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MatthewMatthew and Western Civilization

Lorin Friesen, September 2020

This essay makes the outrageous claim that the book of Matthew is a prophecy of Western civilization. I do not mean that the book of Matthew contains a few prophetic allusions to Western society. That would not be outrageous. Instead, I mean that when one goes through the book of Matthew in the original Greek and compares this with the history of Western civilization, then one discovers that there is a detailed correspondence between these two. Saying this another way, Matthew describes key transitions in thinking, mindset, and worldview that Western society had to traverse in order to get from the time of Christ to the present day. That is outrageous. In fact, I am not aware of any book on Christian prophecy that makes such a wild claim.

I need to make it clear from the onset that this essay will not be discussing specific dates. On the contrary, I suggest that looking for dates in New Testament prophecy is the wrong approach. Instead, we will be looking at worldviews, paradigms, paradigm shifts, and societal collisions because I suggest that these are what really drive the course of history. Dates are merely a way of cataloging after-the-fact what has happened.

It is said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. This book-length essay is about 640 pages long and is divided into three sections because of its extreme length. It took months to research and write and was more difficult to write than anything that I have written so far. That is because I had to simultaneously maintain four streams of thought: 1) What is the original Greek saying? 2) How does this relate to the structure and programming of the mind? 3) How does this connect with the course of Western history? 4) What are the theological implications of the previous three streams of thought?

Our analysis will be based upon symbolism and analogy. Modern science with its rigorous technical thinking tends to regard analogies as insufficiently rigorous. However, we have forgotten the extent to which analogies pervade supposedly rigorous branches of science. For instance, physicists speak of electromagnetic fields, but the word ‘field’ originally began as an analogy to an actual, physical field. Similarly, when Robert Hooke first observed biological cells through a microscope, he called them cells because they reminded him of the cells of a monastery. Analogies such as these are now regarded as part of the rigorous structure of science, but they began as analogies and the technical rigor was added later.

This does not mean that any kind of an analogy is appropriate. In fact, we will be looking at what makes an appropriate analogy when discussing the parables—or analogies—of Matthew 13. Looking at this more generally, this essay will be using the following methodology of cognitive analysis:

1) One does not base an interpretation upon any translation, but rather looks at the meanings of the words of the original Greek text. This essay will be quoting from the NASB because it is a reasonably accurate, well-known translation. (The English translation that appears to be most faithful to the original Greek is the Berean Literal Bible.) We will then look at the Greek meanings of key words within each verse.

2) If a Greek word has some meaning, then this same meaning (and symbolic interpretation) will be used wherever this term occurs in the New Testament. One of the basic principles of scientific thought is that words are given consistent, precise meanings. This may sound like an obvious principle, but I have discovered when doing these essays that it is quite common for Bible translators either to mistranslate a Greek word or else use a less common meaning of a word so that a literal reading of the text makes more sense. In essence, the translators are saying that ‘we know what the writers of the Bible really meant to say’. In contrast, I have found that a cognitive analysis of the New Testament makes most sense when one uses the primary meaning of the Greek words. This provides strong corroborative evidence that it is legitimate to follow a cognitive approach.

3) A cognitive analysis will examine what is happening in the mind, guided by the theory of mental symmetry. Thus, we will not focus primarily upon events and stories but rather upon cognitive and mental programming.

4) Every name and place will also be interpreted symbolically in a cognitively natural way. For instance, the name Peter means rock. A rock is a solid object, and Perceiver thought deals with solid objects. Therefore, every mention of Peter will be interpreted as a reference to Perceiver thought. This same type of analysis will be used for every name and every place within the entire book, and every reference will be interpreted using the same symbolic meaning.

5) The entire book will be treated as a single sequence. We will not be pulling verses at random out of context. Instead, we will be placing verses within the largest possible context, which is the context of the entire book. And we will be viewing the entire book as a single connected sequence. This is not entirely true with the book of Matthew, because this essay will be starting with chapter 2 and finishing with Chapter 24. I think that the sequence continues beyond Chapter 24 to the end of the book, but I am not exactly sure how to interpret those chapters because they are dealing with the future. Saying this more clearly, it appears that we are currently within Matthew 24.

6) When one is using analogies, then it is vital to compare hands with hands and fingers with fingers. In other words, if the book of Matthew gives an accurate symbolic description of Western civilization, then one must find analogies between the stories of Matthew and the major events of Western history. That is what I mean by comparing hands with hands: major concepts need to be compared with major concepts. But if one only compares hands with hands, then one ends up with a hand-waving argument—a vague parallel. Therefore, it is also important to compare fingers with fingers, which means looking at the details and comparing details with details. Thus, if some passage in Matthew appears to correspond to some period of Western history, then this parallel should hold even when one looks at the specific meanings of the Greek words and the specific details of that period of history.

7) Analogy should be guided by functional similarities and not based upon surface appearance. The analysis that I use is guided by an understanding of how the mind works.

8) Any symbolic interpretation should be consistent with a surface reading of the text. Many theologians have analyzed the Bible carefully over the centuries. A cognitive analysis may expand upon this understanding, but it should not contradict it. If any apparent contradiction arises, then there should be a good cognitive reason for this discrepancy.

Summarizing, I am not aware of anyone else who even thinks that it is possible to analyze the New Testament symbolically at this level of rigor. However, this does correspond to the kind of analogical thinking that is used in the hard sciences. All I can say is that I have now used this methodology to analyze half of the New Testament and have posted about 2000 pages of this analysis on the mental symmetry website.

I think that this essay presents overwhelming evidence for the hypothesis that a synopsis of Western history can be found in the book of Matthew. That is because there is a consistent match at both the general level and at the level of specific details. However, if I read my essay through the lens of a scientific mindset, I notice that there is something incomplete about the evidence. It ‘smells’ wrong, and I think that this is because the evidence is not totally linear. In other words, the correspondence is there but not the numbers. Instead, there is a little stretching and squeezing in the mapping between Matthew and Western history, and the modern Western mindset has become very accustomed to straight lines and flat surfaces. This may be interpreted as a weakness in my hypothesis, but I suggest that it is actually a Very Good Thing. If the correspondence between the book of Matthew and Western history were totally linear, then this would means that humanity is living under the thumb of a deterministic God. However, one can see in this essay that divine sovereignty appears to leave a little bit of wiggle room for human free will. Saying this another way, this essay gives the impression that the real God would not construct a concrete jungle with its brutal straight lines. Instead, the real God seems to prefer a combination of town and country—order and structure with a bit of give-and-take. That, I suggest, is a Very Good Thing.

Related to this is another cognitive mechanism. Facilitator thought is responsible for evaluating the reasonableness of new concepts, which it does by comparing the new with what is similar. However, this type of error-checking requires a context. This means that an idea that is barely wrong will usually be subjected to more error-checking than something that is quite wrong, because something that is barely wrong can be placed within some context. This essay crosses the boundary from prophetic description to historical analysis. Therefore, the educated reader will instinctively judge the reasonableness of this essay using the strict standards of historical analysis. I have done my best to meet these standards, but whenever one attempts as an outsider to write about some new technical field, one finds that one almost never meets the exacting standards of those who police this field.

Thus, it is important to point out the bigger picture. If this essay is rejected as inadequate, then one has to reject almost every other book written about biblical prophecy, because this essay is attempting to meet a standard of academic analysis that most other books on biblical prophecy do not even attempt to touch. However, because this essay comes close and is not perfect, there will be a natural cognitive tendency to reject this essay while accepting other less rigorous books on Biblical prophecy.

That leaves one remaining problem, which I suggest is the largest one. This essay will be implicitly treating God as a Rational Being whose methods can be understood by finite humans. We will also be treating heaven and angels as rational beings whose nature can be grasped by humans. And when Matthew talks about angels, then we will not shy away from the subject, but rather attempt to discuss it in a rational manner. This idea that God (and the angelic realm) function rationally will be our underlying assumption for page after page after page. And this will be the underlying assumption when discussing the history of our own civilization—the Western Civilization.

This concept of a rational God who is guiding my society will start long ago and far away in the latter stages of the Roman Empire. But this concept of a rational God will gradually get closer and nearer until we finally reach the present time. When that happens, then the discussion will become personal. And it will become personal for all cultures, all nationalities, and all races because Western civilization has grown to become a worldwide civilization that has deeply influenced all cultures, all nationalities, and all races.

This essay may feel deeply wrong at a gut level. But the alternative is worse. This is because Western civilization is on the verge of turning into a government-controlled, technology-enabled, worldwide prison of enforced meaninglessness in which a worldwide system of ubiquitous surveillance controls the population by feeding them with an enforced diet of gadgets and entertainment. If you want to know what this means, then read about what is happening currently in China. This essay presents an alternative narrative, which is that an intelligent God is leading humanity through a path of cognitive development.

Finally, it is possible that some of my interpretations are inaccurate. And it is likely that my analysis of certain eras is incomplete. However, I do not see how it would be possible to write an essay such as this if the general hypothesis were not true.

I have included a detailed table of contents that also summarizes each historical period or event which is being symbolized. I am fully aware that reading through this historical timeline will initially appear fantastic. As I said at the beginning of this essay, I am making an outrageous claim. That is why I have taken months to back up this claim with over 600 pages of analysis.

Going the other way, it may appear to someone who is not familiar with Western history that I am picking random, obscure events. For instance, what could be significant about ‘Boethius and Cassiodorus preserving the Greek writings’? But the Wikipedia article on Boethius says that “As the author of numerous handbooks and translator of Aristotle, he became the main intermediary between Classical antiquity and following centuries.” And another Wikipedia article explains that “Cassiodorus is rivalled only by Boethius in his drive to preserve and explore classical literature during the 6th century AD.” Thus, these two historical figures are largely responsible for ensuring that Greek and Roman learning was preserved in the West after the fall of the Roman Empire.

Note from January 2021: The book of Revelation is typically viewed as a book of prophecy that must be interpreted symbolically. Revelation 4-11 appears to contain the same symbolism and a similar level of historical detail to that found in the Gospel of Matthew, and these chapters also portray the same period of Western history, starting with the late Roman Empire and continuing until the present. A 170 page analysis of Revelation 4-11 was finished in January 2021, which provides corroborating evidence for the essay on the book of Matthew. Note from March 2021. A sequence from the Enlightenment to the present and beyond can also be found in Daniel 11-12 and is discussed in a 130 page essay.

Note from June 2022: I have added an essay on Matthew 25-28, which presumably deals with the future. The picture that emerges is consistent with the prophetic analysis of Acts 1-12. That essay reads more like science fiction than traditional biblical prophecy because it ends up discussing aliens and genetic manipulation.

Table of Contents and Historical Timeline

A Cognitive Definition of Incarnation

2:1-6 Magi arrive in Jerusalem. Christianity with its new concept of theology comes to birth in a Roman era of hero worship and is applied in a semi-mystical fashion.

2:7-12 Magi follow the Star and Worship Jesus. Christianity theology develops and Christian character emerges, leading to a different kind of heroism.

2:13-15 Flight into Egypt. Christianity separates from Judaism becomes a Roman religion.

2:16-18 Slaughter of Infants in Bethlehem. Hero worship responds by trying to destroy competing religions.

2:19-21 Joseph returns from Egypt. Constantine officially recognizes and promotes Christianity.

2:22-23 Joseph lives in Nazareth of Galilee. The Western Church establishes its headquarters in the city of Rome.

3:1-4 John the Baptist. Western Monasticism emerges in response to the official recognition of Christianity.

3:5-9 John the Baptist Preaches. The lifestyle of the Desert Fathers becomes an example to Christendom.

3:10-12 John predicts Judgment. The Western Roman Empire falls leading to massive societal shifts.

3:13-17. Baptism of Jesus. Bridging from the Roman Empire to the new Western civilization requires an unusual cognitive shift.

4:1-4 The First Temptation of Jesus. Boethius and Cassiodorus preserve the Greek writings.

4:5-7 The Second Temptation of Jesus. Pope Gregory I takes over administration of Rome.

4:8-11 The Third Temptation of Jesus. A separation between church and state develops in what was the Western Roman Empire.

4:12-17 Jesus Settles in Capernaum. Constantinople takes control of the Roman Pope and Christianity starts to spread in the Dark Ages.

4:18-22 The first Disciples are Chosen. Christian missionaries spread Christianity throughout barbarian Europe. Christian bishops become advisors to tribal leaders.

4:23-25 Jesus Teaches and Heals. A new civilization starts to emerge as cathedral schools are established, monasteries care for the needy, and tribes coalesce into kingdoms.

Historical Parenthesis

5:1-2 Sermon on the Mount. A plan of cognitive development that starts with a mindset of absolute truth—as was present in the early Middle Ages.

5:3-12 The Beatitudes. Becoming a legitimate expert within absolute truth.

5:13-20 Salt and Light. How experts should respond to people and to absolute truth.

5:21-26 Murder. Setting up a legal system that is not twisted by absolute truth.

5:27-32 Adultery. Appreciating the beauty of absolute truth without practicing self-denial.

5:33-37 Vows. Developing Perceiver confidence within a system of absolute truth.

5:38-42 Justice. Behaving in a way that goes beyond strict justice.

5:43-48 God the Father. Discovering that God uses Teacher generality rather than Mercy divisions.

6:1-4 Righteousness. Following a concept of God through righteous behavior.

6:5-8 Prayer. Building an internal concept of God without using repetition.

6:9-15 The Lord’s Prayer. Learning how to submit to a kingdom of God.

6:16-21 Fasting. Using personal character to enhance Teacher understanding.

6:22-24 Light versus Darkness. Pursuing internal consistency.

6:25-26 Following Fundamental Goals. Becoming mentally integrated by Teacher understanding.

6:27-34 Transcending Technical Thought. Developing a Teacher-driven intuition that exceeds technical analysis.

7:1-6 Judging. How people become trapped within technical analysis.

7:7-12 Integrating Technical Specializations. Learning to live within an interdisciplinary society.

7:13-14 The Narrowness of Technical Specializations. Treating narrowness as a path to life.

7:15-20 Good Fruit. Specializations that generate attractive results will survive.

7:21-23 Character versus Professionalism. Extending objective professionalism to include personal character.

7:24-28 The House on the Rock. Building a hard science that can survive societal changes.

End of Historical Parenthesis

8:1-4 Healing the Leper. Celtic Christianity extends Christianity beyond the monastery.

8:5-13 The Centurion. Charlemagne founds the Carolingian Empire.

8:14-17 Peter’s Mother-in-Law. The Carolingian Renaissance restores many elements from the Roman Empire.

8:18-22 Progress Falters. The Carolingian Empire begins to fragment and fade after the death of Charlemagne.

8:23-27 Jesus Calms the Storm. Europe is inundated by waves of Viking raids.

8:28-34 Demons and the Herd of Swine. The Crusades send European warriors to a distant location where they eventually perish. Europe tries to rid itself of widespread violence.

9:1-8 Forgiveness of Sins. The Church promises divine forgiveness while Medieval society tries to free itself of excessive violence.

9:9-13 Tax Collectors. Government-supported trade grows with the Hanseatic League, Venice, and Genoa. Academic texts are translated from Arabic.

9:14-17 Fasting Promoted. Scholasticism becomes dominant but will prove to be an inadequate framework for scientific thought.

9:18-19 The Ruler’s Daughter. Cathedrals and palaces are constructed using the new Gothic architecture.

9:20-22 The Hemorrhaging Woman. Vulnerable citizens find safety by moving to towns adjacent to cathedrals, palaces, and castles.

9:23-36 Raising up the Girl. New forms of architecture and art spread throughout Europe.

9:27-31 Two Blind Men. Arabic work in chemistry leads to alchemy.

9:32-34 The Mute Man. Guilds empower the craftsman.

9:35-38 Teaching with Insufficient Workers. Medieval society experiences growing prosperity while academic development remain stunted.

10:1-2 The First Disciples. New Mendicant Catholic Orders are founded that focus upon teaching and preaching. However, followers tend to get sidetracked into mysticism.

10:3-4 The Next Disciples. The new Mendicant orders develop organizations and attack opposition.

10:5-15 The Mendicant Path. The Mendicant orders behave in a manner that is incompatible with Christian maturity.

Waldensians. An officially suppressed ‘Mendicant order’ behaves in a manner that is compatible with Christian maturity.

10:16-20 Official Persecution. Catholic law applied through the Inquisition is used to suppress independent thought.

10:21-23 Societal Chaos. The late Middle Ages goes through major crises that overturn existing societal structure.

10:24-25 Transcending Schools of Thought. Scholasticism is followed by the founding of independent universities where a struggle emerges between absolute truth and rational thought.

10:26-27 Evil is Uncovered. The Great Schism publicizes the previously hidden machinations of the Catholic Church.

10:28-31 Organization versus Teacher Understanding. Coherent opposition to the institutional Catholic Church starts to emerge.

10:32-33 Integrating Abstract and Concrete Technical Thought. Proto-scientific thinking emerges out of scholasticism.

10:34-39 A Shifting Society. Medieval thinking starts to give way to the Renaissance.

10:40-42 A Spreading Message. Renaissance thinking spreads throughout society.

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

A Cognitive Definition of Incarnation

If one is to understand the book of Matthew from a symbolical perspective, then one must distinguish between Jesus the human side of incarnation, and Christ the divine side of incarnation. Christian doctrine asserts that Jesus and Christ describe two sides to a single person who is both human and divine. (The essay on the Gospel of John explores the relationship between these two sides of incarnation in more detail.) Mental symmetry suggests that one can understand this relationship by examining how the mind forms a concept of incarnation. Thus, the next few paragraphs will explain how the mind forms a concept of incarnation. This will include some cognitive theory as well as a few references to math and physics.

First we have to look at how the mind forms a concept of God. Until Paul, all religions were emotionally held together by MMNs (Mercy mental networks) of emotional experience, personal status, and culture. Paul was the first to base religion in the TMN (Teacher mental network) of theology. As NT Wright has famously stated, Paul invented theology.

Mental networks are described in another essay. Summarizing some key points, the mind uses MMNs to represent humans. For instance, the MMN that represents my mother will emotionally predict how my mother will respond in a given situation. And I will find it emotionally troubling if the behavior of a close friend or relative does not match my internal mental network that predicts how that person will behave. MMNs can be used to represent finite humans. One can also use an MMN to mentally represent an imaginary person, such as Santa Claus or superman.

However, an MMN cannot be used to mentally represent the person of God. That is because God is infinite, whereas humans are finite. God is everywhere, whereas humans occupy specific locations. The Christian God also reveals himself primarily through words, while humans reveal themselves through experiences. This means that if one wants to form an adequate concept of God, one must represent God using the TMN of some universal Teacher understanding. Stated simply, mental symmetry suggests that a concept of God emerges whenever a sufficiently general theory in Teacher thought applies to personal identity. (This is explored further in a YouTube video.) Notice that we are not attempting to prove that God actually exists, but rather using mental symmetry to describe how the mind forms a concept of God. More precisely, we have described how the mind will form a concept of God that corresponds to God the Father in the Christian Trinity.

Christian theology asserts that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of God who is both God and man. This doctrine is usually regarded as an incomprehensible mystery by Christian theologians, but one can decipher what is happening by examining how a concept of incarnation emerges within the mind. That is because a kind of incarnational thinking is used within math, science, and technology. (This is analyzed further in the book Natural Cognitive Theology.) In brief, the theory of mental symmetry suggests that the mind can use two forms of technical thought. Concrete technical thought is based in principles of cause-and-effect, while abstract technical thought is based in precise definitions. Science ties these two together by studying the natural world for connections of cause-and-effect and then analyzing these connections using the precise definitions of mathematics.

Looking at this in more detail, concrete technical thought uses principles of cause-and-effect to improve MMNs of personal experience, while abstract technical thought performs rigorous thought guided by the TMN of some paradigm. (Thomas Kuhn introduced the concept of paradigms in his groundbreaking book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Whenever I refer to Thomas Kuhn in this essay, I will be referring to some concept in this book. This book is so well known that I will not be quoting the specific passage. I wrote an essay on this book back in 2010.) Saying this another way, concrete technical thought tries to improve some bottom line in Mercy thought, while abstract technical thought attempts to achieve theoretical simplicity guided by some paradigm in Teacher thought.

Saying this more carefully, concrete technical thought is actually a combination of an emotional bottom line and technical principles of cause-and-effect. Concrete technical thought is emotionally driven by the MMN of some bottom line to use its knowledge of cause-and-effect to improve that bottom line. Similarly, abstract technical thought is actually a combination of an emotional paradigm and coldly logical, precise definitions. Abstract technical thought is emotionally driven by the TMN of some paradigm to use precise definitions to add to the order-within-complexity of that paradigm. One can illustrate this by the exploring of some unknown landscape, because the explorer will try to get a better grasp of the entire landscape as well as fill in more of the details. That is what it means to add to the order-within-complexity of some paradigm.

Translating this into theological language, Matthew 1:21 told Joseph that “you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins”. The name Jesus means ‘salvation’. This describes the behavior of concrete technical thought, which can bring salvation by using its knowledge of cause-and-effect to take things and people from their current state to someplace better. John 1:1-2 describes the divine side of incarnation: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” The word for ‘Word’ is logos. Biblehub defines logos as ‘a word as embodying an idea’. John says that the logos was with God and is God. This corresponds to the abstract side of technical thought, which adds technical details to the general Teacher theory of some paradigm. One can see this adding of details to a general Teacher theory in John 1:2, which says that “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being”.

Science functions like incarnation by combining the mathematical equations of abstract technical thought with the practical experiments of concrete technical thought. However, a mental concept of incarnation goes beyond the incarnational thinking of science in three major ways: First, abstract technical thought is normally guided by the limited TMN (or paradigm) of some technical specialization within Teacher thought. For instance, a dentist is guided by paradigms of dentistry; a psychologist is guided by various theories of psychology. Technical paradigms are seldom related. A psychologist seldom thinks about dentistry, while a dentist rarely considers psychology. A concept of incarnation, in contrast, is guided by the Teacher theory of an integrated concept of God, leading to the conclusion that the Word is God—which also implies that all technical specializations are ultimately related.

Second, concrete technical thought is normally guided by the impersonal MMN of some bottom line, such as making more money, scoring goals, or acquiring some object or position. A concept of incarnation, in contrast, is guided by personal and societal MMNs. In other words, incarnation saves people and then transforms society.

Third, a concept of incarnation integrates abstract technical thought with concrete technical thought. Saying this theologically, Jesus is the Christ. Jesus, the concrete side of incarnation who saves people is the same person as Christ, the divine side of incarnation who is the Word of God. One sees this integration to some extent in science, because one of the deep mysteries of science is that one will reach the same conclusions if one uses concrete technical thought to observe natural cause-and-effect or if one uses abstract technical thought to develop mathematical analysis. For instance, mathematicians have argued for millennia over the existence of non-Euclidean geometry. In simple English, do parallel lines stay parallel or do they eventually meet? In the 19th century, Riemann developed a form of mathematics that could handle non-Euclidean geometry. Einstein then realized that this strange mathematics could be used to describe new experimental findings about how the real world functions, which he then used in his theory of general relativity. Notice how the mathematical progress being made in geometry eventually ended up explaining the strange observations that were being made about the physical universe.

That brings us finally to the reasoning behind this essay. Which is more fundamental, Jesus or Christ? (This question will be discussed in Matthew 22.) Did incarnation start as the human being Jesus and then get promoted to become God, or did incarnation begin as God and then become a human being? John 1:1 states clearly that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:14 then adds that “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us”. Thus, Christian theology states that Christ is more fundamental than Jesus. And the idea that Jesus began as a man and became God is regarded as heresy.

However, if one examines how the average Christian forms a concept of incarnation, one notices a form of adoptionism: People read about the historical Jesus in the Gospels, and then extrapolate to come up with general principles about Christ. If Jesus really is the ‘Word made flesh’, then it must be possible to find some sort of abstract structure behind the specific details of the life of Jesus. But Jesus means salvation, and Jesus was given this name because he will ‘save the people from their sins’. Thus, if Jesus really is the Word made flesh, then it must be possible to find an abstract plan of saving people within the physical life of Jesus. It is not enough to say that Jesus experienced some random collection of events and then died and was resurrected to ‘save people from their sins’, because that is actually a form of adoptionism—God is taking some human with random MMNs and promoting that human to be God. Instead, if Jesus the Savior really started out as the living Word, then all the words that are officially recorded about Jesus must fit together to form an integrated plan of human salvation.

And how has God brought salvation to human society? I know that it has become politically incorrect to say so, but Western Christendom has resulted in more salvation for humanity than any other civilization, because Western civilization gave birth to science and technology which have transformed the physical world, while Christianity focused upon internal transformation, which has significantly elevated human thought and behavior.

Concluding, if one takes Christian theology regarding incarnation to its logical conclusion, then it is reasonable to assume that a history of Western civilization lies buried in the Gospels. There are four Gospels. The Gospel of John has been analyzed and focuses upon Jesus from a cognitive perspective. This essay will look at the Gospel of Matthew. I do not know what structure is buried within Mark and Luke. I would rather not speculate. That is because I have learned that analyzing the Bible is not something to be taken lightly. Instead, the insights that I have gained have come at great personal cost.

Turning now to Western history, this essay will be quoting extensively from Wikipedia. I am not suggesting that Wikipedia is the ultimate source of information. But I do know that writing an essay such as this would be very difficult without Wikipedia. That is because Wikipedia contains an incredible breadth of information that is reliable, well-written, and reasonably unbiased. Quoting from Wikipedia ensures that this essay builds its analysis of history upon mainstream information and is not cherry-picking obscure and uncertain facts.

A normal academic paper would probably use more indirect quotes and less direct quotes. That is because a normal academic paper exists within an environment of academic legitimacy. This essay, in contrast, is not ‘peer-reviewed’ and I am not a member of any academic group. In addition, I am presenting a hypothesis that is outrageous and using a methodology that is unapproved. Therefore, this essay will use extensive direct quotes from Wikipedia in order to demonstrate that I am not making up my ‘facts’ but rather building upon commonly accepted historical information.

One point of a more mundane nature is that many Wikipedia quotes use British spelling, and some of them have inadequate grammar. I have fixed the more obvious grammar mistakes but I have not changed the British spelling. (Why should I? As a Canadian I am used to moving between American and British spelling.)

These essays are also indebted to Most of my Greek definitions come from this website, and I have included links for each Greek word so that the reader can check my definitions. In addition, biblehub makes it easy to see how many times each word appears in the original Greek and where it appears. Whenever I make a statement such as word means ‘a word as embodying an idea’, then this means that ‘word’ is the English translation given in the NASB while the phrase in single quotes is a direct quote from the biblehub definition of the corresponding Greek word. Definition given in single quotes are not my words but rather the words of biblehub, which itself quotes biblical experts and established biblical sources.

As usual, we will be interpreting the biblical text from a cognitive perspective, using the same cognitively natural symbolism that has been used to interpret other books of the Bible. And, as usual, I will be quoting from the NASB. This translation has its problems, but it usually sticks closer to the original Greek text than other translations. When some English word is not in the original Greek, the NASB usually puts this word in italics. These italicized words will be indicated in the NASB quotes. Saying this more clearly, if a word is in italics in a Bible quote, then this means that the NASB translation is telling us that this word is not actually in the original Greek. The NASB also provides more literal translations in footnotes. If it appears that I am quoting the NASB inaccurately, then please look at the footnotes before concluding that I have made a mistake. (It might be a mistake. I eliminated hundreds of typos when editing this essay, but I am sure that some typos still remain.) When the NASB provides a more literal rendering in a footnote, then I will almost always be quoting that literal rendering rather than the actual text.

