreted and the way that data is being used.

The problem is that they speak but do not do. ‘Things’ and ‘them’ are not in the original Greek. Thus, the emphasis of verse 3 is not on specific incidents of hypocrisy rather upon a general mindset of hypocrisy. This is a natural shortcoming of any scribe because words in Teacher thought will be mentally associated with the Server actions of writing rather than the Server actions of applying these words. In fact, this summarizes the fundamental distinction between abstract and concrete thought, because abstract thought is based in words while concrete thought is based in actions. Going further, the split between saying and doing will be accentuated by a pharisaical divide between experts and followers. The experts with their verbal truth will be seen as different and more holy than the common people who apply this truth.

This applies obviously to the division between clergy and laity. But a similar division will emerge within academia between the academics in their ivory tower who write about truth and the common man on the street who applies this truth, or between the legislator who debates written law and the citizens who are subject to this law.

Normally, this divide is bridged to some extent by the common facts of reality, because both academics and men on the street live in the same physical world. But as Thomas Kuhn observed, a scientist with a technical paradigm will view the physical world through a different set of mental eyeglasses, and this different viewpoint will be reflected in different methodology. The academic views the world through the controlled environment of the lab while ignoring the anecdotal evidence and common sense of the average individual. Similarly, the academic defines truth as that which has passed peer review and has been published in official journals. This will lead over time to a significant difference between the way that the academic, the legislator, and the clergy view reality, and the way that the average person views reality.

Similarly, absolute truth has also acted as a bridge between professionals and laymen, because everyone within society believed in the same absolute truth. This commonality will break when the ‘scribes and Pharisees sit in the chair of Moses’ because academics, legislators, and clergy will become the officially recognized source of absolute truth. And a source of absolute truth must be treated as different and special within Mercy thought, creating a strong emotional drive to view these sources of truth as special and different: ‘Science has spoken. We must listen. Government has passed a law. We have a new moral standard.’

This does not mean that one should ignore science, but rather that one should follow science for the right reason. Scientific research should be followed to the extent that it describes how reality functions, because the laws of reality are inescapable and apply equally to everyone. However, if scientists are treated as special people who have an inside track to truth, then this may motivate people in the short term to submit to scientific finding, but in the long term, this will cause science to be rejected as some power group attempting to use its social status to impose ‘truth’ upon the population.

Verse 4 adds some details. “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” Tie up is used once in Matthew and means ‘to bind together’. A burden is something ‘which must be carried by the individual’ and ‘cannot be shifted to someone else’. Heavy means ‘heavy, weighty’. Lay them means ‘to lay upon, to place upon’. Shoulder is found twice in the New Testament. The other instance is in Luke 15:5 where Jesus lays the sheep that was lost upon his shoulder. Men refers to humanity. Finger is mentioned once in Matthew. Willing means ‘to desire’, and move means to ‘set in motion’.

Putting this all together, laying a burden upon someone’s shoulders would presumably represent an increase in personal responsibility, responsibilities that cannot be transferred to another person. Tying up bundles of heavy burdens would mean putting together packages of personal responsibility. Fingers represent details of movement. Being unwilling to move a finger would mean not wanting to change any of the details of these responsibilities or handle any of these details.

One can see this in the growth of government regulations and professional certification. Whenever something goes wrong or some tragedy happens, the standard modern response is to call for more legislation or more professional regulation in order to ensure that this problem never reoccurs. But regulators can be bribed, and politicians can be lobbied. Therefore, responsible citizens will call for more regulations which will ensure that regulators, politicians, and bureaucrats carry out the laws in an impartial manner that is not influenced by people. However, once some industry or area becomes regulated, then it is possible to pass laws that favor certain groups over other groups, leading to a revolving door, in which those who regulate an industry work together with those who are leaders within that industry, resulting in regulatory capture. Therefore, responsible citizens will call for conflict-of-interest regulations to ensure that those who regulate an industry are independent of those who work within that industry. The end result is an inescapable burden of regulations, formulated and enforced by professional experts who are unwilling to move them with a finger. Responsible citizens will feel this regulatory burden and call for deregulation. But the inevitable result of deregulation will be abuse, because regulations have become the only source of conscience, since the scribes and Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses. Therefore, any attempt at deregulation will lead to fraud and be followed by re-regulation.

For instance, several new regulatory agencies were created in the 1970s in the United States, leading to a backlash as citizens felt that there was excessive regulation. This was followed in the 1980s and 1990s by deregulation. This deregulation led to major scams such as a series of bank failures in the late 1980s and the manipulation of power production through companies such as Enron. Scandals such as these led to a desire for greater regulation. But this re-regulation has not restored the society of the 1970s because the mindset of legislators, academics, and citizens has now shifted, as described in verse 5.

Verse 5 describes how the mindset has shifted: “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.” Deed again refers to ‘action that carries out an inner desire’. Notice means ‘to gaze at a spectacle’ and is the source of the word ‘theater’. This is not so much a matter of trying to gain approval, but rather one of being noticed.

Applying this to current history, a legislator who comes from some industry will be able to pass intelligent legislation about that industry, because such an individual has personal knowledge about the industry. However, we saw in the previous point that this leads to the abuse of regulatory capture and revolving doors. Therefore, a desire to avoid corruption and abuse will create a class of academics, legislators, and researchers who live in a separate reality that is distinct from the areas that they are regulating and researching. The separate reality in which these professional experts exist is a result of using emotional status to create absolute truth. Therefore, professional experts and legislators will naturally attempt to acquire emotional significance in order to gain the importance that is required to become regarded as sources of absolute truth. Actually being an expert in a field will become secondary. Instead, what will matter is creating the impression that one has the right demeanor and status that is required to pass regulations.

Broaden is used once in Matthew and means ‘to make broad’. Phylactery is mentioned once in the New Testament and is a ‘small, leather case, containing four key passages of Scripture strapped to the inside of the left arm’. Lengthen means ‘to make or declare great’. Tassels were seen in 9:20 and 14:36 and refer to knotted threads tied to the edge of a garment to remind a Jew of the Law. This would represent the aspect of social interaction that deals with the law. If tassels are being made great, this would mean making the awareness of laws a more significant aspect of social interaction.

A real expert will educate people by teaching them how things really work. In contrast, a legislator who thinks in terms of creating spectacles will also spread legislation and regulation through the use of spectacle. Instead of teaching people to follow common sense or gain scientific understanding, the emphasis will turn to following law and order. For instance, the role of the police will be emphasized and their role will be defined as imposing law and order upon citizens.

Verse 6 describes social behavior. “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues.” Love is phileo which refers to ‘affectionate friendship’ and would indicate compatible mental networks. Place of honor is used once in Matthew and means ‘the chief place’. Banquet means ‘dinner, supper’ and refers to the main meal. It is also used only once in Matthew. If a meal represents intellectual food, then this would mean feeling comfortable as an authority figure when fundamental facts are being analyzed. Chief seat is used once in Matthew and combines ‘first, chief’ with the word cathedra seen in verse 2 in the chair of Moses. Synagogue means ‘an assembly, congregation’ and refers to religious meetings. This would represent playing a primary role in formulating and guiding moral ‘truth’.

Putting this together, what began as a seeking of emotional status through the use of legislative and regulatory spectacle will turn into a culture backed up by a set of mental networks. Those who are responsible for setting regulations and passing laws will become comfortable in their role and will view their position of authority as expected and normal. Attempts to bridge the gap between legislator and common person, or the gap between academic and lay person, will be viewed as abnormal and unexpected. It will become viewed as normal for the experts to determine absolute truth by consulting among themselves while ignoring either reality or the opinions of the common person.

The reference to ‘banquet’ may have additional significance because this same word is used in Revelation 19:9 to describe ‘the marriage supper of the Lamb’. We saw in chapter 22 that that marriage feast was actually a marriage lunch and not a marriage supper. And we interpreted that marriage lunch as the spread of technological infrastructure. The implication is that the development of infrastructure is not the main meal. Instead, this is followed by the main meal of the scribes and Pharisees sitting themselves in the seat of Moses. Saying this another way, technological infrastructure will become the mechanism to transform emotional ‘truth’ into absolute truth. Infrastructure will be the secondary ‘meal’ that leads to the main ‘meal’ of absolute truth. Saying this more poetically, emotional ‘truth’ goes into ‘the machine’. The machine performs its machinations upon this information and what emerges at the other end is treated as absolute truth because it has been processed by ‘the machine’.

Verse 7 turns to language. “… and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. Respectful greeting means ‘greeting, salutation’. A marketplace is ‘an assembly, place of assembly’. Moral law is determined in the synagogues where the leaders expect to be consulted as experts. A marketplace would refer to other public arenas where other issues are being discussed, and here the leaders expect to be personally recognized. This is the first occurrence of rabbi in Matthew which means ‘my master, my teacher’. Being called rabbi would mean being recognized as a source of ‘truth’ by followers. In other words, when a legislator or academic comes into contact with the common person, then the source of absolute truth will expect to be regarded as someone who is different and special and will feel personally slighted if this special status is not acknowledged.

Summarizing, these verses describe a progression by which sitting in the chair of Moses causes a class of scribes and Pharisees to emerge who will view themselves as naturally entitled to act as the sources of absolute truth for the rest of society. If nothing else existed, then one would end up with the conclusion that all theory is merely ideology and that all supposed truth is merely personal opinion imposed through emotional status. However, a different path will tend to be followed in the hard sciences, and we will use illustrations from the hard sciences to illustrate the next verses.

Avoiding Personal Status 23:8-12

The next section describes how one should behave. “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers” (v. 8). Teacher means ‘an instructor acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning’. Brother literally means ‘from the same womb’. The emphasis here is upon unity in Teacher thought. Technical thought will naturally fragment knowledge into different specializations, each with its own acknowledged set of experts. If one focuses in Mercy thought upon personal expertise then knowledge will naturally fragment, and scholars from other disciplines who follow other experts will be ignored. The solution is to consciously choose to add to the integrated body of knowledge, rather than merely expand one’s own specialization, which means continually doing interdisciplinary research that recognizes other disciplines as ‘brothers’.

This is expanded in verse 9. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” The phrase ‘do not call anyone on earth your father’ conveys the idea that people and knowledge have their source in some MMN of personal authority. But as the NASB indicates, ‘anyone’ is not in the original Greek, which means that verse 9 is not talking about personal MMNs, but rather referring to a mindset. Earth refers to ‘the physical earth; the arena we live in which operates in space and time’. Father means ‘one who imparts life and is committed to it’. The Father is described as ‘one’ and also as being ‘in heaven’. This describes an integrated understanding in Teacher thought. Putting this together, one should view an integrated Teacher understanding as the starting point, and this integrated Teacher understanding should not be based merely in physical empirical evidence.

Looking at this cognitively, demanding empirical evidence actually contradicts itself because this demand for physical evidence is being motivated internally by the Teacher theory that it is possible to discover general theories by searching for empirical evidence. Saying this more simply, science that is based purely in empirical evidence cannot provide sufficient motivation for its own existence. In order to practice science, one must believe that the physical universe was ultimately created by a divine being of universal order who exists outside of the physical universe. The cognitive need for such a belief can be seen in the way that scientists continually refer to Nature and describe Nature as a sort of divine being who transcends physical space and time. But a mindset that demands only empirical evidence has no place for a concept of Nature, leading to the contradiction of scientists continually talking about Nature despite being told not to talk about Nature.

I suggest that the same principle also functions at a biological level. This was discussed briefly a few pages earlier. Protein folding is one of the most fundamental principles of biological life. Each human cell contains about one billion proteins, and proteins carry out almost all functions in cells. A protein takes the form of a three-dimensional structure, and acts as a building block of biological activity. But a protein is not fundamentally a three-dimensional structure. Instead, a protein is a linear sequence of amino acids. This linear sequence then folds in upon itself to form a three-dimensional structure. The function of a protein emerges as the chain of individual amino acids acquires its three-dimensional shape. Using cognitive language, a protein is a Teacher string, and the Mercy function of a protein is an emergent property that emerges when the Teacher string forms into a Mercy clump. In other words, the ultimate source of all life resides in Teacher thought and not in Mercy experiences. Going further, the DNA ‘language’ that converts DNA strings into amino acids is the same for all organisms and has not evolved. (There are some very minor exceptions to this universal statement.) Genetically speaking, there is one genetic language and all biological organisms are brothers. (Using an analogy, the biologist claims that the sentences and paragraphs of biological life have evolved massively while the alphabet of biological life has stayed unchanged for billions of years and most of the words also remain the same.)

Going still further, different proteins have different specific functions; one can distinguish between one protein and another based upon its Server actions. But life ceases to exist if these proteins are pulled apart; if one cuts a living organism into different Perceiver objects, then this organism will die. This means that it is logically impossible for life to have evolved in the physical universe with its physical objects. That is because one cannot assemble biological life one protein at a time the way that one assembles a set of Lego blocks. Similarly, the idea of life emerging gradually from a primordial soup is logically incoherent, because life requires the interaction of many proteins.

Many scientists recognize this inadequacy, but continue to hold to the theory of evolution because they think that the only alternative is to make the overgeneralized assertion that God created life in some incomprehensible manner through divine fiat. However, I suggest that one can come up with a logically coherent alternative if one is willing to go beyond physical reality and the physical universe. The word angel means ‘messenger’. All proteins start off as strings of amino acids based upon messages within the DNA. These strings then fold in on themselves to become functioning 3-D objects. It is logically possible that angelic beings who live in the realm of messages initially designed the proteins of biological life outside of human space/time. Life on earth then would have emerged as angelic messengers assembled these messages of life into living organisms within physical space-time.

Looking at this from a different perspective, one article points out that “The history of protein folding is a history of computer simulation technology. Early discoveries in proteomics started the race to develop methods of determining the three dimensional structure of proteins, but the road to get there proved far more difficult than scientists initially imagined.” If humans needed computers—machines that work with messages—to decipher protein folding, then it makes sense that protein folding was initially designed by intelligent beings who work naturally with messages—otherwise known as messengers or angels (and aliens appear to be a form of angel).

Summarizing, a theory of biological evolution that is limited to the physical universe is logically impossible. However, one can come up with a logically coherent theory of biological evolution if one starts with a monotheistic concept of God in Teacher thought and then proposes that God used the heavenly beings of angels to design, construct, and assemble the building blocks of biological life. This illustration is appropriate to our discussion because it was only in the 1980s and 90s that computers became powerful enough to do detailed research in protein folding.

Verse 10 turns from Teacher thought to Contributor thought. “Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.” The word leader is only used in this verse in the New Testament and means ‘someone bringing others down the road of learning by giving needed instruction… In Modern Greek this term refers to a professor’. The second phrase is more literally ‘your professor is one, the Christ’. This verse is dealing with the unity of abstract technical thought, because Christ refers to the abstract side of incarnation. The cognitive principle is that one should not view individual people in Mercy thought as the source of technical systems.

This principle has become apparent with the Standard Model. (Another essay examines the relationship between mental symmetry and physics and attempts to clarify which elements of cosmology are based in solid evidence and which come from underlying assumptions. For instance, the cosmological principle and the Copernican principle are both assumptions.) Wikipedia explains that “The Standard Model of particle physics is the theory describing three of the four known fundamental forces (the electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions, and not including the gravitational force) in the universe, as well as classifying all known elementary particles. It was developed in stages throughout the latter half of the 20th century, through the work of many scientists around the world, with the current formulation being finalized in the mid-1970s upon experimental confirmation of the existence of quarks.” The theory of relativity was simple enough to be constructed by a single person. Thus, one refers to Einstein’s theory of special relativity or general relativity. In contrast, the Standard Model resulted ‘through the work of many scientists around the world’.

Going further, Christ lives with God in Teacher thought. Using the language of physics, the abstract technical form of mathematics resides with a universal theory of God in Teacher thought. This relationship can be seen in the Standard Model. Wikipedia explains that “The development of the Standard Model was driven by theoretical and experimental particle physicists alike. For theorists, the Standard Model is a paradigm of a quantum field theory, which exhibits a wide range of phenomena including spontaneous symmetry breaking, anomalies and non-perturbative behavior. It is used as a basis for building more exotic models that incorporate hypothetical particles, extra dimensions, and elaborate symmetries (such as supersymmetry) in an attempt to explain experimental results at variance with the Standard Model, such as the existence of dark matter and neutrino oscillations.” Notice the three elements of ‘theoretical particle physics’, ‘experimental particle physics’ and ‘theorists’, corresponding to abstract technical thought, concrete technical thought, and universal Teacher theory. Notice also that one is dealing with one Christ—a single, technical theory of (almost) everything. Notice finally that the standard model cannot construct a complete theory if it limits itself to physical space and time but rather has to hypothesize the existence of dark matter and dark energy for which there is no physical evidence, and which does not fit into the Standard Model.

Verse 11 is basically a repeat of 20:26. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant.” However, chapter 20 stated this principle as a hypothetical desire, while verse 11 states this as an operating principle. Great refers to Teacher generality, while servant means ‘servant, minister’. Saying this cognitively, if one wishes to achieve Teacher generality, then one must allow one’s Server actions to be guided by other groups and people. Being a servant is different than being a slave. A servant has Server skills but uses these in the service of other people. Being a servant turns methodology into exemplars. Methodology describes how ‘we do things’; it encapsulates the procedures of my group. When there is a period of postmodern questioning, then what survives is methodology. That is because any group can regain Server confidence merely by continuing to act in a habitual manner. For instance, the postmodern scholar may assert that truth is relative and that theories are ideologies, but the postmodern scholar will still perform the methodology of academia, including teaching classes, getting and granting degrees, and publishing papers.

Exemplars are also based in Server sequences. The basic premise of an exemplar is that one gains Teacher understanding by looking at how systems behave, and that one acquires an education by performing the Server actions of solving problems. An exemplar is a Server sequence that can be seen in many different contexts. But an exemplar will only become apparent if one applies Server thought to many different contexts, which means being a servant.

Verse 12 then turns to Mercy thought. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Exalt means ‘to lift or raise up, to exalt’. We are interpreting this as moving in the direction of Teacher generality. It is found three times in Matthew: twice in this verse and also in 11:23, which said that Capernaum “will not be exalted to heaven”. This previous reference is consistent with the idea that ‘exalted’ implies moving in the direction of the ‘heaven’ of Teacher generality. Humble means ‘to make low’ and is also found three times in Matthew: twice in this verse, and also in 18:4 which said that ‘Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven”.

The principle here is that personal Mercy status will get in the way of Teacher understanding. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that graduate students are the most teachable while the typical professor is incapable of learning anything that questions the assumptions of his specialization. Thomas Kuhn came to a similar conclusion in his book on paradigm shifts, because he pointed out that new paradigms are generally introduced by people who are either young or new to a field, while new paradigms are usually resisted by established experts. The cognitive principle is that the mind will confuse Teacher emotion with Mercy emotion. If I have personal status in Mercy thought, then Teacher thought within my mind will feel that my words also have Teacher generality. Thus, if one wishes to continue using Teacher thought effectively, then one must not confuse Teacher thought by contaminating it with Mercy emotions.

The long-term solution is for personal identity to become reborn as a righteous person, which means following the third stage of personal transformation. Mercy feelings of personal identity will then tend to be consistent with Teacher feelings of generality. However, Matthew 23 is describing a period of time that juxtaposes Teacher-driven technical thought with postmodern mental networks. Given such a juxtaposition, Teacher thought can only be preserved by ensuring that Mercy status does not get in the way.

The First Three Woes 23:13-15

The next verses describe eight woes. Seven of the eight woes are explicitly preceded by the phrase ‘scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites’. Thus, we will be looking at behavior that the specialized experts claim to be performing but in fact are not.