I am not suggesting that Matthew is only a book of prophecy, or that Matthew is describing a set of myths which did not really happen. Instead, I am suggesting that the divine author behind Matthew guided Matthew to record the events in a manner that would be prophetic of Western society. A prophetic interpretation also does not mean that the passages and parables have no personal application. That is because a divine plan uses cognitive principles to guide society. Therefore, each passage can also be viewed as a legitimate description of a general cognitive principle. However, if one interprets the book of Matthew purely as a collection of cognitive—or spiritual—principles, then one will not discover the underlying structure of the book. In contrast, I suggest that the various stories and parables of Matthew fit together nicely if one interprets the original Greek text in an integrated manner as a prophetic sequence of Western civilization.

The key principle is that one should not just interpret Jesus as referring to the historic Jesus of the Gospels. Instead, one should think of Jesus as the concrete aspect of incarnation. This does not mean that the historical Jesus did not exist. There was a historical Jesus, but one should view the historical Jesus not as some strange human being but rather as a finite human expression of the incarnation of God. Paul describes a similar transition in 2 Cor. 5:16. “Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.”

Saying this more carefully, as we go through the book of Matthew and compare it with Western history we will often be asking what aspect of history corresponds to Jesus at that time. The typical Christian answer is that Jesus obviously represents the Church—which generally means my church. In contrast, I suggest that Jesus represents the aspect of society that is following the divine plan of Christ. This may be the Church, or it could be some other segment of society and the official Church may even be opposing the plan of incarnation at that point. And if some aspect of society represents Jesus at some point in history, then this does not mean that that same aspect of society will continue to represent Jesus at succeeding points in history. Instead, the leading element of society will shift from era to era. Matthew will often give clues to indicate the identity of the current group by referring to the disciples, the Pharisees, or some specific kind of individual.

Finally, I have also provided a detailed table of contents that summarizes the period of Western history which each section represents. We will begin our analysis with chapter 2. Looking at some of the historical highlights, Chapters 2-4 will deal with the birth of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire. The Sermon on the Mount in chapters 5-7 describes the plan of incarnation in general terms and does not correspond to any specific points in Western history. Chapter 8 deals with the Dark Ages, chapter 10 corresponds to the 13th century and the rise of the mendicant orders, chapter 12 describes the birth of proto-scientific thought amidst medieval Scholasticism, Chapter 14 portrays the initial Industrial Revolution with Jesus walking on water, Peter’s declaration in chapter 16 corresponds to the emergence of the modern university system in the 19th century, the Transfiguration in chapter 17 describes the period of Victorian prosperity and morality, chapter 18 describes the mindset of the First and Second World War periods, the triumphal entry of chapter 21 corresponds to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the wedding banquet in chapter 22 portrays the rise of the modern interconnected society, the eight woes in chapter 23 describe the self-destruction of postmodern technical thought, and chapter 24 describes what follows the collapse of postmodern thought. Some of these relationships may appear obvious, while others seem initially to be far-fetched. I suggest that this is because one is viewing the biblical text through centuries of traditional interpretation. The correspondence becomes much clearer when one looks at the original language and the precise Greek terminology that is being used.

The Magi arrive in Jerusalem 2:1-6

Matthew is the only gospel to talk about the Magi. The word Magi is of Persian origin and refers to an astrologer. The Magi were Zoroastrian priests. Zoroastrianism shares several elements with both Judaism and Christianity, and there was some interaction between Judaism and Zoroastrianism during and after the Babylonian exile. Scholars continue to argue over which of these two was the original source of certain beliefs, especially regarding concepts of the final judgment and life-after-death, but if one views God as a universal being in Teacher thought who created everything and everyone, then such questions are ultimately irrelevant, because God in Teacher thought is larger than any specific ethnic or religious group in Mercy thought. What matters for our discussion is that the Magi had elements of Judaism, but were not Jews. And these foreigners were the first to officially recognize Jesus.

Applying this to the history of Christianity, many of the original converts came from the God-fearing Gentiles. In the words of Wikipedia, “Judaising Gentiles and God-fearers are considered by modern scholars to be of significant importance to the growth of early Christianity; they represented a group of Gentiles who shared religious ideas and practices with Jews, to one degree or another...In Paul’s message of salvation through faith in Christ as opposed to submission under the Mosaic Law, many God-fearers found an essentially Jewish group to which they could belong without the necessity of their accepting Jewish Law. However, the God-fearers were only ‘partial’ converts, engaged in certain Jewish rites and traditions without taking a step further to actual conversion to Judaism.”

Verse 1 says that “after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem.” This describes three different groups coming into contact. First, there is the existing ruling, mindset of Herod. Second, there is the new child of Jesus born in Bethlehem. Third, Magi from the east arrive at the religious center.

The name Herod means ‘son of a hero’. Thus, ‘in the days of Herod the king’ would describe a mindset ruled by hero worship. The Roman mindset put a strong emphasis upon heroism. This can be seen by the Roman concept of virtus. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “Virtus was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors, and was personified as a deity—Virtus.” Virtus applied to men (not women) who were public heroes: “Virtus applies exclusively to a man’s behaviour in the public sphere, i.e. to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. His private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other qualities associated to it if performed for the public good.” The man of the house also had absolute power over the members of his household, as shown by the concept of paterfamilias. And one can see a similar mindset exhibited by the Greek and Roman gods.

The phrase ‘Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem’ is more literally Magi ‘out from’ the east ‘came on the scene, arrived’ in Jerusalem. The East appears to represent mystical thought in Scripture. If the Magi came ‘out from’ the East, this implies that many of the initial converts are leaving a mindset of mysticism. One can see this illustrated by Orthodox Christianity, which claims to practice the original version of Christianity. Orthodox Christianity takes the mindset of mysticism and puts it within a Christian packaging.

Looking at this symbolism more carefully, east literally means ‘rising of the sun’ while west means ‘a setting, as 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.

This underlying mystical mindset can be seen in verse 2: “For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” The word in actually means ‘in the realm of’, and worship means ‘to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior’. A star represents something bright in the ‘sky’ of Teacher thought. The goal of mysticism is to become personally united with a concept of God. Similarly, the goal of the Magi was to bow down and worship before the Teacher light of ‘the star’. This desire for worship is combined with hero worship, because the Magi ask “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (All current religions contain some core of mysticism. Zoroastrianism does not emphasize mysticism, but the description of the Magi in Matthew 2 has mystical overtones.)

This causes a major crisis: “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” The word troubled means ‘to agitate back-and-forth, shake to-and-fro’. Looking at this literally, foreign dignitaries are telling the local king that an upstart has been born. Looking at this symbolically, a new kind of religion has come into existence with a different kind of worship. This new religion did not just worship a different hero. Instead, it changed the very nature of human worship, causing the ‘Herod’ of hero-worship to become agitated.

Verse 4 describes Herod’s response. “Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.” Verse 1 said that Jesus was born. But in verse 4, Herod is asking where the Christ was to be born. Inquired is used once in Matthew and means ‘to inquire, by implication, to learn’. Jesus refers to the human, concrete side of incarnation, while Christ is the abstract, divine side. This is cognitively significant, because Roman Emperor worship was a form of incarnation in which the ‘Jesus’ of some emperor could be elevated to the divine level of a ‘Christ’. Wikipedia explains that “The princeps (later known as Emperor) was expected to balance the interests of the Roman military, Senate and people, and to maintain peace, security and prosperity throughout an ethnically diverse empire… A deceased emperor held worthy of the honor could be voted a state divinity by the Senate and elevated as such in an act of apotheosis. The granting of apotheosis served religious, political and moral judgment on Imperial rulers and allowed living Emperors to associate themselves with a well-regarded lineage of Imperial divi from which unpopular or unworthy predecessors were excluded.” Thus, one can see why the hero-worship of ‘Herod’ would be troubled by this new method of forming a concept of Christ. The starting point was not the Emperor living as a hero within Rome. Instead, this new Christian concept of Christ was coming from a strange location physically as well as a strange location socially.

The word Christ means ‘Messiah’ in Hebrew. Jews viewed the Messiah as the predicted savior who would come to rescue the people and land of Israel from foreign occupation. Thus, Jerusalem was troubled along with Herod because Jesus claimed to be a Messiah, but did not fulfill the expected role of the Messiah. This explains why Herod ‘gathered together all the chief priests and scribes’. Gathered together means ‘to lead together, bring together’. Chief priest combines ‘chief, pre-eminent one’ with ‘priest’. This associates religion with personal status in Mercy thought, the fundamental components of hero-worship. Scribe means ‘writer, scribe’, indicating the focus upon written words. Roman Emperor worship created a prototype form of Christ based upon the structure of the Roman Empire, while Jewish Scriptures talked about the Christ or Messiah. These two viewpoints had to be gathered together in order to gain a more complete concept of Christ.

Looking at this more generally, it appears that religious doctrine cannot be acquired in a mental vacuum. If some religious concept such as Christ is described in the Bible, then people will not fully understand these words until something that is like this concept emerges within society. When this societal illustration emerges, then people will go back to the Bible and read it through new eyes. Thus, Herod gets the idea of Christ being born. He then turns to the religious scholars who read through the Scriptures in the light of this new mental concept. They then discover content in the Bible that they had not noticed before.

Saying this another way, if one just studies the Bible, one will not understand it. Instead, one has to study the Bible and then look away from the Bible and learn from secular existence. This secular existence will then provide the mental framework that makes it possible to go back to the Bible and understand what it is saying. For instance, mental symmetry started with a short description of seven ‘spiritual gifts’ in Romans 12. However, these ‘gifts’ only became revealed as cognitive styles and modules of the mind when my brother Lane turned away from the Bible to study historical biographies and I turned away from the Bible to learn neurology. This led to the cognitive model of mental symmetry. When I returned to the Bible to read it in the light of mental symmetry, then I found that it made amazing sense.

The more complete concept of Christ is described in verse 5. “They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet’.” The name Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’, while Judea means ‘praised’. Bread represents intellectual food and ‘praised’ implies that the intellectual food is coming from some exalted source in Mercy thought. This focus upon the words of experts can also be seen in the phrase ‘written by the prophet’. Looking at this literally, the scholars were looking at Old Testament prophecies that predicted the birth of the Messiah. Looking at this symbolically, Christianity is a new kind of religion that is based in the theology of words and books. As NT Wright has famously said, Paul invented theology.

This idea of building religion upon something which until now has been considered insignificant can be seen in verse 6: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.” This describes a new kind of leader that is different than the heroism of Herod. The word ruler means ‘to lead the way (going before as a chief)’, indicating that one is ruling by example. One is blazing a path for others to follow, rather than telling others what to do. This new kind of leader will shepherd people, which means ‘caring for (protecting) the flock’.

Notice that these biblical scholars do not mention the word ‘Christ’. (In fact, the next mention of Christ will be in 11:2 which appears to correspond to the rise of proto-science in the Renaissance.) That is because the biblical scholars were approaching the Bible with an attitude of absolute truth—believing that the Bible is a holy book that was written by some special person with great status in Mercy thought. A concept of Christ, in contrast, comes from Teacher feelings of generality. Wikipedia describes the Teacher generality that was associated with the Emperor Augustus who ruled during the birth of Jesus and was one of the first emperors to be regarded as a god. “In Rome, it was enough that the office, munificence, auctoritas and gens of Augustus were identified with every possible legal, religious and social institution of the city. Should ‘foreigners’ or private citizens wish to honour him as something more, that was their prerogative, within moderation; his acknowledgment of their loyalty demonstrated his own moral responsibility and generosity; ‘his’ Imperial revenue funded temples, amphitheatres, theatres, baths, festivals and government. This unitary principle laid the foundations for what is now known as ‘Imperial cult’, which would be expressed in many different forms and emphases throughout the multicultural Empire.” Teacher emotion comes from order-within-complexity—when many things fit together in a simple way. Romans lived in an environment in which the complexity of the city came together in the ‘unitary principle’ of the emperor Augustus.

Magi Follow the Star and Worship Jesus 2:7-12

This leads in verse 7 to a kind of hybrid mindset. “Then Herod secretly called the Magi and determined from them the time of the appearing star.” Secretly means ‘privately, secretly’. Determined is found twice in the New Testament, here and in verse 16, and means ‘extremely accurate, very exact’. Time refers to ‘time in duration in the physical-space world’. Appearing means ‘to bring to light’. First, the studying transforms the hero-worship from something external and public to something internal and private. That is because studying Teacher words will lead to the formation of Platonic forms, which are internal images of ideal perfection. As Plato pointed out, Platonic forms are more perfect—and thus worthy of worship—than any physical object or person. Second, there is a development of technical thought. That is because a concept of incarnation, or Jesus Christ, will emerge as concrete technical thought becomes connected with abstract technical thought.

Jesus means Savior. One can see this combination of Savior and Christ in the development of Roman emperor worship. Julius Caesar was the first emperor to be worshiped as a god after he was assassinated in 44 BC. Wikipedia describes what followed. “A fervent popular cult to divus Julius followed. It was forcefully suppressed but the Senate soon succumbed to Caesarian pressure and confirmed Caesar as a divus of the Roman state. A comet interpreted as Caesar’s soul in heaven was named the ‘Julian star’ and in 42 BC, with the ‘full consent of the Senate and people of Rome’, Caesar’s young heir, his great-nephew Octavian, held ceremonial apotheosis for his adoptive father… In 30/29 BC, the koina of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to worship Octavian as their ‘deliverer’ or ‘saviour’.”

Turning now to the early church, the early church fathers also focused upon the nature of Christ, but this was considered from the viewpoint of living within human time in the physical world. In the words of Wikipedia, “Following the Apostolic Age, from the second century onwards, a number of controversies developed about how the human and divine are related within the person of Jesus. As of the second century, a number of different and opposing approaches developed among various groups… For example, Arianism did not endorse divinity, Ebionism argued Jesus was an ordinary mortal, while Gnosticism held docetic views which argued Christ was a spiritual being who only appeared to have a physical body.” This discussion could be summarized as attempting to determine the timing of an appearing star. On one hand, the discussion was guided by the physical appearance of Jesus who had just lived within physical time in the physical universe. On the other hand, everyone agreed that Jesus was not a normal human being, but rather a ‘star in the heaven’.

This initial intellectual clarifying did not occur in some sort of official public manner, but rather happened through private communication between individual leaders. In the words of Wikipedia, early Christianity “invested a great deal of time and energy in communication between widely spread conversations, and in pursuing a deep interest in each other's beliefs and practices. This concern and communication seems to have been as much a driver of the development of theological activity as the desire to communicate Christianity to, or make it acceptable in, a Hellenistic culture.”

In verse 8, Herod pretends to the Magi that he too wants to worship the child. When some ethnic group was conquered by the Roman Empire, some gods of that ethnic group would often be added to the pantheon of Roman gods. In the case of the Greeks and Romans, most of the Greek and Roman gods coalesced to form a single composite pantheon. For instance, the Greek goddess Aphrodite was equated with the Roman goddess Venus, the Etruscan Turan, the Phoenician Astarte, and the Egyptian Isis. Thus, Christianity was initially viewed by Roman society as an offshoot of Judaism—another religion to add to the collection of existing religions.

However, something happens in verses 9-10 that changes this relationship. The Magi “went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Scholars have struggled over the centuries to interpret this verse. What does it mean for a star to move and stand over a place? However, this phrase makes symbolic sense. If a star represents a general theory in Teacher thought, then the nature of this theory is changing. Initially, the star was ‘in the realm of the east’. In other words, it had mystical overtones. But it goes before them until it stops over the place of the child, and child means ‘a child under training’. Thus, the focus turns from worshiping a hero in some mystical fashion to being a student within Bethlehem, the ‘house of bread’. The result is joy, which refers to Teacher emotions. And this is potent Teacher emotion because four words are used to describe it: the verb ‘rejoice’, the noun ‘joy’, the adjective great, which means ‘great in the widest sense’, and the adverb exceeding, which means ‘done to the max’.

For instance, when I realized that one could use Teacher thought to analyze the Bible and Christianity, this led to exceedingly great rejoicing with joy, because I have spent most of my life being driven by Teacher emotion to extend the theory of mental symmetry to the max. I suspect that a similar motivation would have emerged in the original Christians when they realized that theology with its Teacher emotions was actually possible. This Teacher emotion of joy also provides the motivation for systematic theology, which takes the doctrines of the Bible and places them within a coherent, integrated package. (In a sense, one could view the Roman integration of various gods into a single pantheon as a sort of proto-theology, because Teacher thought is being used to organize the various gods into a general structure.)

Similarly, the initial foray of Christianity into theology was colored by MMNs of religious culture. When the Magi arrive in verse 11, “they saw the Child with Mary His mother”. The name Mary comes from Miriam, the sister of Moses, and means ‘beloved’ in Egyptian and ‘rebellion or bitterness’ in Hebrew. Egypt is a picture of the world, while Hebrew indicates a religious mindset. Thus, Mary conveys the idea of viewing worldly loves as rebellion against following God, combined with a feeling of bitterness which assumes that following God implies turning one’s back upon worldly pleasures. This attitude of religious self-denial emerges automatically from any system of revealed truth, because a person will only continue to believe in revealed truth if the source of truth is regarded as far more important in Mercy thought than personal identity. This mindset can even be seen in the definition of the name Mary: “Due to the Virgin Mary this name has been very popular in the Christian world, though at certain times in some cultures it has been considered too holy for everyday use.” Thus, the new learning will be accompanied by a cultural context of religious self-denial.

This attitude of religious self-denial can also be seen in the behavior of the Magi because “they prostrated and worshiped Him” (v.11). They then offer treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is beautiful, rare, and does not tarnish. Thus, gold would represent personal and intellectual treasure that is more attractive and durable than the treasures of surrounding society and existing religion.

Myrrh smells sweet, and was probably one of the ingredients of the consecrated incense of the Temple. It was also ‘used as an ointment and for embalming’. Similarly, “Thousands of tons of frankincense are traded every year to be used in religious ceremonies as incense in thuribles and by makers of perfumes, natural medicines, and essential oils. It can be inhaled or applied to the skin for its supposed health benefits.” both frankincense and myrrh are produced by ‘piercing the body’ of a tree. Quoting from Wikipedia, “When a tree’s wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest myrrh, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum.” Smell relates to mental networks, because smell is an effective way of triggering mental networks. That is because there is a direct connection from the sense of smell in the nose to the orbitofrontal cortex, which is the core brain region for mental networks. Thus, frankincense and myrrh would represent the mental networks that result from responding to the personal attacks of others. Myrrh smells sweet, which implies that one is responding in a positive fashion to personal attack. Notice the underlying motif of religious self-denial, in which one is ‘suffering for Jesus’. But that is accompanied by gold, which represents valuable material that is not corrupted. Saying this another way, the ‘myrrh’ of suffering can lead to the ‘gold’ of tested personal character.

This leads to a change in mindset, as indicated by verse 12, which says that “having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.” The word warned is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to admonish on the basis of a valid standard’. It comes from a word that means ‘a legal agreement for transacting business’. Return means ‘to turn back, to return’. Looking at this literally, the Magi realize that Herod does not have good intentions. Looking at this symbolically, the early Christians were guided by their standards not to return to the hero worship of Herod. More specifically, Christians no longer participated in the official religious rites and they refused to perform the mandatory sacrifice to the Emperor. Rome saw this as a direct attack upon hero worship, while Christians saw this as submitting to a more valid standard.

The word another means ‘another of the same kind’. (There is another Greek word which means another of a different kind.) Thus, the early Christians were still thinking in terms of hero worship, but they were worshiping a different hero. Looking at this cognitively, believing in a holy book is different than worshiping an idol, but the underlying mindset is ‘of the same kind’, because both holy books and idols are mentally supported by MMNs of personal status. Looking at history, the early Christians also thought in terms of heroes, but they had different kinds of heroes. Wikipedia describes this different kind of Christian hero who is willing to die for his faith. “Martyrdom played a major role in proto-orthodox Christianity, as exemplified by Ignatius of Antioch in the beginning of the second century. Imperial authorities arrested him ‘evidently for Christian activities’ and condemned him as fodder for wild beasts. He expressed eagerness to die, expecting thus to ‘attain to God’. Following Ignatius, many proto-orthodox theorists saw it as a privilege to die for faith. In fact martyrdom became a way to tell the true believers from the heretics. If someone wasn’t willing to die for what they believed, they were seen as not dedicated to the faith.”

More generally, the term martyr, which means ‘an eye- or ear-witness’, took on the meaning of dying for the Christian faith. In the words of one website, “Even in these first examples of the use of the word martus in Christian terminology a new shade of meaning is already noticeable, in addition to the accepted signification of the term… Thus, within the lifetime of the Apostles, the term martus came to be used in the sense of a witness who at any time might be called upon to deny what he testified to, under penalty of death.”

The Magi then return to ‘their place’, a word that means ‘space, place, land’. Matthew says that the Magi came out from the East. It does not say that they returned to the East. Instead, ‘returning to their place’ implies the establishment of a new religious and cultural movement. Looking at this further, the Magi were attracted by a star, but they returned to their place. Cognitively speaking, the brightness of the example and life of Jesus attracted the original Christians, but this turned into an attempt to put these experiences of Jesus into the appropriate place.

Wikipedia describes this early struggle of Christianity to find its own intellectual place after its encounter with the person of Jesus. “The Ante-Nicene period saw the rise of a great number of Christian sects, cults and movements with strong unifying characteristics lacking in the apostolic period. They had different interpretations of Scripture, particularly the divinity of Jesus and the nature of the Trinity. Many variations in this time defy neat categorizations, as various forms of Christianity interacted in a complex fashion to form the dynamic character of Christianity in this era. The Post-Apostolic period was diverse both in terms of beliefs and practices. In addition to the broad spectrum of general branches of Christianity, there was constant change and diversity that variably resulted in both internecine conflicts and syncretic adoption.”

Flight into Egypt 2:13-15

In the next verse, Joseph is warned to “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him” (v.13). Egypt represents the world. Christianity was initially viewed as an offset of Judaism, but eventually became seen as a distinct religion practiced primarily by Gentiles—people of the world who were not Jews. As Wikipedia explains, “The second and third centuries saw a sharp divorce of Christianity from its early roots. There was an explicit rejection of then-modern Judaism and Jewish culture by the end of the second century, with a growing body of adversus Judaeos literature.” Similarly, the center of Christianity moved away from Jerusalem and spread throughout the secular world. “While the Jewish Christian church was centered in Jerusalem in the first century, Gentile Christianity became decentralized in the second century. Various local and provincial ancient church councils were held during this period, with the decisions meeting varying degrees of acceptance by different Christian groups.”

Continuing with verse 13, search means ‘to seek by inquiring’, and destroy ‘implies permanent destruction’. Looking at history, as Christianity became a distinct religion with its own beliefs and practices, it came into contact with the ‘Herod’ of Rome hero worship. In the words of Wikipedia, “Roman cohesion was based on obedience to authority and on public pledges of loyalty to the state - epitomized by symbolical sacrifices to the Roman gods… Romans persecuted whoever refused to pledge loyalty to Roman authority. This includes followers of Jesus who refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods (the equivalent of an oath of allegiance).”

One can see this idea of fleeing to Egypt in order to avoid persecution from Herod in the following quote from Wikipedia. “Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred sporadically over a period of over two centuries. For most of the first three hundred years of Christian history, Christians were able to live in peace, practice their professions, and rise to positions of responsibility. Sporadic persecution took place as the result of local pagan populations putting pressure on the imperial authorities to take action against the Christians in their midst, who were thought to bring misfortune by their refusal to honour the gods.” On the one hand, Christians were usually able to find safety in the daily secular life of ‘Egypt’. On the other hand, when feelings of ‘Herod’ were triggered within the population, then they would seek out Christians in order to eliminate them. And this punishment was swift and deadly. “Christians who refused to recant by performing ceremonies to honour the gods would meet with severe penalties; Roman citizens were exiled or condemned to a swift death by beheading. Slaves, foreign-born residents, and lower classes were liable to be put to death by wild beasts as a public spectacle. A variety of animals were used for those condemned to die in this way.”

This searching out and destroying of Christians became explicit in the third century. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “In 250 AD, the emperor Decius issued a decree requiring public sacrifice, a formality equivalent to a testimonial of allegiance to the emperor and the established order. There is no evidence that the decree was intended to target Christians but was intended as a form of loyalty oath. Decius authorized roving commissions visiting the cities and villages to supervise the execution of the sacrifices and to deliver written certificates to all citizens who performed them. Christians were often given opportunities to avoid further punishment by publicly offering sacrifices or burning incense to Roman gods, and were accused by the Romans of impiety when they refused. Refusal was punished by arrest, imprisonment, torture, and executions.” This persecution is normally interpreted as persecution against the Christians, but a more accurate cognitive interpretation would be an attempt to eliminate the existence of any societal mindset that questions the ‘Herodian’ concept of hero worship.

Verse 14 says that Joseph fled to Egypt by night. Night represents the lack of a sun of Teacher understanding. Looking at this symbolically, the new entity of theology has not reached the level of a sun of integrated Teacher understanding. We saw this in the earlier quote about the doctrinal diversity of early Christianity. Repeating part of this quote, “The Post-Apostolic period was extremely diverse both in terms of beliefs and practices. In addition to the broad spectrum of general branches of Christianity, there was constant change and diversity that variably resulted in both internecine conflicts and syncretic adoption.”

The name Joseph means ‘he increases’. Joseph plays the major role in Matthew 2 as the father of Jesus. Similarly, early Christianity was a growing religion that was increasing in its spread and formulation. The role that Joseph plays can be seen in the word child used to refer to Jesus. It means ‘a little child in training’ and is used nine times in chapter 2. Verse 14 adds that Joseph remained in Egypt until the death of Herod. This word death is only used once in the New Testament and means ‘closure, consummation’. Thus, the hero worship has to come to an end.

Looking at this in more detail, early Roman culture placed a great emphasis upon masculine virtues of heroism, as seen in the concept of romanitas, or Roman-ness. “The Roman ideal was the citizen/soldier/farmer. The farmer was a hard working, frugal, practical man who worked the land with his own hands. The soldier was a courageous, strong man who obeyed orders and risked his own life in the name of Rome.” Gibbons, the famous historian, connected the decline of romanitas with the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Roman Empire. Wikipedia summarizes that “In The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88), Edward Gibbon famously placed the blame on a loss of civic virtue among the Roman citizens. They gradually entrusted the role of defending the Empire to barbarian mercenaries who eventually turned on them. Gibbon held that Christianity contributed to this shift by making the populace less interested in the worldly here-and-now because it was willing to wait for the rewards of heaven.” Historians now regard this as an overstatement, but the fact still remains that the character of Roman citizens did change over time, and that the central roles of soldier and farmer were increasingly played by barbarians and slaves rather than by Roman citizens.

One can understand what this means by looking at recent history. In World War I, political leaders called upon their citizens to give their lives for their country and people responded en masse. The carnage of World War I led to the downfall of this mindset. There was a loss of ‘romanitas’. One of the byproducts is that European empires collapsed. But this transformation also made it possible for people to start thinking in terms of internal character transformation. This relationship can also be seen in current America, a country which still maintains an empire backed by armed might supported by a mindset in which manly duty to one’s country still plays a major role.

Joseph was instructed to remain in Egypt until the completion of Herod. Symbolically, this means that growing Christianity remained within the secular realm of Rome until the mindset of heroism had come to a completion. This ‘death of Herod’ happened with when Constantine officially recognized Christianity with the Edict of Milan in 313. Wikipedia explains that “the Edict expressly grants religious liberty not only to Christians, who had been the object of special persecution, but goes even further and grants liberty to all religions.” Thus, this was not so much a recognition of Christianity as a ‘death of Herod’. Wikipedia suggests that “Constantine was superstitious and believed enough in the existence of the non-Christian gods to not want to offset the balance of good and evil. It was believed that, the sooner this balance was restored by the Romans establishing a state of justice with the Christians, the sooner the state would become stable.” Notice that the political stability is still paramount, but refusing to sacrifice to the Emperor is no longer being viewed as a threat to societal stability.

Another website describes this resulting shift in thinking. “When Constantine established a state-level religious tolerance in the Roman Empire, he took on the title of Pontiff. Although he was not necessarily a Christian himself (he wasn't baptized until he was on his deathbed), he gave Christians privileges and oversaw major Christian religious disputes. He may not have understood how the pagan cults, including those of the emperors, were at odds with the new monotheistic religion, but they were, and in time the old Roman religions lost out. Over time, Christian church leaders became increasingly influential, eroding the emperors’ powers.”

Many look back and view this as a loss of Christian purity, but this transition actually describes the process by which absolute truth comes into being. Absolute truth can be defined as words that come from an important source which have been written down, such as the absolute truth of the Bible. The people who live with the source of absolute truth will not think in terms of absolute truth. Instead, they will feel that they are in the presence of an important person who has great status in Mercy thought. A belief in absolute truth will only emerge within later generations after the words of the important person have been written down and the important person himself has passed on.

This relationship between important person and holy book can be seen specifically in the case of Constantine, the Emperor, who officially recognized Christianity. Quoting from Wikipedia, “In 331, Constantine I commissioned Eusebius to deliver ‘Fifty Bibles’ for the Church of Constantinople. Athanasius recorded Alexandrian scribes around 340 preparing Bibles for Constans… it is speculated that this may have provided motivation for canon lists, and that Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus are examples of these Bibles. Together with the Peshitta, these are the earliest extant Christian Bibles.”

Looking at this more generally, one of the major achievements of the Roman Empire was the development of a comprehensive legal system. Becoming the state religion may have influenced the practice of Christianity in negative ways, but it played the essential positive role of formulating Christian doctrine as a system of theology based in absolute truth. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Emperors considered themselves responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus they had a duty to maintain orthodoxy. The emperor did not decide doctrine — that was the responsibility of the bishops — rather his role was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity. The emperor ensured that God was properly worshiped in his empire; what proper worship consisted of was the responsibility of the church.”

Verse 15 explains that this Romanization of Christianity was not an accident but was actually part of the plan. “This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’” Fulfilled means ‘to make full, to complete’. Thus, one is not just looking at some event happening, but rather at some transformation being completed. ‘Spoken by the Lord through the prophet’ emphasizes the fact that God did not lose control of Christianity when it moved away from Judaism and acquired a Greek and Roman character. This is an important point to make, because there are Christians who bemoan the Hellenization of Christianity and wish that Christianity had remained in its original and supposedly pure Jewish form. This Hellenization can be seen explicitly in the phrase ‘out of Egypt I called my son’.

Verse 15 looked forward to the eventual death of Herod. Verse 16 goes back to describe the initial response of Herod. “When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi” (v.16).

I have suggested that the Magi represent the initial form of Christianity. Wikipedia describes what this was like: “Some modern scholars have suggested the designations ‘Jewish believers in Jesus’ or ‘Jewish followers of Jesus’ as better reflecting the original context. The sect integrated the belief of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah and his teachings into the Jewish faith, including the observance of the Jewish law. Jewish Christianity is the foundation of Early Christianity, which later developed into Christianity. Christianity started with Jewish eschatological expectations, and it developed into the worship of a deified Jesus after his earthly ministry, his crucifixion, and the post-crucifixion experiences of his followers.” Notice how normal Judaism is being combined with a belief in a Jesus who will come and save the Jewish people.

When the Jewish temple was destroyed in 70, two branches of Judaism survived. In the words of Wikipedia, “The destruction of the Second Temple was a profoundly traumatic experience for the Jews, who were now confronted with difficult and far-reaching questions. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, sectarianism largely came to an end. The Zealots, Sadducees, and Essenes disappeared, while the Early Christians and the Pharisees survived, the latter transforming into Rabbinic Judaism, today known simply as ‘Judaism’.”

This surviving combination could be described symbolically as ‘the male children who were in Bethlehem, in all its vicinity, from two years old and under’. The word male children means ‘a child under training’ (‘Male’ is implied.) Bethlehem means ‘house of bread’ which implies a focus upon building a home that is associated with the ‘bread’ of intellectual thought. This essay will not be analyzing numbers. However, ‘two years old and under’ does imply a new movement. This combination describes early Christianity because it was a new movement that was attempting to build a home for itself using the new ‘bread’ of theology, as contained primarily in the Pauline epistles. This combination also describes rabbinic Judaism, which was being forced to find a new home for Judaism in the written law. Quoting from Wikipedia, “As the Rabbis were required to face two shattering new realities—Judaism without a Temple (to serve as the center of teaching and study) and Judea without autonomy—there was a flurry of legal discourse and the old system of oral scholarship could not be maintained. It is during this period that Rabbinic discourse began to be recorded in writing. The theory that the destruction of the Temple and subsequent upheaval led to the committing of Oral Law into writing was first explained in the Epistle of Sherira Gaon and often repeated.” Summarizing, during this early period, there was a major overlap between Judaism and Christianity, and after the destruction of the Temple, both Judaism and Christianity were heading in the direction of being guided by doctrine and theology.

Slaughter of Infants in Bethlehem 2:16-18

The word slew in verse 16 is used once in Matthew and means ‘to take up, take away, make an end’. The word tricked means ‘to mock at’. Enraged is used once as a verb and means ‘to be full of angry passion’. ‘Herod’ represents a mindset of hero worship. When Herod realizes that he has been mocked by the Magi, he is enraged and ‘takes away’ the ‘young students of the house of bread’. This happened at two levels in the Jewish Bar Kochba revolt in 132 AD. This was the second major Jewish revolt against the Romans. The first revolt was in AD 70. There is an interesting symbolic connection between Bar Kochba and the Magi. The Magi came to seek the star. The name Bar Kokhba means ‘son of the star’ and he was given this name by the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva based in the prophecy from Numbers 24:17 that ‘there shall come a star out of Jacob’.

Bar Kochba definitely qualifies as a heroic figure who demanded hero worship. The Jewish virtual library relates that “Bar-Kokhba was an imperious dictator who was in charge of both the army and the economy during the Jewish revolt against Rome. He held the title of Nasi, which could be a Messianic allusion or could simply refer to the one in charge of army, administration and economy. Bar-Kokhba had unlimited authority over his army and was concerned with even the most minor details. He was not afraid to threaten senior officers of his army with punishment. The 400,000 soldiers in his army were said to have been initiated either by having a finger cut off or by being forced to uproot a cedar tree.”

Most Jewish Christians refused to follow Bar Kochba because he was regarded as a Messiah, and Christians believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Bar responded to this mocking of his heroic status with fury. In the words of one paper, “We need not suppose that Bar Kochba’s government executed Christians specifically because they were Christians. We need only suppose that, because Bar Kochba was widely regarded as the Messiah by his followers, it seemed to Christians that they could not support his revolt without denying the messiahship of Jesus. From the government’s point of view they were executed for refusing to support the revolt; from their own point of view they were executed for refusing to deny Jesus as Messiah. The Bar Kochba letters show that severe measures were taken against Jews who refused to join the war.”

The Bar Kochba was also a mocking of the Roman Emperor. And Emperor Hadrian responded with brutal fury. After the revolt was suppressed, Hadrian attempted to suppress all the Jewish ‘children in the environs of Bethlehem. Quoting again from the Jewish Virtual Library, “The Romans plowed Jerusalem with a yoke of oxen. Jews were sold into slavery and many were transported to Egypt… In the years following the revolt, Hadrian discriminated against all Judeo-Christian sects, but the worst persecution was directed against religious Jews. He made anti-religious decrees forbidding Torah study, Sabbath observance, circumcision, Jewish courts, meeting in synagogues and other ritual practices. Many Jews assimilated and many sages and prominent men were martyred including Rabbi Akiva and the rest of the Asara Harugei Malchut (ten martyrs).”

Verse 18 describes a response of great sorrow. “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” Looking at this literally, many other children died when Herod attempted to murder the infant Jesus. Looking at this symbolically, the Bar Kokhba revolt was eventually suppressed and the Roman response was brutal, with Rome attempting to outlaw Judaism itself. Quoting from the Jewish history website, “After 135 CE, when the rebellion was crushed, Hadrian acted even more ruthlessly and set about on a campaign to wipe away not only the remnants of the Jewish people but the memory that they had ever existed. In effect, he decided to ‘solve the Jewish problem’ once and for all. He realized that the final solution to the Jewish problem lay not only in killing Jews but in destroying Judaism. As long as the Jews had their religion no one would ever really be able to eradicate them entirely. Therefore, he issued decrees that outlawed Judaism on the pain of death. The decrees of Hadrian were the most fearsome in history against the Jewish people.”

Looking at verse 18 in more detail, voice means ‘voice, sound’. Ramah is mentioned once in the New Testament and means ‘height’. Weeping means ‘bitter grief that springs from feeling utterly hopeless’. Mourning is used twice in the New Testament and means ‘loud, grievous lamentation’. Great means ‘much in number’. Rachel is found once in the New Testament and means ‘ewe’. Child means ‘anyone living in full dependence’. Refused adds the negative to ‘desire, wish’. Finally, comforted is both personal and has legal overtones. These various terms described the aftermath of the Bar Kohkba revolt. It was the last time that the Jews tried to occupy the heights of military superiority until the foundation of the modern Jewish state. The ban on Judaism would have led to utter hopelessness. The final battle occurred in the fortress of Beitar. (The first Jewish revolt ended with the capture of Masada in 74 AD.) Those who were ‘living in full dependence’ within the walls were eventually betrayed and about half a million Jews were killed. In the words of Matthew, they were no more. The refusal to be comforted can be seen in the end of existing Jewish religion. In the words of Wikipedia, “Judea would not be a center of Jewish religious, cultural, or political life again until the modern era, although Jews continued to sporadically populate it and important religious developments still took place there.” As for the name Rachel, we will see later that sheep appear to represent followers of some written religious system. A ewe is a female sheep. Female thought emphasizes mental networks. Thus, a ewe could be interpreted as a form of written truth that expresses itself through mental networks of society and cultures. This combination of written Torah and Jewish culture describes Judaism.

Verse 17 explains that “Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled.” Jeremiah was known as ‘the weeping prophet’ because he prophesied the downfall of the kingdom of Judah to the Babylonians. Similarly, the Bar Kochba revolt also was centered in the Roman province of Judea. Thus, in the same way that verse 14 is pointing out that the Hellenization of Christianity was part of a long-term divine plan, so verse 17 seems to be indicating that the end of Jewish nationalism was also part of a long-term divine plan. The Babylonian exile that Jeremiah predicted transformed Judaism from a tribal religion into a synagogue-based religion. Similarly, the Bar Kochba revolt forced Judaism to transform from a national religion into a rabbinic religion based in the Torah.

Joseph returns from Egypt 2:19-21

In verse 19, Herod dies. “But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt.” The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the last gasps of the Roman Empire’s Herodian focus upon heroes. “During the 3rd century, economic collapse, political chaos, military revolt, and barbarian invasion nearly destroyed the empire. Christians were blamed for the desperate situation because they denied the gods who were thought to protect Rome, thereby bringing down their wrath. To regain divine protection, the emperors introduced the systematic persecution of Christians throughout the empire.”

Roman persecution of the Christians started with Nero in 64 but it appears that most of this earlier persecution was sporadic and not systematic. The worst persecution happened at the end and finished with the death of the current emperor. “Beginning in February 303, under the co-emperors Diocletian and Galerius the church faced the worst of all persecutions. The reasons for this persecution are uncertain but have been ascribed, among other things, to the influence of Galerius, a fanatic follower of the traditional Roman religion; Diocletian’s own devotion to traditional religion and his desire to use Roman religion to restore complete unity in the empire; and the fear of an alienation of rebellious armies from emperor worship. After Diocletian’s retirement, Galerius continued the persecution until 311, when he was stricken by a painful disease, described in exquisite detail by the church historian Eusebius, who believed it was an act of revenge by the Christian God. Galerius died shortly after ending the persecution.” Notice the central role played by a desire to maintain the hero worship of ‘Herod’ (which means ‘son of a hero’).

Joseph is instructed in verse 20 to “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.” Get up means ‘to waken, to raise up’. Go means ‘to transport, moving something from one destination to another’. We shall see as we go through Matthew that this version of ‘go’ describes a journey that leads to some sort of shift in thinking.

Wikipedia describes the ‘waking up and transporting’ that happened when Constantine gave official recognition to Christianity in 313. “In addition to removing the ban from the Christians, Constantine ordered that the property of which they had been deprived during the persecutions by seizure or confiscation should be returned to them at the expense of the State. For the Christians the immunities and guaranties contained in this act had most important results. Then for the first time it became possible to observe publicly the liturgy in its fullness, and seriously and earnestly to attempt to mold the life of the empire according to Christian ideals and standards.” Instead of hiding from authority, they had to learn how to be a voice of conscience within society.

For instance, I come from a Mennonite background. In the 1990s, our family presented music programs in a number of German Umsiedler churches, composed of Mennonites who had fled from Russia to Germany starting in the 1970s. In Russia, these Mennonites had been part of the underground persecuted church. In Germany, these Mennonites had to learn how to live and practice their faith in prosperity and freedom. I gained a glimpse of what it means to make such a transition.

Land means ‘the physical earth; (figuratively) the ‘arena’ we live in which operates in space and time’. When this term is used in Matthew, we will interpret it as a reference to the facts and sequences of physical space and time. For instance, science studies the facts and sequences of physical space and time. Israel means ‘God strives’. It is mentioned in verses 20 and 21 and then will not be mentioned until Matthew 8. Israel probably represents religion as an active force within society—God striving with people. Israel is mentioned 68 times in the New Testament but ‘Land of Israel’ is only mentioned twice: in verse 20 and in verse 21. This combination suggests a religion that is striving within the space and time of physical reality.

This describes the official Roman church, which was closely connected with the physical Roman Empire. As Wikipedia summarizes, “Under the influence of Constantine I, the Christian movement gradually underwent its major transformation from a previously underground and even criminal movement into an officially sanctioned religion of ‘first rank’ within the Roman Empire. Constantine I chose to take a lead role in much of this transformation.”

The Emperor applied Christianity using the standard Roman interpretation of the city state. “Constantine began to utilize Christian symbols early in his reign but still encouraged traditional Roman religious practices including sun worship. Between 324 and 330, Constantine built a new imperial capital at Byzantium on the Bosphorus… the city employed overtly Christian architecture, contained churches within the city walls (unlike ‘old’ Rome), and had no pagan temples. In 330 he established Constantinople as the new capital of the Roman Empire. The city would gradually come to be seen as the center of the Christian world.”

When Julian attempted to reemphasize pagan religion, he did so by making it resemble Christianity. Wikipedia summarizes that “While not actually outlawing Christianity, he became intent on re-establishing the prestige of the old pagan beliefs and practices. He modified these practices to resemble Christian traditions such as the episcopal structure and public charity (hitherto unknown in Roman paganism).”

Joseph lives in Nazareth of Galilee 2:22-23

Verse 22 describes Joseph’s hesitation. “When he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there” (v.22). The name Archelaus means ‘people-ruling’. This implies that hero worship has been replaced by a more generic form of using personal authority to rule over the people. Verse 22 reminds us that Herod was the father of Archelaus, conveying the idea that this new emphasis upon ruling over the people is still rooted in the ‘Herodian’ concept of hero-worship.

Given such a continued emphasis upon personal MMNs, one cannot return to the ‘praise’ of Judea, because this will turn religious truth into personal opinion. We will see in Matthew 23 that a similar transition happened in the late 20th century with the absolute truth of the Bible being replaced by the opinions of the official experts.

This dilemma is an inescapable byproduct of revealed truth. That is because revealed truth is emotionally backed up by MMNs within Mercy thought. Perceiver thought it will only be mesmerized into ‘knowing’ if the MMNs of the source of ‘truth’ remain far more important than personal MMNs. This is not a problem when one worships heroes, but it is a problem when emotional ‘truth’ is based in the opinions of people with emotional status.

Fourth century Christianity was characterized by religious squabbling between religious leaders with the emperors using their power to back their chosen religious leader. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Christological debates raged throughout the 4th century with emperors becoming ever more involved with the Church and the Church becoming ever more divided. The Council of Nicaea in 325 supported the Athanasian view. The Council of Rimini in 359 supported the Arian view. The Council of Constantinople in 360 supported a compromise that allowed for both views. The Council of Constantinople in 381 re-asserted the Athanasian view and rejected the Arian view. Emperor Constantine was of divided opinions, but he largely backed the Athanasian faction (though he was baptized on his death bed by the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia). His successor Constantius II supported a Semi-Arian position. Emperor Julian favored a return the traditional Roman/Greek religion, but this trend was quickly quashed by his successor Jovian, a supporter of the Athanasian faction.” Notice how Christian theology is being pulled to and fro by ‘people-ruling’ emperors.

Verse 22 and 23 conclude that Joseph “after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, and came and lived in a city called Nazareth.” Warned is the second of two times that this word is used in Matthew, which means ‘to admonish on the basis of a valid standard’. This implies that Joseph is trying to follow a more valid standard than of the doctrinal decrees of the current Emperor.

The name Galilee comes from a Hebrew verb that means ‘to roll’, implying the presence of cycles. Thus, the church started to go through various cycles, as evidenced both by the varying levels of support given by the different emperors for Christianity, as well as the major competing versions of Christianity that held sway at different times and in different areas during the fourth century.

Lived means to ‘settle down as a permanent resident’. This is the first reference to a city in Matthew, and the city was the basic unit of Roman civilization. The name Nazareth means ‘separated, crowned, sanctified’. The word called is very common but this is the only time in Matthew that it talks about a city being ‘called’ some name. (This same language is used with the two places Gethsemane in 26:36 and Golgotha in 27:33.) Putting this together, the Church took up permanent residence in a city that was called ‘separated, crown, sanctified’. Looking at history, in about 312 Constantine gave the Lateran Palace in Rome to the bishop of Rome, and ever since then Catholic Church has been associated with the ‘holy city of Rome’. Rome had been the Imperial capital, but when Constantine relocated the capital to Constantinople, then the city of Rome soon became associated with the Roman Church, especially after the fall of Rome.

At the same time that the Emperor was using his personal status to impose doctrinal unity upon the people, the early church bishops were gathering together to debate these issues. This began with the first Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Wikipedia explains that “The First Council of Nicaea was the first ecumenical council of the church. Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of bishops (synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.” This was followed by the first Council of Constantinople in 381 and the first Council of Ephesus in 431. Notice the concept of ‘Nazareth’, in which ‘ separated, crowned, and sanctified’ church leaders come together to decide basic Church doctrine.

Verse 23 finishes by referring to prophecy. “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” Fulfill means ‘to make full, to complete’. The first called in verse 23 simply means ‘to say’. The second called means to ‘call, summon, invite’. And Nazarene means ‘an inhabitant of Nazareth’. In other words, there is a larger picture behind the founding of the Church of Rome. One should not view it merely as people deciding to make some location different and special. Instead, one should treat it as an aspect of a larger principle there was predicted beforehand, which is that Christianity would become associated with a holy city. This is cognitively necessary because emotional ‘truth’ is based in MMNs of personal and social status—the emotional status of some person, event, or place overwhelms Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is ‘true’. (I put ‘knowing’ and ‘true’ in single quotes because there is certainty, but this certainty is not based in actual knowledge.) Christianity has to move beyond being held hostage by emperors and bishops. The solution is to modify the concept of holiness to that of a holy city and a holy book, which is more stable than holy people and holy words. We will see as we go through Matthew that this leads to major problems for the Church in the future, but this was an optimal solution for the early church within the Roman Empire.

John the Baptist 3:1-4

Chapter 3 changes the subject: “Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (v. 1-2). The phrase ‘now in those days’ tells us that we are not moving forward in history but looking at another aspect of the same period of history. Thus, we are still within the late Roman Empire.

Wilderness means ‘an uncultivated, unpopulated place; a desolate (deserted) area’, and the Greek word eremos is the source of the English word hermit. As another website explains, “In ancient Egypt and Syria, the distinction between the tilled and irrigated fields of the villages and the surrounding wilderness was very clear. Beyond the fields was ‘the desert,’ rocky and dry land, with a sparse vegetation of brambles, nettles, and thorn bushes, and incapable of supporting human habitation… These conditions favored the life of a monk. The moderate temperatures and sparse rain meant that he could live alone with little shelter, and the solitude and stark landscape aided in meditation and prayer… Such people, hermits [a word that comes from eremus, or ‘desert,’ and meaning ‘desert dwellers’], were regarded by the local villagers as holy men. They would take offerings of food to the hermits near their village, and the hermits would give them wise advice.”

Historically speaking, Christian monasticism began as a reaction to the lack of Christian piety that emerged within the Christian church became officially sanctioned by Constantine. In the words of one webpage, “after Constantine’s imperial endorsement and favoritism for Christian leaders and the laity, a new cultural permissiveness and secularism arose within the faith; and pious believers began to worry more about inner church immorality, abuse, and vice… It was hardly surprising that the sudden sequence of great power and great disappointment for the imperial Church in the West inspired Western Christians to imitate the monastic life of the Eastern Church. Thus began the official monastic movement in the West.” And like John the Baptist, many of these monks and nuns lived in the wilderness surviving on a very sparse diet.

Wikipedia also describes the relationship between the end of persecution and the starting of Christian monasticism. “Those who left for the desert formed an alternate Christian society, at a time when it was no longer a risk to be a Christian. The solitude, austerity, and sacrifice of the desert was seen by Anthony as an alternative to martyrdom, which was formerly seen by many Christians as the highest form of sacrifice. Anthony quickly gained followers eager to live their lives in accordance with this solidarity and separation from material goods.”

The name John means ‘the Lord has been gracious’, implying a desire to maintain the religious feelings of being close to God that were acquired during the previous persecution. Baptism literally means to ‘dip under’, indicating a form of rebirth through being immersed within Mercy experiences. John was preaching, which means ‘to announce a message publicly and with conviction’. This describes the mindset of absolute truth, in which one ‘truth’ is viewed as something that is proclaimed by a source of truth.

Saying this more generally, whenever Matthew refers to John the Baptist, we will interpret this symbolically as a reference to absolute truth. A distinction also needs to be made between absolute truth and emotional ‘truth’. Emotional ‘truth’ uses emotional pressure to overwhelm Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is ‘truth’ or ‘error’. This is like judging the truth of a letter by looking at the name on the envelope. If the letter is written by some important person who is regarded as good in Mercy thought, then the contents of the letter will be assumed to be ‘true’. Similarly, if the letter is written by an important person who is regarded as bad in mercy thought, the contents will be assumed to be ‘false’. Finally, if the letter is written by some unimportant person, they can be thrown away and ignored as having no bearing on the determination of ‘truth’ or ‘error’. Notice that the actual truth or error of the information is secondary, which is why I am using single quotes around these words.

Absolute truth is a special kind of emotional ‘truth’. Like all emotional ‘truth’, it is ultimately based in the emotional status of some source in Mercy thought. But this ‘truth’ is then written down in the form of a book or scroll, making it possible to mentally disconnect the emotional status of the author from the content of the book. The contents of a book also do not change, leading to stability in Perceiver thought. The book can be copied and given to many people, leading to a concept of universal truth. Finally, a book arranges words into a structure, giving the impression of a general Teacher theory. If the contents of a book actually describe a rational Teacher theory, then studying this book will lead to the TMN of a Teacher theory, making it emotionally possible to move beyond the mindset of emotional truth with its MMNs of personal authority. Thus, absolute truth is a transitional form of learning that can lead from emotional ‘truth’ to rational understanding. One will start by viewing the book as the source of absolute ‘truth’. One will end by viewing the book as an accurate description of universal truth—without the quotes. That is why I do not use quotes referring to absolute truth.

A holy book is a version of absolute truth that deals with the biggest emotional issues such as the Nature of God and the immortality of the human soul. Thus, the same cognitive principles apply to both absolute truth and a holy book, but these cognitive principles are much more difficult to apply when dealing with a holy book than when attempting to analyze the contents of some other form of absolute truth, such as a textbook. Revealed truth could be viewed as emotional ‘truth’ that is attempting to achieve the stability of absolute truth. Revealed truth claims to be permanent and unchangeable but usually has not yet acquired the stability of being written down and copied.

John’s message was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (v.2). To repent means ‘to change one’s mind or purpose’. And at hand means ‘extreme closeness, immediate imminence’. Looking at this cognitively, the desert dweller is telling the average city dweller to turn away from the shallow Mercy pleasures of civilized existence in order to experience the emotional closeness of God within Teacher thought. The underlying assumption is that following God means turning away from the world, a mindset of religious self-denial that naturally accompanies revealed truth. That is because emotional ‘truth’ uses emotional pressure to overwhelm Perceiver thought. Therefore, Perceiver thought will only remain overwhelmed as long as a person believes that they are nothing compared to the emotional source of ‘truth’.

Verse 4 says that “John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.” Clothing represents the ‘fabric’ of personal interaction. A camel can travel through the desert with a minimum of water. Water represents Mercy experiences. And hair represents intuitive thought (This non-intuitive symbolism of hair is described elsewhere.) Putting this together, John is following a personal lifestyle of intuitively avoiding Mercy experiences, which precisely describes the behavior of the desert hermit. Going further, the only other New Testament reference to locusts is in Revelation 9, which talks about locusts ascending from the pit. Swarms of locusts will infest a landside, stripping fields and trees of food. Similarly, the locusts of Revelation 9 appear to symbolize the stripping of intellectual food that is happening as a result of modern deconstructionism. When postmodern thought attacks some area, then nothing is left at the end except for the locusts of deconstructionism, perched proudly on their bare academic branches.

The desert hermits survived on a symbolic diet of locusts, stripping the trees of knowledge to the bare essence required to maintain physical existence. For instance, Anthony the Great was the first known Christian monk to go into the wilderness in about AD 270. Wikipedia describes his lifestyle. “Anthony maintained a very strict ascetic diet. He ate only bread, salt and water and never meat or wine. He ate at most only once a day and sometimes fasted through two or four days… After fifteen years of this life, at the age of thirty-five, Anthony determined to withdraw from the habitations of men and retire in absolute solitude. He went into the desert to a mountain by the Nile called Pispir. There he lived strictly enclosed in an old abandoned Roman fort for some 20 years. Food was thrown to him over the wall. He was at times visited by pilgrims, whom he refused to see; but gradually a number of would-be disciples established themselves in caves and in huts around the mountain.”

But they found a honey of Teacher emotion in this purity and simplicity. The only other New Testament reference to honey is in Revelation 10, where John is given a book to eat and told that it will be as sweet as honey in his mouth but give him a stomachache. In both cases, the Teacher joy of comprehension is being compared with honey. This interpretation of honey is also consistent with David’s well-known description in Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Looking at this cognitively, Teacher thought likes to come up with simple theories that define the essence of some complicated situation. These simple theories expressed themselves as sayings and proverbs. Wikipedia mentions that “There are many different collections of sayings of the Desert Fathers… This collection is now known as The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetic Collection. This collection contains about a thousand items. The same editors knew there were also a lot of anonymous sayings and tales of the Desert Fathers and Mothers circulating. This material was gathered into a collection now known as Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers.”

One way of generating Teacher emotions is by reducing physical life itself to its simple essence. The problem with this method is that it generates ‘wild honey’. The word wild means ‘living in the fields, wild, savage, fierce’. This word ‘wild’ is only found one other time in the New Testament is in Jude 1:13 where this word is used to describe men that are ‘unreasoning animals’ who are like ‘wild waves of the sea’. Looking at this cognitively, a hermit who lives on ‘wild honey’ will be driven by Teacher emotion to rid himself savagely of all the accoutrements of civilization. The moral of the story is that Teacher emotion is a dangerous thing. Any general Teacher theory that continues to be used will turn into a TMN which will use emotional pressure to imprison a person within the confines of that general theory.

Verse 3 tells us that the function of a John the Baptist is to be “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!’” Voice means ‘a voice, sound’, which implies that one is noticing that the voice is being used without focusing upon the actual words being spoken. Crying is used once in Matthew and means ‘shouting with intense feeling’. These two words summarize the approach of emotional ‘truth’. It is based in intense feeling. And one notices that a voice is speaking but one does not attempt to rationally analyze upon the content that is being said.