The first woe is “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven in front of people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in” (v. 13). Shut off means ‘to shut’ and the other two times it is used in Matthew it refers to shutting a door. Before means ‘before, in front of (in place or time)’. In other words, the technical experts are using their special role in front of people in order to close the door on general Teacher understanding. Continuing, enter means ‘to go in’ and occurs three times as ‘enter’, ‘entering’, and ‘go in’. Allow means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Thus, the technical experts do not search for Teacher understanding, and they do not give freedom to those who are searching for Teacher understanding. However, these same technical experts claim to be the source of Teacher understanding. This is consistent with Kuhn’s observation that the typical scientist seldom performs the scientific task of coming up with general hypotheses, but rather spends most of his time solving technical puzzles. And if someone comes along and attempts to construct a general Teacher theory, then the technical experts will reject these ideas as scattered and insufficiently rigorous. I speak here from personal experience.

The second woe is not in the earliest manuscripts, but we will still examine it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” Devour is found twice in Matthew and means ‘utterly devour, leaving nothing’. The other time is in 13:4 where the birds eat up the seed that falls on the path in the parable of the sower and the seed. Widow is used once in Matthew and means ‘a widow’. A widow’s house would represent the mental framework for MMNs that have lost their ‘husband’ of male technical thought. Postmodern questioning will lead to many cognitive widows—mental networks of culture and religion that are no longer supported by organized facts or sequences. We saw earlier when looking at the 1960s that postmodern scholars used rigorous technical thought to attack absolute truth and blind faith. Once this absolute truth and blind faith had been successfully questioned, then all that remained was the female mental networks.

And technical experts who are sitting in the chair of Moses will find such mental networks intensely interesting. At a cognitive level, this is because the rigorous thinking of technical thought is actually motivated emotionally by mental networks. At a societal level, this is because the rigorous thinking of technical thought is now being used to come up with absolute truth. Summarizing, non-rigorous facts were previously attacked logically by technical thinking, but the resulting mental networks are now subconsciously attracting the attention of technical thought and being rationally analyzed. This combination leads to the ‘devouring of widow’s houses.

For instance, the cognitive science of religion began in the 1990s and has discovered a number of interesting experimental results regarding religion and cognition. These experimental results can be explained by the theory of mental symmetry. However, the cognitive science of religion studies primarily the MMNs of religious ritual and experience. It will not analyze theology. This is an example of ‘devouring widow’s houses’. It is also a hypocrisy, because the cognitive science of religion claims to be a pursuit of theoretical understanding, but it refuses to examine the theoretical understanding that religion has generated over the centuries. I speak again from personal experience, because I have attempted several times to interact with researchers in this field and have been pointedly ignored.

Similarly, neurology has made great strides in deciphering the neurological basis for emotion. However, what neurologists describe as emotion corresponds to Mercy emotion. Papers have been published that describe emotion that corresponds to Teacher emotion, but these researchers have stepped back from the implications of their research and refuse to recognize the existence of Teacher emotion. (This is described near the beginning of a paper that I uploaded to researchgate.)

Continuing with verse 14, pretense is used once in Matthew and combines ‘before’ with ‘bring to light’. The idea is that one is pretending to bring the light of Teacher understanding. Long is used once in Matthew and means ‘long, far distant’. Prayer means to ‘exchange wishes’. This would describe extended Teacher theories that claim to accurately analyze the Mercy emotions of the ‘widow’ being analyzed while in fact having only a distant comprehension of the Mercy emotions that are involved. For instance, one can see this in the cognitive science of religion. It claims to bring deep Teacher understanding to religious experience—and it has discovered legitimate experimental results, but its grasp of the depth of emotions that are involved in religious experience is quite juvenile.

Finishing verse 14, greater means ‘beyond what is anticipated’. And condemnation means ‘to distinguish, judge… emphasizing its result’. Looking at this cognitively, this pretense of cognitive analysis will itself be analyzed technically. And I have found that this is the case, because one can uncover many cognitive principles by analyzing theories that ‘devour widow’s houses’.

The third woe is in verse 15. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes [one], you make him twice as much a son of Gehenna as yourselves.” Travel around means ‘to lead around, to go about’. Sea is the normal word, but land is actually the adjective ‘dry’ which was translated as ‘withered’ the one other time it occurs in Matthew. Make means ‘to make, do’. Proselyte is used once in Matthew and literally means ‘one who has arrived’. The word one was previously used in verses 8 and 9 to say that ‘one is your teacher’ and ‘one is your father’.

Looking at this literally, Judaism has not normally been a missionary religion, but it did seek converts during Jesus’ time. Looking at this cognitively, what is being described is a methodology to bring unity to new information. That is because this verse describes what the Pharisees are ‘doing’. ‘Dry’ represents Perceiver facts from which the moisture of Mercy experience has been eliminated, whereas ‘sea’ represents a realm consisting only of emotional Mercy experiences. The technical expert is ‘going about’ these two realms, which means alternating between emotional experiences that lack solid facts and objective facts that suppress Mercy emotions. Saying this another way, the researcher is observing the emotional experiences of others and then distilling facts from these emotional experiences in a dispassionate manner. Using the language of MBTI®, the researcher is moving between Feeling and Thinking. This moving between emotional Mercy experiences and emotionless Perceiver facts is bringing intellectual unity to the new information—it is making one proselyte.

This does not describe the methodology that I have been following. I also move between Perceiver facts and emotional Mercy experiences in my analysis. But my goal is to gain sufficient Perceiver confidence to be able to hold on to the facts in the midst of emotional experiences, and when I learn new Perceiver facts, I try to follow this by applying these facts to my personal identity in some emotional fashion. Saying this another way, my goal is to integrate Thinking and Feeling rather than alternate mentally between these two.

Turning to the second phrase, one can interpret this literally as pointing out that it is much more difficult to start following the 613 Jewish laws as an adult than it is to grow up in a Jewish home in which one is guided by childish MMNs to perform these laws. That is why most converts to Judaism in the Roman era were actually God-fearers who observed some of the rites and traditions without becoming full converts.

Looking at this phrase in more detail, become means ‘to come into being’, while the second ‘one’ is not in the original Greek. Him can mean either ‘him’ or ‘the same’. Gehenna originally referred to a valley outside of Jerusalem where garbage and dead bodies were continually burned. Twofold is used once in Matthew and means ‘twofold, double’. The reference to Gehenna makes cognitive sense. If one is following a methodology of participating in emotional Mercy experiences and then following this by objectively examining the Perceiver facts about these experiences, then one is creating a mental realm of dead bodies—mental networks that have come into existence are being killed and then burned in the fire of frustration. This same ‘burning of mental networks’ can be seen in the laws and research itself, because one is starting by observing the physical objects and events that are associated with mental networks rather than the mental networks themselves, and then one is describing these events and objects in an objective manner.

If one interprets a proselyte as new information, then it is twice a son of Gehenna. The mindset is a ‘son of Gehenna’ because it uses objective thinking to deal with emotional experiences. The new information is twice a son of Gehenna because the method of analysis eliminates Mercy emotions, and Mercy emotions are also being eliminated from the emotional data being analyzed. Think, for instance, of a religious ritual being analyzed by the cognitive science of religion. First, the researcher is typically a religious outsider who observes the emotional rituals from an objective perspective. (And researchers who are religious insiders usually act like outsiders who can ‘see through’ any emotional extremism.) Second, the religious data being analyzed is then taken out of the context of a personal relationship with God, and placed within the impersonal theory of evolution. (And researchers who claim to have a personal relationship with God will usually use the theory of evolution to interpret their belief in God.) I speak again from personal experience, guided in particular by interaction with the local Christian University. Mental symmetry, in contrast, recognizes that cognitive principles of religion play a key role in following a process of personal transformation. And mental symmetry places cognitive principles of religion within a rational framework that is consistent with Christian theology.

The Fourth Woe 23:16-22

The fourth woe deals with swearing. Verse 16 begins: “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.” This is the only woe that does not start with the phrase ‘scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites’. Blind implies a mental inability to gain Perceiver facts from observing the environment. Guide combines the two words ‘way, road’ and ‘to lead the way’, which indicates that Server actions and paths are being practiced and taught. Thus, there is Server confidence but not Perceiver knowledge.

The phrase ‘blind guides’ was seen once before in 15:14. We interpreted that as an area of expertise getting disconnected from reality and becoming based in a methodology that is passed on from professors to students. That same interpretation is appropriate here. The technical thought will create a detailed methodology, the postmodern questioning will cause Perceiver facts about reality to fall into doubt, the pharisaical split of experts from laymen will place the experts within a bubble that is disconnected from the common person, while the Teacher words and theories of the scribes will create Teacher emotions that reinforce this alternate reality.

The word temple is used five times in this woe and means the ‘part of the temple where God himself resides’. (The word that was used for temple in chapter 21 refers to the entire temple complex.) Swear means to ‘take an oath’ and one would typically swear by someone, such as ‘I swear by Jupiter’. This word ‘swear’ is used ten times in this woe. The first phrase says that making an oath in the realm of the shrine is nothing at all. Obligated means ‘morally obligated or legally required’. ‘Gold’ would represent valuable, trusted information. Looking at this cognitively, one is obligated to follow data that is tested and statistically sound, but the TMN of general understanding that provides the emotional basis for trusting such data means nothing. Saying this another way, science has been reduced to the methodology of various scientific methods, and there is no longer any philosophy of science or concept of God to form a basis for doing science. Instead, TMNs of scientific methodology are being viewed as ‘gods’ by which one ‘swears’ in order to come up with legitimate facts.

For instance, Wikipedia describes how the p-test is commonly misused as a sort of ‘swearing by’. “In null hypothesis significance testing, the p-value is the largest probability of obtaining test results at least as extreme as the results actually observed, under the assumption that the null hypothesis is correct… Reporting p-values of statistical tests is common practice in academic publications of many quantitative fields. Since the precise meaning of p-value is hard to grasp, misuse is widespread and has been a major topic in metascience.”

Verse 17 points out the underlying contradiction: “You fools and blind men! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?” Fool is ‘the root of the English terms, moronic, moronic’ and ‘properly refers to physical nerves causing one to become dull, sluggish’. Looking at this cognitively, thinking that is guided by mental networks is fast and intuitive. When technical thought is emphasized at the expense of mental networks, then the result is thinking that is slow and labored, or ‘dull, sluggish’. Greater refers to Teacher generality. Sanctified means ‘to make holy’. It is used three times in Matthew: twice in this woe and in 6:9 in the Lord’s Prayer in the phrase ‘hallowed be your name’. Translating verse 17 into cognitive language, which has greater Teacher generality, the carefully tested information, or the general Teacher understanding that guides how one carefully tests information?

Verse 18 continues with a similar example. “And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’” Altar means ‘the meeting place between God and the true worshiper’. A gift ‘focuses on the free nature of the gift’. Looking at this cognitively, Contributor-controlled technical thought places a great emphasis upon choice and free will, because Contributor thought is the part of the mind that chooses. However, Contributor choice always occurs within some context: Exhorter thought will motivate the mind to pursue a certain set of alternatives based upon the current Mercy and Teacher mental networks. Pure technical thought will choose one of these alternatives and then focus upon this choice while ignoring the TMNs and MMNs that came together to form the basis for this choice.

For instance, one can see this relationship illustrated by the typical American election. One is free to choose, but one can only choose candidates who are on the ballot. And the candidates who are on the ballot will be predetermined by a biparty system that divides politics into the two categories of Democrat and Republican. The current Democratic mindset is becoming increasingly driven by postmodern questioning with its Teacher overgeneralization of ‘equality for all’, while the current Republican mindset is becoming increasingly driven by a desire to preserve the concept of absolute truth. Thus, even though the emphasis is upon going out and voting, what really matters is not the voting itself but rather the altar where the ‘god’ of democracy meets the human MMNs of absolute truth and postmodern questioning. A similar principle applied to the typical communist election, in which one was ‘free’ to choose between Comrade A and Comrade B, both of whom had been pre-chosen by the mental networks of a communist system. Notice that in both cases, one is not dealing either with pure MMNs of tribalism or pure TMNs of rational understanding. Instead, the context is being predetermined by the meeting place of these two—where humans come into contact with the system.

Jesus points this out in verse 19. “You blind men, which is greater, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering?” Using the example of an election, which has greater Teacher generality: the choice that is being made or the mental networks that create the context for this choice? Not recognizing this distinction is a case of blindness, because one is focusing upon the specific choice without seeing the impact or context of this choice.

Verse 20 describes this principle. “Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it.” If one ‘swears by’ the TMNs and MMNs of some social, political, or religious system, then all the supposedly free choices that one makes will lie within the realm of this system. Any ‘free will offering’ made within this system will—by default—be emotionally bound by the mental networks of that system. For instance, if one emotionally subscribes to the American two-party system, then any election that occurs within that system will also emotionally subscribe to the two-party system.

Verse 21 generalizes to Teacher thought. “And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by [Him] who dwells within it.” (‘Him’ is not in the original Greek.) Dwelling means ‘to inhabit, to settle’. What is happening cognitively is that one is discovering a new form of Teacher theory. Postmodern thought questions the very existence of general statements, while technical specialization avoids the ‘forest’ of Teacher generality by focusing upon the ‘trees’ of some specialization. However, when personal behavior continues to be emotionally driven by some system, then one is mentally ‘swearing by a dwelling place of god’. First, a theory turns into a TMN whenever it continues to be used. Second, a sufficiently general theory that applies to personal identity will form a concept of god. Thus, what started as emotionally appealing to some methodology will eventually grow to form the TMN of a living entity within the mind. For instance, following the scientific method will turn into a form of religion that is emotionally defended using religious sounding language. Facts that have been insufficiently blessed by statistical analysis will be viewed as unworthy of the god of science, and offering tainted information upon the shrine of science will be regarded almost as blasphemy against god.

Verse 22 describes this final cognitive step. “And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.” This is the first explicit mention of God in Chapter 23. That is why I put ‘god’ in smaller case when discussing verse 21. ‘Swearing by heaven’ means that one is emotionally appealing to the TMN of some abstract system rather than the MMN of some authority figure. Notice that the identity and character of God have not yet been determined. One is not yet swearing by God, but rather by the throne of God. The word throne is different than the word ‘chair’ that was seen in verse 1. Verse 1 began with the scribes and Pharisees seating themselves in the chair of Moses. In verse 22, this has been replaced by a throne of God and someone sitting on it. Looking at this cognitively, the various technical methods have mentally coalesced to form an integrated system of technical thought, backed up by an implicit concept of God. This will not be referred to explicitly as God, but the behavior will make it clear that the behavior of the experts is being ruled by the throne of some divine-like being. In essence, the scientific, political, and social establishment will be guided by the overarching concept that an elite group of experts determines truth and then imposes this truth upon society. (Identity politics recognizes this implicit emotional force, but it misinterprets it as the MMNs of some cultural group and does not realize that it is actually an expression of Teacher emotions.)

The assertion is often made by conspiracy theorists that the world is being controlled by some sort of deep state with a sinister agenda. Matthew 23 suggests an alternative interpretation, which is that a kind of deep state will naturally emerge when ‘scribes and Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses’ within the context of a modern technological infrastructure. Viewing this as a global conspiracy actually makes the problem worse, because it reinforces the mindset that caused the problem to arise in the first place, which is to base the absolute truth of society upon the opinions of experts who use their expertise to decide truth among themselves.

The Last Four Woes 23:23-33

The fifth woe begins in verse 23. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. Tithe is found once in Matthew and means to ‘take off a tenth part’. The purpose of the tithe in the Old Testament was to support the Levites, who had no inheritance of land but rather acted as priests, temple functionaries, teachers, and civil servants. In other words, tithing was the method of supporting those who performed religious, academic, and social services.

Mint is used only in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke 11 and means ‘sweet smelling’. Smell triggers mental networks, and ‘sweet smelling’ would attempt to trigger mental networks in a pleasant manner. Dill is found once in the New Testament. It is an ancient spice used to flavor many foods. Cummin is also used once in the New Testament. Wikipedia mentions that “The ancient Greeks kept cumin at the dining table in its own container (much as pepper is frequently kept today).” Both of these describe something that is added to food to make it more tasty, which would mean presenting intellectual food in a more palatable manner. Thus, tithing these spices would represent researching, moralizing about, and socially spreading ways in which to make information more pleasant and more tasty, such as using the right language or packaging information within multimedia presentations.

Neglected means ‘to send away, leave alone, permit’. Law was last mentioned in 22:40 which said that the whole law and the prophets hang on the two greatest commandments of loving God and one’s neighbor. Justice means ‘to separate, distinguish, judge’ and is a requirement for abstract technical thought. Abstract thought is based upon precise definitions, and such precise definitions require separating, distinguishing, and judging. Mercy means ‘mercy, pity, compassion’ and would describe being kind to personal MMNs. Such kindness is only possible if one acknowledges mental networks and is aware of their actual content. Faithfulness means ‘persuasion’ and is related to faith, which means to ‘be persuaded’. Persuasion assumes the existence of rational facts by which one can be persuaded.

Putting this together, people are being cared for in a surface manner. Symptoms are being addressed rather than underlying causes. The appearance of caring is substituting for actual care. The hypocrisy arises because one is recognizing at a surface level that people have feelings and need to be persuaded, but one is not actually delving into people’s feelings or looking at persuasion in detail. This type of hypocrisy happens naturally when one ‘moves around the sea and the dry’—studying behavior that is motivated by mental networks and then analyzing this behavior in an objective manner. One will gain an awareness of surface characteristics. For instance, one will carefully avoid using certain words for fear of offending people while refusing to analyze what is actually motivating people to use these offensive words; one will state very precisely which words may or may not be used, while refusing to think about the underlying mental categories upon which these words are based.

Verse 23 continues: “but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” In other words, politeness is fine, but it needs to happen within a larger context of clear, rational, and caring thought.

Verse 24 concludes, “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” The previous verses referred to a hypocrisy, because care was being demonstrated for people at a surface level but not at a deeper level. Verse 24 returns to the concept of a blind guide, with its combination of leading in Server thought while lacking Perceiver thought. Strain out is found once in the New Testament and means ‘to strain thoroughly’. Gnat is also used once in the New Testament and may combine ‘sharp point’ with ‘to appear’, possibly referring to a mosquito with its stinger. A gnat also flies, which implies travelling through the air of Teacher thought. Straining removes undesired objects from a liquid. Thus, straining out a gnat would represent removing any Teacher words that give the appearance of stinging from the flow of Mercy experiences. Using modern language, this describes political correctness in which one eliminates any offensive language from social discourse.

Swallow is used once in Matthew and means ‘to drink down’. Camel occurred in 19:24 in the description of a camel going through the eye of the needle, and we observed that a camel can take journeys across the waterless desert. If water represents Mercy experiences, then drinking down a camel would mean embracing the culture of objective, abstract research. One can find this contradiction in academia. On the one hand, academia is a castle in the air that avoids Mercy experiences, while on the other hand, those who live within this castle in the air are provided with a culture of comfortable offices, conferences, banquets, rewards, and various other academic perks and goodies.

Putting these two phrases together, Mercy emotions are being protected from hurt at a surface level, while at a deeper level, the existence of Mercy thought itself is being suppressed. This qualifies as blind, because those who live a lifestyle of avoiding Mercy thought are acting as the guardians of Mercy thought. And there is guiding because Server procedures are being established and followed in order to deal in a bureaucratic matter with any gnats that happen to slip through the straining process.

Verse 25 describes the sixth woe. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence.” Clean means to ‘make pure, removing all admixture’. Cup refers to ‘a wine cup’, which we have interpreted as a set of Mercy experiences that are associated with following some path. Dish is only found in this verse and the next verse. It means ‘a side dish of delicacies’ and combines ‘beside’ with ‘whatever is eaten with bread, especially… fish’. I have mentioned that Teacher thought is sensitive to the exception to the general rule. This creates an emotional drive to ‘remove all admixture’. But what is being purified is neither the mind nor Mercy thought but rather specific packages of Mercy experiences—the side dishes that accompany the primary food of intellectual bread. And even these secondary elements themselves are not being purified. Instead, only the outside of the containers for these secondary elements is being purified.