The word straight means ‘without unnecessary zig-zags’. Saying this cognitively, the desert hermit performed the useful function of getting rid of unnecessary details and forcing people to focus upon the essentials.

John the Baptist Preaches 3:5-9

Verses 5-6 say that “Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” Similarly, the desert fathers gained a large following and had great influence. Quoting from Wikipedia, “As more pilgrims began visiting the monks in the desert, influence from the monastic communities began spreading. Latin versions of the original Greek stories and sayings of the Desert Fathers, along with the earliest monastic rules coming out of the desert, guided the early monastic development in the Byzantine world and eventually in the western Christian world.” The word confess is a less common intensified version of the normal word which means to ‘fully agree and to acknowledge that agreement openly’, indicating that both John the Baptist and the Desert Fathers struck an emotional chord in their listeners.

Going out adds the prefix ‘out from’ to the word ‘transport’, which we are interpreting as a journey that generates a personal change. Jerusalem represents the center of religion. Judea means ‘praised’ and would represent what is praised by society. Wikipedia describes both the personal change and the popularity of the desert fathers. “Anthony lived in a time of transition for Christianity—the Diocletianic Persecution in AD 303 was the last great formal persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Only ten years later, Christianity was made legal in Egypt by Diocletian's successor Constantine I. Those who left for the desert formed an alternate Christian society, at a time when it was no longer a risk to be a Christian… Over time, the model of Anthony and other hermits attracted many followers, who lived alone in the desert or in small groups. They chose a life of extreme asceticism, renouncing all the pleasures of the senses, rich food, baths, rest, and anything that made them comfortable. They instead focused their energies on praying, singing psalms, fasting, giving alms to the needy, and preserving love and harmony with one another while keeping their thoughts and desires for God alone. Thousands joined them in the desert, mostly men but also a handful of women. Religious seekers also began going to the desert seeking advice and counsel from the early Desert Fathers. By the time of Anthony’s death, there were so many men and women living in the desert that it was described as ‘a city’ by Anthony's biographer.”

As for influencing the center of religion, “The desert monastic communities that grew out of the informal gathering of hermit monks became the model for Christian monasticism. The eastern monastic tradition at Mount Athos and the western Rule of Saint Benedict both were strongly influenced by the traditions that began in the desert. All of the monastic revivals of the Middle Ages looked to the desert for inspiration and guidance. Much of Eastern Christian spirituality, including the Hesychast movement, had its roots in the practices of the Desert Fathers.”

Verse 6 says that these people “were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” Baptize means to ‘dip under’. Confess is an extra strong version of the normal word used twice in Matthew which means to ‘fully agree and to acknowledge that agreement openly’. And sin ‘means missing the mark’. Baptism is viewed by Christianity as a symbol of personal transformation. If water represents Mercy experiences, then being baptized in water would represent a change as a result of being immersed within experiences. This immersion within experience is causing a person to fully agree that their previous way of life was missing the mark. This summarizes the message taught by the desert fathers, which is that one should fully agree that existing city life misses the mark and one should respond by becoming immersed within the water of Mercy experience. Notice that this is a negative message—a message of forsaking the world.

In verse 7, John the Baptist warned the religious establishment of impending disaster: “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’” A viper is a poisonous snake. I have suggested in other essays that a snake represents mysticism, because the mystical theory that ‘all is one’ is the simplest possible theory, while a snake is the simplest living shape. Both reduce existence to a single string. A poisonous snake is a form of virulent mysticism. Looking at this literally, there is significant evidence that the priests in Jerusalem were secretly practicing a form of proto-mysticism at that time. This emphasis upon secret knowledge can be seen in the verb warned, which is used once in Matthew and means ‘to show secretly, to show by tracing out’.

The verb used to describe the Pharisees and Sadducees is slightly different than that used to describe the average person. In verse 6 people are being baptized by John. In verse 7, the Pharisees and Sadducees are coming to the baptism of John. They are showing up on the scene, but they are not necessarily getting baptized themselves. (In the parallel passage in Luke 3:7, the crowds are coming to be baptized and he is calling them offspring of vipers. My guess is that Luke is portraying a different prophetic sequence than Matthew.)

The discussion of mysticism is significant because the Desert Fathers eventually became advocates of mysticism. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “Hesychasm (from the Greek for ‘stillness, rest, quiet, silence’) is a mystical tradition and movement that originated with the Desert Fathers and was central to their practice of prayer. Hesychasm for the Desert Fathers was primarily the practice of ‘interior silence and continual prayer.’” Looking at this cognitively, when one eliminates all of the details of normal life from personal existence, it is easy to go one step further and discover mysticism by removing all the details of normal life from personal thought. Saying this more clearly, mysticism is based in Teacher overgeneralization, in which the absence of Perceiver facts makes it possible for Teacher thought to come up with the ultimate overgeneralization that ‘All is one’. One of the primary shortcomings of mysticism is that there is no basis for morality because an overgeneralized Teacher concept of God that transcends all of the facts of human existence is incapable of making any statements about the facts of human existence.

Putting this together, the ‘secret knowledge’ of mysticism will not motivate a person to transform personal behavior; it will not drive a person to ‘flee from the wrath to come’. This inherent shortcoming is described in verse 8: “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance”. More literally, do or manufacture fruit that is worthy of repentance. The desert hermit is telling people to repent from the shallow pleasures of civilization. But if the desert hermit heads in the direction of mysticism, then all that is left is a form of deconstructionism in which existing society is attacked, but no new alternative is generated that expresses the changed formed of thinking. Saying this more clearly, deconstructionism is good at pointing out problems, but it is lousy at coming up with solutions.

I have mentioned that joy refers to positive Teacher emotion. Wrath describes the negative Teacher emotion that emerges when Teacher thought is continually exposed to an exception to the general rule. It ‘proceeds from an internal disposition which steadfastly opposes someone or something based on extended personal exposure’. John the Baptist warns that there is ‘wrath to come’. Similarly, the Desert Fathers appeared shortly before the fall of the Roman Empire. When an entire Empire collapses, then this goes beyond Mercy feelings of pain and pleasure to Teacher feelings of order and structure.

Verse 7 says that John the Baptist saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. A Sadducee ‘was a member of the aristocratic party among the Jews, from whom the high-priests were almost invariably chosen’ and Matthew explains in 22:23 that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. A pharisaical mindset would find life as a desert father attractive because one is attempting to be a separatist who lives purely within holiness. Repeating part of an earlier quote from Wikipedia, the early desert fathers “chose a life of extreme asceticism, renouncing all the pleasures of the senses, rich food, baths, rest, and anything that made them comfortable. They instead focused their energies on praying, singing psalms, fasting, giving alms to the needy, and preserving love and harmony with one another while keeping their thoughts and desires for God alone.”

I am not suggesting that all Pharisees and Sadducees were mystics (though it is possible that Pharisees and Sadducees during the time of Jesus were practicing an early form of merkabah mysticism). Instead, I am pointing out that there are cognitive similarities that would cause a mindset of the Pharisees and Sadducees to head naturally in the direction of mysticism.

Going further, a mindset of the Sadducees takes my personal experiences and regards them as naturally privileged for interacting with God. Similarly, following the path of mysticism will lead to the feeling that I am having a personal encounter with God. But this does not mean that the real God corresponds with my personal feelings about God. Instead, the mystic, like the Sadducee, is assuming that his personal experiences justify making universal statements about the true nature of God.

In addition, the mystic does not really believe in resurrection. His goal is not to become personally resurrected, but rather to lose his identity by becoming one with God. In the words of Wikipedia, “Men and women withdrew to the deserts of Sketes where, either as solitary individuals or communities, they lived lives of austere simplicity oriented towards contemplative prayer. These communities formed the basis for what later would become known as Christian monasticism. Mysticism is integral to Christian monasticism because the goal of practice for the monastic is union with God.”

Another shortcoming of mystical thinking is that it is implicitly based in the existing society. That is because Teacher emotion comes from order-within-complexity. It is not enough for the mystic to say that ‘all is one’, because this generates order, but not order-within-complexity. Instead, the mystic must turn his back upon the complexity of some existing society and then state that ‘all this one’. Saying this another way, the mystic has to break through from complexity to a feeling of order-within-complexity. This means that the mystic who is living in the desert implicitly requires some society to reject. This relationship can be seen in Asian Buddhism, which goes hand-in-hand with the societal structure of Confucianism. Similarly, today’s Western version of Buddhism is accompanied by the complexity of modern technological society.

Verse 9 describes this implicit assumption: “Do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” The word suppose ‘directly reflects the personal perspective (values) of the person making the subjective judgment call’. This internal Teacher presupposition inherent in mysticism can also be seen in the phrase ‘say to your selves’.

The Pharisees and Sadducees are saying to themselves that ‘We have Abraham for our father’. Looking at this literally, they are assuming that it is sufficient to be born a Jew. Looking at this symbolically, Abraham followed God by leaving his existing society. Similarly, the Desert Fathers are following God by leaving their existing society. The underlying assumption is that a society exists that one can leave.

John the Baptist then says that God will start with a new foundation: “For I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham” (v.9). The preposition from is more literally ‘from out of’. And stones represent solid Perceiver facts. The word children here means ‘a child living in willing dependence’. Thus, God is about to start a new movement of people based upon a solid foundation of Perceiver truth. In other words, people are about to learn that it is possible to live in willing dependence upon solid Perceiver facts held together by a concept of God in Teacher thought.

John warns in verse 10 that this transition is about to happen: “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” A tree is a large living structure that does not move. This would represent some framework of mental networks within which people function. John does not just warn that a tree might be cut down. Instead, he warns that the axe is already at the root of many trees. This is consistent with the idea that the entire system is about to collapse. Speaking literally, John the Baptist warns that Judaism is about to be replaced by Christianity. Looking at this symbolically, the Roman Empire is about to fall and be replaced by a new civilization.

The word good means ‘attractively good; good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely’. A civilization can use force to prop up many institutions that have no inherent merit. However, when a civilization falls, then each institution has to survive on its own merits. An institution will only survive incoming barbarians if they find it attractively good to the extent that it inspires them to embrace what is lovely. This describes how Christianity generally spread during the Dark Ages. We will see later in this essay that it was adopted by European tribes and ethnic groups primarily because the tribal leaders found it attractive.

John predicts Judgment 3:10-12

Verse 10 warns that “every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire”. Fire gradually consumes what is burning. Cognitively speaking, we will interpret fire as a form of frustration, in which one is driven by mental networks to think or behave in a certain manner but has no way of expressing this drive. Civilization contains many institutions that could not survive on their own merit. If civilization fell, then there would no longer be any reason to maintain these institutions, and those who used to work in such institutions would be ‘cut down and thrown into the fire’.

Verse 11 adds that this transition will lead to a new form of baptism: “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Looking at this literally, John is comparing his baptism by water with the future coming of the Holy Spirit. Looking at this symbolically, the Desert Fathers taught a baptism by the water of Mercy experience; people became mentally reborn by changing their physical environment and thus their personal experiences. In contrast, the fall of the Roman Empire would lead to a new form of rebirth, driven by Platonic forms of the spirit.

Platonic forms can emerge in three primary ways. Copying the explanation from the linked essay, a Platonic form can emerge when something good from the past is lost. Suppose that Mercy thought acquires good experiences from the environment in some manner. This will cause MMNs to form within Mercy thought. If this environment is lost, then this MMN will no longer be reinforced by physical experiences (and thus will cease to be an aspect of a spirit of the world). One can respond to this loss by clinging emotionally to these lost MMNs with an attitude of bitterness and/or blame. Or one can respond with reflection, using Teacher thought to guide one’s thinking about these past experiences. This Teacher processing will cause the mind to ‘remember the past through rose-colored glasses’, because Teacher thought by its very nature will focus upon the purified essence. The end result is a Platonic form, an internal image of the past that is actually more perfect than the actual experiences of the past. This kind of Platonic form will lead to a desire to restore the presumed perfection of the past. For instance, this describes how medieval Europe viewed the previous Roman Empire.

Second, a Platonic form can emerge when one studies a book, especially if one gives emotional significance to this book. For instance, studying the Bible will naturally lead to Platonic forms about heaven. However, if the Bible is viewed as a special book that is different than normal books, then any Platonic forms that emerge from studying the Bible will have no connection with the normal experiences of life. Something similar can happen when reading fiction or fantasy. In other words, studying the Bible as the word of God will lead to Platonic forms about heaven, but this mental concept of heaven will be totally separate from human experiences of Earth. In a similar manner, reading the works of J.R.R. Tolkien will lead to a mental concept of Middle-Earth that is separate and distinct from normal human reality. It is this separation of Platonic forms from reality that causes some theologians to be apprehensive of the concept of Platonic forms.

Third, the Platonic form can emerge through the mechanism mentioned when describing Platonic forms. Perceiver thought analyzes real world experiences and comes up with categories. Teacher thought comes up with a theory that summarizes the ideal essence of this Perceiver category. This then leads to the formation of a Platonic form within Mercy thought. Because these Platonic forms emerge as an idealization of the facts of reality, it is possible to make reality more like Platonic forms. Platonic forms then become the values that guide the Mercy goals of normal concrete existence.

The fall of the Roman Empire led to Platonic forms through the first mechanism of losing something good. The canonization of a Bible will lead to Platonic forms using the second mechanism of a holy book. Unfortunately, science did not come to birth in Alexandria before the coming of Christ. Therefore, the third mechanism of using a general theory in Teacher thought was not present. Saying this more carefully, a concept of the Holy Spirit emerges when many Platonic forms coalesce to create what Plato called the form of the Good. In order to truly create a concept of the Holy Spirit, one needsif to follow the third mechanism guided by a universal concept of God the Father in Teacher thought. However, if an entire civilization falls, and if an entire holy book is formulated, then this will lead to a reasonably powerful concept of the Holy Spirit.

This may explain the combination of Holy Spirit and fire. I suggested that fire represents a form of frustration, because energy is being released but it is not being directed in a useful manner. When Platonic forms result from the loss of something good and the alternate reality of a holy book, then there is no way to express the emotional drive that is being generated by these Platonic forms. Instead, one becomes driven by a longing for the unreachable.

John says in verse 11 that he does not ‘reach to, attaincarrying the sandals of Jesus. Walking represents the movement of personal identity through the landscape of life. Sandals would represent the cultural and personal methods that are used to protect personal identity as it moves through life. The Desert Fathers were not moving through life. Instead, they were trying to avoid life, both mentally and physically. In contrast, once civilization falls, then people will have to deal with life at a basic existential level. Instead of avoiding walking, one will have to come up with a set of sandals.

Verse 12 concludes that “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” The four words winnowing fork and thoroughly clear, threshing floor and chaff only occur in this verse and in the parallel passage in Luke 3:17. Wheat and bread represent intellectual food. Thus, this means that the existing methods of evaluating information will be cleared out. An academic institution evaluates information using explicit theories and guidelines. But it also evaluates data guided by the implicit assumptions of society as well as being physically supported by society. When a regime changes, then not only do the official theories change, but the entire superstructure required to support the theorizing also changes.

On the one hand, the wheat will be gathered into the barn. This happened with the fall of the Roman Empire, because church scholars preserved many of the Greek and Roman writings. Much of this initial preserving was done by Boethius, who lived during the early sixth century. In the words of one website, “Boethius’s lifelong project – to translate all works by Aristotle and Plato - was never realised but he translated many works by Greek philosophers and helped transmit a significant part of the Greek knowledge to medieval Europe. Some of his most important translations include De Topicis Differentiis and De Arithmetica, while De Institutione Musica, a treatise on ancient music remained the most important work on Western music for nearly one millennium.”

Boethius focused upon Greek works of logic and mathematics. If the goal is to build a rational Teacher understanding, then this describes wheat. And what Boethius translated affected the course of medieval thought. The Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that “When Cassiodorus founded a monastery at Vivarium, in Campania, he installed there his Roman library and included Boethius’s works on the liberal arts in the annotated reading list (Institutiones) that he composed for the education of his monks. Thus, some of the literary habits of the ancient aristocracy entered the monastic tradition. Boethian logic dominated the training of the medieval clergy and the work of the cloister and court schools. His translations and commentaries, particularly those of the Katēgoriai and Peri hermeneias, became basic texts in medieval Scholasticism… Thus the resolute intellectual activity of Boethius in an age of change and catastrophe affected later, very different ages, and the subtle and precise terminology of Greek antiquity survived in Latin when Greek itself was little known.”

Chaff has no inherent benefit. Mental chaff is internally motivated by mental networks, but because it has no inherent benefit it has to be externally supported by some social structure. When the social structures fail, then the mental networks remain. Thus, a person is driven to continue thinking in a certain manner, but is physically unable to practice this thought. The result is unquenchable fire that ‘consumes entirely’.

Baptism of Jesus 3:13-17

The story of the baptism of Jesus focuses upon who should baptize whom: “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’” (v.13-14)

This is usually interpreted as John feeling that Jesus is too holy to be baptized by him. This view naturally emerges from a mindset of absolute truth, and it is quite possible that the real John the Baptist felt this way when approached by Jesus. However, there is also a deeper cognitive meaning which applies to the prophetic interpretation.

Jesus does not question John’s logic, but rather says that this is an unusual case: “Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him” (v.15). The word at this time means ‘just now, at this moment’. Fitting means ‘acting appropriately in a particular situation’. And the appropriateness comes from filling up all righteousness.

Looking at this cognitively, John the Baptist was a Perceiver person while Jesus was a Contributor person. (There is enough biographical detail in the Gospels to reach this conclusion.) What normally happens is that Perceiver thought holds on to truth while Contributor thought makes the transitions. Saying this another way, Perceiver thought can preserve while Contributor thought can transform. Thus, whenever there is a major transition, then the normal path is for Perceiver thought to become baptized by Contributor thought: Perceiver facts become reborn as Contributor thought goes through some major transition. This normal path can be seen in Matthew 16 where Peter the Perceiver person wants to preserve Jesus, while Jesus tells Peter that he must go through the baptism of death and resurrection.

However, Matthew 3 is talking about a more fundamental transition, which involves the very existence of Perceiver truth itself. Looking at this literally, Jesus is going to make a transition from the Server-based mindset of Judaism to the Perceiver-based mindset of Christianity. Looking at this prophetically, Roman civilization is going to fall and be replaced by a new Western civilization based in Christendom with its focus upon Perceiver beliefs. Thus, what matters at this time is holding on to Perceiver thought while transforming Contributor thought to function in a totally new manner.

If the normal path of using Contributor thought to get through this transition is followed, then there will be salvation, but it will be limited. In contrast, building Contributor thought upon a new foundation of Perceiver truth will make it possible to ‘fulfill all righteousness’. The eventual salvation will be much more complete, and it will be guided by righteousness—which means following a Server sequence that reflects an integrated concept of God in Teacher thought. (Righteousness can be defined as allowing Server actions to be emotionally guided by the TMN of a general Teacher understanding. Righteousness is only possible to the extent that Teacher theories are based in the processes of ‘how things work’.) Saying this another way, theology is based in Perceiver beliefs. Theology creates a foundation for abstract thought, enabling completely new strategies for Contributor thought. This is illustrated by all of the modern laborsaving gadgets that have become possible by using science to extend technology.

This transformation in thinking is described in verse 16: “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him.” ‘Coming up immediately from the water’ implies that this new form of thinking emerges immediately and not after many years of being immersed within the waters of a dark age. One can see this illustrated by the monastery school set up by Cassiodorus in about 540 AD, right after Boethius. The books collected by Cassiodorus laid the foundation for what became the trivium and quadrivium of medieval education. In the words of Wikipedia, “The first section of the Institutiones deals with Christian texts, and was intended to be used in combination with the Expositio Psalmorum. The order of subjects in the second book of the Institutiones reflected what would become the Trivium and Quadrivium of medieval liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. While he encouraged study of secular subjects, Cassiodorus clearly considered them useful primarily as aids to the study of divinity, much in the same manner as St. Augustine. Cassiodorus’ Institutiones thus attempted to provide what Cassiodorus saw as a well-rounded education necessary for a learned Christian, all in uno corpore, as Cassiodorus put it.”

One can also see this immediate focus upon abstract thought in the Celtic monks, which also emerged in the sixth century. As Wikipedia explains, “Monasteries tended to be cenobitical in that monks lived in separate cells but came together for common prayer, meals, and other functions. Celtic monasticism was characterized by a rigorous asceticism and a love for learning.” And these Celtic monks played a major role in the revival of learning spearheaded by Charlemagne in the late eighth century. One article summarizes that “Celtic monks were the perfect educators for Charlemagne’s court. In between sessions of harsh ascetic discipline and service to God and community, Irish monks were painstakingly copying classical and Christian Latin texts for posterity (like the Book of Kells). But they were also faithfully preserving traditional Irish laws and ancient Celtic legends—through a Christian lens, but exercising very little censorship in the process… The bane of Cenn Fáelad—learning something about everything—would become the defining characteristic of Frankish education.” Notice the focus upon a general education, consistent with the idea of filling up all righteousness.

This emerging of abstract thought is conveyed by the phrase ‘and behold, the heavens were opened’ (v.16), because the heavens represents abstract thought. And when Teacher thought begins to function, then Platonic forms will begin to emerge within Mercy thought, and shown by the phrase ‘and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming on him.

I should add that a similar principle would apply to the real Jesus, the incarnation of God, because there is a difference between interacting with God the Spirit as a member of the Trinity and experiencing the Spirit of God as a finite human. In order to make this transition, God the Son had to descend from heaven, live on earth and then submit to the message of John the Baptist.

The common perception is that abstract thought is not emotional, but it is actually driven by Teacher emotions of elegance, simplicity, and understanding. This emotional feedback from Teacher thought is seen in verse 17: “and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” This is normally interpreted as God the Father being pleased with God the Son, but a significant cognitive transition is being described. The desert fathers found Teacher pleasure by paring life down to its essentials. When Contributor thought discovers abstract thought, then a new form of Teacher pleasure emerges, which is capable of handling the complexities of life. One can live within reality and still be well-pleasing to God.

The First Temptation of Jesus 4:1-4

This is immediately followed by the temptation of Jesus. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Temptation and/or testing is required because the mind cannot acquire Perceiver facts and Server skills instantly. Instead, all Perceiver facts and Server sequences are known with a certain level of confidence, and this level of confidence determines the emotional intensity that those facts or sequences can handle. For instance, I may know how to play a piece of music perfectly at home, while falling apart when playing the same piece in public. Confidence grows as a fact or sequence successfully survives emotional pressure. Thus, testing is an essential, unavoidable component of personal growth.

There are two words for temptation: temptation and testing. The purpose of temptation is to make a person fail. However, if a person survives temptation without failing, then a person becomes stronger. In contrast, the purpose of testing is to prove that something is genuine. The word used here is temptation and not testing. This word is only used twice in the first 15 chapters of Matthew, in verses 1 and 3. The word devil is used six times in Matthew, four times in this chapter. It means ‘to slander, accuse, defame’. And the word wilderness will not be seen again until chapter 11. This suggests that chapter 4 is dealing with a significant period of temptation. Looking at this cognitively, the direction of the future Western civilization is being established. Choices that are made during this initial period will have major repercussions for the rest of Western history. Therefore, some sort of tempting or testing is required in order to ensure that certain critical lessons have been learned and will be applied.

Verse 2 explains that “after he had fasted 40 days and 40 nights, he then became hungry.” One would think that this is an obvious statement, but the NASB indicates that it is only after 40 days and 40 nights of fasting that he becomes hungry, and this is consistent with the original Greek. Physically speaking, a normal person will get hungry after a few hours of fasting. However, this unusual statement makes cognitive sense if it is interpreted symbolically. Chapter 3 talked about John the Baptist and the Desert Fathers who left civilization in order to live in the wilderness. The reference to the wilderness combined with the warnings of the previous chapter suggest that the Roman Empire has now fallen.

What would one do if civilization came to an end? If this demise happened overnight, then one could not do anything. But if this fall occurred gradually, then those who had abstract knowledge would become driven to try to preserve this knowledge, as seen with the example of Boethius. One would not eat any new knowledge, but rather fast intellectually in order to focus upon what one did know. But one would not get intellectually hungry, because one would be driven by the need to preserve existing knowledge. This motivation would come from the Platonic forms of the spirit—memories of a civilization that was becoming increasingly distant from the decaying experiences of reality. However, eventually this gathering of knowledge would come to an end, and one would suddenly become very hungry, because one would realize that all sources of new knowledge had dried up.

This is when the first temptation comes: “And the tempter came and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread’” (v.3). The temptation is to turn stones into bread. Stones were mentioned previously in 3:9 where John said that God could raise up children out from the stones. If this process of ‘raising children from stones’ is to happen, then the stones of Perceiver truth must remain solid. Saying this more clearly, Perceiver thought labels facts as right or wrong guided by fundamental facts that are known to be true or false. Perceiver thought requires some set of absolutes to function. Therefore, if a new civilization is to emerge based upon Perceiver thought, there must first be a foundation of absolute truth.

One can see the transition from bread to stones in the defining of the biblical canon. The writers of the New Testament books probably thought that they were coming up with intellectual bread to feed some readers. But when these writings became canonized, then the loaves of bread turned into stone. The New Testament Canon developed gradually, but by the fifth century onward, the Western church was unanimous concerning the New Testament canon. One of the prerequisites for canonization is that the original authors must no longer be around; it must no longer be possible for them to revise their words. Saying this another way, emotional ‘truth’ had to turn into absolute truth. This obviously happened when the original disciples passed away. However, a similar form of canonization would happen on a much larger scale if civilization collapsed. The growth of knowledge would come to an end, and all that would remain would be the existing books. This is what happened when the Roman civilization fell.

The transition from bread to stones can also be seen in the two examples of Boethius and Cassiodorus. Boethius was both a collator and translator of Greek texts as well as an original author. He had intended to translate all the works of Aristotle and Plato from the original Greek into Latin, but he was suddenly executed at the age of 44 when caught on the wrong side of palace intrigue. Cassiodorus then took the work that Boethius had done and added it to his library of Greek and Latin texts.

Cassiodorus was primarily an educator. He originally wanted to found the university, but was forced instead to set up a school curriculum based in the reading and study of written texts: “Cassiodorus devoted much of his life to supporting education within the Christian community at large. When his proposed theological university in Rome was denied, he was forced to re-examine his entire approach to how material was learned and interpreted. His Variae show that, like Augustine of Hippo, Cassiodorus viewed reading as a transformative act for the reader. It is with this in mind that he designed and mandated the course of studies at the Vivarium, which demanded an intense regimen of reading and meditation.” Wikipedia describes these two men as the primary transmitters of Greek literature: “Cassiodorus is rivalled only by Boethius in his drive to preserve and explore classical literature during the 6th century AD.” Thus, one sees a transition from the bread of higher learning of Boethius to the stones of solid revealed truth of Cassiodorus.

It should be pointed out again that this is not the normal educational progression. One usually starts with the stones of rote learning before moving on to the bread of critical thinking. Usually, Jesus should be baptizing John the Baptist and not the other way around.

We looked at the first temptation of Jesus from a symbolic, prophetic viewpoint. However, this would also be a valid temptation for Jesus the incarnation made flesh. Many theologians suggest that references to the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament are actually pre-incarnate appearances of Jesus. I am not suggesting that Jesus is an angel, but rather that the incarnation of God appeared first as an angel before becoming a human. Angels (and aliens) are discussed extensively in other essays, and will be examined briefly when looking at the end of Matthew 13. My general hypothesis is that angels, aliens, and humans all have the same minds, but live within radically different bodies. One of the primary differences appears to be that humans can use Server thought to manipulate the world through physical actions, while being stuck within the Perceiver object of a physical body. The relationship for angels appears to be the opposite. The word angel means ‘messenger’, and a message is a Server sequence of Teacher words. This implies that an angel is stuck within the ‘physical container’ of some Server sequence of words. Unlike humans, angels appear to have power, which means that they can use Perceiver thought to impose facts upon the environment.