Filled is only used in Matthew in this verse and in verse 27 and means ‘filled to capacity… totally characterized by’. Robbery is used once in Matthew and means ‘to plunder, fueled by violent greed’. Self-indulgence is used once in Matthew and means ‘without prevailing, the inability to maintain control’. Of actually means ‘from out of’, which means that the insides of the cups are being filled ‘from out of’ deeper feelings of ‘robbery and self-indulgence’.

Looking at this cognitively, Perceiver thought is responsible for defining what is and is not me. This leads among other things to self-control—an ability to maintain self in the midst of emotional pressures. Without this self-control, there will be no mental fences to prevent Exhorter thought from focusing upon exciting experiences and objects that do not belong to me, leading to feelings of greed. However, the standards of politeness and political correctness will place extreme limitations upon any public expression of this underlying greed and lack of self-control. The end result is that childish MMNs will become bottled up rather than transformed, and when they express themselves, they will tend to emerge in explosive ways. Saying this more simply, adults will actually be sophisticated children who have learned to cover up their childish motives with a veneer of adult maturity.

Verse 26 summarizes, “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.” Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. In other words, a blind Pharisee is applying separatism in a manner that is unaware of the surroundings. Thus, standards of holiness and separatism are being followed and proclaimed, but they have nothing to do with the actual facts of the situation—and the blind Pharisee lacks the mental sight that is required to notice this cognitive disconnect. Cleanse means ‘to make pure’. Verse 26 doesn’t even address the idea of becoming personally pure. It merely states that one should go beyond posturing about peripheral purity to actually dealing with peripheral purity. In other words, the blind Pharisee lacks the self-control to deal with deeper emotional issues. But it is still possible to deal with cups of experience and dishes of dainty social hors d’oeuvres in a pure manner, ensuring that at least the immediate situation is handled with pure motives. Become means ‘to come into being’. Thus, if one purifies specific cups and side dishes, then politeness will naturally emerge in these areas as well.

Verse 27 describes the seventh woe. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Like is found once in the New Testament and means ‘to be like’. Tomb means ‘a burial, hence a grave’. Whitewashed is found twice in the New Testament and comes from the word ‘dust’ and means ‘to plaster over’. Appear means ‘to bring to light, to cause to appear’. Beautiful is used once in Matthew and means ‘seasonable, timely’. Full was seen two verses earlier and means ‘filled to capacity’. Putting this together, ‘light’ implies the presence of Teacher understanding, while ‘timely’ suggests that one is using this Teacher understanding to guide the sequence and timing of Server events. However, this is based in the ‘dust’ of fragmented Perceiver facts which plasters over an interior filled with dead bones.

Bones are mentioned once in Matthew, and bones would represent the solid Perceiver facts of personal identity. Dead is derived from ‘a corpse, a dead body’. In other words, the mind contains many solid Perceiver facts that relate to personal identity in Mercy thought. But these facts were all derived from observing the living experiences of other people, killing any living mental networks, and then saving the solid bones of Perceiver truth. For instance, consider the cognitive science of religion. It observes the living experiences of religion while generally avoiding participating in religion itself. It then removes the life from these Mercy experiences in order to find the solid Perceiver bones. These bones then provide the reference points for thought. Impurity is used once in Matthew and adds the prefix ‘not’ to ‘clean because unmixed, pure’. Thus, the outside of the cup and bowl have been purified, while thinking is filled with a jumble of dead bones. For instance, the cognitive science of religion analyzes all religions in a haphazard manner, without distinguishing the cognitive impact of one religious system from that of another. (It may feel that I am picking on the cognitive science of religion, but I suggest that the opposite is the case. Both mental symmetry and the cognitive science of religion claim to analyze religion from a cognitive perspective. Mental symmetry has been used to examine and explain the experimental findings of the cognitive science of religion—and also to study and explain the theological content of the Bible. In contrast, the general consensus of researchers in the cognitive science of religion is that theology is irrelevant to the study of religion and that the theory of mental symmetry has nothing to offer. Therefore, I suggest that it is appropriate to use the cognitive science of religion as an example of inadequate academic thought when analyzing the section of Matthew that deals with the inadequacies of current academic thought.)

Verse 28 turns from content to character. “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Appear is the same word used in verse 27 which means ‘to bring to light’. Righteous describes Server actions that are guided by general Teacher understanding. One of the limitations of human approval is that people cannot read minds; they will dispense approval or disapproval based upon what they observe from other people. Saying this another way, I have to use Theory of Mind to guess what another person is thinking, which works by using sensory clues from the other person to trigger mental networks within my mind. Verse 28 describes behavior that outwardly appears righteous to men. In other words, other people who observe my behavior will think that my behavior is being guided by TMNs of rational understanding and not by MMNs of culture, personal status, or prejudice. This is hypocritical because true righteousness follows Teacher understanding without being motivated by Mercy feelings of personal or social approval. In contrast, an appearance of righteousness seeks approval from MMNs by behaving in such a way that generates the external appearance of following an internal TMN of understanding and not societal MMNs.

Verse 28 concludes that this is inwardly ‘full of hypocrisy and lawlessness’. Full means ‘full, filled with’. Lawlessness adds ‘not’ to ‘law’. In verse 23, the weightier provisions of the law were being neglected. In verse 28, this has progressed to being ‘full of lawlessness’. That is because one is continually adjusting one’s internal sense of law in order to follow the latest standards approved by society. This goes beyond following MMNs of approval to using MMNs of approval to define one’s current sense of law. One is actually submitting to approval, but one is doing this in a way that appears to be righteous submission to the law. This internal contradiction will also lead to fullness of hypocrisy, because one is not just saying one thing and doing another but rather submitting to an entire system of morality that pretends to be one thing while actually being another.

One can find this juxtaposition in identity politics. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The term identity politics refers to a wide range of political activities and theoretical analyses rooted in experiences of injustice shared by different, often excluded social groups. In this context, identity politics aims to reclaim greater self-determination and political freedom for marginalized peoples through understanding particular paradigms and lifestyle factors, and challenging externally imposed characterizations and limitations, instead of organizing solely around status quo belief systems or traditional party affiliations. Identity is used ‘as a tool to frame political claims, promote political ideologies, or stimulate and orient social and political action, usually in a larger context of inequality or injustice and with the aim of asserting group distinctiveness and belonging and gaining power and recognition.’” Notice how one is giving the appearance of righteousness by identifying with people and groups that are receiving disapproval from society in Mercy thought. And this is being portrayed as pursuing Teacher generality by ‘understanding particular paradigms and lifestyle factors, and challenging externally imposed characterizations and limitations’. However, this supposed pursuit of Teacher generality is not guided by any moral system; it is not ‘organized solely around status quo belief systems or traditional party affiliations’. Instead, it uses the Teacher language of ‘promoting political ideologies’ to pursue Mercy goals of ‘asserting group distinctiveness and belonging and gaining power and recognition’. Wikipedia adds that this “took on wide-spread usage in the early 1980s, and in the ensuing decades has been employed in myriad cases with radically different connotations dependent upon the term’s context.”

The eighth woe begins in verse 29. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous.” Build means ‘to build a house’. Tomb is the same word as in verse 27, which means ‘a burial’. Prophet means ‘elevating or asserting one idea over another’, and this word is used in noun form to describe the Perceiver person in Romans 12:6. Adorn means ‘to beautify, having the right arrangement’. Monument means ‘a memorial, a monument’. And righteous describes Server actions guided by Teacher understanding.

Putting this together, one normally builds a house for personal identity, but in this case houses are being built for the dead prophets. Saying this another way, one normally uses Perceiver thought to construct an accurate self-image, but Perceiver thought is being used instead to learn accurate facts about heroes from the past who used Perceiver thought to look forward to the present. For instance, one might study about the life of Martin Luther, who used Perceiver truth to stand against the Mercy might of the Catholic Church. Or even better, one will study about the life of Martin Luther King, who used Perceiver truth to stand against the Mercy might of white prejudice.

Righteousness has the effect of ‘beautifying’ personal identity because it puts personal behavior into ‘the right arrangement’. But what are being arranged here are the Mercy memories of those who acted righteous in the past. Saying this another way, instead of treating righteous people as exemplars to follow, they are being given Mercy status and the appearance of righteousness is being added to these Mercy memories. For instance, one will remember Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms where he stood in front of the Emperor and declared “Here I stand, I can do no other”. Or one will remember Martin Luther King at the 1963 March on Washington where he proclaimed that “I have a dream”.

Verse 30 continues: “and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’” ‘Living’ is not in the original Greek and had been is literally ‘existed’, as is ‘have been’. Day means ‘the period from sunrise to sunset’, which we have been interpreting as an era illuminated by the ‘sun’ of some general Teacher understanding. Partner is used once in Matthew and means ‘a participant who mutually belongs and shares fellowship’. Blood is a liquid that represents the emotional experiences of personal identity. If enough blood is spilled, then a person will die. Similarly, if the emotional experiences of personal identity become sufficiently dispersed, then the MMNs of personal identity will cease functioning and die.

Putting these words together, other eras with different Teacher understanding are being treated as hypothetical homes for personal identity. The understanding or facts taught by a prophet are not being mentioned. Instead, the Mercy trauma of a prophet being personally attacked provides the reference point for the previous era. And people from the present are saying that they would not have had any Mercy connections with the people from the past who inflicted this Mercy trauma. For instance, one can see this mindset in those who protest historical mistreatment, because the protests will focus upon the experiences of abuse and attempt to break any personal connections with those who perpetrated the abuse in the past.

Verse 31 describes this indirect relationship: “So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” Testify means ‘to bear witness, testify’ and this is the only time that this word is used in Matthew. Testifying backs up words with personal experience. Murdered means ‘to kill, murder’. The prophets were initially murdered because their audience attempted to silence an unwanted message by killing the messenger—they focused upon the person in Mercy thought rather than the facts in Perceiver thought. But the people of verse 30 are doing the same thing by focusing upon the person in Mercy thought rather than the facts in Perceiver thought. Cognitively speaking, they are the sons of the murderers, because they are also using emotional methods in Mercy thought to avoid thinking about facts in Perceiver thought.

Verse 32 continues, “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers.” Fill up means ‘to fill to individual capacity’. ‘Of the guilt’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, measure means ‘a measure, the actual measure itself’. This describes quantitative thought, which turns vague concepts into precise numbers. The thinking of the fathers is being quantified and measured, and this quantified version is then being filled up appropriately. The fathers responded emotionally in a non-rigorous manner. The sons are using a more rigorous version of the same kind of thinking.

Verse 33 concludes, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how would you escape the sentence of Gehenna?” A serpent is ‘a snake’. A snake is visually a living string and symbolizes the simplest possible form of Teacher theory, which is a string with no details. This corresponds to the Teacher overgeneralization of mysticism which ties everything together by asserting that ‘all is one’, without adding any details. What happens cognitively is that all of the questioning of Perceiver truth will lead eventually to overgeneralized concepts of equality and justice, and this overgeneralized thinking will end up rediscovering mysticism and Buddhism.

A viper is ‘a poisonous snake’. Cognitively speaking, this combines Teacher overgeneralization with threats and attacks in Mercy thought. Brood means ‘offspring’. A serpent that is an offspring of vipers would correspond to the progression of the previous paragraph. It started as vipers: protests and personal attacks in Mercy thought combined with overgeneralized statements about justice and equality. This eventually led to the ultimate overgeneralization of mysticism as represented by a snake.

Escape means ‘to flee’. Sentence means ‘to separate, distinguish, judge’, which describes a fundamental element of abstract technical thought. And Gehenna describes the valley outside of Jerusalem where dead bodies were burned. Looking at this cognitively, how can such a mindset escape the fate of being driven to suppress living mental networks? That is because any expression of life will be interpreted and condemned as oppression: If some people are getting ahead in life, then they must have oppressed others to get there. If some group is experiencing personal difficulties, then the people of that group are obviously being suppressed by society. And the standard solution will be to attack the oppressor and proclaim overgeneralized slogans of equality. When this type of thinking is being practiced in a rigorous manner, then it becomes essentially impossible to escape the Gehenna of burning dead bodies.

The Aftermath of the Eight Woes 23:34-36

Verse 34 describes what will follow. “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city.” ‘I’ is explicitly mentioned in this sentence, and this is the only occurrence of ‘I’ (as the subject) in this chapter. The implication is that the identity of incarnation will be confusing. That is because the scribes and Pharisees are using a combination of mental networks and technical thought, the same combination that one finds in incarnation. But the scribes and Pharisees are putting these two forms of thinking together in a different way than incarnation. Therefore, the scribes and Pharisees will increasingly become a false form of incarnation against which the true incarnation gradually emerges. This explains the ‘therefore’, because the continual frustration of having to deal with an inadequate version of incarnation will force people to rethink the nature of incarnation.

This rethinking can be seen in the type of people described in verse 34. Prophet means ‘elevating or asserting one idea over another, especially through the spoken word’. Verse 3 said that one should accept the Perceiver facts and Server sequences of the scribes and Pharisees while rejecting the motivation behind this information. That statement was made at the beginning of the eight woes before the thinking of the scribes and Pharisees started to unravel. But the general principle still remains that rethinking a concept of incarnation does not mean rejecting the content of the scribes and Pharisees. Instead, this content has to be rearranged by ‘elevating or asserting one idea over another, especially through the spoken word’. This describes the sort of rethinking that I am attempting to do in these essays. For years I have felt that paradise on earth could be achieved if one simply took elements of society that already exist and rearranged them.

Wise men means ‘skilled, wise’ and comes from the word ‘clarity’. It is used twice in Matthew. In 11:25 Jesus praised the Father that things had being hidden from the wise, and we interpreted that as the shift from the Reformation and the Renaissance to the new thinking of experimental science. Here, wisdom is being described as something good. The eight woes have mentioned hypocrisies that are present in the thinking of the scribes and Pharisees. Such internal inconsistencies lead naturally to muddled thinking which can be eliminated through clarity of thought.

Scribes is the same word used in ‘scribes and Pharisees’ and indicates written material. In other words, the solution is not to abandon words and written material, but rather to come up with proper words. When faced with the inadequate thinking of the scribes and Pharisees, the temptation will be to reject the very concept of a scribe. But the goal is not to follow the path of deconstructionism and abandon theory, but rather to come up with proper theory, because the incarnation is based in general Teacher understanding. As John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

The order of these three terms is significant. The first step is the rearranging of the prophet, because this does the large-scale reassembling that is required to rescue the thinking of the scribes and Pharisees. Once enough reassembling has been done, then it becomes possible to seek the clarity of wisdom. Saying this another way, the rearranging of prophecy shifts the mental landscape, while wisdom finds clarity by performing local optimization within the rearranged landscape. One then discovers that this clarified rearrangement can be described by general Teacher theories. For instance, mental symmetry began with the rearranging of cognitive styles. The emphasis then turned to using cognitive styles as a way to clarify cultural, religious, and personal experiences. Recently, mental symmetry has been used as a meta-theory to bring Teacher unity to a number of topics through various books and essays.

Verse 34 then describes three possible responses. These three responses go from strongest to weakest, and one can interpret them as the way that one deals with unwanted mental networks. The first is to ‘kill and crucify’. Kill simply means ‘to kill’, and this is the second use of the verb crucify. The first use was in 20:19 which predicted that the Son of Man would be crucified. Looking at this cognitively, a mental network forms when a group of emotional memories cluster together and begin functioning as a unit. A mental network that has just formed is unstable and can usually be eliminated by simply pulling the mental network apart—effectively killing it. However, once a mental network achieves some stability, then eliminating an unwanted mental network requires the more extensive response of crucifixion. This is done by controlling the mental network and refusing to allow it to express itself for an extended period of time. The undesired mental network will gradually flake away like the layers of an onion until it finally dies when the core elements of the mental network fragment.

The second response is to ‘scourge in your synagogues’. Scourge is used three times in Matthew and means to flog with a whip of leather thongs, which has pieces of metal embedded. Summarizing the earlier symbolic analysis, a piece of metal is a hard solid object that has been tested in the fire—a tested fact. Leather comes from the skin of a cow. A cow is alive, it is a source of milk, but it is not human. This represents mental networks of psychological theory that can help people at the basic level of drinking milk, but do not lead people to the full transformation of a human mind. The basic premise of such theories is that man is driven by animal instincts. Pieces of metal sewn up in leather implies fragments of hard scientific facts placed within some psychological system of animal instincts. We have seen this juxtaposition of immature MMNs and solid Perceiver facts in the eight woes.

The general principle is that mental networks that portray how people and society could be are being flogged by mental networks based in how people and society are. The rethinking of verse 34 began with the prophet rearranging existing elements of research and behavior. When this rearranging is clarified and turned into general Teacher theories, then this will indirectly cause Platonic forms of possible perfection to emerge within Mercy thought: ‘Imagine how simple, pure, and ideal society would be if we took these elements and put them together this way.’ The typical response will be ‘How dare you suggest that my lifestyle is inferior! You are just a naïve idealist. Your ideas would never work in real life.’

This scourging is happening in synagogues, the religious places of meeting. The implication is that feelings of religion and conscience are being triggered. Obviously, Platonic forms of a more ideal society and a more ideal person will trigger feelings of moral inadequacy. In fact, the entire system of the scribes and Pharisees will be revealed as fundamentally flawed, because it pretends to be rational thought guided by Teacher understanding while actually being rationalizing that is molded by childish MMNs. The new understanding will reveal that this ‘Emperor has no clothes’. It is not just that the Emperor is wearing the wrong clothes, but rather that he is stark naked and is only pretending to wear clothes. Notice that the undesired mental networks can no longer be killed or crucified. Instead, they can only be attacked and morally discredited.

The third response is to ‘persecute from city to city’. Persecute means ‘to aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch’. A city describes a social environment, and cities were the basic units of civilization in Roman times. This implies that the undesired mental networks can no longer be fought at the individual level, because they are starting to be applied locally by groups. These groups are being hunted down, but whenever one group is suppressed, then another group springs up in some other location. Cognitively speaking, such pursuing from city to city actually causes the undesired mental networks to become more general, because every new expression in a different city uncovers an additional facet of incarnation.

Verse 35 looks at the progression from a different perspective. “So that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” One could naïvely interpret this as a progression from ‘A’ to ‘Z’, but ‘omega’ is actually the last letter of the Greek alphabet. One can also view it as a historical progression from Abel in Genesis to some unknown victim murdered shortly before the time of Jesus.

Looking at this cognitively, Genesis 4 says that Cain killed Abel because Cain offered God ‘the fruit of the ground’ which was rejected, while Abel offered God ‘the first lines of his flock’ which was accepted. The cognitive principle is that God in Teacher thought is not satisfied with materialistic understanding that grows from the ‘ground’ of physical reality. Instead, childish MMNs have to die and be offered to God. Applying this to the eight woes, it has become taboo to suggest that existing mental networks of childish desire, personal lifestyle, ethnicity, or culture need to be reborn. Instead, any implication that existing MMNs are inadequate will be condemned as ‘hate’ and ‘prejudice’.

Looking more closely at the first phrase, poured out means ‘gush forth, pour out’ and is used three times in Matthew. In 9:17, new wine was being placed into old wineskins, and the new wine was pouring out. And 26:28 compares the wine of communion with the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for forgiveness of sins. This same word is also used to describe the seven angels pouring out the bowls of wrath in Revelation 16. In verse 35, righteous blood is being poured out. The pouring out of blood suggests that MMNs of personal identity are being fragmented and killed in a massive way.

If one interprets this literally, then one comes to the conclusion that incarnation causes holocausts. In contrast, I suggest that the opposite is true. The stronger a concept of incarnation, the more the pouring out of life is cognitive and involves mental networks. In contrast, physical holocausts happen when mental concepts of incarnation are weak. For instance, I feel as if most of the blood of my life has been ‘poured out’ as a result of pursuing a more adequate concept of incarnation. But I have experienced very little physical suffering. Instead, almost all of my suffering has involved inadequate mental networks falling apart as a byproduct of pursuing more integrated mental networks. Like the parable of the hidden treasure in 13:44, I have been driven to sell all that I have in order to buy the field with the hidden treasure.