Thus, if an angel wanted to live on earth as a human being, then one fundamental struggle would be learning to accept the Perceiver facts of the physical body as solid and unchanging. Passing this test would make it possible to exist as a human being.

Notice that both interpretations of this first temptation are cognitively similar. In both cases, people who are used to living within the abstract thought of messages have to descend to the level of revealed truth and solid facts. This similarity can be seen in Matthew 4 because Jesus responds to each of the temptations by saying ‘it is written’, indicating a focus upon revealed truth based in the stones of solid Perceiver facts. This phrase ‘it is written’ occurs ten times in the book of Matthew, four times in the temptations of Jesus.

Jesus replies to the first temptation by responding “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’” (v.5). The word for life is zoe, which refers to both natural and spiritual life. The word for word is not logos, but rather refers to ‘a spoken word, made by the living voice’. And proceeds out means ‘go out from, emphasizing the outcome (end-impact) of going through a particular process or passage’. Putting this together, using abstract thought to manipulate words is not enough to generate life. Instead, one must also view words as an expression of living people and look beyond words to the process that is followed when words are spoken. And one must recognize that this entire package is an expression of God in Teacher thought.

For instance, when I started studying mental symmetry, it soon became apparent that using abstract thought to understand how the mind functions was not enough. Instead, my intellectual pursuit of understanding the mind had to be accompanied by the practical journey of applying my findings within my personal life. Intellectual bread alone was not sufficient to give me life. Using religious language, I had to follow the incarnational path of ‘the word becoming flesh’.

The Second Temptation of Jesus 4:5-7

The second temptation involves the misuse of angelic power. “Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, “He will command His angels concerning You”; and “On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone”’” (v.5-6).

Notice that Jesus has implicitly won the first temptation because Satan is now quoting Scripture. The existence of absolute truth has now become established. The word pinnacle is only found here and in the parallel passage in Luke 4 and actually means ‘a little wing’. Wings imply angelic power. The word temple refers to ‘the entire temple complex’. And this temple complex is within a holy city. Thus, what is being referred to is a religious system of holiness, which includes a temple complex and a city.

I suggest that a religious system based in absolute truth will naturally lead to the sort of behavior described here in symbolic form. Absolute truth is backed up by some emotional source in Mercy thought. People, places, events, and institutions that are associated with this emotional source will also acquire emotional significance. Thus, a holy book will be taught by holy people during holy rituals at holy times in holy places, leading to an entire temple complex. This is an inevitable byproduct of absolute truth, and the temptation does not involve the temple complex itself. Instead, the temptation involves standing on the little wings of the temple complex and then throwing oneself down. In other words, one is using the emotional significance of the religious system to take on the role of a messenger; one is making pronouncements in the name of God, and one is then applying these grandiose statements to reality.

Preachers often do this: “God has revealed to me that we need to...” The first error is that a member of the clergy is using the emotional significance of the religious system to claim to speak on behalf of God. The second error is that statements which have no connection with reality are being ‘thrown down’ upon reality. These same two fallacies could be seen in the central plans of communist countries. Party members used their political status to come up with grand plans, and these grand plans which had no connection with reality were then thrown down upon reality.

The devil adds that God ‘will command his angels concerning you’ and they will ‘bear you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’. This relates to John the Baptist’s statement that he cannot carry the sandals of Jesus. Sandals protect the feet as a person walks. The previous temptation established hard stones of Perceiver truth. Moving through such a solid landscape can be painful as one strikes one’s foot against a stone. The temptation is to use the power of the system to buffer a person from the hard facts of reality. For instance, when a preacher makes some grandiose claim that does not match up with reality, then the religious system will bear up the preacher and prevent him from bashing his foot against the stones of the real world. Similarly, communist party members never experienced the ill effects of their central plans because they shopped in special stores often stocked with imported goods.

Applying this to the real Jesus, if Jesus-the-man had angelic power, he could have become a member of the religious establishment and then used his angelic power to make pronouncements from God, backed up by the angelic system. One can find a secular example in the Afghanistan war in 2010. America used its prestige as the leader of the democratic world to attempt to impose a solution upon Iraq and Afghanistan. This included sending many soldiers to Afghanistan. But the temperature in Afghanistan can be over 50°C (125°F) in the summer. Thus, military tents were equipped with air conditioners. In effect, the ‘angelic system’ of Western technology was used to prevent the soldiers from ‘striking their feet against the stone’ of the hot weather. (Modern technology is cognitively a kind of angelic system because it is based in the messages of scientific thought.) But all the fuel to run these air-conditioners had to be driven in on military convoys over poor roads at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of casualties.

Jesus responds by saying, “On the other hand, it is written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (v.7). The word translated test here is actually tempt. James 1:13 says that God is unable to be tempted by evil, a word that means ‘inwardly, foul, rotten’. Saying this cognitively, God in Teacher thought cannot be tempted by inadequate human MMNs. But the reply of Jesus implies that God can be tempted by taking angelic shortcuts. In essence, this is the temptation of the central plan, in which one sits up in heaven and makes grand statements which lack sufficient details to apply to the real world. This explains why Jesus responded to the first temptation by saying that one should listen to every word that comes from God. Grand pronouncements are not enough. Instead, one needs grand statements backed up by many specific details; one needs order-within-complexity. And acquiring these details requires personal contact with messy reality, which includes occasionally striking one’s foot against the hard facts of reality.

Let us turn now to the symbolic interpretation. When the Roman Empire fell, the church in Rome turned into an institution, composed of a church complex within a holy city. (This was predicted in 2:23.) Much of this transformation happened under Pope Gregory I. What happened was that the imperial government did not protect Rome from the barbarians or provide for the masses of refugees that flooded the Imperial city. Therefore, Pope Gregory stepped in to fill the void. But he did not make grand pronouncements from on high. Instead, he set up a practical system to meet the concrete needs of the people in an efficient and effective manner.

Wikipedia describes that “The state in which Gregory became pope in 590 was a ruined one. The Lombards held the better part of Italy. Their predations had brought the economy to a standstill. They camped nearly at the gates of Rome. The city was packed with refugees from all walks of life, who lived in the streets and had few of the necessities of life. The seat of government was far from Rome in Constantinople, which appeared unable to undertake the relief of Italy. The pope had sent emissaries, including Gregory, asking for assistance, to no avail. In 590, Gregory could wait for Constantinople no longer. He organized the resources of the church into an administration for general relief. In doing so he evidenced a talent for and intuitive understanding of the principles of accounting, which was not to be invented for centuries… Money, however, was no substitute for food in a city that was on the brink of famine. Even the wealthy were going hungry in their villas. The church now owned between 1,300 and 1,800 square miles (3,400 and 4,700 km2) of revenue-generating farmland divided into large sections called patrimonia. It produced goods of all kinds, which were sold, but Gregory intervened and had the goods shipped to Rome for distribution in the diaconia. He gave orders to step up production, set quotas and put an administrative structure in place to carry it out.”

The end result was that the church replaced the government as the source of power and status in the city of Rome. “These and other good deeds and charitable frame of mind completely won the hearts and minds of the Roman people. They now looked to the papacy for government, ignoring the rump state at Constantinople, which had only disrespect for Gregory, calling him a fool for his pacifist dealings with the Lombards. The office of urban prefect went without candidates. From the time of Gregory the Great to the rise of Italian nationalism the papacy was most influential presence in Italy.”

This denouncement of Gregory by the official powers brings up another point which is the word ‘devil’. Matthew 4 says that Jesus was tempted by the devil, and devil means ‘slanderous, accusing falsely’. When one descends from abstract thought to set up a system of absolute truth, one will receive slander from the experts. Similarly, Pope Gregory was slandered by the experts because he came up with real, concrete solutions instead of making grandiose pronouncements or imposing order by military force.

The Third Temptation of Jesus 4:8-11

That brings us to the third temptation of Jesus. “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me” (v. 8-9). Notice again that Jesus has succeeded in changing the context by successfully resisting the second temptation. Jesus has succeeded in turning heavenly pronouncements into an earthly kingdom; he has transformed a grandiose central plan into a structure that actually works in the real world. Thus, the devil now tempts Jesus in terms of real world kingdoms by showing him ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’.

There is also a cognitive progression from temple complex to ‘very high mountain’. A temple complex acquires its emotional significance from MMNs of holiness and personal status. A high mountain represents a pragmatic form of general Teacher theory—a high ground from which one can survey the surroundings. Jesus is led to a very high mountain from which it is possible to see all the kingdoms of the cosmos including the glories—or pragmatic expressions—of these kingdoms.

This temptation is traditionally interpreted as Jesus refusing to set up an earthly kingdom, and that is a valid interpretation. However, I suggest that more is involved. The devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the cosmos, which refers to ‘an ordered system, like the universe, creation; the world’. John defines the cosmos in 1 John 2:16 as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of biological life. Thus, one can define cosmos technically as a system of Teacher order based purely in physical reality and physical sensation. The problem is that such a materialistic system is incomplete and temporary. As John points out in verse 17, the cosmos is passing away and its lusts.

One can see two possible responses to this temptation by comparing the Catholic Church with the Eastern Orthodox Church. While the Roman Empire had fallen in the West, the Eastern branch of the Roman Empire was still thriving. Justinian was emperor in the East from 527 to 565. As Wikipedia points out, “Justinian sought to revive the empire’s greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire.” Wikipedia adds that “Justinian definitively established Caesaropapism, believing ‘he had the right and duty of regulating by his laws the minutest details of worship and discipline, and also of dictating the theological opinions to be held in the Church’. According to the entry in Liddell & Scott, the term orthodox first occurs in the Codex Justinianus: ‘We direct that all Catholic churches, throughout the entire world, shall be placed under the control of the orthodox bishops who have embraced the Nicene Creed.’ By the end of the 6th century the Church within the Empire had become firmly tied with the imperial government, while in the west Christianity was mostly subject to the laws and customs of nations that owed no allegiance to the emperor.”

Summarizing, the Church of Constantinople had imperial prestige, but it also paid the price of being governed by the dictates of the Emperor. In contrast, the Church of Rome was stuck in the political backwaters, officially ruled by Constantinople until the eighth century, but in practice forced to take most matters into its own hands. History indicates the long-term impact of these two alternatives. The Byzantine Roman Empire was eventually taken over by Islam, and Islam views the kingdom of God as an earthly kingdom composed of physical territories ruled by physical powers. In contrast, the Catholic Church laid the foundation for the eventual birth of science, a form of thinking that went beyond the earthly kingdoms of the day. (Similarly, the challenge today is to go beyond the materialistic limitations of science.)

The distinction between these two responses can be seen more clearly in the answer of Jesus. “Go, Satan, for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only’” (v.10). The devil asks Jesus to fall down and worship him. Jesus adds two additional elements in his response. First, he uses the term Satan, which means adversary. This is the only time that the word Satan is used in the first 11 chapters of Matthew. If truth if backed up some MMN of personal authority, then there will inevitably be an adversarial relationship. For instance, if the Bible is a holy book, then the Quran cannot be a holy book, and vice versa. In contrast, Teacher thought wants a general theory to apply to all situations, including both ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Second, Jesus adds the additional component of serving God. Serve means ‘to render technical, acceptable service because specifically qualified’. Mercy thought focuses upon the goal, but is not naturally concerned about the path taken to reach this goal. Teacher thought, in contrast, thinks in terms of paths and sequences. Thus, when one is guided by Teacher thought, then it becomes important to do things in the right way. Going further, when Teacher theories are based in a rational understanding, then it becomes very important to render technical, acceptable service.

In verse 11, there is finally a breakthrough: “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.” The word leave actually means ‘to send away, release’. And administer means ‘to serve’ and is the English source of the word ‘deacon’. Looking at this cognitively, I mentioned earlier that the existing experts will tend to belittle those who stoop to the level of revealed truth, humble themselves to come up with practical solutions, and refuse to play the political game. Those are all aspects of the slander of the devil.

If angels are ‘deaconing’, then this means that the abstract angelic message in Teacher thought has become combined with practical actions in Server thought. This combination can be seen in the motto of the Benedictine order, which is ora et labora, or pray and work. The first Benedictine monastery was founded in 529 AD, and the original Benedictine monks fled to Rome in 580 when the monastery of Monte Cassino was sacked by the Lombards. The Benedictine rule eventually became the standard form of monastic life throughout Western Europe.

Jesus Settles in Capernaum 4:12-17

A transition then occurs involving John the Baptist. “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali” (v.12-13). The word taken into custody combines ‘from close beside’ with ‘give’ and is the verb that is used to describe Jesus being betrayed.

If John the Baptist has been betrayed, then this means that revealed truth has been co-opted in some manner. And this is what happened with Justinian I and caesaropapism. There already was a close relationship between church and state in the Byzantine Empire. According to Wikipedia, “Caesaropapism’s chief example is the authority that the Byzantine Emperors had over the Church of Constantinople and Eastern Christianity from the 330 consecration of Constantinople through the tenth century. The Byzantine Emperor would typically protect the Eastern Church and manage its administration by presiding over Ecumenical Councils, appointing Patriarchs and setting territorial boundaries for their jurisdiction. The Emperor exercised strong control over the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and the Patriarch of Constantinople could not hold office if he did not have the Emperor’s approval.” Going further, the Byzantine Emperor also appointed the Roman popes from 537-752. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. Justinian I conquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna.”

When the Emperor, the living person with the greatest Mercy status, uses his personal status to control the expression of absolute truth through official force, then this is a case of revealed truth being betrayed.

Verse 13 says that Jesus responded by leaving Nazareth and settled in Capernaum. We saw earlier that the name Nazareth means ‘separated, crowned, sanctified’. Capernaum means ‘village of consolation’. The verb leaving means ‘leave behind, desert, abandon, forsake’. And settled means to ‘settle down as a permanent resident’. This area is described as ‘by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali’. By the sea implies a closeness to the Mercy experiences of life. Zebulun means ‘to dwell’, while Naphtali means ‘tortuous and twisted’.

Putting this all together, Jesus will stop being associated with the high and the mighty and take up residence in a village of consolation with the those who live a tortuous and twisted existence close by the waters of raw Mercy experience. This describes the Dark Ages in Western Europe after the fall of Rome.

Wikipedia describes the relationship between the ‘betrayal of John the Baptist’ and the start of the Dark Ages. “In 6th-century Christianity, Roman Emperor Justinian launched a military campaign in Constantinople to reclaim the western provinces from the Germans, starting with North Africa and proceeding to Italy. Though he was temporarily successful in recapturing much of the western Mediterranean he destroyed the urban centers and permanently ruined the economies in much of the West. Rome and other cities were abandoned. In the coming centuries the Western Church, as virtually the only surviving Roman institution in the West, became the only remaining link to Greek culture and civilization.”

And this darkness is explicitly mentioned in the next three verses: “this was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people who are sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned’” (v.14-16). The phrase ‘by the way of the sea’ is literally ‘road of the sea’, implying that people are following a way of life that is immersed within the sea of Mercy experiences. That definitely describes the Dark Ages where people eked out an existence in direct contact with the harsh world. And they are described as a ‘people who are sitting in darkness’, which explains why these are referred to as the Dark Ages. People during that time were seldom far from death. In the words of Matthew, they were ‘sitting in the land and shadow of death’. The reference to prophecy implies that these dark ages should not be regarded as a failure but rather as an essential stage in the implementation of the preordained divine plan.

However, these very people ‘saw a great light’, and ‘upon them a light dawned’. The word dawned means to ‘rise up after completing a necessary process’. Saying this another way, people are now starting to live under revealed truth. Looking at this more carefully, setting up a system of revealed truth is different than living under revealed truth. A person who lives under revealed truth feels deeply that the source of truth is utterly different and more special than personal identity. Those who lived in the Dark Ages were surrounded by the relics of bygone glory. They heard of the continuing glory of the distant Byzantine Empire. Meanwhile, they were living in filth on the edge of death. Most of them could not even read. But in their midst was a Catholic Church with a relatively educated clergy, which had preserved in written form the writings of the apostles, the church fathers, and the ancient Greek scholars.

The word see is the standard word used in Matthew which means to ‘see, often with metaphorical meaning: to see with the mind’. And great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. We will be interpreting this as a reference to Teacher generality rather than Mercy importance. In other words, people living in the Dark Ages could no longer visibly see the Teacher generality of Roman civilization. But they could start to gain an internal sight of the Teacher generality of the invisible kingdom of God.

Verse 17 says that “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” Preach means ‘to announce a message publicly and with conviction’. Repent means ‘to change one’s mind or purpose’. This phrase ‘repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ is precisely the same in Greek as the message that John the Baptist was proclaiming in 3:2. Thus, one sees that Jesus has been successfully baptized by John, because Jesus is now preaching the message that was preached by John the Baptist. But there is a major difference. John was preaching his message on the edge of a thriving, existing civilization, and many of his followers were a brood of vipers. There was proclamation, but not salvation. Jesus is preaching this same message to a different crowd and getting a receptive audience. As we shall see in the next verses, he gains disciples and he heals disease and sickness. In other words, the change in environment has transformed the proclamation of John the Baptist into a message of salvation. And the name Jesus means salvation. Applying this to the Dark Ages, the Western church gained a receptive audience throughout the tribes of Western Europe because it was a light in a dark age.

Wikipedia describes the light of the Christian monasteries. “Benedict of Nursia is the most influential of Western monks… In 530, he wrote his Rule of St Benedict as a practical guide for monastic community life. Its message spread to monasteries throughout Europe. Monasteries became major conduits of civilization, preserving craft and artistic skills while maintaining intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria and libraries. They functioned as agricultural, economic and production centers as well as a focus for spiritual life.”

And Pope Gregory I played a major role in the preaching the kingdom of God to the barbarian invaders. “During this period the Visigoths and Lombards moved away from Arianism for Catholicism. Pope Gregory I played a notable role in these conversions and dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structures and administration which then launched renewed missionary efforts.”

And this can legitimately be described as a ‘great’ light because Christianity spread beyond the borders of the previous Roman Empire. Quoting from Wikipedia, “As the political boundaries of the Western Roman Empire diminished and then collapsed, Christianity spread beyond the old borders of the empire and into lands that had never been Romanised. The Lombards adopted Catholicism as they entered Italy… Although Ireland had never been part of the Roman Empire, Christianity had come there and developed, largely independently from Celtic Christianity.”

The first Disciples are Chosen 4:18-22

The next section describes Jesus choosing his disciples. Jesus begins by calling three fishermen: “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (v.18-20).

This is the first time that this version of the verb walk is used in Matthew. (It is also used to describe Jesus walking on water in chapter 14.) It means to ‘walk around in a complete circuit’ and refers to how ‘I conduct my life’. This idea of a circuit is also conveyed by the word Galilee, which means ‘cylinder, rod, circuit’. This circuit is by the sea, implying that society is going through various cycles involving the sea of Mercy experiences. This describes life in the Dark Ages, during which life had its ups and downs, but was always close to the sea of raw Mercy experiences.

This is the only occurrence of this word net in the New Testament, and also the only time that the word fishermen is used in Matthew (and the only use of the phrase ‘fishers of men’ in Matthew). A fish represents a person used to living immersed within the water of Mercy experiences. (In a similar manner, a bird would represent a person used to living within the air Teacher theory.) This again implies a society filled with people who are used to living in direct contact with the Mercy experiences of nature. For instance, when the Europeans first settled North America, they did not know how to survive—they were not ‘fish’. Instead, they had to turn to the natives for expertise. The colony of Jamestown provides an illustration of Europeans who did not know how to live in the wilderness.

Simon Peter and Andrew are fishermen. Simon means ‘listen or hearing’, Peter means ‘stone or boulder’, and Andrew means ‘manly’. This combination implies verbal truth being shared in a manly fashion. This means using verbal truth in a manly fashion to assist the natives—and I am using the word ‘native’ in a technical matter to describe people who know how to live in nature. Jesus says that he will make them fishers of men. One thinks, for instance, of some of the early Jesuit missionaries in the new world, especially in New France. A fisher of men implies that one is going beyond treating a ‘fish’ as a ‘fish’ to changing the mindset of being a ‘fish’. I know that this brings up a number of politically incorrect implications, which I will address by quoting from Wikipedia. “In a simplification, the 19th-century Protestant historian Francis Parkman wrote: ‘Spanish civilization crushed the Indian; English civilization scorned and neglected him; French civilization embraced and cherished him.’” I have a series of school booklets on Canadian history from Ryerson Press printed in the 1930s. They make it clear that Europeans needed native expertise to survive. But they also show that the native way of life was eventually displaced by Western civilization. And they also make it clear that there were both moral and immoral Europeans and moral and immoral natives.

The early medieval church practiced a similar form of missionary activity. Ireland was one source of missionaries, flowing out of the earlier work of St. Patrick. Wikipedia explains that “Patrick had been captured into slavery in Ireland and, following his escape and later consecration as bishop, he returned to the isle that had enslaved him so that he could bring them the Gospel. Soon, Irish missionaries such as Columba and Columbanus spread this Christianity, with its distinctively Irish features, to Scotland and the Continent.” There was a similar outreach to the Anglo-Saxons: “Although they experienced Christian influence from the surrounding peoples, they were converted by the mission of St. Augustine sent by Pope Gregory the Great. The majority of the remaining British population converted from Christianity back to their Pagan roots. Contrary to popular belief, the conversion of Anglo-Saxons to Christianity was incredibly slow.” The Christianization of the Anglo-Saxons portrays the idea of cycles by a sea of paganism. Thus, I am using the term ‘Christianization’ in a fairly loose sense to describe the initial contact of a tribal group with Christianity.

One can also see such cycles by the sea in the Christianization of the German people: “The Germanic peoples underwent gradual Christianization in the course of the Early Middle Ages, resulting in a unique form of Christianity known as Germanic Christianity… In the polytheistic Germanic tradition it was even possible to worship Jesus next to the native gods like Wodan and Thor.” Similarly, “The Frankish Church grew out of the Church in Gaul in the Merovingian period, which was given a particularly Germanic development in a number of ‘Frankish synods’ throughout the 6th and 7th centuries, and with the Carolingian Renaissance, the Frankish Church became a substantial influence of the medieval Western Church. In the 7th century, the territory of the Frankish realm was (re-)Christianized with the help of Irish and Scottish missionaries.” (It had been partially Christianized before. Thus, this was both a Christianizing and a re-Christianizing.)

Looking at this in more detail, ‘Simon Peter’ implies the sharing of verbal truth, while ‘Andrew’ suggests doing so in a manly manner. This means that words are being used to introduce facts, but nothing is being mentioned about the concrete world of experiences. This summarizes the method of Christianization that was practiced by Pope Gregory I, known as Interpretatio Christiana. Wikipedia describes “a letter from Pope Gregory I to Mellitus, arguing that conversions were easier if people were allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditions while changing the object of their veneration to God.” Wikipedia explains that “In the context of art, interpretatio christiana amounted to renaming (e.g., by added or changed inscription) or un-naming objects, as well as Christian allegorization of them. For example, a Roman cup or vase would be consecrated and used as a chalice in church. A notable example of the latter is the Cup of the Ptolemies. Un-naming could include deliberate omission of traditional pagan interpretations of the imagery in descriptions of artifacts, leading to their oblivion, whether intentionally or by ignorance.” Notice how new verbal facts are being added to existing objects and experiences. As for the adjective ‘manly’, this missionary activity occurred within a brutal society in which male strength and male insensitivity was required to survive.

Continuing with Matthew 4, Simon Peter and Andrew are followed in verse 21 by two more fishermen. “Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.” The first phrase is more literally ‘and having gone forward from that place, he saw others of a similar kind’. This implies that some progress has been made. James comes from the Hebrew name Jacob and means ‘heel, hind part’. This implies something new following on the heels of the initial Christianization. Zebedee means ‘Yah has bestowed’, and John means ‘the Lord has been gracious’. Finally, mending means to ‘adjust to be in good working order’.

Putting this together, missionaries are becoming viewed as being ‘bestowed by God’ and people are realizing that this has led to positive results—‘the Lord has been gracious’. The missionaries are being given the new role of helping to adjust the system to ‘be in good working order’.

This happened in Gaul in the 6th century as the Christian bishops helped smooth the transition of power from the defeated Romans to the Franks. In the words of Wikipedia, “The transition from one regime to another was eased by the bishops of Gaul. The bishops had frequently played a role as intermediaries with the Roman authorities. It was long believed that they had been invested with special powers and the official title of defensores civitatum (defenders of the states). While this title was never officially borne by them, the popular error was only formal and superficial. Bishops like Sidonius Apollinaris, Avitus, Germanus of Auxerre, Caesarius of Arles, upheld the social fabric. The bishops were guardians of the classical traditions of Latin literature and Roman culture, and long before the appearance of monasticism had been the mainstay of learning.” Notice the transition from guardians of written truth to facilitators of the political system. Notice also that this assistance is occurring at the very basic level of ‘mending the nets used to gather fish’. Tribal leaders are invading and attempting to gather ‘fish’ into their nets. The church is helping to mend these nets.

This ‘mending of nets’ can be seen more clearly in the following quote: “After the waning of Caesarius’s influence and the establishment of Merovingian rule, the focus of the soon-to-be Frankish Church shifted north, to deal with the growing problem of adjusting to ‘deeply embedded Germanic practices’; rather than Pelagianism or Predestinatarianism, bishops now had to deal with problems involving ‘marriage, the relations between a warrior aristocracy and clergy, or monks and nuns, the conflicts born of royal influence and control, or of property rights.’” Caesarius died in 542. Notice how the focus has shifted from esoteric doctrine to ‘deeply embedded Germanic practices’ and how the church is attempting to smooth over the relationship between the various ‘big fish’ of the emerging society.

Jesus Teaches and Heals 4:23-25

This then broadens into a general ministry throughout Galilee: “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people” (v.23). The word ‘preaching’ was used in verse 17. The verb teaching, which means to ‘cause to learn’, is now used for the first time in the book of Matthew. Synagogue is also used for the first time in Matthew. This combination implies that the church is setting up official schools of learning.

These early church schools are known as cathedral schools. Wikipedia explains that “These early schools, with a focus on an apprenticeship in religious learning under a scholarly bishop, have been identified in other parts of Spain and in about twenty towns in Gaul (France) during the sixth and seventh centuries. During and after the mission of St Augustine to England, cathedral schools were established as the new dioceses were themselves created (Canterbury 597, Rochester 604, York 627 for example). This group of schools forms the oldest schools continuously operating.”

The familiar word preaching is used in the next phrase, but what is being proclaimed is subtly different. Previously, John the Baptist and Jesus were proclaiming ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’. What is being proclaimed now is the ‘good news of the kingdom’. On the one hand, this indicates that a kingdom has arrived. But on the other hand, this new kingdom is not a kingdom of heaven. Instead, human government is re-forming; the Dark Ages are being replaced by earthly kingdoms. This re-forming of government can be seen in the Merovingian dynasty, which eventually ruled over what is now France and Germany. Wikipedia describes the growth of the Merovingians: “The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as ‘Kings of the Franks’ in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the breaking up of the empire of Theoderic the Great.”

Similarly, Wikipedia mentions that “By 660, the political map of Lowland Britain had developed with smaller territories coalescing into kingdoms, and from this time larger kingdoms started dominating the smaller kingdoms. The development of kingdoms, with a particular king being recognised as an overlord, developed out of an early loose structure that, Higham believes, is linked back to the original feodus.”

Moving on, disease means a ‘chronic persisting disease’, while pain is ‘a disease or condition that weakens the victim’. If healing is happening ‘among the people’, then this suggests that the average person is finally experiencing benefits. In the words of Wikipedia, “Due to a complex set of reasons, conditions in Western Europe began to improve after 700. In that year, the two major powers in Western Europe were the Franks in Gaul and the Lombards in Italy. The Lombards had been thoroughly Romanized, and their kingdom was stable and well developed. The Franks, in contrast, were barely any different from their barbarian Germanic ancestors. Their kingdom was weak and divided. Impossible to guess at the time, but by the end of the century, the Lombardic kingdom would be extinct, while the Frankish kingdom would have nearly reassembled the Western Roman Empire.” Notice how conditions are starting to improve because Western society has coalesced into kingdoms. Notice also the cycles of ‘Galilee’ with kingdoms rising and falling.

Helping the sick and providing food for the hungry also became a major component of Christian monastic life. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “Geoffrey Blainey likened the Catholic Church in its activities during the Middle Ages to an early version of a welfare state: ‘It conducted hospitals for the old and orphanages for the young; hospices for the sick of all ages; places for the lepers; and hostels or inns where pilgrims could buy a cheap bed and meal’. It supplied food to the population during famine and distributed food to the poor. This welfare system the church funded through collecting taxes on a large scale and possessing large farmlands and estates.” Notice the focus upon helping the physical needs of the average person. More specifically, “The Benedictine order was noted for setting up hospitals and infirmaries in their monasteries, growing medical herbs and becoming the chief medical care givers of their districts.” The rule of St. Benedict was written in 516.

The end of chapter 4 describes a universalizing of this medical care. “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.” This is the only use of the name Syria in the book of Matthew. The meaning of this name is uncertain, but it probably has its roots in the ancient kingdom of Assyria. I am not sure how to interpret this, but one can definitely say that Jesus is no longer walking by the sea of Mercy experiences.

This expanded ministry can be seen in the various terms of the phrase ‘they brought to him all who were ill, suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics’. Looking closer at this list of terms, ill means ‘inwardly foul, rotten’. Disease was seen in the previous verse, and means ‘a chronic persistent disease’. Pain is used once in Matthew and refers to ‘a dark stone used in testing metals, hence examination by torture’. Suffering means ‘to be seized (by illness)’. Demoniac means ‘to be possessed by a demon’. Looking at this cognitively, one can interpret demon possession as being driven by the mental network of a bad habit, because the spiritual world appears to interact with the physical world by empowering mental networks. The word epileptic is found twice in the New Testament and literally means ‘moonstruck, acting like a lunatic’. A sun represents the TMN of a general theory. A moon is the implicit worldview that results from the reflected light of some external system. To be moonstruck would symbolize fixating emotionally upon the visible structure of society. Finally, a paralytic is ‘afflicted with paralysis’.

This collection of terms is typically interpreted as a vague description of Jesus helping people in some sort of spiritual and/or miraculous manner. But it accurately describes the sort of mental fixations that new kingdoms emerging out of the fallen Roman Empire would have to deal with. There would be many ills—rotten MMNs caused by the misery and suffering imposed by barbaric invasions. Without civilization, problems would become chronic and persistent. This repeated suffering would test people’s character to see what they were made of. Much of behavior would no longer be conscious. Instead, people would become mentally seized by the moment, driven by various triggered mental networks. These undesirable mental networks would include many bad habits acquired from living in the Dark Ages. In addition, people would be ‘moonstruck’—emotionally fixated upon the remaining relics of the recently fallen Roman Empire. And there would be a general malaise of helplessness, with people feeling that there was nothing that could be done to alleviate the misery. The emerging kingdoms would provide a positive alternative.

Verse 25 summarizes that “Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan.” Decapolis refers to a group of ten Greco-Roman cities in the region. Jerusalem, in contrast, was the center of Jewish religion. I am not certain what these specific terms represent, but one of these is Roman or the other is Jewish. Stated symbolically, one is secular, while the other is religious, and these two are working together to create a new society. Similarly, Wikipedia relates that “The interaction between the culture of the newcomers, their war band loyalties, the remnants of classical culture, and Christian influences, produced a new model for society, based in part on feudal obligations.”

Sermon on the Mount 5:1-2

The next three chapters are referred to as the Sermon on the Mount and have played a fundamental role in defining Christianity. This foundational role can also be seen in the reference to a mountain: “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, his disciples came to him” (v.1). The term ‘mountain’ was first seen in 4:8 where the devil took Jesus up onto a high mountain. A mountain represents a pragmatic form of Teacher theory, and a functioning system of government is a form of pragmatic Teacher theory. This is also the first reference to disciples in the book of Matthew. In the previous chapter, Jesus called his first disciples. Here, the disciples are coming to Jesus on the mountain.

The Sermon on the Mount presents a radically new form of morality. Over the centuries these chapters have been interpreted as standards that should be followed, standards that are too high to follow, standards that only clergy and monks can follow, or standards that will be followed in some future kingdom of God. What is common to all these interpretations is that the Sermon on the Mount describes the ideals of Christianity.

We looked earlier at the concept of Romanitas, the cultural standard expected of a citizen in the Roman Empire. Western civilization has followed a different ideal. I say ‘followed’ in the past tense, because this ideal is now starting to fade. This ideal has seldom been applied in practice, but it still defines the standard to which people in Western civilization look up to.

The timing of this standard is significant. The early medieval church has the emotional status of being the guardian of the mighty fallen Roman Empire. This church has not been in power long enough to become corrupted. And there is sufficient societal order for people to be capable of learning from the church.

The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes. These may be viewed by many as hopelessly idealistic, but they do describe in large measure how the church behaved in the opening stages of the Middle Ages. I am not suggesting that the Sermon on the Mount only applies to the Middle Ages. As usual, Jesus is describing cognitive principles that apply universally. However, I suggest that the average person in the early Middle Ages would have resonated with this message.

The Sermon on the Mount appears to be a parenthesis in the historical progression. Therefore, we will pause our look at Western history and resume in chapter 8 after the Sermon on the Mount is finished. In essence, the Sermon on the Mount appears to provide a summary of the cognitive principles that are going to be taught over the course of Western history. This does not mean that the Sermon on the Mount has nothing to do with Western history. Instead, it makes most sense as a path of cognitive development that is geared towards a civilization that is starting from a foundation of absolute truth, which summarizes the state of the emerging Western civilization at the end of Matthew 4.

Because the Sermon on the Mount is an overview of the general plan for Western society, the first part will make sense within the context of Western medieval thought, and we will be referring to Western medieval society when discussing this first section. However, as we make our way through the Sermon on the Mount, we will see new forms of thinking emerge. By the end of the Sermon on the Mount, we will find that what is being discussed resonates more closely with current society.

The Beatitudes 5:3-12

The word beatitude is derived from the Latin translation of ‘blessed’. The next eight verses each start with the word blessed. It means ‘blessed, happy, to be envied’ and comes from a root that means to ‘become long, large’. Thus, ‘blessed’ relates primarily to Teacher emotion. One is not necessarily experiencing good Mercy emotions. Instead, one is experiencing Teacher generality in the sense that one’s world is opening up by ‘becoming long and large’. A person who is eking out a living on the edge of survival occupies a very small world, both physically and mentally. For such an individual, there are very few options. Physical travel itself becomes essentially impossible when the next valley is controlled by another warlord. The reestablishment of kingdoms and schools would start to open up people’s worlds.

Verse 3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The word poor means ‘to crouch or cower like a beggar’. John the Baptist and Jesus have both preached that the kingdom of heaven is near, but what showed up at the end of chapter 4 was a kingdom, without any mention of heaven. This earthly kingdom has started to alleviate some of the worst elements of physical poverty. But it has not addressed the spiritual property. Saying this another way, people have started to move up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. A person with physical needs cannot think about spiritual issues. But once the physical needs are being met, then the spiritual needs will become apparent.

Looking at this from one more perspective, I mentioned earlier that losing something good can lead to the formation of Platonic forms if one uses Teacher thought to think about what has been lost. The monasteries and cathedrals set up schools that are using Teacher thought to think about what is been lost in the fall of the Roman Empire. If one focuses upon restoring the visible, then one will become a member of the kingdom. But if one focuses upon the Platonic forms behind the visible, then one will encounter the heavenly kingdom of Teacher thought. The student in a monastery may feel boxed in behind physical walls. But he will discover a wide world of abstract thought.

Verse 4 says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” The word mourn is only used twice in the book of Matthew and means to ‘grieve over a death. What has died is the Roman Empire. But it still lives on in people’s minds in the form of mental networks. If one is to move on to the future, then one must stop clinging emotionally to the past and allow the mental networks to fall apart.

I suggested that the Palestinian refugees provide an example of what it means not to ‘grieve over a death’. About 700,000 Palestinians that were living in present-day Israel fled their homes in 1948. No Arab country except Jordan has given full citizenship to these Palestinian refugees or their descendants. Instead, most of these Palestinians and their children continue to live in ‘refugee camps’, clinging physically to the keys from their old houses, and holding mentally to a right of return. I will not attempt to analyze the causes of this Palestinian exodus. Instead, I will merely point out that clinging to the past imprisons one both physically and mentally within a rather small world.

Paradoxically, one’s world opens up when one is willing to die to the past. Notice that the second beatitude follows the first. Being poor in spirit focuses upon internal need, while letting go of the past makes it possible to move into the internal. A similar principle applies whenever a person experiences suffering. One can learn from suffering if one focuses upon the internal rather than the physical and if one does not cling to the past with an attitude of bitterness.

The word comforted means to ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’ and the noun form is used to describe the Holy Spirit in John 14-16. The first beatitude focused on spiritual need. The second beatitude results in spiritual comfort. That is because one can think about painful MMNs in one of two ways. Bitterness comes up with Teacher theories that reinforce the MMNs of personal pain. Mourning, in contrast, allows Teacher thought to come up with Teacher theories that explain the personal pain, and this Teacher understanding will result in Platonic forms of the Spirit that bring emotional comfort.

Verse 5 continues: “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” The word gentle is sometimes translated as meek, but it actually means ‘strength in gentleness’. This combination becomes possible when there is both Teacher understanding and Mercy gentleness. One understands in Teacher thought what must be done to resolve the situation, but one also feels in Mercy thought the personal pain that is involved in applying the solution. The word inherit means ‘to assign inheritance by lot-casting’, and in ancient times inheritance was often done by casting lots. The word earth refers to ‘the physical earth’. The first two Beatitudes started by focusing upon the unseen rather than the physical. Attention now returns to the physical.

Putting this together, those who acquire a combination of Teacher understanding and Mercy gentleness will naturally be called upon to play a role in restoring earthly kingdoms. This is not always the case, but it definitely will apply when a country or region is trying to bootstrap itself out of poverty. However, one’s role in earthly kingdoms will be different than the typical ruler. On the one hand, one will not have to fight for position, because one will be given a position based upon one’s expertise. That is the positive side of getting an inheritance. On the other hand, one will not be able to choose exactly where and how one rules, because one will be playing the role of an advisor to those who are in charge. This uncertainty about specific applications will help to reinforce Platonic forms. Using an analogy, bitterness says ‘I lost my Mars chocolate bar. I want my Mars chocolate bar back’. Inheritance says ‘My chocolate bar is gone. Somebody will give me another dessert.’ Again, one sees the concept of wideness. The person who fixates upon regaining his lost Mars bar has a very narrow focus, while the individual who looks forward to having some sort of dessert can be satisfied in many different ways.

Verse 6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Hunger represents a need for intellectual food. Thirst represents a need for concrete experience. Righteousness refers to Server actions that are guided by a Teacher understanding. When one returns from theory to practice and continues to be driven by both Teacher hunger and Mercy thirst, then one will want to apply theory by acting in a way that reflects understanding. Using the language of Matthew, one will hunger and thirst for righteousness.

This does not happen automatically. Instead, one must first acquire an understanding in Teacher thought and then extend this understanding to concrete life while continuing to be motivated by Teacher understanding. Saying this another way, one must inherit the earth and not grab onto it. The word satisfied means ‘to feed, fatten, fill, satisfy’. Satisfaction comes from completing a job. When one completes a job in a righteous manner, then one becomes fully satisfied emotionally. In other words, the simultaneous Teacher hunger and Mercy thirst will be satisfied by simultaneous Teacher and Mercy satisfaction. Notice again the concept of wideness, because one is expanding in both Teacher and Mercy thought.

Verse 7 continues, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” The word merciful means ‘full of pity, merciful, compassionate’. This describes Mercy emotions. Righteousness is guided primarily by Teacher emotion. This means that one can choose what kind of Mercy emotions one will add to Teacher feelings of righteousness. One can focus upon the personal inadequacies of the people that one is assisting: ‘I am helping you righteously, but you are childish and ignorant’. Or one can focus upon the positive Mercy benefits: ‘I am so happy that we are having good results’. The first option will lead to strong feelings of guilt in those who are being helped, and they will naturally attempt to get rid of this guilt by blaming the person who helped them in such an arrogant manner. The second option will cause those who are being helped to feel grateful, and they will naturally attempt to express this gratefulness by being kind to the person who helped them.

As before, one can see the broadening and expanding. The person who gets blamed by others will find his world shrinking as he has to avoid those were attempting to blame him. In contrast, a person’s world opens up when other people are grateful.

In verse 8, the attention turns from Earth to God: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Pure means ‘pure because unmixed’. The heart refers to ‘the affective center of our being’, or in cognitive language, personal identity in Mercy thought. Thus, ‘pure in heart’ would mean that all the MMNs of personal identity are functioning in a consistent manner. One is not being pulled to and fro internally by conflicting desires. A concept of God emerges when a sufficiently general Teacher theory applies to personal identity in Mercy thought. A general theory is a simple explanation that explains many specific situations. A heart that is pure is capable of being described by a simple theory in Teacher thought. A person who achieves this level of purity will see God wherever they go.

This is totally different than becoming personally united with God in some mystical fashion, because one can only achieve such mystical unity by turning one’s back upon physical reality. Instead, verse 8 describes a mind that lives within reality and responds to each specific situation in a consistent manner that reflects the same universal concept of God.

Verse 9 externalizes the internal concept of God: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The adjective peacemaker is only found once in the New Testament (and once as a verb), and combines ‘make or do’ with ‘peace’. The word peace means ‘wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together’. Notice how internal purity of heart is leading to the making of external wholeness. But verse 9 implies that this is a choice. One has to choose to apply the wholeness of internal purity to the external world.

The end result is a verbal label from other people. One will ‘be called sons of God’. This does not necessarily mean that one will be loved and appreciated by others. Instead, others will recognize that one is being guided by a concept of God in Teacher thought. Again, one sees a widening, because one is now being personally associated with a general concept of God rather than merely with specific Mercy experiences.

Verse 10 expands upon this adverse response. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The word persecute means to ‘aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch’. It usually has negative connotations, but can also have a positive spin. The persecution is ‘for the sake of righteousness’. When a person is called a son of God, then this publicly recognizes that the behavior of that person is being guided by a concept of God in Teacher thought. This will cause a polarizing response. Those who are trying to run away from a concept of God in Teacher thought will respond by aggressively chasing the people who remind them of a concept of God. But those who are trying to follow a concept of God in Teacher thought will also respond with aggressive chasing—in a positive sense.

The benefit uses precisely the same phrase that was used with the first beatitude in verse 3: ‘For theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. When one is being aggressively chased or aggressively pursued, then one is forced to move from one Mercy situation to another, which will end up expanding one’s concept of God in Teacher thought. For instance, most of the books that I have analyzed were suggested to me by other people. Some people suggested books in order to get rid of me. Others have suggested books in order to help me to gain a deeper understanding. In both cases, the end result has been to expand the theory of mental symmetry. Thus, I have been blessed.

The final beatitude in verse 11 sounds quite intimidating: “Blessed are you when [people] insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Insult means ‘to upbraid, reviled, like in showing one’s teeth’. And persecute is the same word is used in verse 10. Thus, one is definitely dealing with the negative version of being aggressively chased.

The word evil ‘emphasizes the inevitable agonies and misery that always go with evil’. This is the first time that this word is used in Matthew, and it will be used nine times in the Sermon on the Mount. Falsely means ‘lie, falsify, willfully misrepresent’. This is the first time in the Beatitudes that Jesus refers to himself: People are saying all kinds of evil about his disciples and lying on account of him. In other words, the real problem is that people do not want to come face-to-face with incarnation. Thus, they are blaming their agonies and miseries upon the messengers of righteousness.

The name Jesus means salvation. Salvation implies taking a person from where they are and leading them to someplace better. In order to be saved, I have to recognize that my current location is inadequate. In other words, I have to admit that I am presently in a condition of (relative or absolute) agony and injury. I can respond to this realization one of two ways: First, I can verbally attack the person who made me aware of my inadequacy. This is like blaming the warning light on my car for pointing out that something is wrong with my car. This is lying, because the warning light did not create the problem, but rather made me aware of a problem that already existed. Second, I can respond to the warning light by fixing the car.

The person who is following the first option of blaming will not experience any benefits. But it is possible for the person who is being blamed to experience benefits if they respond in the right manner.

This correct response is described in verse 12: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Rejoice in Greek has the same xar- root as grace and describes Teacher emotion. Saying this more clearly, there are several related Greek words that all start with the same Greek root xar-, and it appears that these words all refer to different aspects of Teacher emotion. (Click the previous link for more information.) The wise men in chapter 2 rejoiced when they saw the star. Be glad is used once in Matthew and means ‘getting so glad one jumps in celebration’. If air is related to Teacher thought, then jumping for joy represents expressing Teacher thought in a manner that temporarily leaves the ground of human emotions. One does this for Teacher reasons: ‘Your reward in heaven is great’. Reward means ‘recompense that appropriately compensates a particular decision’.

Looking at this cognitively, we have seen that the general context is one of absolute truth; Perceiver facts are being believed because of the emotional strength of their source in Mercy thought. A mind that is based in absolute truth naturally associates the heaven of Teacher thought with an attitude of religious self-denial. Such a mind does not think in terms of reward, especially when considering heaven. The person in verse 12 has managed to escape the mindset of absolute truth with its associated self-denial.

This is not an easy transition to make. For instance, I grew up in a Mennonite home and my parents inculcated within me a reverence for God and the Bible. I have gradually managed to escape this mindset of being bound by religious duty as others have falsely rejected my research and I have responded by focusing upon Teacher emotions. On the one hand, the unjust behavior of others has made it obvious to me what is true and what is not true. On the other hand, I have realized that acquiring truth has a cost, and I have paid this cost. Saying this another way, absolute truth is actually a form of intellectual theft, because one is asserting Perceiver facts without having gained the necessary Perceiver confidence required to ‘own’ this information. The person in verse 11 pays the price to make the truth his own. This needs clarifying. That is because the emphasis in today’s society is upon becoming professionally certified. ‘Making truth my own’ is not the same as professional certification. Instead, it means that I have gone beyond ‘who is right’ to ‘what is right’. Instead of believing that some principle is true because it comes from a respected source, I believe that it is true because I have learned that this principle describes how things work.

This comparison can be seen in the phrase ‘for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you’. In the same way means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Such similarities become mentally apparent when Perceiver thought and Server thought gain sufficient confidence to start functioning. ‘The prophets’ refer to the sources of ‘truth’ in Mercy thought, such as the apostles who wrote the books of the Bible, or the Greek experts who wrote the classics. Absolute truth views the prophets as special and different than normal people. The mindset described in verse 12, in contrast, views the sources of truth as similar: I am persecuted; they were persecuted. They paid a price to become sources of truth. I have paid a price to make this truth my own. This leads to great mental freedom, because one can finally escape the confining mindset of religious self-denial.

I should emphasize that one cannot just jump into this final beatitude. Instead, it applies to a person who has gone through the previous stages and has become a legitimate expert. The underlying problem is that one is dealing with two incompatible sets of mental networks. Am I an expert because I have knowledge, skills, and expertise, or because people are calling me an expert? The first option uses Perceiver and Server thought to evaluate facts about me and actions that I can perform. The second option is based in MMNs of approval. When one is studying absolute truth, then one is functioning within an environment ultimately based in MMNs of approval. The only way to become free of this is by applying one’s expertise without getting approval—one acts as an expert, one receives disapproval, one uses rational thought to evaluate the disapproval, and one concludes that the disapproval is unwarranted. This self-questioning by the expert is known as imposter syndrome.

I do not know how many people followed this path in the early Middle Ages. We will see in this essay that various groups explicitly attempted to follow the Sermon on the Mount. And there are also stories of people following this kind of path who are now regarded by the Catholic Church as saints. Looking at this more generally, I also know that there are other ways of becoming mentally whole. If one has a general understanding in Teacher thought, then one can be driven by rational Teacher understanding to reach mental wholeness. The Beatitudes describe a path of reaching mental wholeness when understanding is incomplete and one is attempting to follow absolute truth in an environment of inadequate Mercy experiences.

For instance, suppose I want to learn how to build a bridge. Today, it is possible to study civil engineering and learn about the theory of building bridges. However, just studying about building bridges is not enough. Instead, I must then take this theoretical knowledge and ‘make it my own’ by applying these principles in real life. That describes the path to maturity that one can follow in an environment of Teacher understanding. However, suppose that civil engineering does not exist. (And in the Middle Ages, it did not exist.) Then, I will have to learn how to build bridges in a more experiential manner, which will include letting go of preconceptions, learning from failed attempts, and realizing that arrogance or personal status must not be confused with expertise. The Beatitudes describe this second sort of path in which one is emerging from a Dark Ages of ignorance.

Salt and Light 5:13-20

The next section implies that many will not follow the path of the Beatitudes.

Jesus talks first about salt: “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men” (v.13). Salt is a preservative and a seasoning. The word tasteless actually means ‘to be foolish’ and is the source of the English word ‘moron’.

The general context is one of absolute truth. Scholars are attempting to preserve the knowledge of a previous era—they are acting as a salt to protect knowledge from decay. This knowledge is being preserved in books which are believed to have been written by experts, and this written knowledge is now being applied to reality. The problem with absolute truth is that it uses Mercy status to evaluate Perceiver facts. Using an analogy, it evaluates a letter by looking at the name on the envelope. But there is no way of knowing whether the content of the letter itself is garbage. Using the analogy of salt, what happens when the salt becomes moronic? What happens when those who are trying to preserve the knowledge of the past are incapable of evaluating what is appropriate to preserve? The final phrase is more literally ‘with what will it be salted?’ In other words, how can one use a mechanism of absolute truth to error-check absolute truth if the absolute truth itself has become stupid?

The only solution is for someone to become a genuine expert who is capable of opening the letters, reading the contents, evaluating the contents, and realizing when they are garbage. This type of expert just emerged as a result of the final beatitude.

Using the example of learning how to build a bridge, civil engineering with its theoretical understanding did not exist, but what did exist was many examples of bridges built during Roman times, as well as books written by Romans describing at a practical level how to build bridges. Thus, the challenge was to comprehend what had been done and written about bridges in the past. That illustrates what it means to go beyond absolute truth.

Continuing with verse 13, good actually means ‘to be strong, have power’. ‘Thrown out’ is more literally thrown outside. And trampled underfoot is a good translation. This trampling is done by men, which refers to mankind. Looking at this cognitively, what does one do with bad research? One rejects it and one learns from it. The supposed experts have to be rejected—they have to be thrown out. However, if walking represents making personal progress, then it is possible to make progress by walking on the rejected research, asking questions such as: Why is this research inadequate? What lessons can one learn? How can one avoid repeating this error?

Verse 14 then moves from salt to light: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Light represents Teacher understanding. The word light was first used in 4:16 to talk about a great light dawning upon those who were living in darkness. And the word ‘world’ is cosmos, which means ‘an ordered system like the universe’. This word was first used in 4:8, where the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the cosmos. These words suggest that a group of real experts has emerged who are capable of bringing light to earthly kingdoms. People in darkness are not just seeing the light. Instead, people are acting as a light to worldly systems.

Moving on, a city describes an organized group of people living in a structured environment with specializations. This tells us that communities are starting to re-form out of the Dark Ages. The city is on a hill. Literally speaking, most cities were built on hills for protective purposes. But a city on a hill also represents an organized community as an illustration of pragmatic Teacher understanding. People are not just being moonstruck by the bygone grandeur of Roman ruins. Instead, they are gaining the understanding that is required to build their own cities. Such a city does not have the power to be concealed. In other words, organized communities will act as examples that lead to the development of more organized communities.

Verse 15 talks about light in a more personal matter: “Nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” A lamp is ‘a portable lamp’. These personal lamps are being lit. A basket is ‘a dry measure of nearly two English gallons’. Measuring is an expression of technical thought. A personal lamp implies individual Teacher understanding. Putting this together symbolically, one does not just develop Teacher understanding and then place it within some technical container. Instead, it is placed on a lamp stand, so that ‘it gives light to all who are in the house’. The house is a home for personal identity. In other words, technical knowledge that is guided by Teacher understanding should be applied by people to improve their personal lives. These statements may seem obvious, but a society is not always open to improvements.

Looking at this from the side of the scholars, they have been trying to protect truth from being destroyed by the invading barbarians. This has meant retreating to monasteries that are walled off from the world and placing personal understanding within technical containers that are hidden from the average person. It is now time to open up because the average person wants to learn. Notice that one cannot start with verse 14. Instead, one first needs to learn how to evaluate revealed truth before one should start sharing it with others. Otherwise people will try to apply the revealed truth, discover that it is ‘moronic salt’, and turn on the experts.

Verse 16 specifically instructs to open up: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Letting light shine tells us that there is now some Teacher understanding. But this shining needs to be done in a manner that is internally motivated. On the human side, people are seeing ‘good works’. Good means ‘good that inspires others to embrace what is lovely’, while a work ‘is a deed that carries out an inner desire’. Stated cognitively, this means being internally motivated to generate Mercy results that others find attractive. On the divine side, people should see that the internal desire that is motivating behavior is a concept of God the Father in Teacher thought. Applying this to a society that is trying to emerge from the Dark Ages, helping people is not enough. Instead, one needs to help people in a way that illustrates internal motivation and leads to Teacher understanding. This means teaching a person to fish rather than just giving him fish, and also giving him an understanding of fishing as well as an internal motivation for fishing.

Verse 13 talked about the lack of error-checking that is inherent in absolute truth. Verses 14-16 addressed the tendency to protect absolute truth from coming into contact with reality. Absolute truth can only survive reality if it is an accurate description of reality.

Verses 17-19 discuss the decline of absolute truth. Remember that the mind will only continue to believe absolute truth as long as significant Mercy status is assigned to the source of truth. Thus, studying absolute truth will naturally cause it to be doubted, because studying raises my emotional status relative to the emotional status of my source of truth. Eventually, I will consider myself to be an expert and will no longer regard the original experts as special.

Verse 17 describes the attitude that one should take: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” This is the first use of the word think in Matthew. It comes from the word ‘law’ and means ‘to assume a prevailing custom, law, practice’. This is also the first use of abolish in Matthew, which means to ‘loosen thoroughly’. This term is appropriate because of the way that Perceiver thought functions with a holy book. Some source of truth with Mercy status is believed to have revealed Perceiver truth to people. This revelation is then treated as absolute truth within Perceiver thought. Other facts are then evaluated by the way that they connect with absolute truth. When the mind is governed by absolute truth, it is not possible immediately to attack the Mercy status of the source of truth. Any person who attempts to do so will be accused of blasphemy. Instead, the first step in attacking absolute truth is to loosen the connections between various facts.

This is followed by an explicit reference to the law, as well as the prophets. Putting this together, the scholars are using their own expertise to come up with a new system of law that explains away the old system of law and the revealed books. One can see this kind of thinking illustrated by historical criticism, which claimed to study ancient texts such as the Bible in a rigorous manner, but ended up pulling the text to pieces and minimizing the role of a holy book. Stated simply, the scholars should not act like teenagers who look to their peers while ignoring what they learned from their parents.

Jesus did not come to ‘loosen thoroughly’ but rather to ‘fill to individual capacity’. In other words, each person is being taught at their individual level of capacity. Little children have to be given simple facts, tribal minds need holy books, teenagers can learn to use critical thinking. Saying this more simply, what is changing is not the text, but rather the scholar. A parent does not automatically turn into an idiot when a child becomes a teenager. The parent has not changed. Instead, it is the child who is becoming capable of understanding at a higher level.