Similarly, verse 35 emphasizes that righteous blood is being poured out. In other words, there is no inherent merit in spilling cognitive blood by allowing one’s MMNs to fall apart. Instead, the merit comes from following Teacher understanding in a righteous manner even if this means spilling the blood of MMNs. And this will become a central theme because the scribes and Pharisees are pretending to act in a righteous manner while actually being driven by their own childish MMNs to spill the blood of those who are truly acting in a righteous manner. And being willing to accept the deep injustice of actually being righteous, while being condemned by those who pretend to be righteous, is itself an act of righteousness at a meta-level, because one is behaving righteously about the path of behaving righteously.

Going further, the transformation that can be achieved by a new Teacher theory is directly related to the amount of Mercy blood that is cognitively spilled in the process. That is because change threatens the status quo and the status quo is emotionally protected by existing mental networks. If the status quo is to be changed, then the mental networks that preserve the status quo have to fall apart, which means spelling cognitive blood. Again, it needs to be emphasized that there is no inherent merit in spilling cognitive—or real—blood. Revolution does not automatically lead to improvement. But applying Teacher understanding in new ways will have a revolutionary impact. The ultimate goal of the path described by Matthew is to generate a concept of incarnation that is sufficient to fully integrate the earth of human thought and existence with the heavens of angelic thought and existence. The end of Matthew 24 describes the emerging of such an integrated concept of incarnation.

Moving on, Zechariah means ‘Yah has remembered’. Berechiah means ‘Yah blesses’. ‘Berechiah’ would represent the idea that a concept of God in Teacher thought is something good that blesses people, as opposed to an ideology that needs to be deconstructed. His son ‘Zechariah’ would represent the further conclusion that a concept of God in Teacher thought actually remembers content, rather than transcending content in order to preserve Teacher overgeneralization. For an individual who has reached the stage of the eighth woe, these are both blasphemous concepts that will be instinctively rejected.

Murder is not the normal word kill, but rather means ‘to murder, commit intentional, unjustified homicide’. Temple refers to ‘that part of the temple where God himself resides’. Altar was seen in verses 18-20 and describes ‘the meeting place between God and the true worshiper’. A mystical encounter happens between these two locations. One asserts in Teacher thought some version of the overgeneralization of cosmic unity and then one makes the mental jump to believing that this Teacher overgeneralization describes the true nature of the real God. One then identifies personally with this overgeneralized concept of God and the ecstatic experience happens in the ‘meeting place’ between the ‘God’ of Teacher overgeneralization and the ‘true worshiper’ of Mercy identification.

We have defined the location of the murder. We can use cognitive principles to understand the motive and the victim. Thomas Kuhn pointed out that the scientist who has a paradigm cannot return mentally to the state of not having a paradigm. Instead, he will only let go of his existing paradigm if given a better paradigm. In other words, one cannot just tell a mystic to stop practicing mysticism. Instead, one must provide the mystic with an alternative Teacher theory. And not just any theory will suffice because the Teacher theory of mysticism is a universal theory that claims to explain everything. Mental symmetry is the only theory I know that qualifies as a valid alternative candidate.

In other words, one has to replace the overgeneralized theory of oneness with a legitimate universal general theory—a ‘Zechariah, the son of Berechiah’. And when mysticism kills this theory, then this is a case of intentional homicide, because a universal general theory is a legitimate alternative to the mystical overgeneralization of oneness. It would be emotionally possible for a mystic to let go of his existing theory and accept the alternative. This is the final shedding of blood, because it deals at the level of the nature of Teacher thought itself—and thus also the fundamental essence of God.

Verse 36 describes the timeframe in which this will happen. “Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Will come means ‘to reach the end-destination’. Generation means ‘race, family, generation’ and has been used previously to describe the people of some generation. In other words, this entire progression of eight woes will happen within a single generation.

Lament over Jerusalem 23:37-39

The final verses of the chapter describe an emotional closure. Verse 37 laments, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” Jerusalem is the religious center. With emotional ‘truth’ the religious center will always view itself as special and different from normal experiences and normal locations, leading to a pharisaical mindset. Absolute truth is ultimately based in emotional ‘truth’, but the sources of truth write down the emotional ‘truth’ in written form, leading to a combination of scribes and Pharisees.

A Jerusalem of scribes and pharisees will always ‘kill prophets’ because prophets share Perceiver truth that disturbs existing mental networks of religious and societal authority. And the scribes and Pharisees will naturally respond to unwanted messages by killing the messenger, because scribes and Pharisees assume that messages are based in human messengers.

Stone combines ‘stone’ with ‘throw’ and occurs one other time in Matthew in 21:35. Stones represent Perceiver facts while throwing moves through the air of Teacher thought. Thus, stoning uses theoretical doctrine to attack unwanted living mental networks, typically accusing the unwanted prophet of various kinds of blasphemy. The general principle is that Teacher understanding is being treated as the servant of personal MMNs. The scribes and Pharisees pretend to follow general Teacher understanding but they are really being motivated by personal MMNs of power. Saying this another way, the postmodern idea that theories are merely ideologies backed up by institutional power is an accurate summary of most of the thinking of the ‘scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem’. The error lies in concluding that nothing else exists. However, science is based in how the natural world functions, while cognitive theory is based in how the mind functions, and these do not depend upon political power.

A Pharisee in Jerusalem dare not admit the existence of independent facts of reality or cognition, because such facts exist independently of the emotional status of the Pharisee. However, as long as the Pharisee in Jerusalem has enough flunkies to provide for his physical needs and cover up for his cognitive inadequacies, he can continue to pretend that nothing exists except the artificial reality of which he is the source. This may sound like an overstatement, but consider the following quote from an article that describes an encounter with the postmodern philosopher Laurie Calhoun: “When I had occasion to ask her whether or not it was a fact that giraffes are taller than ants, she replied that it was not a fact, but rather an article of religious faith in our culture.” Thus, even a simple statement that ‘A’ is taller than ‘B’ becomes interpreted through the lens of emotional status.

I suggested at the beginning of this chapter that the evangelical church as an entity has ceased to function independently but rather implicitly follows secular thought. One can see this in the evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump. One of the primary reasons that evangelicals support Trump is that Trump has been appointing conservative judges. A judge uses emotional status to impose ‘truth’ upon the population. A similar mindset can be seen in Donald Trump himself, who functions almost totally at the level of using personal status to impose ‘truth’ without acknowledging the existence of physical or cognitive reality. As of July 13, 2020, Trump has made 20,000 misleading or false statements while being president. Summarizing, in the same way that communism and fascism lead through different paths to the same endpoint of dictatorship, so the postmodern left and the postmodern right are heading in the same direction of using emotional status to impose ‘truth’ while ignoring reality.

The difference between these two is that the postmodern left explicitly states that only apparent ‘truth’ based in emotional status exists. It explicitly claims that it is following Teacher standards of justice and equality for all while at the same time implicitly using its emotional status to impose ‘truth’. In contrast, the postmodern right explicitly uses its emotional status to impose ‘truth’. It explicitly claims that it is following universal standards of truth and morality while at the same time implicitly using its own emotional status to impose ‘truth’. This dichotomy is most apparent in the United States, but also exists within other countries.

Continuing with verse 37, how often occurs one other time in Matthew in 18:21 where Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive his brother. In both cases, one is dealing with a change of mental strategy from technical thought with its measuring and quantifying to mental networks with their existing and being. Gather together is used three times in Matthew (twice in this verse) and adds ‘fitting’ to ‘gather together’, leading to the idea of gathering together for some intended purpose. Children means ‘anyone living in full dependence’. This relates to the idea mentioned earlier of the prophet reordering the existing elements of society. Children who are ‘living in full dependence’ have learned many of the fragments of adult life but rely upon adults to put these fragments together. Incarnation could have put together a form of paradise by gathering these children together and rearranging them.

This rearranging can be seen in the word way, which is found once in Matthew and means ‘a new direction from taking a turn or adopting a new manner’. Hen is found in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke 13 and means ‘bird’. Chick is only found in this verse and means ‘young’. If a bird represents someone who lives within the air of Teacher thought, then this analogy is not describing the specific behavior of a hen, but rather the generic behavior of a bird who is using the ‘wings’ of Perceiver thought to reorganize the ‘young’ of smaller theories into a more optimal arrangement. This describes the functioning of the prophet mentioned earlier—with one crucial difference. The bird is working purely at the level of abstract Teacher theory. Saying this another way, a bird is using abstract technical thought that is disconnected from concrete technical thought, and is assuming that any people who believe these abstract ideas will cooperate because they are ‘children living in full dependence’.

When one is functioning at the level of technical paradigms of objective science, then the birds of abstract thought can use their wings to rearrange their young in ‘a new direction’ and ‘a new manner’. However, when one is dealing with a Jerusalem that applies Teacher theory to subjective Mercy experiences, then rearranging the words and ideas of abstract technical thought is not enough. If one attempts to do this to the paradigms of Jerusalem that include emotional MMNs, then the chicks will be unwilling. Instead, new directions and manners can only be achieved by violating the mental networks of existing directions and manners. This violating of the mental networks of Jerusalem will happen in Chapter 24, driven by the mindset that has emerged as a result of the eight woes.

Jesus concludes in verse 38, “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!” Left means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Desolate is usually translated as ‘wilderness’ and means ‘a barren, solitary place’. This is juxtaposed with house, which describes a home in which people dwell. Putting this together, incarnation is leaving Jerusalem in the state of having a home that is devoid of human habitation. Looking at this more closely, a human cannot live in a home of mysticism, because mysticism, by definition, transcends all facts of human existence. A human also cannot live in a home of identity politics, because any successful group that creates some home will be singled out as a dominant minority that is imposing its will upon the population. Going further, any successful attack on some dominant power group will merely lead to the creation of another power group that needs to be attacked. Verse 38 is not attacking a house to make it desolate, the way that power politics does, but rather leaving a house alone that has achieved a state of perpetual desolation.

In verse 39, incarnation departs from the scene. “For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” See means ‘to see with the mind’. Thus, verse 39 says that the scribes and Pharisees have become incapable of forming a concept of incarnation.

Blessed is not the word that was used in the Beatitudes but rather combines ‘well, good’ with logos. The phrase ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ is a verbatim repetition of what the crowds shouted in the triumphal entry into Jerusalem in 21:9. We interpreted that statement as the positive side of the initial protests for equal rights back in the 1960s. Looking at this phrase cognitively, ‘coming in the realm of the name of the Lord’ means being willing to submit to a system of technical thought that is held together by some name in Teacher thought, as opposed to attacking any system of technical thought held together by a Teacher name as a fake, imposed ideology. Saying that such a coming is blessed would mean using Teacher words to regard such a paradigm as good—as opposed to regarding all paradigms as inherently evil.

Saying this more simply, one is mentally incapable of forming a concept of incarnation as long as one instinctively attacks the basic elements of incarnation.

Dismantling the Temple Stones 24:1-8

Chapter 24 has been analyzed previously. It is also one of the primary chapters used in ‘end time prophecy’, which can be verified by googling ‘Matthew 24 prophecy’. We have now taken over 600 pages to go through the book of Matthew, and we have seen that it describes Western history up until the present day. We have also seen that Matthew 23 ends with society in a very unstable state. Thus, one concludes that Matthew 24 legitimately describes ‘end time prophecy’. But Matthew 24 can now be placed within a larger context.

Verse 1 sets the scene. “Jesus came out from the temple and was going away and His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him.” Temple refers to ‘the entire temple complex’. Came out means ‘to go or come out of’ and this verb is in the past tense. Going away means ‘to transport’ which we have interpreted as movement that is accompanied by some sort of change. In other words, the context of Matthew 24 is not Jesus coming back to restore the existing religious system. Instead, Jesus has left the existing temple complex and is going away to follow a different direction.

Point out means to ‘show upon, demonstrating something in terms of its natural spinoffs’. A building is ‘a building serving as a home’. As Jesus is walking away from the temple, his disciples are pointing out the entire temple complex with its accompanying personal MMNs.

Jesus does not respond by saying that God will come down from heaven to earth to rescue the existing church. Instead “He said to them, ‘Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.’” See means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. A stone represents solid Perceiver facts. Left means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Torn down means to ‘loosen thoroughly’. Putting this together, Jesus tells his disciples to observe the entire temple system, and then he predicts that all of the connections between Perceiver facts will be eliminated; not one stone of religious truth will remain standing upon another. More specifically, the existing religious system will not be left alone until it has been entirely dismantled and consists of fragmented Perceiver facts.

We looked earlier at the role that the prophet plays in rearranging existing facts in order to create new theories. Chapter 23 ended with Jesus wishing that he could use the abstract thinking of a bird to rearrange the ‘young’ of various theoretical elements. However, I suggested that this kind of theoretical approach is insufficient when dealing with religious theory. Instead, all of the Perceiver facts of religious truth have to become disassembled before it becomes emotionally possible to rearrange these facts into a better Teacher system. Chapter 24 describes this dismantling of religious truth.

Saying this more simply, Matthew 24 does describe a return of Christ. But it does not appear to say that Christ will return in a rapture that rescues the existing religious structure. Instead, Christ will return in order to put together an entirely new religious structure. And by religious structure, I do not just mean ‘the church’. Instead, I am referring to the entire temporal complex of societal, academic, and religious authority—the scribes and Pharisees of chapter 23.

Verse 3 describes the new context. “As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” Sitting means ‘seated, enthroned’. It was previously used in 23:22 to describe ‘him who sits upon’ the throne, which we interpreted as a modern implicit realization of underlying Teacher order. Before that it was used in 22:44 where ‘my lord’ was instructed to sit at the right hand of ‘the lord’, and we interpreted that as forming a concept of Christ by submitting my organization to some larger structure. A mount represents a pragmatic form of Teacher theory, and olives represent the spirit. Thus, sitting on the Mount of Olives would mean resting mentally in the Platonic forms of a more ideal and perfect society. The theoretical rearranging that was mentioned at the end of Matthew 23 may not be sufficient to affect the children of Jerusalem, but it will form a powerful set of integrated Platonic forms of the spirit based in a pragmatic Teacher understanding of personality and society. This describes what has formed within my mind as a result of pursuing mental symmetry.

Saying this more simply, chapter 24 should not be interpreted from the negative mindset of God stepping in to judge the evil world through the hell-on-earth of a seven-year Great Tribulation. Instead, it should be interpreted from the positive viewpoint of ‘It hurts to live on earth. I want to live in paradise.’

Going further, privately means ‘uniquely one’s own, peculiar to the individual’. This implies that end-time prophecy is not something that is meant to be preached to others, but rather something that is to be personally treasured within one’s own heart. That is because one will experience personal benefits from the return of Christ to the extent that one has internally constructed and submitted to a mental concept of Christ. This is brought out in verses 12 and 13, which says that “most people’s love will grow cold, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved”. Thus, the primary goal is not for God to judge others, but for God to save me.

The disciples ask three questions. The first question is when this will be? In other words, when will this enter the world of physical existence? The second question involves ‘the sign of your coming’. A sign is ‘typically, miraculous, given especially to confirm, corroborate, or authenticate’. The last mention of a sign was in 16:4 where the Pharisees asked for a sign and were told that they would only be given the sign of Jonah. Here Jesus explains what the sign will not be, he describes false signs in verse 24, and then mentions the true sign in verse 30. (These are the three times that the word ‘sign’ is used in chapter 24.)

The third question involves ‘the end of the age’. End is used six times in the New Testament, each time in the phrase ‘end of the age’, with five of these occurrences in Matthew. It means ‘when the parts come together into a whole—consummation’. All the parts coming together into a whole is quite different than God taking the Christian part off into heaven through some rapture and then destroying the non-Christian part through a seven-year tribulation. (I apologize for the repeated references to the rapture and tribulation, but that is the standard evangelical interpretation of this passage, and it needs to be shown clearly that this interpretation is inconsistent with the biblical text.)

Verse 4 warns that there will be confusion and misdirection about this subject. “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you.’” See means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. In other words, look at the physical evidence, but go beyond this to the mental networks (and thus spirits) that are driving the behavior. Mislead means ‘to deviate from the correct path, roaming into error’. In other words, the danger is to become motivated by others to gradually drift away from following the right path. We saw that with the eight woes, because each woe emerged naturally from the previous one.

Verse 5 describes the nature of this misleading. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.” Christ refers to the abstract side of incarnation that deals with general principles. The pronoun ‘I’ is explicitly mentioned, which means that people are saying that they personally are the Christ. This is like saying that ‘I am the law of gravity’, which is a category mistake because finite people cannot be abstract laws. However, it is also a natural error when one uses a mindset of absolute truth to generalize from a concept of Jesus to a concept of Christ. That is because absolute truth feels that absolute Perceiver truth which applies everywhere ultimately comes from some specific emotional source in Mercy thought. The solution is to make a transition from absolute truth to universal truth, which means recognizing that Christ is based in universal laws and that Jesus was a specific example of these universal laws. For instance, we have seen that the description of the specific life of Jesus in Matthew is also a summary of the general path of Western civilization.

Verse 6 describes another error, which is thinking that the end involves a battle between various kingdoms. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.” Will be means ‘at the very point of acting; ready, about to happen’. War means ‘war, battle, strife’. Rumor actually means ‘hearing, the sense of hearing’. Frightened is used once in Matthew and means ‘unsettled, thrown into confusion’. Verse 6 does not talk about experiencing war in Mercy thought but rather focuses upon listening in Teacher thought. A more literal translation would be ‘will be on the verge of hearing of strife and hearings of strife; look, do not be thrown into confusion’. This is also a natural byproduct of absolute truth, which naturally divides between ‘truth’ that comes from the right Mercy source, and error comes from other Mercy sources. Verse 6 is warning against being drawn into the mental trap of allowing Teacher thought to be misdirected by Mercy feelings of ‘us versus them’.

Turning to the second phrase, end means ‘end-goal, purpose’. It is necessary for conflict to ‘come into being’ but this is not yet the goal. Again, one sees that the purpose is not to instigate a war between good and evil.

Verse 7 describes this conflict in more detail. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes.” Rise means ‘to waken, to raise up’. Nation means ‘forming a custom, culture’. Saying this another way, social groups driven by common cultural MMNs will ‘wake up’ and emerge in opposition to other cultural groups. A kingdom is ‘the realm in which a king sovereignly rules’. Thus, the emerging of various groups will start with the Mercy realm of cultural MMNs and spread to the Teacher realm of TMNs of various schools of thought. This spreading of conflict from Mercy divisions to Teacher ideologies is also a natural byproduct of absolute truth, which moves from specific sources in Mercy thought to general theories in Teacher thought.

Famine is used once in Matthew and would represent a severe lack of intellectual food. When Teacher thought becomes hijacked by MMNs of cultural divisions, then one loses the ability to think rationally, which leads to intellectual famine. Earthquake means ‘commotion, shaking’. Intellectual ‘earthquakes’ naturally occur when there is a collision of cultures and worldviews. When there is a single emotional source of ‘truth’, then there will be certainty within Perceiver thought; one will ‘know’ what is ‘true’. But when there are multiple sources of ‘truth’, then Perceiver thought will lose its certainty, leading to a shaking of truth and morality. For instance, if everyone believes in the Bible, then absolute truth is certain. But if the Bible has to compete with the Quran or other holy books, then a mindset of absolute truth will experience factual earthquakes.

This does not mean that all holy books are equally holy. This essay has evaluated the biblical book of Matthew from a very unusual perspective. If another book is as holy as the Bible, then it should be possible to perform a similar kind of analysis upon that holy book. But notice that this is a definition of holiness that is based in Christ and not in Jesus. A mindset of Christian absolute truth views the New Testament as special because it talks about Jesus, and Jesus is viewed as a special person with great Mercy status. In contrast, we have seen that the book of Matthew is special because it can be compared at a level of technical detail with the path of Western history. However, this comparison does not involve the concrete technical realm of specific events, wars, people, and dates. Instead, it involves the abstract technical realm of general principles, logical sequences, and developing theories.

Verse 8 summarizes, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Birth pang means ‘the pain of childbirth’ and is used once in Matthew. Looking at this cognitively, absolute truth is a transitional form of thought that begins with MMNs of personal authority but can lead to TMNs of general understanding. If one wishes to construct a legitimate concept of Christ, then one has to let go of the mindset of absolute truth—which means dismantling the stones of the temple complex. A mindset of absolute truth will view this dismantling as the end, and it will expect that God will intervene in an emotional way to reimpose absolute truth upon the population. But the pain of absolute truth being questioned is merely the byproduct of birthing a more adequate concept of incarnation—a more legitimate concept of Christ.

Hatred and Betrayal 24:9-14

Once absolute truth becomes sufficiently unstable, it then becomes possible to attack the very concept of absolute truth. The next verses describe this shift in mentality. Saying this another way, in the previous verses, people were asking questions such as ‘Should I believe the Bible or the Quran?’ In the next verses, people will be making statements such as ‘How dare the Bible tell me what to do or think?’ The Bible will be singled out for special treatment because it contains a message of personal transformation which demands the dismantling and re-programming of existing cultural and personal MMNs. The average person will view this as a frontal assault upon personal freedom and lifestyle. This view will be reinforced by Christian fundamentalists who will be attempting to use emotional status to reimpose the morality of the Bible upon what they see as rebellion from the truth of God. Ironically, it can actually be more difficult to move beyond an attitude of absolute truth when the content of this truth is accurate, because the painful negative consequences of violating absolute truth will emotionally ‘prove’ that this absolute truth really is ‘The Word of God’.

Verse 9 begins, “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.” Deliver means both ‘to hand over’ and ‘to betray’. We saw earlier that this describes the transition that happens at the end of an age, which can be driven positively by a handing over or negatively by a betrayal. Tribulation does not mean suffering, but rather is ‘used of a narrow place that hems someone in’. In other words, life will become very narrow for those who are attempting to follow incarnation, and this narrowness will feel like a betrayal and the end of an age. Chapter 23 described the growing rules, regulations, and technical requirements that burden people when technical experts sit in the chair of Moses and become regarded as the sources of absolute truth. This will express itself as a ‘handing over to narrowness’ because common sense, traditional morality, and rational thought will be replaced by endless requirements. Doing almost anything will require going through a process of education, examination, and accreditation. Those who go through such a process will only be permitted to perform a narrow range of activities, and they will be continually monitored to ensure that they do not step outside of this ‘narrow place that hems them in’.

Kill simply means ‘to kill’. Hated means to love someone or something less than someone or something else’. ‘Kill’ cannot refer merely to physical death, because if everyone is killed, then there will be nobody left to hate. There may be some physical killing, but the primary killing will be the killing of mental networks, because living in a world of narrow technical specializations kills mental networks and turns people into machines. ‘Hate’ does not indicate intense dislike, but is rather a relative term in which one prefers one alternative more than another. In other words, whenever some problem arises, the natural response will not be to head in the direction of incarnation by applying rational thought to personal identity in a morally transformative manner, but rather to make society narrower by adding more details to the technical regulations. Thus, society will build a prison for itself one well-meaning legislative and regulative brick at a time.

This relative preference will be driven by the ‘nations’ of the various special interest groups with their MMNs and the primary target will be the Teacher name of incarnation. The name of incarnation is a name of personal transformation. Personal transformation requires letting go of one’s cultural and personal MMNs. But the purpose of a special interest group is to ensure that the cultural and personal MMNs of that group are preserved and not transformed. Thus, the concept of progress through transformation will be stymied in one area after another because of the protests of some lifestyle, culture, religion, ethnic group, or special interest group.

This transition from Teacher-driven progress to Mercy-driven conflict is described in verse 10. “At that time many will be caused to stumble and will betray one another and hate one another.” At that time is a generic word that means ‘then, at that time’. Caused to stumble has been seen several times and means ‘to fall into a trap’. In verse 9, the followers of incarnation were being betrayed and hated. In verse 10 the betraying and hating spreads to society in general as one group betrays and hates another. Applying this to Western society, what began as protests against the moralizing of Christianity has turned into protests against the discrimination of one group on another. Each of these protests is a form of betraying that signifies the end of some era, because a protest will usually be presented as a final addressing of systemic historical grievances that is meant to bring a flawed mindset to an end.

In verse 5, individual people were claiming to be the Christ, which portrays a theoretical conflict at the general level of Teacher understanding. Verse 11 describes a more fragmented deception at the level of Perceiver facts. “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” False prophet adds the prefix ‘pseudo’ to ‘prophet’. Arise means ‘to awaken, to raise up’. The extensive protesting of the previous verse will lead naturally to massive factual confusion, because traditional ways of functioning will become questioned in one area after another. However, Perceiver thought can find certainty through emotional experiences. Therefore, the emotional experiences generated by all of this conflict will end up defining ‘truth’ for the participants, leading to the waking up of pseudo-prophets. Stated more simply, ‘I know because I protest, and if I start to doubt then I need to protest more vehemently’. This will mislead many, causing them to ‘go astray’.

Looking at the big picture, the ‘leading astray’ of verses 4-8 was all a natural byproduct of holding to the mindset of absolute truth. In verse 9 the concept of absolute truth is being universally rejected. As we saw in Chapter 23, when absolute truth fails, then people will function at the more immediate level of emotional ‘truth’, which uses emotional status and emotional pressure to impose ‘truth’ upon peoples’ minds. Verses 10-12 are natural byproducts of adopting a mindset of emotional ‘truth’, because each group will attempt to use the emotions of its own mental networks to create ‘truth’ for society. The misleading does not come from backing the wrong causes or protesting the wrong injustice. Many of the protests against injustice will be based to some extent in legitimate grievances. Instead, the misleading lies in adopting the mindset that ‘truth’ is imposed by power groups and needs to be changed by protesting against sources of ‘truth’.

Verse 12 describes this shift in thinking. “Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Lawlessness means ‘without law’. This does not describe breaking the rules, but rather refers to a mindset that does not believe in law and rules. Increased is found once in Matthew and means ‘made full, especially to maximum capacity’. A lawful mindset believes that people in Mercy thought should submit to rules in Perceiver thought. A ‘without law’ mindset believes that people in Mercy thought are the source of rules in Perceiver thought and should respond to unwanted rules by imposing their personal status in Mercy thought. I should point out that it is possible for this lawlessness to exist in both protesters and policemen, both citizens and politicians, both laity and clergy. That is because both sides will view each confrontation as an opportunity to use Mercy status to impose Perceiver ‘truth’.

Grow cold is found once in the New Testament and means ‘to breathe cool by blowing’. Love is agape, which describes ‘love which centers in moral preference’. Breathing implies the use of Teacher thought. Agape love is driven by Teacher understanding. Putting these two terms together, the frequent ‘breathing’ of legislative and regulative change is causing people to lose respect for the entire system that rules through Teacher understanding. Saying this another way, if one changes general Teacher theories too frequently, then one will lose emotional respect for the concept of a general Teacher theory.

Looking at this in more detail, we saw in chapter 23 that ‘the machine’ of organizational infrastructure is being used to transform emotional ‘truth’ into absolute truth. This is not a perfect process and depends heavily upon the long-term respect that the average person has for the institutions that are being used to turn emotional ‘truth’ into absolute truth. Saying this another way, the average person may no longer believe in absolute truth, but absolute truth is still functioning at the meta- level of the institution and the official process. In verse 12, respect for the system is starting to be lost because of the way that the system is being abused to generate new versions of absolute truth.

For instance, I suggest that the greatest long-term impact that Donald Trump is having does not lie with any specific policy that he pursues or statement that he makes, but rather that his behavior is leading to a deep loss of respect for the system of American government. The typical American views the American Constitution and the American legislative process as a form of revealed truth that is given almost as much emotional respect as the Bible itself.

Verse 13 turns to the real goal. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Endure is used twice in Matthew and means ‘remaining under’. One can interpret this as being willing to accept all the squeezing and narrowness without trying to escape, or as being willing to endure all the protests without becoming ensnared. End means ‘end-goal, purpose’. Saved means to ‘deliver out of danger and into safety’, and this word was last seen in 19:25 where the disciples asked how a person can be saved if it is so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Verse 13 is describing how the ‘rich man’ of Western civilization is being saved. All of the subjective content—every stone of the temple complex—is being dismantled. Those who can go through this entire process without being misled will become saved, because they will be forced to follow higher motives. Applying this to the previous point, one of the main reasons for ‘remaining under’ is to maintain a personal respect for the system. That is because every social system is an artificial construct, which means that it will only survive intact as long as people within this system maintain a mindset of remaining under the law.

Looking at this more carefully, enduring verses 4-8 will force a person to go beyond a mindset of absolute truth. Similarly, enduring verses 9-11 will force a person to go beyond emotional ‘truth’, while enduring verse 12 will force a person to go beyond a legislative mentality. What is left after all of these are removed is the idea that I am following truth in order to become saved myself. I am not trying to restore absolute truth, I am not trying to impose ‘truth’ upon others, and I am not trying to elect Christian leaders or get conservative judges appointed. Instead, I am trying to embody truth so that I myself can break through to a new realm.

I should clarify that ‘remaining under the law’ is quite different than having a ‘legislative mentality’. Remaining under the law starts with the mind and believes that a lawful mind will eventually be reflected in a lawful society. A legislative mentality, in contrast, starts with a public protest against established authority, and then attempts to get new laws passed that will force people to think in new ways. The first starts internally and goes external, while the second starts externally and goes internal. The first leads to a kingdom of God, while the second leads to thought police.

Verse 14 describes this transformed mindset. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Gospel means ‘good news’ and this term was last seen in 9:35 which we interpreted as the Middle Ages emerging from the Dark Ages. In both cases the same Greek phrase is being used: ‘proclaim the gospel of the kingdom’. Proclaim means ‘to herald, to preach’. Thus, this is not a matter of using logic or technical reasoning, but rather a matter of preaching good news to a society that is filled with anger, conflict, confusion, regulations, and protests.

The word inhabited earth is found once in Matthew and means ‘the inhabited earth’. Science studies the natural world of space and time. The theories of science are objective and do not apply to the inhabited earth. A message that extends to the entire inhabited earth is one that is based in psychology and cognition. For instance, mental symmetry is not a theory of everything, but it does appear to be a universal theory of ‘the inhabited earth’, because it can be used to explain all aspects of human thought, including how humans think and behave when they are using science to study the physical world. A kingdom is ‘the realm in which a king sovereignly rules’. In verse 7, kingdom was rising against kingdom. In verse 14, the good news of a new kingdom is being proclaimed.

This verse is typically interpreted as a requirement to translate the Bible into all the languages of the earth. That may be a worthy goal, but focusing merely upon the Bible exhibits a mindset of absolute truth, and we saw earlier that the concept of absolute truth itself will become discredited. Therefore, verse 14 must be describing a new kind of general Teacher theory of the subjective, which becomes universal by being proclaimed to all the various ‘nations’ with their mental networks.

Verse 14 does not say that this universal message will become accepted. Instead, this proclaiming is being done ‘as a testimony’. Testimony means ‘a testimony, a witness’. A testimony goes beyond merely proclaiming words to backing up words with personal lifestyle. While society as a whole is proclaiming words based upon lifestyle, the followers of incarnation will be using lifestyle to illustrate words.

This distinction can be seen in the word ‘embodiment’. This is currently a popular word in academic circles. Wikipedia explains that “Embodied cognition is the theory that many features of cognition, whether human or otherwise, are shaped by aspects of the entire body of the organism. The features of cognition include high level mental constructs (such as concepts and categories) and performance on various cognitive tasks (such as reasoning or judgment). The aspects of the body include the motor system, the perceptual system, bodily interactions with the environment (situatedness), and the assumptions about the world that are built into the structure of the organism.” In other words, the way that I think is predetermined by the experiences and abilities of my physical body. Mental symmetry agrees that the original programming of the mind is largely predetermined by content acquired from growing up in a physical body, but suggests that the ultimate goal is to replace these childish MMNs with a new set of MMNs based in a rational Teacher understanding, and to apply this new mental programming to the extent of transforming the initial programming of the physical body, or in the language of Matthew to become a witness of the good news of a new kingdom.

In essence, embodying truth takes the path of transformation beyond an abstract ‘hen gathering her chicks under her wings’ to a personal transformation that extends to all of personal existence. One is not just experiencing a paradigm shift but rather becoming a new person.

Verse 14 finishes by saying “and then the end will come”. End means ‘end-goal, purpose’. Come is used four times in Matthew and means ‘to reach the end-destination’. In other words, this phrase is not talking about some horrible process finally stopping but rather a goal finally being reached.

The Abomination of Desolation 24:15-20

The next section describes what sounds like a Great Tribulation. In fact, verse 21 explicitly mentions a ‘great tribulation’. However, I suggest that one should use one’s mind to go beyond this obvious interpretation. Verse 15 begins, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand).” The word understand means ‘to apply mental effort needed to reach bottom-line conclusions’. If the reader is being instructed to ‘apply mental effort’ to interpret this reference to ‘the abomination of desolation’, then this indicates that one should use one’s mind to go beyond an obvious interpretation.

See is a common word in Matthew which often means ‘to see with the mind’. This implies that the ‘abomination of desolation’ will be mental rather than physical. Looking at this passage literally (and related passages in the other Gospels), many have suggested that Matthew 24 was partially fulfilled when the Christian Jews fled Jerusalem in AD 70, just before it was destroyed by the Romans. (This is known as a preterist interpretation.) That may be true, because scriptural passages often have multiple levels of meaning. However, we are looking here at the meaning that arises when one interprets the original Greek text from a cognitive perspective.

Abomination is used once in Matthew and means ‘what emits a foul odor and hence is disgustingly abhorrent’. Odor relates to mental networks; smell will trigger mental networks within the brain. Desolation is also used only once in Matthew. It means ‘lay waste, make destitute, barren’ and is related to the word ‘wilderness’. Putting these two together, a wilderness is devoid of the mental networks of life. Desolation eliminates the mental networks of life. An abomination of desolation would mean eliminating the mental networks of life in a manner that creates abhorrent mental networks.

Place means ‘a place’ and refers to Perceiver location. Holy ‘implies something set apart and therefore different’. This term was last used in 12:32 which warned against blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. We interpreted that as 17th century nationalism co-opting the new scientific thought in order to build better military kingdoms. In that case, the new scientific thinking was something set apart and different from the existing struggles between various princes and kingdoms.

Holiness is a fundamental concept for a Pharisee, because Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’, which presupposes that one can live in a manner that is set apart and different from normal society. Similarly, both absolute truth and emotional ‘truth’ require holiness, because the emotional source of ‘truth’ in Mercy thought must be treated as special and different than ordinary Mercy experiences. If the abomination of desolation is ‘standing in the holy place’, this indicates that the very mechanism of holiness is being changed into something that is inhumane and disgusting. In other words, the very idea of viewing some person as special and different is being treated at an emotional level as disgusting. This replaces emotional sources of ‘truth’ with a wilderness that is devoid of mental networks, and it replaces the positive emotions of worshiping some source of truth with deep feelings of disgust. When such a transition happens, then one must find a new basis for religious truth.

Looking at this phrase more carefully, a holy place indicates that one is thinking about the Perceiver idea about holiness rather than referring to any specific holy item or person. Standing in the holy place implies that these Perceiver facts about holiness have created a Platonic form which now ‘stands in the holy place’. But what stands in the holy place is desolation—a wilderness that is devoid of any of the mental networks of life. And this personal void has an associated odor of abhorrence. In practical terms, whenever any group or person regards itself as different and special, this then will trigger a gut response to holiness, which will be motivated by feelings of abhorrence to attempt to remove the supposedly holy person or group. This is a cognitive contradiction, because one is being driven by feelings of holiness to attack feelings of holiness, and one is being emotionally attracted to that which one abhors. This means that any ‘nail’ which ‘sticks up’ cannot just be left alone. Instead, it must be pounded down religiously for having offended the others by daring to stick up.

Verse 16 describes how one should respond to the abomination of desolation. “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Judea is the province in which Jerusalem is located and means ‘praised’. Flee means ‘to flee’ and is in the imperative. A mountain represents a pragmatic form of general Teacher theory. If the abomination of desolation represents an instinctive and religious pounding down of any ‘nail that sticks up’, then ‘praised’ would refer to any sort of mindset that either looks to the nails that stick up in society or else is a nail that sticks up in society. The only way that such a ‘nail’ will survive is by taking refuge in a Teacher reason for sticking up, which means fleeing to a mountain. Saying this another way, any form of absolute truth that is based Mercy status will have to make a transition to universal truth that is based in Teacher generality.

American evangelicals illustrate what will happen if a mindset of absolute truth decides to stay and fight. The only way that such a mindset will be able to fight is by allying itself with a source of ‘truth’ that is even stronger than the current drive to attack all sources of ‘truth’, which will mean becoming connected with a person who is even less principled than all of the postmodern protesters against ‘truth’. In the short term, this may lead to some success, but the process of re-imposing ‘truth’ will corrupt what remains of Christian morality and will end up attracting the full fury of the postmodern hordes.

The next verses contain several more specific warnings that can be interpreted symbolically. “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house” (v.17). Housetop means ‘the roof-area of the flat-roof house’. It was found one other time in Matthew in 10:27 which instructed to proclaim on the rooftops what was heard in secret. Go down means to ‘come down, either from the sky or from higher land’. Get means ‘to raise, take up, lift’. All three of these words involve vertical movement, which we have interpreted in terms of Teacher generality. A house represents the mental networks of home and personal life. The housetop is the top of the house, which would represent viewing subjective mental networks from a Teacher perspective of generality. Descending into the house in order to raise things up would mean descending to the Mercy realm of specific personal experiences in order to add Teacher generality to some specific content.

One dare not do this because this describes precisely what postmodern thought is implicitly doing: It is focusing upon the specific experiences of some group or lifestyle and then treating these as universal Teacher theories. For instance, postmodern thought proclaims the Teacher overgeneralization of total equality by standing in solidarity with oppressed women or oppressed blacks. One must avoid this kind of thinking, even if the cause is legitimate, so that one does not get sucked in to the destructive mindset of society.

Saying this more simply, one should flee to the mountains of psychology and cognitive principles without first attempting to rationalize about personal experiences. Otherwise, one will not make it to the mountains, but rather turn into just another group that is rationalizing about its personal experiences.

Verse 18 continues, “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak.” Field means ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’, and this word was used several times in Matthew 13. Turn back means ‘to turn, to return’, which implies a change in direction. Get again means ‘to raise, take up, lift’. Cloak means ‘an outer garment’ which we are interpreting as social interaction. Putting this together, if one is involved in some field of specialization, one should not attempt to rescue the social interaction that is related to this field. That is because postmodern thought redefines all technical specializations as forms of social interaction. For instance, in the 1970 appendix to his book, Thomas Kuhn redefined science as ‘how a group of scientists behave’, turning research of the physical world into social interaction. If one takes a detour into social interaction, then the tendency will be for the focus upon social interaction to overwhelm the specialization itself.

One can see this principle illustrated by the effect that postmodern thought has had upon the soft sciences. Generally speaking, the only sciences that still perform science today are the ones that have sufficient rational Teacher understanding to survive the onslaught of identity politics. Many of the social sciences have now become social protest movements performed using the rigorous methodology of academia.

It is interesting that neither verse 17 nor verse 18 mention anything about fleeing. Only the context implies that these two verses should be interpreted as related to the fleeing to the mountains that is mentioned in verse 16. Thus, I suggest that these two verses are describing three distinct principles: 1) If you are in the realm of praise, flee to psychology and cognitive science. 2) Do not follow the path of personal marketing or identity politics. 3) Focus upon your professional or academic field without getting caught up in social interaction or ‘how we do things’.