Verse 18 generalizes: “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Smallest letter is ‘iota’, which is the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet. A stroke is ‘an apostrophe on letters of the alphabet, distinguishing them from other like-letters’. Mental symmetry suggests that there are two forms of technical thought: concrete technical thought is based in cause-and-effect, while abstract technical thought is based in precise definitions that differentiate one concept from another. ‘Smallest letter’ and ‘stroke’ refer to the foundations of abstract technical thought.

Jesus is saying that abstract technical thinking based in the holy book of the Bible is actually more solid than abstract technical thinking based in physical reality. This may sound like a nonsensical statement made by the typical blind fundamentalist Christian. But the term law refers to ‘any system of religious thinking (theology)’. In other words, specific scriptural phrases taken out of context are not solid, but Scripture taken as an integrated unit is solid. Science approaches nature in a similar manner, treating the integrated system of natural law as a solid foundation for pulling apart physical reality.

Saying this more clearly, when I suggest that abstract technical thinking based in the Bible is the most solid, I do not mean that the God of the Bible will overturn science and technology. On the contrary, I suggest that the Bible is the most solid because it describes how to become the kind of person or society that is capable of discovering and practicing science and technology. Looking at this more personally, I spend a lot of time analyzing the Bible. But my goal is not to run away from science and technology, and I do not view spirituality as a refuge from modern technology. Instead, I am attracted to the Bible because it discusses core cognitive issues at a more intelligent and integrated level than other books.

This will be the case ‘until all is accomplished’. The word accomplished literally means ‘to come into being’. Using modern science is a partial analogy: one should not start questioning and critiquing textbooks when one learns how to think for oneself. Instead, one should hold on to the textbooks in a technical rigorous manner in order to break through to technology that makes it possible to change reality. My analysis of New Testament books strongly suggests that the same principle applies to the holy book of the Bible. And applying this to Western history, the scientific revolution with its resulting technology did come to birth in Western Christendom.

Verse 19 addresses the attitude of higher criticism: “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” The word annuls means ‘to loose, to release, dissolve’. What is being loosened is ‘the very least, smallest’ of the commandments. The result of doing this is to be called smallest in the kingdom of heaven. Looking at personal experience, I have found that the cognitive meaning of Scripture becomes clear when one looks at the details of the meanings of the words of the original Greek text. This cognitive meaning becomes blurred when one ‘loosens the least’ of the Biblical text by paraphrasing—or even translating—the text into English. Applying this principle to scientific thought, the inadequacies of an existing paradigm usually become apparent when one looks at the details and they don’t quite match. Kuhn pointed this out in his book on paradigm shifts. Thus, a person who ignores the details will end up least in the realm of Teacher thought.

Speaking of details, the NASB accurately points out that the word ‘keeps’ is actually ‘does’ in the original Greek. There is a different Greek word keep which means ‘to watch over, to guard’. Thus, verse 19 is saying that what matters is adding Server actions to the Teacher words. Speaking again from personal experience, I realized early in my research that I would only succeed in understanding the mind if I personally applied the knowledge that I acquired regardless of the cost. Saying this another way, adding Server actions to Teacher words helps to clarify one’s thinking, making it possible to progress further. Such a person will end up with greater Teacher understanding and will be ‘called great in the kingdom of heaven’.

Verse 20 emphasizes that the focus is upon righteousness—combining Teacher words with Server actions. “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses [that] of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The word surpasses means to ‘go beyond the expected measure’. This is combined in the Greek with an adjective that means ‘greater in quantity’. The NASB adds the word ‘that’ for grammatical reasons, but this also conveys the impression that the focus is upon the righteousness itself. Instead, the focus is upon the kind of righteousness: ‘of the scribes and Pharisees’.

The word scribe comes from the verb ‘to write’. The word Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’ and comes from a word which means ‘to divide and separate’. The previous verse focused upon looking at the details of the text and applying the text in action. A scribe focuses upon the details of the text but then applies this by writing down the words. The end result is an abstract system of thought that becomes divorced from reality, as illustrated by most philosophy. A Pharisee applies the details of the text, but focuses upon being different than other people in Mercy thought. Thus, the bottom line is not adding Server actions to Teacher understanding, but rather emphasizing Mercy divisions between my holiness and the un-holiness of others. True righteousness goes beyond the scribe by applying the written text in the real world, and beyond the Pharisee by applying the text even when others are not looking.

The goal is to ‘enter the kingdom of heaven’. In other words, the holy book, textbook, or preserved Greek or Roman text is not the kingdom of heaven. Studying these books is not enough. Instead, one must study a book in a righteous manner that makes it possible to enter the kingdom that the book is describing. For instance, I have often been frustrated by the fact that most people ignore and/or reject the theory of mental symmetry. What keeps me going is the idea that my ultimate goal is not to spread the theory of mental symmetry. Instead, my ultimate goal is to enter the ‘kingdom of heaven’ by personally applying the message of mental symmetry. And as I continue to apply the principles of mental symmetry, I am also gaining a clearer understanding of what it means to ‘enter the kingdom of heaven’.

Murder 5:21-26

Jesus then focuses upon three of the Ten Commandments: number six, do not murder; number seven, do not commit adultery; and number nine, do not bear false witness. If one understands the nature of absolute truth as well as the historical context, then one can come up with a possible explanation of why Jesus would talk about these three commandments. The Ten Commandments can be viewed as a cognitive sequence, with each commandment laying the foundation for the next one. The first five commandments create the internal mindset that is required to adequately follow the last five commandments.

Jesus ignores the first five commandments because people living in the early Middle Ages would implicitly know these first five commandments. (The middle of Matthew 5 can still be interpreted within the context of the absolute truth of the early Middle Ages. The end of Matthew 5 will describe a shift beyond absolute truth to universal truth and Teacher understanding.) The numbering of these commandments varies slightly, so I will refer to first, next, and fifth. The first commandment says that there is a single God who brought the people out of Egypt. Similarly, Europe is being brought out of the Dark Ages by teaching from books that have been preserved from the integrated Teacher system of the Roman Empire. The next commandment says that the one God is above all other gods. Similarly, early medieval Europe knows that the integrated Teacher system from the Roman Empire rules above all other tribal gods and cultural systems. The next commandment forbids the making of idols. The early Middle Ages cannot idolize the Roman Empire because that Empire is now in ruins, and it cannot idolize anything that it produces because it is nothing compared to the ruined Roman Empire. The next commandment says literally that the name of God should not be made empty. (This is slightly different than a prohibition against swearing.) The early Middle Ages are implicitly following this commandment by preserving and valuing the written texts of the Roman Empire. The next commandment talks about keeping the Sabbath day holy. During the Sabbath, one is not supposed to do any work, making it possible to focus fully upon God. A system of absolute truth will naturally follow the Sabbath by regularly turning one’s back upon personal reality in order to focus fully upon the source of truth. In fact, a system of absolute truth will often treat this commandment as the one that should really be kept Resting on the Sabbath may also have psychological and physiological benefits, but we are focusing here upon the cognitive implications. Finally, the fifth commandment says that one should honor one’s father and mother. The word honor does not mean to obey, but rather to regard as ‘heavy, weighty’. The early Middle Ages were doing this by giving emotional weight to the writings of the Roman Empire (both Christian and ‘pagan’).

Moving on, a system of absolute truth cannot apply the commandment of ‘do not steal’ because emotional ‘truth’ is, by its very nature, a system of intellectual theft. Absolute truth ultimately uses emotional status to force facts upon Perceiver thought without paying the necessary price that is required to own these facts. Instead of saying ‘This fact is true because I have tested this fact and found that it really is solid’, absolute truth says ‘This fact is true because Rev. Dr. Smith says that it is true’. (Remember that absolute truth is a transitional form of knowledge that starts from a foundation of emotional ‘truth’.)

Finally, a system of absolute truth is incapable of limiting coveting. Coveting happens when Exhorter thought within my mind is not satisfied with focusing upon ‘me and what is mine’ and chooses to focus instead upon what has the greatest emotions within my mind. In order to stop coveting, Perceiver thought must gain sufficient confidence to distinguish between ‘me and mine’ and ‘you and yours’. In contrast, emotional ‘truth’ uses the potent emotions of religious ‘they and theirs’ to overwhelm Perceiver thought. Saying this more simply, a mindset that is based upon worship is incapable of limiting coveting. One can see this in the modern consumer society with its worship of celebrities and its coveting of consumer products.

Having looked at the big picture, let us now turn to the details.

Jesus starts by looking at murder. “You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.” The ancients are usually interpreted as a reference to the original commandment in the Torah. But one could also interpret this cognitively as the kind of response that will naturally emerge within a system of absolute truth such as the early Middle Ages.

The word murder means to ‘commit intentional unjustified homicide’. Liable means ‘held in, bound by’. The word court actually means ‘a verdict’ and comes from the verb ‘to separate, distinguish, judge’. In other words, the technical thinking of the law will start to apply when there is an act of murder. Looking at this cognitively, a mindset of absolute truth cannot eliminate the emotional motivation that drives murder. That is because one is being emotionally driven to suppress MMNs of personal identity in order to focus upon the emotional source of truth: ‘I am nothing compared to God. I need to worship God.’ Suppressing MMNs of personal desire leaves them intact, waiting to be triggered by people and events. And how does one respond when undesired personal networks are triggered? One suppresses them, and when one continues to suppress personal MMNs, then one is committing cognitive murder. And cognitive murder can lead to physical murder.

As many have pointed out, Jesus internalizes this law. First, he focuses upon anger: “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable before the court” (v.22). The word anger describes ‘a fixed anger’ which is an expression of Teacher thought. (There is another Greek word which describes sudden outbursts of Mercy emotion.) The phrase ‘liable to the court’ is the same in Greek as in the previous verse. In other words, there is a physical legal system and there is also a cognitive legal system based upon the structure of the mind. If one takes Mercy emotions regarding people and generalizes them into Teacher theories, then this will warp technical thought, because one will lose the ability to think clearly. For instance, this happens with bitterness, because one is thinking about personal hurt and coming up with general theories based upon one’s personal hurt. Such a response is a natural byproduct of absolute truth, which assumes that Perceiver facts and Teacher theories are ultimately based in Mercy feelings of personal authority.

The next phrase goes further: “Whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be liable before the supreme court” (v. 22). The Teacher theories are now being expressed in words. The word good-for-nothing literally means ‘empty’. And the supreme court refers to the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish court. What is happening is that people are being censored; everything that some person says is being rejected as empty. This also is a byproduct of absolute truth, because Mercy thought applies emotional labels of good and bad to memories of people. Therefore, if some source of truth becomes labeled as bad, then a mindset of absolute truth will instinctively conclude that every fact that comes from this person is wrong. Going further, absolute truth will feel that a person who lacks emotional status is incapable of speaking either truth or falsehood. Anything he says will be treated as empty. This will affect the body of knowledge as a whole, because anything that is stated by existing experts will be regarded as worthy of analysis, while anything from outside the official group of experts will be disregarded as empty.

Finally, Jesus adds that “whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be liable to the Gehenna of fire’” (v.22). (I should remind the reader that I am always using the literal meanings and often use the alternative meanings when quoting from the NASB.) The word fool is the source of the English word ‘moron’. Gehenna originally referred to a valley outside Jerusalem, where dead bodies and refuse were continually burned. The term fire explicitly focuses upon this burning.

Looking at this cognitively, one is building one’s mind upon MMNs of evil people. This is like the terrorist who builds his life upon attacking the evil regime. A terrorist cannot win; he must have a regime to fight. That is because his core mental networks are composed of hatred towards the regime. If the terrorist ever did win, he would lose his reason for existence. Thus, he is emotionally locked into a mindset of burning dead bodies. For the terrorist, this includes both mental networks of evil people that are being continually attacked and physical people that must be continually brutalized. For the average person, this would include primarily mental networks of evil people. A similar principle applies to communist regimes that are built upon revolution, because their existence depends upon continually stoking the fires of revolution against a long-defeated foe.

This may seem like a strange interpretation, but it fits with the next verse: “Therefore if you are presenting your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you” (v.23). An altar refers to ‘the meeting place between God and the true worshiper’. Applying this to a context of absolute truth, the believer in truth will naturally be driven by emotions of self-denial to give things to God. Verse 23 does not say that one should do this if one has done something wrong to someone else, but rather raises the situation of someone else having something against me.

Presumably, the law already prohibits doing something wrong to someone else. This is dealing with something more subtle. The word remember means to ‘actively remember—not offhandedly or merely incidentally’. If I actively remember that my brother has something against me, then I am thinking in an adversarial manner. I am consciously adopting a mindset of ‘us versus them’. This will automatically cause Teacher thought to become the servant of MMNs of culture and identity.

Verse 24 describes the solution: “Leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your gift.” Verse 24 does not stop the act of religious self-denial, because these will inevitably accompany an attitude of absolute truth. The word leave means ‘to send away, leave alone’. Go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’. Looking at this cognitively, one leaves the act of self-denial intact, but one disconnects it from personal identity in order to submit personally to a higher authority. Instead of saying ‘I am denying myself’ with the focus upon me, my MMNs, and my act of self-denial, I am saying ‘this is an act of self-denial to God’, focusing upon the fact that this act represents submission to a concept of God in Teacher thought.

This word reconciled is only found once in the New Testament, and combines ‘thoroughly’ with ‘experience change’. The normal word reconciled combines ‘down to an exact point’ with ‘experience change’. Thus, the focus is not upon working out all the details, because they probably cannot be worked out. Instead, the emphasis is upon experiencing a fundamental emotional shift—a thorough change rather than a precise change. The goal is to ensure that one is guided by Teacher emotions of submission to God rather than Mercy emotions of personal conflict. Once that emotional context has been established, then one can ‘come and present your gift’.

Verse 25 continues, “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”

The first phrase does not say ‘make friends’. Instead, the word friends is found once in the New Testament and combines ‘well’ with ‘mind’. (Notice how the meaning of the passage becomes clear when one looks at the original Greek text.) However, ‘opponent at law’ is an accurate translation. One is supposed to quickly ‘be good mind’ with one’s opponent at law. Thus, the focus is not upon becoming pals with one’s enemy, but rather upon maintaining a good mindset when dealing with technical adversaries. In other words, the real battle is not winning the argument with my adversary but rather developing a healthy mind. This principle is always true but it applies especially to an environment of absolute truth, because the focus will naturally be upon winning arguments rather than upon developing a healthy mind. One can see this illustrated by American evangelical support of Donald Trump, because winning an argument against liberals has become the bottom line, even if this means supporting a leader who does not have a healthy mind.

Verse 25 adds that this should be done ‘while you are with him on the way’. The word way means ‘way, road, journey, path’. This could be interpreted as being on the way to the courthouse, but the focus of this phrase is not upon the destination that is being reached, but rather upon the fact that one is walking a common pathway with one’s adversary. That is because when I am arguing with someone else, I am implicitly agreeing with them regarding methodology. We are both agreeing that it is appropriate to settle disputes by having arguments. This will create a Server pathway—or road—of settling disputes in an adversarial manner. One needs to ‘be good mind’ quickly before Server routines are established within the mind that end up warping Teacher thought. I should emphasize that being of a good mind does not mean ignoring the facts or pretending that everything is fine. Instead, it means placing the facts and any associated feelings within a larger context of Teacher understanding.

An adversarial mindset will turn into a mental prison: “so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.” This describes a sequence of opponent to judge to officer to prison. Deliver means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’, and this word is also used to describe the betrayal of Jesus by Judas. The opponent is the ‘adversary in a lawsuit’ mentioned earlier. The word judge means ‘to pick out by separating’. An officer literally means ‘an under-rower… a subordinate executing official orders’. And a prison means ‘a guarding, guard’, with the focus being upon people doing the guarding.

Putting this together, this sequence starts as technical arguments of one side versus another. This turns into abstract technical thought that focuses upon carefully distinguishing one concept from another. This morphs into following officially regulated procedures. And the end result is to become mentally imprisoned within a system that is policed by guards. This accurately describes what typically happens in the development of some technical specialization. It starts with rigorous arguments. This turns into an emphasis upon technical thought. This is then followed by the establishment of official methodology. And the specialization is then policed by technical experts who ensure that only the qualified are permitted to participate. Notice that none of these transitions are the result of deliberate choices. Instead, each is a form of betrayal, in which one is driven by personal emotions to move from one step to the next.

Verse 26 warns, “Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.” ‘Coming out of there’ would refer to escaping from a mental prison of technical specialization. Paid up means ‘to return, especially as a payment’. And a cent refers to the smallest Roman copper coin. In other words, technical thought deals with the details. Thus, if one wishes to escape a mental prison of technical thought, then one must deal with all the details.

Adultery 5:27-32

The next section deals with the commandment against adultery. Jesus quotes the original version: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’” (v.27). The word commit adultery means ‘a man having sex with a married woman’. One could get sidetracked arguing about Greek and Roman attitudes of male chauvinism. We looked earlier at the Roman ideal of Romanitas. This was a deeply male chauvinist attitude, and the average Roman woman rarely ventured out of the house unless chauffeured by some male relative. However, I have found that scriptural references to men and women make sense when one interprets them from a cognitive perspective as referring to male and female thought. In brief, male thought emphasizes technical thinking with its Perceiver facts and Server skills, while female thought emphasizes emotions and mental networks, including both MMNs of identity and culture and TMNs of integrated understanding. Thus, adultery can be defined cognitively as connecting male technical thought in an intimate manner with some unrelated set of mental networks. Physical adultery uses mental networks created by physical bodies to lock in a situation of cognitive adultery. Thus, cognitive adultery may be more fundamental than physical adultery, but physical adultery is much harder to recover from.

For instance, suppose that some scientific researcher works for the military. The male technical thinking of scientific research is being connected with mental networks of domination and destruction. That is an example of mental adultery. A similar statement could be made of the entertainment industry, because the male technical thinking of telecommunications is being connected with mental networks of escapism, fantasy, and worship.

Jesus internalizes the rule against adultery in verse 28: “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This is the first use of the verb look in Matthew, and it will be used five times in the Sermon on the Mount. It means ‘to see something physical, with spiritual results’. In other words, one is not just seeing something physical, but going beyond what one sees to the underlying mental networks. With actually means ‘motion towards to interface with’. Thus, one’s looking is heading in a certain direction. This direction is ‘lust for her’. Lust adds the prefix ‘focused upon’ to the word ‘passionate desire’. In other words, Jesus is not talking about feeling normal desires. Instead, he is talking about focusing upon these normal desires. And ‘her’ is explicitly added. Thus, the lust goes beyond an appreciation for beauty to a focused desire for a specific person.

Jesus then says that such a person has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Heart refers to personal identity in Mercy thought. Notice that Jesus does not say anything about what the woman is wearing or mention what the man is seeing. Instead, he focuses upon the direction that male thought is heading. Merely seeing a woman and being attracted to her is not ‘committing adultery in one’s heart’. Instead, the mental adultery results when male thought chooses to focus upon this attraction and desires to possess the person who embodies this attraction. And this kind of mental adultery can be practiced by both men and women.

Jesus does not address the problem by telling the woman to wear more conservative clothing. That is because a man can have lustful thoughts even when women are draped head to toe in shapeless black fabric. Instead, Jesus addresses how the mind is interpreting sensory perception.

Verse 29 warns, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body be lost, not your whole body to be thrown into Gehenna.” (It may seem like I am misquoting the NASB, but I am using three literal meanings from the footnotes.) Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to use one’s right eye, but rather addresses the right eye causing a person to stumble. Stumble means ‘to put a snare in the way’, and tear out means to ‘remove completely’. And better means to ‘combine in a way that brings a profit’. This is a strange term given the context, because Jesus is saying that one should get rid of a certain part of the body so that the rest of the body works together better. Normally, lacking a part prevents the rest of the body from working together.

I have found that biblical references to left and right parts of the body make neurological sense. Thus, the right eye would refer to left hemisphere visual analysis, which means using Server thought to analyze what one is seeing. Server thought thinks in terms of paths. Teacher thought appreciates order-within-complexity. A random path has complexity but not order. A straight path has order but no complexity. A set of curved paths contains both order and complexity. Thus, when left hemisphere thought analyzes a visual scene, it will be attracted to the visual paths of smooth curves and smooth movement. This interpretation fits the context, because the male eye finds the female form attractive largely because of all the smooth curves and the graceful movement.

Jesus’ words make sense if one places them within the context of a society, such as the early Middle Ages, which has absolute truth but does not have scientific understanding. I mentioned earlier that absolute truth will lead to Platonic forms, but these will be disconnected from reality, because they are based in words that have no connection with reality. Notice the progression: Some emotional source is imposing absolute truth upon Perceiver thought. Teacher thought is then thinking about these Perceiver truths. This is leading indirectly to Platonic forms of heavenly perfection within Mercy thought. A beautiful woman triggers the same mental circuit. She expresses MMNs of personal emotions. These emotions are packaged within the Perceiver object of a physical body. This Perceiver object is then modified by Teacher thought, resulting in smooth curves and graceful action, resulting in a Platonic form of female beauty.

Verse 29 does not say that female beauty is bad. Instead, it warns that it can be a ‘snare in the way’. What is the way and why is it a snare? The way is the path from absolute truth to rational understanding, from studying the words of holy books to behaving righteously, from Scholasticism to science. The snare is to focus upon beautiful objects rather than study how things behave. Looking at this more generally, one of the major breakthroughs of the Scientific Revolution was to stop thinking in terms of static objects and to start observing behavior.

This explains why it is ‘better’ to completely remove a Server focus upon physical objects at this point in time. If one refuses to focus upon the Server curves of physical objects, then one may break through to scientific thought. The option is for ‘your whole body to be thrown into Gehenna’. In other words, the stumbling block will feel whole, but it will end in the ‘Gehenna’ of burning dead bodies.

I suggest that this explains why priests have problems with sexual temptation. Priests are no more evil or hypocritical than the average person. Instead, they are caught in a mental dilemma. Studying the holy book leads to Platonic forms of heavenly perfection. Objects of beauty express these Platonic forms. A mindset of absolute truth naturally leads to feelings of worship. But personal self-denial demands that this desire to worship an object of beauty must not be satisfied. Thus, the Platonic forms of perfection continue to burn as they are repeatedly killed inside. This describes Gehenna.

And this principle does not just apply to the female form. It also applies to—cathedrals. Why did the middle ages build massive cathedrals that took hundreds of years to finish? Because they were objects of beauty inspired by the study of holy books. These cathedrals felt complete, but they were stumbling blocks on the road to a scientific breakthrough. Building cathedrals was not a complete dead end, because significant technical expertise was acquired learning how to construct such huge edifices. We will look at this more closely when examining Matthew 8.

Verse 30 extends this principle to physical action: “If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body be lost, not your whole body to go into Gehenna.” The right hand would refer to left-hemisphere detailed manipulation. This describes some sort of technical skill performed in a smooth and flowing manner. The danger here is not to be thrown into Gehenna, but rather to go away into Gehenna. In other words, skilled habitual action can misdirect a person into Gehenna.

Looking at this cognitively, righteousness is Server action that is guided by Teacher understanding. The problem is that any set of actions that are repeated will build Server confidence and lead implicitly to a nonverbal Teacher theory that will emotionally drive these actions to be smooth and flowing. This type of graceful movement naturally accompanies female beauty. It also happens whenever one becomes an expert in some sort of physical skill. These various elements often come together in dancing. There is nothing wrong with professional skill. The problem arises when one acquires a professional skill in the absence of a general Teacher understanding, because the implicit Teacher theories that result from the skill will be treated as a general Teacher understanding. In the words of the proverb, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. More generally, every technical specialization has a natural tendency to try to force all of existence into its specific specialization.

And during the Middle Ages, Christianity did become confused with professional skills and building cathedrals. Quoting from one website, “The building of monumental cathedrals in the middle ages was a reflection of faith and the channel for much of the creative energy of medieval European society. Although cathedral building was driven by religious figures or institutions, it was often a community effort. From the mid-twelfth century, the Church started granting indulgences (forgiveness of sins) to those who would help to build a church or cathedral, and therefore, rather than going on crusades, which had been a popular means of absolving sins in the late eleventh century, people dedicated more effort to the construction of houses of God instead. There was always a faction among the pious that disapproved of excessive spending on the construction and decoration of lavish religious buildings, but these were a minority, and the dominant feeling was one of great enthusiasm, ambition, and a desire to excel in this quest to construct magnificent buildings reflecting God’s glory.”

Even today, these medieval cathedrals are awe-inspiring to visit, but cognitively speaking, they were a stumbling block. And today the stone buildings with their massive spires that used to tower over everything else have become dwarfed by a sea of skyscrapers constructed through the use of science and technology.

Summarizing, fundamentalist Christianity typically includes taboos against displaying female beauty and dancing. There is a cognitive reason for these taboos, because absolute truth makes the mind vulnerable to being sidetracked by beauty and dancing. The problem is not with the beauty and the dancing. Instead, the problem is that absolute truth is an intermediate form of knowledge. The solution is not to impose these taboos upon the rest of society. Instead, the solution is for the fundamentalist Christian to break through to a rational understanding of the character of God expressed through righteousness. A mind that is righteous can enjoy beauty and dancing without being snared.

Verse 31 turns to the next commandment on divorce: “It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’” The word divorce means ‘to set free, release’. A certificate of divorce means ‘a forsaking’ and is used three times in the New Testament where it is translated ‘certificate of divorce’. Wife is specifically mentioned. Physically speaking, men were far more likely to divorce women than the other way around in a brutal society (such as the Roman Empire or the early Middle Ages) in which women needed physical protection to avoid being violated or killed. But this statement also makes sense when interpreted from a cognitive perspective and placed within a context of absolute truth.

We saw in the previous point that the mindset of absolute truth will naturally tend to worship objects of beauty and get sidetracked by skills. I have mentioned several times in this essay that absolute truth will naturally motivate a person to practice religious self-denial. When one practices self-denial, then one is mentally ‘divorcing one’s wife’; one is blocking off the mental networks of personal identity. This kind of ‘divorcing one’s wife’ can be done by both men and women. These two behaviors of ‘divorcing one’s wife’ and ‘lusting after a woman’ will naturally go together, because a mindset of absolute truth will suppress personal MMNs in order to focus in worship upon the MMNs of the source of truth. Verse 31 basically says that absolute truth is defenseless against ‘divorcing one’s wife’. All it can do is try to make it more official rather than just a spontaneous response.

Looking at this historically, the person who abandons his secular life in order to enter a monastery is mentally ‘divorcing his wife’ in order to ‘lust after a woman’. I am not suggesting that this describes everyone who entered a monastery. But the concept of forsaking one’s secular life in order to adopt a lifestyle of worshiping God in a monastery does exemplify a combination of mental divorce and lust. The anchorite provides an extreme example of this mindset. Wikipedia explains that “An anchorite or anchoret is someone who, for religious reasons, withdraws from secular society so as to be able to lead an intensely prayer-oriented, ascetic, or Eucharist-focused life. Whilst anchorites are frequently considered to be a type of religious hermit, unlike hermits they were required to take a vow of stability of place, opting for permanent enclosure in cells often attached to churches... The anchoritic life became widespread during the early and high Middle Ages.”

Verse 32 is typically interpreted as a loophole in the law against divorce. “But I say to you that everyone who sends away his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a sent away woman commits adultery.” (‘Send away’ is given as an optional meaning in the footnotes.) The phrase ‘for the reason of unchastity’ sounds rather Victorian, but is more revealing in the original Greek. ‘The reason of’ is actually logos, which means ‘a word, being the expression of a thought… and is preeminently used of Christ’. Looking at this cognitively, a logos is the Teacher theory behind the technical thinking of incarnation. More specifically, a logos is the paradigm that drives some specialization. Unchastity is the root of the English word pornography, ‘which is derived from pernaō, to sell off’. Cognitively speaking, this describes prostituting one’s soul in order to gain peripheral wealth. This can refer to physical prostitution, or it can describe any situation in which one sells one’s soul to the system in order to get ahead. Putting this together, if one is within a technical system in which one has to sell one’s soul to get ahead, then it is appropriate to ‘send away’ female mental networks. Saying this more simply, divorcing some system that demands one’s soul is better than selling one’s soul to that system.