Applying these principles to mental symmetry, I have tried over the years to distinguish between my theory and me as a person. Instead of proclaiming mental symmetry as the theory of Lorin Friesen, I have attempted to portray mental symmetry as a description of how the mind works and to view Lorin Friesen as someone who needs to submit to these principles of how the mind works. Similarly, I have avoided setting up an organization or system of social interaction to promote mental symmetry. I did set up a social forum for the mental symmetry website, but when it did not go anywhere, I focused upon continuing my research ‘in the field’, rather than trying to promote myself with the ‘cloak’ of social media.

Verse 19 focuses upon women. “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days!” Pregnant combines the two words ‘womb, stomach’ and ‘having’, and was also used in Matthew 1 to describe Mary being pregnant with Jesus. Nursing babies means ‘to nurse, suck milk’. Both of these describe ways in which the mental networks of female thought are used to support an immature, developing system of mental networks. The general principle is that people and groups are using mental networks as weapons as well as attacking as oppressive any set of mental networks that experiences relative success. In other words, trying to start some legitimate social or organizational movement during this period is like trying to raise children in the middle of a war. The phrase ‘in those days’ implies that one is dealing with a period of time during which various social battles are being fought.

Tying this in with the previous two points, being ‘pregnant’ mentally forces a person to ‘go down into the house and lift up’ Mercy details, because these Mercy experiences provide the initial life for a developing movement. Similarly, ‘nursing an infant’ forces a person to ‘return from the field to get the cloak’, because these mental networks of social interaction provide the nourishment for a young and growing movement.

Verse 20 turns to timing. “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.” Pray means ‘to exchange wishes’. Fleeing was not mentioned in verses 17-19. It is mentioned in noun form in verse 20. Thus, verse 20 should be interpreted within the context of moving from the ‘praise’ of absolute or emotional ‘truth’ to the ‘mountains’ of psychological and cognitive principles. Winter means ‘winter, a storm’ and was used one other time in Matthew in 16:13. We interpreted that as a ‘storm’ of response from the ‘frozen’ mindset of absolute truth. Sabbath was discussed extensively in chapter 12, which we interpreted as a mindset of Scholasticism that focuses upon studying words in Teacher thought while ignoring experiences in Mercy thought. Similarly, the Sabbath was initially instituted so that people would regularly stop focusing upon their personal experiences in Mercy thought in order to think about God in Teacher thought.

That brings us to the matter of cause-and-effect. If Matthew 24 is talking about physical events that cannot be pesonally controlled, then prayer would mean asking God to step in to control the events. But if this passage is describing shifts in mindset, then I suggest that the prayer itself will create the solution. That is because both winter and Sabbath represent inadequate ways of interacting personally with a concept of God. Winter represents approaching God with the mindset of absolute truth. When such a mindset encounters the ‘abomination of desolation’ it will lash out instinctively in order to protect its absolute truth. One can see this illustrated by the way that American evangelicalism has responded to the liberal questioning of postmodernism.

The solution is prayer. This does not mean talking about prayer or telling others that I am praying, but rather experiencing internal emotional interaction between personal identity in Mercy thought and a concept of God in Teacher thought. The bottom line is not to maintain a belief in absolute truth within society, but rather to preserve my internal relationship with God. Instead of venting publicly upon the rest of society, I need to express my emotional frustration internally to my concept of God. Instead of attempting to restore a society that imposes rules of Christian morality in Teacher thought, I need to listen internally within Teacher thought to my concept of God. The person who responds to the problems of society with the internal emotional path of prayer will find it much easier to successfully ‘flee to the mountains’. The one who has not developed such a practice of prayer will probably become overwhelmed by a social struggle to ‘fight for truth’.

A similar statement can be made about the Sabbath. A Sabbath mentality divides between abstract theology in Teacher thought and concrete experiences in Mercy thought. When society is reasonably sane, then such a mindset can retreat from reality in order to think about God using abstract thought in some sort of monastical fashion. But identity politics will invade all such monastic enclaves and denounce them as examples of illegitimate privilege. The solution again is prayer, because the emotional exchange between Teacher thought and Mercy thought will place Mercy experiences within a Teacher-generated framework of Platonic forms. Instead of being emotionally overwhelmed by the chaos and insanity of society, one will become increasingly drawn to the Platonic forms that internally predict how God is causing these various social forces to work together to produce a lasting good. Again, this is not something that can be proclaimed, but rather something that happens at a deep emotional level. The internal emotional pull from a concept of God in Teacher thought and a concept of the Holy Spirit in Mercy thought must be greater than the barrage of emotional messages and ideologies being imposed by society.

The Great Tribulation 24:21-26

Verse 21 then mentions the infamous Great Tribulation. “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” This term ‘great tribulation’ is also in the parallel passage in Mark 13, and it occurs in Revelation 7:14. Tribulation means ‘restricted, without options’, and this same word was used in verse 9, which talked about being betrayed to tribulation. Verse 9 described a new way of dealing with moral issues, which was to add more technical rules, regulations, and legislation instead of attempting to educate or use moral arguments. The underlying problem was that a moral argument only works if there is a source of morality, and postmodern questioning has dethroned traditional sources of morality.

The abomination of desolation goes further by effectively eliminating all Mercy sources of morality, because any person or group who attempts to act as a source of morality—or promotes some source of morality—will be attacked as a voice of oppression. In addition, the status quo of cultural mental networks will be condemned in favor of the oppressed and the downtrodden. Thus, the only remaining source of morality will be the professional morality of technical thought, but this will be a fragmented sense of morality in which each technical specialization is morally driven by the TMNs of that profession to behave in a professional manner within its profession while suppressing or ignoring the rest of existence.

Great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’ and refers to Teacher generality. Thus, the squeezing and narrowing of technical specializations and technical regulations will become the general Teacher theory that drives society. Everything will be specialized and regulated. All activity will become accredited. This describes current Western society.

The two words ‘great’ and ‘tribulation’ only occur together four times in the New Testament: in Matthew 24:20, in Revelation 7:14, in Acts 7:11 which talks about a great tribulation in Egypt during the time of Pharaoh, and in Revelation 2:22 which refers to a great tribulation in the letter to the church of Thyatira. In addition, the parallel passage in Mark 13:19 talks about a tribulation, but does not use the word ‘great’. Revelation 7:14 refers to ‘the great tribulation’ with the definite article, but the other three passages only refer to a great tribulation without using the definite article. The reference in Revelation 2:22 may be related to The Great Tribulation, but I am not certain. My guess is that the letters to the seven churches also describe a historical process and that we are currently in the church of Thyatira.

Returning to Matthew 24, verse 21 says that there will be a great tribulation, using the verb ‘to be’ rather than ‘to become’. And this is combined with the word ‘then’, which means that an exceptional level of narrowness will be experienced during that time.

This great tribulation is described as “such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will”. Such as is used once in Matthew and means ‘what sort or manner of’. World is cosmos, which means ‘an ordered system’, and we have been interpreting this as systems of social order based upon the structure of the physical universe. In other words, there will be a form of social squeezing and narrowness that is unlike anything that has existed before within human society.

I think that a case can be made that the world is currently experiencing a form of social narrowness that is unlike anything that has existed before within human society. First, there is the narrowness of technical specializations, which limits freedom of work. Second, there is the narrowness of excessive regulations, which limits freedom of behavior. Third, there is the narrowness of the cancel culture, which limits freedom of speech. Finally, there is the narrowness of the coronavirus pandemic, which limits freedom of social interaction. This pandemic has led to suffering and death for some people, but it has resulted in a narrowing of options for the entire inhabited world as a result of efforts to reduce the spread of the virus. If one puts these four factors together, then I think that one can legitimately suggest that the world is experiencing an unprecedented tribulation of human society.

If this statement is true, then this means that our analysis of Matthew has reached the present time. Verse 29 refers to “immediately after the tribulation”, which implies that verse 29 is in the future. Thus, as far as the reader is concerned, this essay will now move from history to prophecy. However, remember that when the book of Matthew was originally written, then the entire book was prophecy and none of it was history (except possibly chapter 1 and some of chapter 2).

The parallel verse in Mark 13:19 is significantly different. “For those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. Mark includes a comparison word that means ‘such as this, such’, which is not included in Matthew 24. (The NASB does not translate this comparison word.) This implies that the tribulation of Matthew will be unique, while the tribulation of Mark will be the worst. Mark also does not refer to a ‘great tribulation’. And Mark refers to the beginning of creation, which means ‘creation which is founded from nothing’, a word that is not used by Matthew. Mark repeats this word by saying that ‘God created’. Thus, my best guess is that Mark is describing a future sequence of events that will go beyond the cosmos of civilization to affect physical reality itself. A narrowing that affected physical reality itself would be the worst form of narrowing.

Looking briefly at the reference to the Great Tribulation in Revelation 7:14, the locusts of 9:1-11 appear to describe the mindset of modern questioning, while the horsemen of 9:17-19 seem to be referring to fiefdoms of technical specialization, which one could refer to as corporatism. Revelation 10 describes an integrated theory of the objective and subjective being developed. Thus, the reference to the Great Tribulation in 7:14 seems to be too early in this progression. (The word ‘tribulation’ is not used in Revelation after 7:14.) However, this is the only mention of The Great Tribulation that is preceded by the definite article. (The Greek refers to ‘the tribulation the great’.) And the Greek describes people as ‘coming out’ of the Great Tribulation—in the present tense. This implies that Revelation 7:14 is referring to a general period of history that could be described as the great tribulation out of which a certain kind of person is emerging. This period of history started with the development of technical specializations and will end with the unprecedented Great Tribulation of human society mentioned in Matthew 24. For instance, I have felt squeezed by technical specializations for most of my life, and this feeling of narrowness has motivated me to develop a general understanding that can bridge technical specializations, but it is only recently that technical rules and regulations have become the primary method by which society deals with moral problems. And it is only recently that postmodern tolerance has turned into the censorship of the cancel culture.

Looking at this topic from a religious perspective, the term ‘Great Tribulation’ has become overused within evangelical circles because the combination of ‘the rapture’ followed by ‘the great tribulation’ has become a central pillar of theology. The underlying problem is that the great tribulation is being equated with the kingdom of the beast, and the word ‘tribulation’ has been misinterpreted as massive physical suffering rather than as mental narrowness. Thus, a scriptural concept of a great tribulation has been overgeneralized into a central dogma of The Great Tribulation. The book of Revelation indicates that the kingdom of the beast comes after the great tribulation. (The term ‘great tribulation’ is mentioned in Rev. 7:14 while the kingdom of the beast occurs in Rev. 13.)

Verse 22 continues by saying that “Unless those days had been cut short, no flesh would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Cut short means ‘to curtail’. Saved means ‘to deliver out of danger and into safety’. Flesh means ‘the flesh, body, human nature, materiality’. It refers to the physical body with its mental programming that is required to exist within physical matter. Cosmos refers to the social structure that emerges when a group of people build a society based upon the assumption that only the flesh and the physical universe exist.

What is happening in verse 22 is that specialization is becoming so extreme that people are losing the skills that are required to provide for their own physical needs, the regulations are becoming so extensive that people are no longer permitted to provide for their own physical needs, and the postmodern questioning of truth is becoming so extensive that even facts about physical existence are being rejected as political maneuvering. These three factors are being accentuated by the current coronavirus pandemic.

This danger is verbalized in an article that I just stumbled across from today’s CBC website. Quoting some excerpts, “How we engineer ourselves, or are engineered by others, is one of the most important questions of the 21st century, according to Frischmann. Digitally networked technologies and tools can enhance human capabilities in different ways but the issue is when this same technology is used to reduce — or take away — human capabilities, says Frischmann… Frischmann warns we must not become overly dependent on technology to do our thinking for us, because it means you become wards to the technology owners… A world where engineering determines governance is a world where fully predictable and programmable people perform rather than live their lives. Such a world would be tragic. People living there can be described as humans — and would still qualify as homosapiens — but they would be a thin normative status as human beings because much of what matters about being human would be lost.” That portrays what it means in current society to be in danger of losing one’s flesh.

The language of the parallel verse in Mark 13:20 is slightly different. In Mark, the Lord is actively shortening the days on behalf of certain elect whom the Lord has chosen. Matthew, in contrast, describes a process that is running more by itself without active divine intervention.

The word elect means ‘chosen, out of a personal preference’. This word was previously used in 22:14, which said that ‘many are called but few are chosen’. The context there was that many were called to the wedding lunch but only some of these were ‘chosen out of a personal preference’. The great tribulation is specifically being shortened for the sake of these select individuals. Saying this more clearly, the standard evangelical interpretation of a ‘rapture followed by a Great Tribulation’ is that the timing will be determined by some sort of prophetic timeclock, it will be motivated by God’s repulsion to evil, it will involve God removing Christians from the physical world of the flesh in a rapture, and this will then be followed by God pummeling the world physically through a series of apocalyptic catastrophes.

In contrast, verse 22 focuses upon the well-being of those whose character God personally prefers, and says that God will bring the insanity to an end in order to make it possible for these individuals to live physically in the flesh. One finds a similar sentiment in 2 Timothy 4:8 where Paul says that “in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” The focus there is upon God blessing those who love the appearing of God.

Verse 23 returns to the concept of Christ. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘Here He is,’ do not believe him.’” The word here means ‘here, the things here, what is here’. This is a common word that basically indicates some sort of limitation: ‘Here’ implies ‘not there’. Believe means to ‘be persuaded’. The general principle is that a concept of Christ is based in general principles. Any concept of Christ that is limited to some subset of human existence is insufficient. Saying this another way, any legitimate concept of Christ will become free of Mercy divisions between ‘us’ and ‘them’, and will also transcend Perceiver categories of ‘here’ versus ‘there’. This does not mean that everyone and everything are the same. Rather, it means that Mercy and Perceiver categories are secondary and should be based in Teacher feelings of ‘who God personally prefers’.

Verse 24 adds “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” Arise means ‘to awaken, to raise up’ and has been seen several times in this chapter. Verse 11 mentioned pseudo-prophets, but pseudo-Christ is only found in this verse, and in the parallel passage in Mark 13:22. Pseudo means ‘lying, false’. (The word antichrist is only found in 1 and 2 John. Anti means ‘opposite to, in place of’. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 uses the term ‘man of lawlessness’.) We defined a false prophet in verse 11 as using emotional Mercy experiences to create Perceiver ‘truth’. A false Christ would use specific actions or transformations to teach improper general principles.

The rest of verse 24 describes how this will happen. A sign is ‘a sign, typically miraculous, given especially to confirm, corroborate, or authenticate’. Jesus was asked for a sign in chapters 12 and 16 and in both cases he replied that he would only give the sign of Jonah. A ‘great sign’ is a sign that gives the appearance of Teacher generality. A wonder is ‘a miraculous wonder, done to elicit a reaction from onlookers’ and this is the only occurrence of this word in Matthew. In verse 24, many pseudo-Christs and pseudo-prophets are awakening and giving a plurality of great signs and wonders. In the same way that we interpreted angels as real angels, it appears that this verse is talking about real supernatural events, which implies that a door to the supernatural realm will be opened. As of August 2020, this has not happened. However, what is new is that the mainstream press has recently started to talk about UFO incidents in a serious manner. Verse 24 seems to indicate that the door to the supernatural will initially open in a chaotic, haphazard manner.

Mislead means ‘to deviate from the correct path’ and has been seen three times in Matthew 24. Verse 24 is the final time that this word is used in Matthew, implying that after this point the actual situation will become too obvious for people to be misled. The phrase ‘mislead, if possible, even the elect’ gives the impression of a hypothetical that will not actually happen. But how can one tell if something almost happens but does not? A clearer interpretation emerges if one recognizes that the word possible means ‘powerful’. My general hypothesis is that humans have strength which is exhibited through Server actions, while angels have power which is exhibited through Perceiver thought. Thus, what is being described here is a supernatural power struggle between angelic imposters (or angelically powered human imposters) and the ‘elect’—those whose character God prefers. The word even is actually ‘and’. Thus, the average person will be overcome by supernatural power while the elect will hopefully be powerful enough to resist this pressure. One common element of stories that describe UFO visitations is that the visitors use some sort of supernatural power to psychically overwhelm their human victims, and that it is possible—though difficult—to resist or overcome this power.

Verse 25 warns “Behold, I have told you in advance”. Told in advance is used once in Matthew and means ‘to say beforehand, declaring in advance’. The reason for this warning is that acquiring supernatural power is like a weight-lifting program. Every time that one chooses to follow truth and integrity rather than succumb to temptation or peer pressure one becomes more powerful in Perceiver thought.

Verse 26 mentions two major classes of error. “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them.” Notice that these statements are being made by humans who claim to have access to Christ.

Wilderness means ‘an uncultivated, unpopulated place’. Saying this another way, people are suggesting that one can encounter signs of miraculous signs and wonders by visiting some physical location that is devoid of human presence. Verse 26 says that one should not go out to such locations. Many UFO encounters are described as occurring in such wilderness locations. It is possible that legitimate alien encounters are happening in such locations. But one avoids such locations because one does not want to interact with those aliens. The type of alien that one will meet in a location that is devoid of human habitation is an alien that will suppress humanity. Trying to contact such an alien is like trying to make friends with a wild animal.

Inner room means ‘an inner chamber’ and is used one other time in Matthew in 6:6 where it talks about going into your inner room to pray to your Father in secret. Matthew 6:6 is a key verse for Christian mysticism. Most UFO websites say that the way to contact aliens is to practice mysticism. This may work, but as with going out to the wilderness, one will not contact the right kind of aliens. Looking at this cognitively, Teacher emotion comes from order-within-complexity. The easiest way to achieve this is by living within complexity, and then turning one’s back upon this complexity in order to embrace the Teacher overgeneralization of cosmic oneness. The kind of alien that one will attract through this method is one who treats the complexity of human physical existence as something to turn away from in order to embrace the ‘light’ of cosmic unity. One does not want to contact aliens who are only pretending to interact with humanity. Notice that the command here is that one should not believe. That is because mysticism means adopting a certain mental attitude, while going to the wilderness means performing a certain action. One should not go to the wilderness and one should not believe in mysticism.

The Coming of the Son of Man 24:27-31

Verse 27 describes how the real Christ will appear. “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Just as refers to an analogy. This is the first of two times that the word lightning is used in Matthew, which means ‘lightning, brightness’. The other occurrence is in 28:3 which says that the angel who rolled away the stone of Jesus’ tomb had an appearance like lightning. This lightning will come from the East, which literally means the ‘rising of the sun’. West literally means ‘a setting, as of the sun’. Shine means ‘to bring to light, to cause to appear’. The shining is even to the west, which means ‘till, until’. This is describing a sudden, massive illumination.

Detouring briefly to the symbolism of East and West, past essays have interpreted West as referring to Western rational thought and East as representing Eastern mysticism. I see now that the Greek meanings actually refer to the rising and setting of the sun. If a sun represents the light of a general understanding, then a rising sun would represent a new theory with few details full of possibilities, while a setting sun would represent a mature theory overgrown with technical details and problems that are dimming the light of Teacher understanding. The Teacher overgeneralization of mysticism naturally arises with a theory that lacks details, and a mystical breakthrough attempts to transcend factual details in order to recover that initial feeling of wonder and ecstasy. Thus, there is a relationship between a rising sun and a tendency to pursue mysticism. Similarly, it takes time for a general theory to acquire rational content and technical details. Thus, there is also a relationship between a setting sun and rational thought.

Returning to verse 27, a flash of lightning from East extending to West would mean the illumination of a general theory that starts as an ecstatic Eastern illumination but then quickly extends to include many rational and technical details. For instance, mental symmetry is capable of triggering this sort of response in the new reader, because it is initially viewed as a general theory of personality and then the breadth and depth of the theory become apparent as one reads further. Verse 27 does not say that the coming of Christ will be a flash of lightning, but rather that it will resemble such a flash of lightning. Similarly, mental symmetry gives a cognitive analogy of what it might feel like to encounter such a flash of lightning.

Coming means ‘a presence, a coming’. It is only used in Matthew in chapter 24, where it is found four times. The first occurrence was in verse 3 where the disciples asked what would be the ‘sign of your coming’. This is the standard word used in the New Testament to describe the second coming of Christ.

Skipping verse 28 for now, verse 29 describes the aftermath of this flash of lightning. “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Tribulation means squeezing or narrowness. A flash of illumination that extends from a new general theory all the way to the details will automatically bring an end to narrowness, because it will apply an integrative unity to all of the technical specializations. Saying this another way, it will act as a meta-theory that ends up including many technical theories within its domain. This happens cognitively when one learns a meta-theory. However, the flash of lightning that is happening in verse 27 appears to extend beyond the cognitive to include the supernatural. Notice that I said extend and not transcend. The light of mystical oneness transcends human rational thought without including it; it turns its back upon human content in order to contemplate the cosmic unity. Verse 27 is describing a different kind of light that appears like cosmic unity but then extends its tendrils to include the details and content of rational thought.

The immediate impact of this new supernaturally-enhanced universal understanding will be the darkening of existing light. Darkened is found once in Matthew and means ‘to darken’. The light of a Teacher theory is determined by its generality. If a new theory comes along that is more general, then the light of the existing theory will be darkened.

Moon is also mentioned once in Matthew. The moon is a reflected light. This was discussed when looking at the state of being moonstruck. Light means ‘light, brightness’, and this word is only used in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 13. The infrastructure and gadgets of modern technical society act as a moon that provides an indirect light of a Teacher understanding. The average modern person does not have an integrated Teacher understanding. Instead, he acquires the idea of an integrated Teacher understanding by living within a world of integrated technical infrastructure. This external civilization will cease to give its light. One can understand how this works by comparing what happens with a new computer or smartphone. Initially, it is very exciting. But as newer and better models come out, the device gradually loses its light as it is superseded by more capable machines. The device itself may continue to function properly, but it is no longer regarded as the epitome of Teacher order and structure. Similarly, if supernatural order and structure became apparent, then existing human infrastructure would pale in comparison.

This is the only occurrence of the word star in Matthew outside of the four references in Matthew 2 to the Star of Bethlehem in the birth of Jesus. One could interpret the ‘stars falling from the heaven’ as the luminaries of human society losing their status. And if alien/angel experts showed up, then existing technological expertise would seem inadequate.

Looking at this from a different perspective, the common perception among UFO researchers is that aliens have advanced technology compared to humans. However, I suggest that there is more to the story. The word angel means ‘messenger’ and a messenger lives within abstract thought. Thus, what humans regard as the strange and abstract language of science, angels and aliens would regard as their native tongue. Consistent with this, alien stories generally describe alien technology as being grown rather than fabricated, indicating that aliens are not so much high-tech as natural-tech.

This is backed up by the fact that one almost never reads in alien stories of any kind of alien culture, art, music, social interaction—or even of aliens going on holidays. Instead, they seem to be continually functioning as narrow-minded specialists without ever taking a break, to the extent that many of the workers appear to be almost mechanical. This explains why humans can attract aliens by ‘going to the wilderness’ or ‘entering the closet’. Going to the wilderness creates a simpler environment that lacks the complexities of human MMNs, while entering the closet creates a simpler mind that lacks the complexities of human existence. Summarizing, aliens may be naturally high-tech, but it appears that humans are naturally high-culture. (This relationship is explored further in the essay on aliens, angels, and the plan of God.)

Applying this to verse 29, if a general Teacher theory that covered both generality and specifics flashed from East to West, then the comprehensiveness of this understanding would overwhelm the simplemindedness of the typical alien. The stars that would fall from the sky would not just be human luminaries but also angelic and alien rulers.

Verse 29 finishes by saying that ‘the powers of the heavens will be shaken’. We interpreted the reference to power in verse 24 as a power struggle between human faith and alien power. Verse 29 uses the same word power to describe beings who reside within the heavens. The word shaken is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to agitate, shake’. Books on UFOs speculate on the shaking that would happen to human society if aliens openly appeared. Verse 29 indicates that this shaking would happen in both directions. That is because interacting openly with humans would force both aliens and angels to live within far more comprehensive Teacher theories of existence.

A similar realization happened at the beginning of artificial intelligence back in the 1980s. When programmers learned to teach computers how to play chess, they assumed that it would be easy to teach computers how to interact with real objects in the physical world. That is because humans find interacting with real objects much easier than playing chess. Researchers quickly found out that playing chess is easy for computers while distinguishing between a block and a ball is extremely difficult. Similarly, angelic and alien minds that found it natural to play ‘cosmic chess’ would find themselves having to deal with the much more complex task of maneuvering through physical reality.

Verse 28 (which we skipped before) gives a strange analogy. “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” The word corpse is found twice in Matthew. The other time was in 14:12 where the disciples of John came and buried his corpse. Gathered means to lead together, and the previous occurrence was in 22:41 where Jesus talked to the Pharisees while they were gathered together. We interpreted that as Christian believers in absolute truth following organizational principles. The word vulture actually means ‘eagle’ and is translated as vulture in this verse because eagles do not search for carrion. It comes from a word that means ‘air’. Presumably an eagle would refer to a being living within Teacher thought. A corpse is no longer alive, but it still contains the structure of life. Studying a corpse is much safer than interacting with a living being, because one can dissect the elements of life without having to deal with the integrated form of life. If aliens and angels are mentally simpler than humans, then they would prefer to analyze human complexity under controlled circumstances. Consistent with this, most alien accounts say that aliens avoid interacting with fully conscious humans, but prefer their human subjects to be paralyzed, hypnotized, or at least docile. Using the language of Matthew, the ‘air beings’ gather around corpses and not around living beings. This is relevant, because verse 26 describes two major ways in which humans turn themselves into mental corpses, by either leaving the complexity of human existence for some wilderness, or ignoring the complexity of human thought for some mental closet of mysticism. Going further, a great social tribulation would turn all of human society into a simplistic parody of normal human interaction, making it much easier for aliens to appear within human society.

Verse 30 presents a fourth stage. Verse 24 described a number of fragmented breakthroughs from the supernatural realm. This was followed in verse 27 by an initial flash of global illumination. This led in verse 29 to a massive shaking of existing human and angelic structure. In verse 30, the genuine article shines through. “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.” This is the ‘sign’ that the disciples asked about back in verse 3.

The word mourn means ‘being cut off; to mourn with a cutting sense of personal, tragic loss’. It was previously used in 21:8 to describe the crowds cutting down branches from the trees in the triumphal entry of Jesus. We interpreted that as the major questioning of various branches of thought during the protests of the 1960s. In verse 30 all of the tribes of the earth are ‘mourning with a cutting sense’.

The word tribe does not refer to a group with a common culture, but rather means ‘the descendants of a common ancestor’. And earth refers to ‘the arena we live in which operates in space and time’. This phrase ‘tribes of the earth’ is used one another time in the New Testament in Revelation 1:7 in reference to Jesus Christ: “behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.” And the same Greek word ‘mourn’ is also used. Thus, Revelation 1:7 is probably looking forward to the event described in verse 30.

One characteristic of Teacher overgeneralization is that it does not lead to a sense of conscience or righteousness. That is because a Teacher theory that ignores all content will not exert emotional pressure to follow one form of content rather than another. Instead, the only form of conscience that emerges is a general sense that it is wrong to exist. One sees this, for instance, in the Teacher overgeneralization of ‘protecting the environment’, where one gains the impression that humans are committing sin against nature merely by existing. (The environment does need protecting, but rationally pursuing a goal of preserving the environment is quite different than proclaiming environmentalism as a vague overgeneralization.) Similarly, the Teacher overgeneralization of social equality leads to the feeling that one is committing oppression simply by living as a person or group.

In verse 27, a general theory with details has flashed across the sky. (This flashing might be cognitive, spiritual, supernatural, visual, or some combination of the above. When dealing with the supernatural realm, one cannot predetermine what will happen exactly. But one can use analogies to describe what the events will be like.) Replacing Teacher overgeneralization with Teacher generality will lead to a massive attack of conscience, because the vague statement that ‘one should accept everyone without judging’ will be replaced by a very detailed and thorough understanding of how things work and what the consequences are when things either work or do not work. Saying this another way, when some technical device fails catastrophically, like in a plane crash, then this is followed by an intense investigation to determine exactly what went wrong. In contrast, when some person or group fails catastrophically, then this is followed by intense motivation to suppress any analysis of what went wrong. When the general theory flashes in verse 27, then personal behavior will become subject to the same standards that are currently applied to science and technology.

The result will be mourning on an unprecedented scale. Notice that the mourning in verse 30 goes deeper than merely a guilty conscience. If one were just feeling guilty for inadequate cultural and personal MMNs, then the various ethnic groups with their cultures would be mourning. This mourning will go deeper than mere culture to ‘tribe, race, lineage’. The very idea of coming from physical matter will induce feelings of guilt, because it is the tribes of space-time that are mourning. And this guilt will be strong enough to drive feelings of ‘cutting off’ the evil from one’s existence. In verse 3, the disciples asked Jesus what would be the sign of his coming. Verse 30 says that this display of excessive mourning will be the universal response to the sign of Jesus’ coming. Putting this into perspective, imagine your ideal image of a perfect person. Now imagine actually seeing such a person and realizing that this is the standard by which one is judged. Going further, imagine that all the postmodern pronouncements about unconditional acceptance and politically correct speech have just been rendered obsolete.

Verse 30 finishes by describing this sort of appearance. “They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. A cloud was mentioned in Matthew 17 in the Transfiguration, and we saw that New Testament references to a cloud have supernatural overtones. Sky is actually ‘heaven’. The word see means ‘see, often with metaphorical meaning: to see with the mind’. The Transfiguration described the face and clothes of Jesus as shining. But it used this same word see to describe the appearance of Moses and Elijah in verse 3.

My guess is that this ‘seeing’ will not involve the physical appearance of Christ as a physical person. Instead, the scientist will probably experience it as a deep realization that the euphemism of Nature actually refers to a real divine being, while the Christian will grasp at an intuitive level that Christ is more fundamental than the Jesus of the Gospels. The word appear, which means ‘to bring to light, to cause to appear’ is used twice in chapter 24, but what appears is first the lightning in verse 27 and then the sign of the Son of Man in verse 30. The word ‘appear’ is not applied to the Son of Man himself. Consistent with this, power appears to refer to angelic might. Glory is an external expression of internal character, but the word great means ‘much in number’ and ‘emphasizes the quantity involved’. This implies that the glory is being expressed in a number of specific ways rather than as a single person.

Going further, these verses talk extensively about the angelic and theoretical heaven, but say almost nothing about the human earth. The moon, the stars, the sky, and the powers of the heavens are all related to Teacher thought. Similarly, in verse 30 the Son of Man is coming on the ‘clouds of the heaven’ and not arriving on earth. The ‘earth’ of human space and time is mentioned in verse 30, but it is being affected emotionally and not physically. That is why I refer to this as the ‘theoretical return of Jesus’. Incarnation is returning to Earth in some angelic manner, but this return affects primarily the theoretical realm of Teacher understanding—both heavenly and cognitive.

Verse 31 finishes by describing how humans will be affected. “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.” Notice again all of the references to air: angels, trumpet, winds, sky. This is the only mention of a trumpet in Matthew, which refers to ‘a war-trumpet’, and this same word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which I think is referring to the same event. This trumpet is described as great, which means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. This refers to Teacher generality. (‘Trumpet’ is mentioned eleven times as a noun in the New Testament, and this is the only reference to a great trumpet.) Matthew 13:41 said that the Son of Man would send forth his angels. Verse 31 appears to be describing what 13:41 is looking forward to.

The word gather combines ‘on, fitting’ with ‘gather together’. It is used three times in Matthew. It was used twice in 23:37 where Jesus wished that he could gather the followers together the way that a bird gathered her young. And in verse 31 this gathering is actually happening, being performed by angels. In other words, a paradigm shift may work with scientific theories but it is not enough when dealing with theories of life and religion. Instead, a deeper level of gathering needs to be performed by beings who live within theories and don’t just talk about them.

What is being gathered together is ‘his elect’, which means ‘chosen, out of a personal preference’. 22:14 said that ‘many are called but few are chosen’, in 24:22 the ‘great narrowness’ was being shortened for the sake of the elect, while in 24:22 the elect were being possibly overwhelmed. In verse 31, the elect are being gathered together by the angels. I do not think that this is talking about a person’s eternal fate. Instead, I suggest that is related to what I refer to elsewhere as spiritual technology. In simple terms, the theoretical return of Jesus will be followed by a special supernatural gifting of a select group of individuals whose personal character is attractive to God. These will be ‘chosen out of a personal preference’ by God.

Going further, wind means ‘a gust of air’. End means ‘highest, extreme’ and is only found in Matthew in this verse where it is used twice. Out of the four winds implies that several kinds of distinctive Teacher thought will be gathered together, while ‘from the extreme of the heavens until the extreme of them’ indicates that this will be a broad gathering together of many forms of Teacher thought—including extreme Teacher thought—that would not normally get together. This implies that the gifting of spiritual technology may include Christian, New Age, Tibetan, Ufologist, scientific, and environmental aspects. Other scriptural passages seem to indicate that there will be a wide gifting based upon strength of character and that the moral fate of those who receive these gifts will be determined by how they treat their gifting. Again, verse 31 does not appear to be describing people being chosen to go to heaven in some rapture. Instead, it appears that God is aiming in verse 31 for comprehensiveness.

Saying this another way, it appears that God will not bless spiritual good and judge spiritual evil directly by rewarding good and judging evil. Instead, it appears that God will spiritually reward everyone who is spiritual aware, and these ‘gifted’ people will then judge themselves by responding to their spiritual gifting in either a wholesome or a self-destructive manner. This principle was mentioned back in 5:44-48.

The Fig Tree 24:32-36

The next passage returns to the parable of the fig tree. “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.” The only other reference to a fig tree in Matthew was in 21:19-21 with the cursing of the fig tree. A fig tree represents personal vulnerabilities and desires, with fig fruit representing a proper response to these vulnerabilities and fig leaves representing various compensation mechanisms. We interpreted Matthew 21 as the 1960s when people raised many personal issues, but then responded primarily with compensation and rationalization rather than personal transformation. Leaves are mentioned twice in Matthew. In 21:19 the fig tree was producing only leaves while in verse 32 the fig tree is putting forth leaves. Tender is used only in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 13 and means ‘soft, tender’. Put forth is also found only in this verse and the parallel passage and combines ‘from out of’ with ‘bring forth, produce’. Know refers to ‘experiential knowledge’. Summer comes from the word ‘to heat’. Near means ‘near in place or time’. Putting this together, when people become emotionally vulnerable about core issues and these emotions cause various compensation mechanisms to emerge, then one can know experientially that things are about to heat up. This putting forth of fig leaves may involve the liberal version of preaching equality while protesting inequality, it may involve the conservative version of proclaiming truth while avoiding personal transformation, or it may include other versions.

Verse 33 then draws the analogy. “So, you too, when you see all these things, know that it is near, right at the doors.” So means ‘in this manner, in this way’. See is the normal word used in Matthew which includes ‘to see with the mind’. Know again refers to experiential knowledge. The one previous reference to a door was in the infamous mystical verse of 6:6 which says that one should go to the inner room and shut the door. A door implies a transition from one context to another. Near the door indicates that this transition is imminent. In other words, when things start to heat up, one should not try to maintain the status quo or attempt bring back the past, but rather know at an experiential level that a major transition is about to happen.

Verse 34 then provides a time frame. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” Pass away means ‘to pass by, to come to’. It is used three times in verses 34-35 to describe two things that will not pass away and one thing that will. The first thing that will not pass away is ‘this generation’. The implication is that this will not be a Holocaust in which millions die. Instead, people will survive this transition. More specifically, this entire process will happen within one generation. Take place literally means ‘to come into being’. Thus, one is not looking at events taking place, but rather a state of existence coming into being.

Verse 35 mentions the two other things. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Heaven refers either to the Teacher realm of abstract theory, or to the heaven of God and angels, which is also a realm of Teacher theory. Earth refers to human space and time. There are several Greek words that refer to destruction or ruin, but pass away indicates a ‘passing by’ rather than a sudden and permanent end. This verb pass by occurs thirty in the New Testament. It talks occasionally about a generation passing by, which could indicate some generation appearing on the stage of human history and then exiting. The phrase ‘heaven and earth will pass away’ occurs five times. One could interpret this phrase as heaven and earth coming to an end, or as them passing by one another. In other words, ‘heaven and earth will pass by’—there will be a meeting of these two. The previous section has just described a passing by of heaven and earth.

(This same verb is used in 2 Peter 3:10 which is translated as ‘the heavens will pass away’. But one could also translate that as the heavens passing by, and the elements of the earth being burned up. In other words, the heavenly realm of Teacher thought will contact the ‘earth’ of physical existence so closely that the basic elements of the physical universe unravel. I suggested in the essay on 2 Peter 3 that this might be referring to what physics calls the false vacuum, but I did not recognize the more subtle meaning of ‘pass by’ when writing that essay.)

Words in verse 35 refers to logos in the plural, which we are interpreting as the paradigms behind technical thought. This means that the theories of science will not become obsolete. Scientific thought will still hold within a realm that includes spiritual technology. However, one will have to think in terms of paradigms and paradigm shifts rather than burying one’s head within some technical specialization while assuming the underlying Teacher paradigm. Saying this another way, culture and experiences will change massively, but technical theories will remain the same.

The next verse looks at timing. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (v.36). This is generally interpreted to mean that one can determine the general timing but not the precise day. However, if a day represents an era, then one cannot even determine the specific era in which this transition will happen. Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’, which means that one cannot look for empirical evidence that indicates the precise timing. This would eliminate most prophetic Christian books about the second coming, including Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth.

Verse 36 says that the angels of the heavens also do not know the timing. My general hypothesis is that in the same way that the physical body forces humans to develop concrete technical thought, so an angelic ‘body’ would force angels to develop abstract technical thought. Thus, if the angels do not know, then this means that one cannot use abstract technical thought to work out the timing. This would eliminate most remaining research about the second coming, including that done by Isaac Newton (yes, that Isaac Newton). Saying this more simply, abstract technical thought is appropriate for understanding the physical universe. It is not appropriate for figuring out the timing of the second coming. Using the language of Thomas Kuhn, one is dealing with a kind of hyper paradigm shift, and paradigm shifts leave what Kuhn refers to as ‘normal science’ to enter the realm of ‘revolutionary science’. And if one wants to do revolutionary science, then one needs to let go of technical thought in order to follow Teacher thought. This is illustrated by the two major paradigm shifts that were instituted within science by the Teacher persons of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. It is also shown by the rest of verse 36, which says that the Son also does not know the type of society within which the second coming will occur.

Noah and the Ark 24:37-41

Verse 37 gives another analogy. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.” Just like means ‘just as, even as’. Similarly, be like means ‘in this manner’. ‘Days’ implies that one is dealing with more than one era. Noah is only mentioned in Matthew in these two verses. Noah did not attempt to convert his society but rather devoted his energy to building an Ark in which existing life could be saved. When the Ark was finished, then the cataclysm came that transformed the existing world. Matthew 24 describes a similar chain of events.

Verse 38 adds some details. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark.” This describes the behavior before the flood, a word that means ‘inundation, deluge’. This word is the source of the English word ‘cataclysm’ and is only used in the New Testament to refer to the flood of Noah. Eating is used once in Matthew and means ‘to gnaw, munch, crunch’. One normally eats in order to get nourishment. Similarly, one eats intellectual food in order to gain knowledge. This verb describes eating as entertainment, similar to the way that one gnaws on snack food for the munch and the crunch. Drink is the normal verb ‘to drink’. ‘Eating and drinking’ indicate a focus upon the experiences of the present, made more palatable by a continual munching of intellectual trivia. One is not following any major goals or solving any major problems but rather experiencing the flow of life.

‘Marrying and giving in marriage’ use the same two words that were found in 22:30 where Jesus said that the angels of heaven ‘neither marry nor are given in marriage’. I suggested there that the human concept of marriage is a byproduct of growing up male or female within physical bodies. This gives the impression that these two forms of thought can exist independently of one another and that one can match them up at random. ‘Marrying and giving in marriage’ implies that one is continually attempting to pair up female mental networks and male technical thought without attempting to integrate these two. However, male and female thought are actually two complementary ways by which a finite creature can handle an infinite universe. Thus, what really matters is not the act of physical marriage but rather the internal integration that happens between these two forms of thought. Verse 38 describes a society that is continually looking for opportunities and making deals without following opportunities or building upon deals. Financially speaking, this is epitomized by high-frequency trading.

This happens ‘until the day that Noah entered the ark’. The word ark is used once in Matthew and six times in the New Testament. The same Greek word is used for the Ark of Noah and the Ark of the Covenant (these are different words in Hebrew). There is also a conceptual overlap between these two in the New Testament because the Ark of the Covenant is treated as some sort of vehicle with which one makes a journey, while the Ark of Noah is treated as a symbol of a covenant. This brings together several major threads that we have been discussing. On the one hand, God the Father is instituting a new relationship or covenant, while on the other hand, some group of people is preparing for this shift by building an Ark. The key transition in verse 38 is not Noah building the Ark but rather Noah entering the Ark—committing himself personally to the ‘escape pod’ that he has constructed.

Verse 39 adds that the surrounding people are oblivious to what is happening until it is too late. “And they did not know until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Know refers to experiential knowledge. This is backed up by the word ‘flood’, which refers to a deluge of water. In other words, even though the coming of the Son of Man is based in a unified Teacher understanding, that is not how the average person will experience it. Instead it will be experienced as a deluge of Mercy experiences leading to experiential knowledge. This distinction is similar to the way that I approach Christianity and religion. For me, these are specific expressions of a general Teacher understanding of how the mind works. But for the average person, Christianity and religion equal experience.

Take away means ‘to raise, take up, lift’, which implies movement in the direction of Teacher generality. Them all is used three times in Matthew and combines ‘all together’ with ‘each, every’. One sees again a comprehensive combination of generality and specifics. All of the experiences and actions that were treated as individual Mercy events will now be placed within a general Teacher framework of angelic power.

Verse 40 says that the specific technical field does not matter. “Then there will be two men in the field; one is taken and one is left.” ‘Men’ is not specifically mentioned, but is implied from the conjugation of verbs. Thus, verse 40 is referring to male technical thought. Taken means ‘take from, receive from’. Left means ‘to send away, leave alone’. If being taken refers to the gathering of verse 31, then the supernatural gifting will not automatically happen within certain technical specializations and not in other technical specializations. Instead, it will happen in many specializations based upon the personal character of individuals within that specialization.

Verse 41 applies the same principle to the mental networks of female thought. “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left.” Grinding means ‘to grind’, while mill refers to a millstone. The only other mention of a millstone in Matthew was in 18:6 with a millstone hung around the person’s neck, which we interpreted as World War I soldiers being forced to submit to new technology. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon explains that ‘it was the custom to send women and female slaves to the mill-houses to turn the hand-mills’.

Notice that both of these examples involve the production of food, which we have connected with abstract thought. This is consistent with the idea that the angelic gathering will affect heavenly Teacher thought but not human Mercy experiences. Looking at this cognitively, male technical thought grows and gathers the food while female mental networks break down specific facts to form a general Teacher understanding. Thus, we are looking here at an angelic interaction between Perceiver facts and general Teacher theories rather than a human interaction between Server actions and specific Mercy experiences.

Notice also that both male and female thought are being affected, which implies that there will be both male and female kinds of supernatural gifting. However, the two examples that are given both describe a form of thinking that acknowledges the presence of the other. Male thought that deals with growing knowledge is being affected. Similarly, female thought that processes the information of male thought is being affected.

The Faithful Slave 24:42-51

The chapter finished by describing the attitude that one should adopt. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (v.42). Be alert means ‘to be awake, to watch’, and is related to the verb ‘waken, raise up’ that we have seen several times. In other words, in the same way that various movements have come to life within this chapter, so the individual should come to life and exist as an independent living entity. ‘Being awake’ means being motivated by my own mental networks rather than merely responding to the mental networks of others. Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. This means that one cannot use empirical evidence to determine the precise date of the second coming. Going further, which means ‘of what sort’. Thus, not only is it impossible to determine the precise date, but one does not even know the kind of ‘day’ or era in which the return will happen. Therefore, if one is to survive the turmoil and not go crazy waiting, then one has to develop an independent reason for existence. One might think that a detailed analysis of Matthew 24 would make it possible to determine the date more precisely, but the problem is that global society has now reached a point of instability in which it is no longer possible to determine the precise era in which we live. Trends that seem certain are continually being overwhelmed by new events.

Verse 43 uses an analogy. “But know this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be dug through.” The first know is experiential knowledge. One needs to know the principle stated in verse 43 at an experiential level. Known, in contrast, ‘is seeing that becomes knowing’ which refers to empirical evidence. Head of the house means ‘house despot’, and this figure has played a behind-the-scenes role in several parables. What is new in this parable is that one is supposed to identify with the house-despot.

‘At what time of the night’ gives the impression that one is dealing with a precise number, such as 2:37 AM in the morning. But the original Greek is more vague. What is the same ‘of what sort’ that was used in verse 42. Time of night means ‘a guarding, guard’. A night was typically divided into either three or four watches. Thus, one is dealing here with a time span of about 2 to 3 hours. A thief is someone ‘who steals by stealth’. Be on the alert is the same word ‘to be awake, to watch’. Putting this all together, if the house-despot could use empirical evidence to determine in which quarter of the night the thief would stealthily appear, then he could have ensured that he was awake during that part of the night. And night is appropriate, because one is dealing with the postmodern ‘night’ of Western civilization.

Looking at this cognitively, not knowing which era forces one to adopt a certain mental strategy. I talked earlier about the principle of existence. Righteousness allows behavior to be emotionally guided by the TMN of understanding rather than MMNs of identity or culture. The principle of existence goes beyond this to behaving in a certain manner because of who I am. This is not a matter of deciding to behave in a certain way, because that is not enough. Instead, one becomes a certain person because there is no other rational alternative. One is choosing to follow life rather than death because one chooses existence rather than self-destruction.

It appears that the second coming requires a breakthrough that can only be achieved if a sufficient group of humans pursue the principle of existence to a sufficient extent. I do not know what precisely defines ‘sufficient’. And I think that is the point. If one could define sufficient in any semi-rigorous manner, it would no longer be necessary to follow the principle of existence. What I do know from personal experience is that when I have reached the level of applying some principle solely because of who I am and how things work, then I have had the sense that I have achieved some kind of spiritual breakthrough. This activity in the face of hopelessness cannot be faked, because it can only emerge when there is sufficient internal character and understanding combined with sufficient external apathy and/or rejection. That is why verse 42 starts by saying ‘stay awake’.

Finishing verse 43, allowed is used once in Matthew and means ‘to permit, which implies misgiving that goes with the allowing’. In other words, one may have a sneaking suspicion that something will happen, but that will not provide sufficient motivation. House means ‘house, dwelling’. Dug through means ‘to dig through’ and describes how one would break into a typical Roman era personal dwelling. Looking at this cognitively, any strategy of building up some sort of walls to keep out the external world will ultimately prove insufficient, because the outside world will eventually dig through the walls.

Verse 44 adds another detail. “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Be means ‘to come into being’. Ready means ‘ready because prepared’. Thus, one does not simply decide that one will be ready. Instead, one has to become the sort of person who is ‘ready because prepared’. In practical terms, this means living within current society in a non-optimal manner that takes into account the fact that a new kind of society is just around the corner. Think means ‘forming an opinion, a personal judgment, estimate’. The cognitive principle here appears to be that spiritual breakthroughs are not achieved by trying hard. Instead, one becomes the sort of person who could live in the breakthrough and then one stops trying to achieve the breakthrough. This is when the breakthrough actually happens. I have noticed this principle showing up repeatedly in stories about angels and aliens.

Verse 45 then returns to the familiar perspective of the servant. “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?” Faithful means ‘persuaded’. Sensible comes from a verb that ‘is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking’. Put in charge means ‘to set in order, appoint’. Household means ‘a household servant’ and is found once in Matthew. Food means ‘nourishment, food’, which is different than the munching and crunching of verse 38. Proper time means ‘time as opportunity’. Verse 45 describes the situation before the second coming when one is still functioning at the level of words and verbal theory. If one is discovering truth or understanding during this period it is important to share this truth in an appropriate manner. ‘Faithful’ implies that one is being guided by understanding to share the appropriate information, while ‘sensible’ means that one is doing so instinctively and not just at a rational level. This does not mean that one is not using rational thought, but rather that rational thought has been used for so long that it has become second nature.

For instance, I do not dump mental symmetry on people. Instead, I will mention the topic and then go further if it is desired. (Usually it is not.) Otherwise, I will mention aspects of mental symmetry using language that people can understand at the appropriate time. This type of approach is not possible with absolute truth, because a mindset of absolute truth views truth as something that is personally imposed upon others. Verse 45 says that truth needs to be viewed instead as intellectual food for personal growth.

Verse 46 says that one should maintain such an attitude while waiting. “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.” Blessed was used in the Beatitudes and means to ‘become long, large’. This describes the sort of character that will naturally lead to Teacher generality. That is because Teacher thought thinks in terms of sequence and timing. Find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. Doing refers to Server actions. And so means ‘in this way’. In other words, one does not do this in order to please the master, because one does not know when the master will return. Instead, one does this because one naturally behaves in a righteous manner. Notice that this righteousness extends beyond actions to include words. One is not just doing Server actions that are righteous. Instead, one is sufficiently righteous that this righteousness even affects one’s Teacher words. This sounds simple. It is not. Instead, the natural tendency is for words to act as an emotional escape valve when righteousness breaks down. My personal experience is that I can only manage to avoid running off at the mouth to the extent that I am following the principle of existence. When one truly reaches that level, then one will experience internal peace and no longer feel the need to vent verbally.

Verse 47 concludes, “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” Possession is used three times in Matthew and means ‘to begin, to be ready or at hand, to be’. This is a Server definition of ownership which views objects as tools to be used. I own an object if it is available for me to be used. We interpreted the first reference in 19:21 as the Cold War attitude of having weapons and responses ‘at hand’, ready to react at a moment’s notice. This Server definition of ownership is appropriate because this appears to be the primary method by which the angelic realm defines ownership. In charge means ‘to set in order, appoint’ and this same verb was used in verse 45. This is also a Server definition, because it describes functioning within some system of Teacher order.

Summarizing, the individual who has learned to give the appropriate knowledge to the right people at the right time before the second coming will be rewarded with a corresponding supernatural gifting, which will require these same cognitive skills. We saw earlier that many kinds of people will receive this gifting. These verses describe in more detail the kind of person who will receive a gift.

Verse 48 describes how one should not respond. “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master lingers…’” Evil means ‘inwardly foul, rotten’, which we have interpreted as being driven internally by childish and inadequate MMNs. And heart refers to MMNs of personal identity. Putting this together, childish MMNs of personal identity are driving a person to say words in Teacher thought. Linger is used twice in Matthew. It means ‘to spend or take time’ and comes from the word for ‘time in duration in the physical-space world’. In simple terms, the evil servant is looking at the clock.

Cognitively speaking, two kinds of time are being contrasted. In verse 45, the faithful slave was thinking in terms of time as opportunity, placing personal responses and words within an internal framework of what needs to be done when. In verse 48, the evil slave is thinking in terms of clock time, which is determined by physical processes involving the material world, such as how long it takes the earth to travel around the sun (one year), or the aging of my physical body. For instance, getting a bachelor’s degree is based in clock time; if one can survive four years of classes, then one will graduate. Getting a post-graduate degree, in contrast, is based in opportune time; one graduates when the thesis is done—no matter how long that takes.

One has to take account of clock time as long as one lives in the physical world, but which definition of time lives within the heart of personal identity, is it clock time or time as opportunity? As far as I can tell, the supernatural realm is not driven by clock time, but rather by time as opportunity. Matthew 24 is very clear that the timing of the second coming will be determined by opportune time rather than clock time. Thus, if one is to be capable of handling supernatural gifting, then one must learn how to think and behave in terms of opportune time. In the same way that one becomes righteous by following TMNs of understanding rather than MMNs of approval and culture, so one becomes a person who follows opportune time when clock time fails—when ‘the master lingers’. That is because clock time is the default for physical existence. Consistent with this concept, a strong angel swears in Revelation 10:6 that clock time will be no more. (This is the same angel that stands astride the sea of subjective experience and the land of rational thought and gives a human the ‘small book’ of an integrated theory to digest.)

Verse 49 describes the wrong kind of character that can emerge. “And begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards.” Begin means ‘commence, rule’, which suggests a new attitude emerging and taking control. Beat is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to strike, smite, beat’. Fellow slave occurred one other time in Matthew 18 in the parable of the ungrateful servant. Looking at this cognitively, the slave who has an understanding is getting frustrated by the lack of response from others as well as the delay from God and he is taking this out on other people by using truth to attack them. ‘You stupid people. Why don’t you listen? Truth needs to be restored. I need to stand up for truth!’

However, one of the major challenges for someone who discovers truth is to change from being a source of truth to someone who submits to the truth. We saw this when looking at the principle of ‘my lord’ submitting to ‘the Lord’, and also in verse 13 which said that the person who remains under will be saved. A mindset of absolute truth will feel that receiving truth from God means that I am special and different. Therefore, if others do not listen to ‘my truth’ then I will use emotional pressure to impose this truth upon others—I will beat my fellow slaves. In contrast, a mindset of universal truth will recognize that a person who discovers truth actually finds it more difficult to submit to this truth, leading to the attitude of regarding everyone as fellow slaves who are submitted to the same master.

Eat means ‘to eat’ and drink means ‘to drink’. Drunkard is found once in Matthew and means ‘to drink to intoxication’. Drinking allows the mind to forget about Perceiver facts and Server sequences in order to derive excitement from the current situation. In verse 45, the slave was given the responsibility to feed the others at the appropriate time. This focus upon intellectual food remains; the slave still eats. And the slave still ‘drinks’ the experiences of life. What is missing is the context. The slave is no longer being guided by a larger plan of salvation. Instead, the eating and drinking turns into a form of alternate reality that ignores what is happening in the outside world. That is because the outside world is too painful. Verse 49 does not say that the slave himself is necessarily drinking. When one achieves a sufficiently general Teacher understanding, then it is no longer possible to truly forget. But it is still possible to become part of a social environment of people who are drinking to forget.

What happens in verse 50 is a loss of sensitivity. “The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know.” Expect means ‘to await, expect’. Coming ‘on a day when he does not expect’ suggests that the slave has emotionally come to terms with the current era and is no longer looking for a new and different society. Know refers to experiential knowledge. ‘Coming at an hour which he does not know’ means that the personal experiences of the slave no longer resonate with what God is doing.

Verse 51 describes the result: “and will cut him in pieces and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Cut in pieces is only found here and in the parallel passage in Luke 12 and means ‘to cut in two, cut asunder’. In other words, there will be a mental split. A person who is looking forward to the second coming while continuing to live in current society often feels as if he is being cut into two pieces, but it is possible to remain mentally unified by thinking in terms of Server sequences and Teacher understanding: The current situation may be horrible but it is still following a divinely orchestrated plan. This type of integration would no longer be possible after the second coming because the experiences of society would have become transformed to line up with Teacher understanding. The evil slave developed the ‘skill’ of living in a flawed society despite having a Teacher understanding of what God was doing. This same ‘skill’ will drive the evil slave to live within past inadequate experiences, even when it becomes clear what God is doing in Teacher thought.

Portion means ‘a part, share, portion’. Appoint means ‘to place, lay, set’. And a hypocrite is ‘a two-faced person… someone who says one thing but does another’. The evil slave has acquired the skill of being a hypocrite. When people are assigned to places in the future supernatural Teacher structure, then this ‘skill’ will determine where the evil slave is placed.

The phrase ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’ has occurred several times. Weeping means ‘bitter grief that springs from feeling utterly hopeless’. When one is waiting for the second coming, then there is something to hope for; Exhorter thought can find motivation in Platonic forms of future possibility. But if the second coming happens and one ends up in a place with hypocrites, then there is no longer any hope. Teeth are used to chew on food. Gnashing of teeth implies that one will attempt to analyze intellectual food but be unable to do so. It is currently possible to view intellectual thought as an escape from reality because Teacher words do not have any inherent power. In a supernaturally enhanced realm, words would acquire power, and words would become associated with personal character. Therefore, hypocrites would become incapable of speaking adequately, because the message of their words would contradict the message of their gifting. Everything that they said would smell wrong in some way.

That brings us to the end of chapter 24. The first two parables of chapter 25 have been discussed elsewhere. I am not sure if I have placed those parables correctly within the overall sequence, but I think that the analysis is reasonably accurate.

Matthew 24 describes some rather wild events and I have not shied away from interpreting these as wild events. However, I have also done my best to remain rational by using the same kind of cognitive analysis that was used to examine the rest of the book of Matthew. Time will tell whether this interpretation is accurate or not.


This has been a book-length essay. I would like to conclude by making three observations.

First, this essay reads like a cognitive analysis of Western history. If one removed the passages where we have talked about angels and aliens or delved too deeply into Christian doctrine, then this essay would pass as a reasonably competent analysis of Western civilization. That apparent normality is bizarre because we have actually done a verse-by-verse analysis of the biblical book of Matthew.

Second, this essay has looked in detail at the meanings of the original Greek text. While doing so, we have found scores of instances in which an English translation that is known for its faithfulness to the original text actually mistranslates words or uses secondary meanings in order to help the text to ‘make sense’. In other words, interpreting the book of Matthew as a description of Western civilization is actually more faithful to the original Greek text than treating it as a description of the life of Jesus.

I am not suggesting that it is wrong to read Matthew literally, but rather pointing out that even when one attempts to read the text from a purely literal perspective, one is still putting words repeatedly into the mouth of the author. Saying this more clearly, a literal interpretation adjusts the meanings of the Greek words in order to be more natural physically. Similarly, a cognitive interpretation changes the context of the text in order to be more natural cognitively. Going further, I have never heard a sermon that discusses the Bible from purely a literal interpretation. Instead, a sermon will always pull out cognitive and moral principles from the biblical text.

Third, the book of Matthew makes sense in the original Greek as a symbolic description of Western history. But the book of Matthew was written before Western civilization existed. This detailed symbolic description is actually a prophecy—a book length, exquisitely detailed prophecy of the modern world and how it came into being.

I began this essay by making an outrageous claim. What makes this outrageous claim even more outrageous is that interpreting a two millennia old letter from a symbolical perspective ends up with a book-length essay that appears almost normal. That is miraculous, but it is not the typical miracle that claims to violate natural law. Instead, what is miraculous is that starting from such a religious foundation and using such a strange methodology ends up with a theoretical structure that contains so much Teacher order and rational thought.

This essay began by suggesting that a concept of God forms within the mind when a sufficiently general theory in Teacher thought applies to personal identity. This essay has described a general theory in Teacher thought that applies to the personal identity of anyone who has been affected by Western civilization.

This essay also suggested that a concept of incarnation forms within the mind when abstract technical thought with its precise definitions integrates with concrete technical thought with its principles of cause-and-effect. This essay has used abstract technical thought to analyze the precise definitions of the Greek words of the Gospel of Matthew and has integrated that with cognitive principles of cause-and-effect that are illustrated by Western history.

Finally, this essay suggested that incarnation goes beyond technical thought by followed a concept of God in Teacher thought rather than some specific paradigm, and by saving people and society rather than things in Mercy thought. This essay has placed Western history within a general concept of God in Teacher thought that spans all of the various eras of Western society, and it has shown the process by which incarnation has used Western civilization to save human society.

One of the signs of a good theory is that it survives when it is applied to itself.