However, if one sends away normal mental networks, then this ‘makes her commit adultery’. The word commit adultery refers to ‘a man with a married woman’. This is strange, because in this case, it is the woman who is committing the adultery. The final phrase is also strange: “and whoever marries a sent away woman commits adultery” (v.32). I suggest that these two statements make sense if one thinks about joining a monastery guided by a mindset of absolute truth. Absolute truth will be emotionally driven to focus more fully upon God within some religious environment in a manner that denies self. Thus, the average person who enters the monastery will do so with a desire to follow God more purely.

But people (men or women) who leave their previous life behind when entering a monastery are actually performing a form of mental divorce. Therefore, the self-denial for the sake of religious purity will lead to emotional impurity, because one is splitting the mental networks of female thought within one’s mind. Going further, it will tend to be the person with a painful past who is most strongly motivated to leave this past behind in order to focus fully upon God. If enough people join the monastery in this manner, then the monastery will take on the mindset of a divorced woman. Saying this more simply, the average person in the monastery will have skeletons in the closet, and the holiest members of the monastery will tend to have the biggest skeletons. Joining such a monastery will then create mental splits rather than mental integration, because new members will become part of a culture which assumes that everyone has an unwanted past that is now being suppressed.

Looking at this cognitively, when a mental network is not triggered by the environment, then this will give the impression that this mental network is no longer present. But it still remains intact under the surface, waiting to be triggered by the appropriate environment clues. Entering a monastery in order to leave one’s personal past behind and focus upon God will give an appearance of personal holiness, because the new monastic environment will ensure that the mental networks of the past are not triggered. This will lead to the development of a new alternative personal identity, but this does not necessarily mean that the old identity has been redeemed or transformed. Instead, it has been mentally divorced.

Vows 5:33-37

Jesus then turns to the basis for absolute truth. Remember that absolute truth is ultimately based in emotional ‘truth’, which uses potent Mercy emotions to overwhelm Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ what is true. If emotional ‘truth’ is written down in a book and copies of this book are given to many people, then emotional ‘truth’ may eventually turn into absolute truth. In this section, Jesus is questioning the mindset of emotional ‘truth’.

Jesus begins by describing the existing mindset: “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord’” (v.33). As the NASB points out, ‘you’ and ‘your’ are both singular pronouns and not plural. Thus, individuals are making vows which they are either keeping or breaking. The false vows and the vows in this verse are both based in the word erkos which means ‘fence or enclosure’. And fulfill means ‘to return, especially as a payment’. Thus, the focus is upon limiting self rather than transforming self. One is restricting one’s mental networks for a while in order to receive some payment from God. For instance, ‘If you help me get out of this situation, then I promise to attend church every week’.

This describes a kind of intermediate thinking, in which absolute truth applies to some religious realm while people spend most of their time living within a secular realm. Making a vow that ‘fences’ one in implies that one will allow the religious realm to grow at the expense of the secular realm. For instance, instead of performing some secular activity on Sunday, one will promise to devote this time to religious activity. saying this another way, moral rules are not being viewed as universal principles that apply all the time, but rather as fences that one should not cross. One could view this mental split between religious and secular as a loss of religious fervor, or one could view this as an opportunity to move beyond a mindset of emotional ‘truth’.

Jesus uses a different word in verses 34-35: “But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or toward Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.” (This distinction between a vow and an oath is discussed in another essay.) The word oath here is omnuo, which means ‘to invoke powers greater than oneself to uphold the truth of the declaration, by putting a curse upon oneself if it is false’. This describes the cognitive mechanism of emotional ‘truth’ truth, because one is using the Mercy status of some important person or deity to impose ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought. Jesus says that one should not use this form of thinking at all; one should avoid all forms of emotional ‘truth’. Saying this more clearly, a mind that is driven totally by emotional ‘truth’ is not capable of questioning its mindset of emotional ‘truth’ because a mind cannot question its own core mental networks. However, a mind that views morality as fences that limit normal secular behavior is mentally capable of questioning the attitude of emotional ‘truth’, because it has learned to function apart from emotional ‘truth’.

Jesus then gives three examples which actually describe a cognitive progression. Heaven is the realm of Teacher thought. ‘Swearing by heaven’ treats Teacher thought as if it is an important person or object within Mercy thought. Instead, one should recognize that heaven is the throne of God. Teacher thought should be guided by the Teacher mental network of a general understanding rather than based upon MMNs of personal status. It other words, allow Teacher emotions to exist on their own without supporting them by Mercy intensity.

Using a modern example, a sermon should stand on its own merits instead of having to be emotionally supported by Mercy feelings of ‘praise and worship’. Using secular language, advertising should not use superfluous Mercy feelings of personal status to enhance some product. More generally, one should not take meaningless words and give them the feeling of deep meaning by associating them with emotional Mercy experiences. More generally, one should view God as a universal being in Teacher thought and not as a very important person in Mercy thought. This may sound obvious, because Christian theology clearly teaches that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. But studies have shown that the vast majority of people implicitly view God as an important person in Mercy thought.

The next phrase says that one should not swear ‘by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet’. The word earth here refers to physical space and time. A footstool ‘is a footstool used by a conquering king, to place his foot on the neck of the conquered’. The word ‘footstool’ implies that God in Teacher thought rules over human physical existence and not the other way around. This is the opposite of absolute truth, which builds Teacher understanding upon an underlying foundation of Mercy status. The phrase ‘of his feet’ is explicitly added in the Greek. I have suggested that walking represents the movement of personal identity. This means that God performs movement by working within space-time. In other words, if God is to take a step in his cosmic plan, then something must change within the physical realm of human existence. (The relationship between God the Father in Teacher thought and human existence in Mercy thought is discussed in another essay.)

The final example looks at the holy city of Jerusalem: “or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King”. Notice that the secular example comes before the religious one. That is because secular thought and physical existence add the technical details that are required to construct an adequate concept of God in Teacher thought. For instance, these essays usually give examples from secular science and technology rather than religious examples. That is because I have consistently found that science and technology function in a manner that is consistent with the character of God while most religion does not. This does not mean that secular science is enough. That is because science saves the world of space and time, but it does not save people. However, if one wants to learn how God saves people, then one usually needs to turn to science. If one expands a concept of God by going through secular thought, then one will treat the holy city of Jerusalem as a city of the great King and not just as a holy temple with holy people and holy rituals. And the word great in this final example does not mean important, but rather ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. This describes Teacher emotions of generality rather than Mercy feelings of importance.

I suggested earlier that people are living within secular thought and viewing religious thought as a set of moral fences that limit secular behavior. This is related to the idea of taking a detour through secular thought in order to re-evaluate religious thought. Absolute truth provides the initial moral foundation that makes it possible to develop secular existence. Secular existence with its common sense then eventually become viewed as normal life, and absolute truth will be seen as a fence that limits normal life. The common sense and rational understanding that is developed by living within secular existence makes it possible to re-evaluate the mindset of emotional ‘truth’ upon which absolute truth is ultimately based.

Verses 36-37 then turn to physical impossibility. “Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” The word oath here means ‘to invoke powers greater than oneself’. The word by is more literally ‘in the realm of’. Thus, ‘by your head’ means in the realm of thought. Making an oath assumes that one can use Mercy status to change Perceiver facts, but invoking Mercy status will not change the Perceiver facts of the color of one’s hair. This leads to the obvious interpretation that one should not use Mercy status to try to change facts that cannot be changed by Mercy status.

But there is another possible symbolic meaning. I suggested earlier that hair represents intuitive thought. Presumably black hair would represent intuitive thought that leads to painful memories and white hair to pleasant intuitive thought. One cannot use emotional pressure to change whether intuitive thought feels good or bad. Saying this another way, trying harder will not alter one’s instinctive responses.

Instead, instinctive responses will naturally change when Perceiver thought acquires the ability to function independently of Mercy feelings. In other words, ‘let your statement be yes, yes or no, no’. The word statement here is logos, which refers to the emotional paradigm behind a system of technical thought. In other words, build paradigms upon simple factual truth, independent of Mercy feelings. However, it is not enough to say ‘just the facts’. That is because Perceiver facts by themselves are insufficient to withstand emotional pressure, but if facts are placed within a structure of technical thought which is given emotional support by the Teacher emotions of a paradigm, then that combination is sufficient to alter Mercy feelings and overcome MMNs of identity and culture.

Matthew uses two different words for ‘you will’. One word refers to intrinsic evil and means ‘inner malice flowing out of a morally-rotten character’. In contrast, the word evil that is used in this verse means ‘pain-ridden, emphasizing the inevitable agonies that always go with evil.” Whenever the word ‘evil’ comes up, I will point out which of these two Greek words is being used. Similarly, we will also see that there are two different Greek words for ‘good’, with one referring to intrinsic goodness and the other describing what is attractively good. I will also point out which of these two Greek words is being used whenever ‘good’ is mentioned.

Returning to verse 37, ‘anything beyond these is of evil’ means that using Mercy emotions to embellish the facts will naturally lead to pain-ridden agony. That is because natural cause-and-effect is unforgiving and unalterable. Therefore, wishful thinking leads very quickly to physical consequences. But suppose that one builds a system of technical thought upon Perceiver facts that have been embellished by Mercy feelings? One will then be driven by a stable internal mental structure to continue behaving in a way that leads to painful physical consequences. That is why technical thought needs to be built on a mental structure of factual honesty in which ‘yes is yes’ and ‘no is no’.

Justice 5:38-42

The next paragraph deals with justice: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’” (v. 38). We have just seen a form of technical thought emerging which is based in factual simplicity and supported emotionally by Teacher paradigms. One sees this kind of thinking in rational thought, which examines a situation for facts and then attempts to place the facts within a rational structure.

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth ensures that the punishment fits the crime. But the focus is still upon responding to Mercy pain with more Mercy pain. As some unknown individual has pointed out, ‘An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless’.

The next verses describe a way of transcending this form of punitive justice. I should emphasize that this section needs to be placed within the context. Perceiver thought has just acquired the ability to function independently of Mercy emotions—to make simple statements of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ unembroidered by Mercy feelings. This mental context is required if the steps in this section are to be effective.

Verses 39-40 say, “Do not resist an evil [person]; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak also.”

The word resist is used once in Matthew and means to ‘take a complete stand against, a 180 degree, contrary position’. Evil is the familiar word that means ‘pain-ridden’. In other words, do not adopt an adversarial attitude with those who are driven by painful MMNs. If one wishes to transcend MMNs, then one must not think in terms of ‘us versus them’. The word ‘person’ is not in the original Greek, emphasizing that one should not focus upon people. Cheek is only used twice in the New Testament, here and in the parallel passage in Luke 6. It actually means ‘jawbone’. Bones are the solid parts of the physical body which represent Perceiver facts. A jawbone is used to talk and to chew food. The implication is that one is changing the factual context of the conversation. ‘The other to him also’ is more literally ‘and the other of the same kind’. A ‘right cheek’ would represent left hemisphere speech, in which one is focusing upon general principles in Teacher thought and procedures in Server thought. Putting this together, whenever a person uses left hemisphere thinking of legal procedures and bureaucratic processes, one adds a right hemisphere component of facts and personal application. Notice that one can only do this when being hit on the ‘right cheek’. Saying this another way, the goal is to descend from Teacher thought to Mercy thought rather than directly oppose the other person at a Mercy level. Instead of telling the other person that they are evil, one looks at the personal implications of the processes and procedures that they are following. Verse 25 talked about the development of such processes and procedures. Thus, one could interpret this as embarrassing the opponent, but one is doing this in a very specific manner that looks at the personal implications of the Server actions that are being guided by Teacher thought within the mind of the opposing person. Where is their technical thought leading them?

Moving to the next phrase, sue means ‘to pick out or choose by separating’ and this is a legal term. This would mean using technical thought to gain some victory over another person. A tunic is an inner garment while a cloak is the outer garment. Take means to ‘actively lay hold of’, while let means to send away; release’. Clothing represents the ‘fabric’ of social interaction—the mental networks that ‘cover’ people as they interact with one another. An inner garment would cover personal issues, whereas the outer cloak would include more public aspects of social interaction. Suing a person to take their inner garment symbolizes using technical thought to gain a personal advantage over someone else.

One could interpret giving the outer garment as well as a form of religious self-denial, and a person who is applying this principle with a mindset of absolute truth will probably view it as self-denial. However, what is being suggested here is not just self-denial in general rather a specific form of self-denial. Suppose that someone uses technical thought to attack personal MMNs. One should respond by attempting to broaden the dispute in order to include the bigger picture. In other words, one should look at the implications of the personal attack, going beyond the inner garment to the outer cloak. This turns the attack upon ‘me’ into a threat to ‘us’. This is the opposite of the typical response today, which interprets unpleasant social situations as personal attacks upon ‘me’, getting personally offended by social slights. This may seem like an unusual interpretation, but it is consistent with the next section, which explicitly describes God as someone who goes beyond the personal to include the universal. The point is that it is not enough to say that God is a universal being. Instead, one must demonstrate through personal response that God is bigger than my personal feelings—which is totally different than viewing my personal experiences as God.

In addition, freely giving one’s cloak turns obligation into free will. One is being forced by law to give up one’s inner garment. One then chooses to also include the outer cloak. This transforms law from a weapon that is imposed upon people in Mercy thought into a general system under which one chooses to function. Verse 25 talked about being thrown into prison, and we interpreted this as becoming locked within a system of technical thought. Here, those who function within technical thought are attempting to spread their prison mentality to others by using technical thought to control the social fabric of personal interaction. One escapes this prison mentality by choosing to go beyond the specific penalty.

Verse 41 addresses another form of obligation. “Whoever will force you to go one mile, go with him two.” The standard interpretation is that Roman soldiers could force citizens to carry their gear for a mile. One should respond to this forced labor by choosing to go further. This interpretation is backed up by the word force, which is used three times in the New Testament to describe officials compelling citizens to perform some service. The other two cases are in the crucifixion of Jesus where Simon is compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. As before, a mindset of absolute truth will probably view this from a perspective of self-denial: Jesus wants us to show others that we are his followers by denying ourselves in service for them. But going the second mile also transforms obligation into free will. It allows a person to mentally escape the prison of technical obligation.

Verse 42 then turns to monetary interaction: “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.” The word borrow comes from a noun that means ‘a loan’ and is used four times in the Sermon on the Mount. And turn away ‘emphasizes the personal element involved with turning away or rejecting’. Notice that one is not just giving indiscriminately. Instead, one is giving or lending when asked. Also, given the context, this probably is not describing endless giving and lending. That is because the previous three responses have been proportionate. One responds to a slap on the right cheek by offering the other cheek and not the whole body. One gives one’s coat to a person who takes one’s shirt, but not all of one’s possessions. And one goes the extra mile, but does not continue traveling for the entire journey. Instead, I think the focus of this verse is upon one’s attitude. Will one close up and try to protect one’s possessions or will one deal with others in an open manner? In other words, when personal identity comes into contact with technical thought, which will win? Will technical thought imprison personal identity within strict concepts of ownership, or will personal identity manage to remain free and un-imprisoned? Saying this more simply, will things imprison me, or will I become the master of things?

God the Father 5:43-48

The final verses of this chapter compare the thinking of humans within Mercy thought with the thinking of God in Teacher thought. Verses 33-37 freed Teacher thought from emotional bondage to Mercy thought by letting go of swearing. Verses 38-42 then treated technical thought in a manner that let go of Mercy specifics and headed in the direction of Teacher generality. This makes it possible to construct a legitimate concept of God in Teacher thought.

Notice that we saw a similar progression earlier on when looking at vows. Previously, the development of secular thought made it possible to address the underlying problem of emotional ‘truth’. Here, the development of rational Teacher understanding makes it possible to address the underlying problem of ‘us versus them’. Previously, the misuse of absolute truth was a secondary problem resulting from the primary inadequacy, which was the underlying foundation of emotional ‘truth’. Here, the overuse of technical rules is actually a secondary problem flowing out of the real inadequacy, which is the Mercy-basedshe is the tribal thinking of ‘us versus them’.

Verse 43 addresses the tribal thinking of ‘us versus them’: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” This is the first time that the word agape is used in Matthew, and it will be used four times in this section. Agape love ‘centers in moral preference’. It describes the kind of love that God exhibits. The Mercy person talks a lot about love, and love is typically equated with Mercy feelings. But Teacher thought also functions emotionally. The emergence of agape love indicates that Teacher thought is finally starting to function emotionally on its own. It will then become evident that Teacher thought generates feelings in a different way than Mercy thought. God loves, but the love of God is different than human love. One key distinction is that the love of God ‘centers in moral perfection’. In other words, Teacher thought feels good when a general rule applies without exception.

The word neighbor means ‘near, neighboring’, enemy means ‘someone openly hostile’, and hate means ‘to detest on a comparative basis’. Thus, Teacher feelings of universality are being limited by Mercy feelings of personal animosity. This summarizes the juxtaposition present with absolute truth, because it talks about universal feelings of Teacher-based agape love, and then acts as if this Teacher universality does not really apply to those who oppose the MMNs that we respect. One can see this Mercy limitation of Teacher universality illustrated by the Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement. Wikipedia summarizes that “According to Limited Atonement, Christ died for the sins of the elect alone, and no atonement was provided for the reprobate.”

Verse 44 describes how one should think: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” ‘Love’ and ‘enemies’ are the same words used in the previous verse. In other words, Teacher feelings of agape love should not be limited by Mercy feelings of personal animosity. This does not mean ignoring the Mercy animosity. Instead, one should ‘pray for those who persecute you’. Pray means ‘to exchange wishes’. Thus, praying to God means sharing personal Mercy feelings with a concept of God in Teacher thought and sensing in Mercy thought how Teacher thought feels about the situation. Persecute is the familiar word that means to ‘aggressively chase’. Thus, one responds to Mercy animosity by sharing these feelings with Teacher thought.

Verse 45 describes the reason: “so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on [the] evil and [the] good, and sends rain on [the] righteous and [the] unrighteous.” The goal of sharing hostile Mercy feelings with Teacher thought is to behave in a manner that expresses Teacher thought—to ‘be sons of your father who is in heaven’. This is the first mention of the sun in Matthew. The dawning light was described in 4:16 and being the light of the cosmos was mentioned in 5:14, but here, a sun is shining upon all of the society. Cognitively speaking, all of society is being illuminated by the light of a general Teacher theory. The NASB adds ‘the’ in italics, giving the impression that the passage is talking about evil and good people. But verse 45 is talking generically about evil, good, righteous, and unrighteous.

The word rise means to ‘rise up after completing the necessary process’ and was used previously 4:16 to talk about the dawning of a light. In other words, the ‘sun’ of a general Teacher theory does not emerge out of nothing. Instead, it is formed out of pieces that have been constructed through a process. Evil is the standard word that means ‘pain-ridden’, while good is a new word that means ‘intrinsically good’. Previously, good has been described as attractive to people, giving the impression that people in Mercy thought decide what is good. People have learned that evil is not just bad because people call it bad, but rather because it is ‘pain-ridden’. The growth of Teacher understanding will also make it apparent that good has its own reward. It is intrinsically good, and not just good because people regard it as good.

Notice that the same sun is shining the same light of understanding on everyone, but it is not affecting everyone in the same way. Instead, it is shedding light upon personal behavior, making it clear that evil is evil because it is pain-ridden and good is good because it has intrinsic personal benefits. For instance, mental symmetry defines moral goodness as anything which develops the various parts of the mind and causes them to work together, and moral evil as anything which shuts down parts of the mind, or causes mental modules to fight one another. These are intrinsic definitions, because developing—or shutting down—parts of the mind carries its own reward.

Continuing with verse 45, rain is water from the sky, and this is the only mention of rain in the book of Matthew. Water represents Mercy experiences. Thus, rain would represent Mercy experiences that come from Teacher thought. Teacher thought thinks in terms of equations, processes, and sequences. For instance, technological gadgets are an example of rain, because they are objects within Mercy thought that come from the Teacher thinking of science. The rain is falling on both righteous and unrighteous. A righteous person behaves in a manner that is consistent with Teacher thought, while an unrighteous person thinks in a matter that is incompatible with Teacher thought. The end result is that the same rain will have a radically different impact upon these two groups of people. One can see this illustrated by technological gadgets. For the righteous, these gadgets bring joy and satisfaction and function as labor-saving tools. For the unrighteous, the same gadgets bring frustration and annoyance, as well as making life more complicated.

I should clarify that treating gadgets in a righteous manner is related to being technically proficient but is not exactly the same. Technical proficiency may be required to design, build, and repair gadgets, but it is not needed when using gadgets. Instead, the core requirement when using a gadget is the emotional awareness that gadgets obey general Teacher laws and are not governed by personal MMNs. The individual who approaches gadgets in an unrighteous manner will tend to be ‘all thumbs’ and will naturally break gadgets. In contrast, syouomeone who approaches gadgets in a righteous manner may not understand all the technical details, but will intuitively treat gadgets in a way that is consistent with how they function. Going further, the true expert combines these two by using technical thought in a righteous manner.

The general principle is that God seems to treat everyone the same way and the character of a person determines whether this turns into a blessing or curse. My best guess is that this also determines where the soul goes after death. In brief, the disembodied mind will be inexorably attracted to an environment that is compatible with its core mental networks.

Verse 46 looks at love: “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” The word love here is agape. Reward means ‘recompense that appropriately compensates a particular decision’. Thus, one is looking at cause-and-effect. The reward involves mental networks. In brief, a mental network will take ownership of any behavior that it motivates. The default for humans is for behavior to be motivated by MMNs of culture and personal identity. Thus, if one exhibits godly agape love in a manner that is limited by MMNs of culture, then the love is actually being guided by human MMNs and not by the TMN of a concept of God. Instead, the mind will only recognize that godly love is being motivated by God if is driven by the TMN of a concept of God and not by MMNs of human culture. This principle will be mentioned explicitly at the beginning of the next chapter.

A tax collector was someone who ‘gathered public taxes from the Jews for the Romans’. Such a person was collecting peripheral wealth from one ethnic group in order to serve another ethnic group. This describes what is happening mentally when one exhibits agape love that is limited to one’s own cultural group. One is claiming to be motivated by the TMN of a concept of God but actually being driven by MMNs of human culture. And one is focusing upon peripheral behavior while ignoring core motivation.

Verse 47 continues: “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” Greeting is a form of politeness, and politeness is guided by MMNs of social convention. The word gentile means ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture’. Every culture is driven by MMNs of social convention. Because a mental network will generate positive emotion when it encounters behavior that is consistent with its structure, and negative emotion when encounters behavior inconsistent with its structure, MMNs of culture will naturally drive people to greet their brothers while regarding strangers with suspicion. If one wishes to be guided by the TMN of a concept of God, then one must do more, which means ‘beyond what is anticipated’. This means that people who are driven by cultural MMNs will look at you and think, ‘that was strange’.

Verse 48 concludes, “Therefore you shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mercy thought regards perfection as always being connected with good MMNs and never being connected with bad MMNs. But this verse specifically says that one is supposed to be perfect ‘even as’ God the Father is perfect in the heaven of Teacher thought. And how does God function in Teacher thought? This is described by the word perfect (which is found three times in the book of Matthew, two times in this verse). ‘Perfect’ means ‘going through the necessary stages to reach the end-goal’. In other words, Teacher thought thinks in terms of processes, and perfection means going through a process that is ultimately guided by a concept of God in Teacher thought.

We have seen this process described in this chapter. The chapter began by looking at a mindset that was based firmly in absolute truth. By the end of the chapter, this has been transformed into a mindset that is guided by Teacher understanding. Going further, the book of Matthew appears to describe the process by which God the Father has led Western civilization from the time of Christ until now. (My best guess is that we are currently in chapter 24.)

Righteousness 6:1-4

Chapter 6 opens by talking about righteousness, and the first verses of this chapter have been mentioned in previous essays. However, we now see the context. Righteousness means doing Server actions that are guided by the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought. One understands in Teacher thought how God does things, and one is emotionally driven to do things in a similar manner—to ‘be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’. This means that constructing an adequate concept of God in Teacher thought is a prerequisite for behaving in a righteous manner. And the end of the previous chapter talked about the ‘sun’ of a general Teacher understanding rising and shining upon everyone. A person who lacks the sun of a Teacher understanding will not grasp the concept of righteousness.

For instance, I have found that few theologians talk about righteousness in this manner. Instead, righteousness is usually reduced to some legal declaration in which God declares people to be righteous. This is an aspect of righteousness, which is known as justification. But justification needs to be followed by sanctification. However, when theologians talk about sanctification, they typically view this either as the formation of new habits, or else as some extreme form of religious self-denial practiced by exceptionally religious people.

Looking at this more generally, mental symmetry suggests that personal transformation can be subdivided into the three stages of constructing a concept of God, following a concept of God in righteousness, and then becoming personally reborn within the framework that developed as a result of following God in righteousness. One can see these three stages partially illustrated in modern Western civilization: The Scientific Revolution constructed a concept of science in Teacher thought; the Industrial Revolution used scientific understanding to transform Server processes and sequences; and the Consumer Revolution filled normal life with new technological gadgets.

Verse 1 describes the basic principle of becoming righteous: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” Beware means ‘to give full attention’. And the word practice means ‘make, do’. Men is the generic word for mankind. Thus, righteousness is being described as something that one does, and it is possible to do this righteousness in front of people. This means that righteousness is more than just a verbal declaration made by God.

The word noticed means ‘to gaze at a spectacle’, and is the source of the English word ‘theatre’. Reward was seen three verses earlier and means ‘wages, salary’. These wages are coming from ‘your Father who is in heaven’. Notice the contrast. On the one hand, one can do righteousness in order to be a spectacle in front of people; the goal is to get some sort of feeling of astonishment or wonder from MMNs of human existence. But doing this will eliminate any wages from the TMN of a concept of God in Teacher thought. This principle was discussed a few paragraphs earlier. A mental network will take ownership of any behavior that it motivates. The default is for behavior to be motivated by MMNs of human existence. Behavior will only become connected with the TMN of a concept of God if such a concept of God exists, and if one follows this mental network and does not follow MMNs of personal approval. Notice that one is practicing acts of righteousness; the reason that one can be a spectacle in front of people is that one is following a Teacher understanding. But if one is motivated by human MMNs then one will not be paid wages by God. And what are these wages? One becomes a righteous person; one acquires a character that naturally behaves in a manner that is consistent with the character of God; a concept of God in Teacher thought looks at the Server actions that are being carried out by personal identity and declares this person to be righteous.

For instance, when electricity was first discovered in the 18th century, “This knowledge helped pave the way for the development of electrostatic machines—hand-cranked devices that used friction to generate short bursts of electricity. Such devices attracted a great deal of attention and curiosity, and were used on more than one occasion by wealthy pranksters to deliver small shocks to unsuspecting guests.” This is an example of performing righteous acts guided by a Teacher understanding of scientific principles to generate a spectacle in front of people. A modern equivalent would be special effects in movies, because one is using scientific technology to make people go ‘ahh, ooh, and eek’.

Verse 2 gives an example of religious self-denial. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

Give to the poor means ‘mercy, pity, alms’. All the other scriptural references to sounding a trumpet refer to angels blowing trumpets, primarily in the book of Revelation. As is a comparison word which means ‘just as, even as’. The word hypocrite ‘was commonly used of actors on the Greek stage’. Street literally means ‘the rush of a moving body’. And glory means ‘to ascribe weight by recognizing real substance’.

A mindset of absolute truth would interpret this illustration as the hypocrisy of getting public approval for personal identity through public acts of self-denial, which leads to the oxymoron of the person who is proud of his humility. This is a valid interpretation and probably describes what was happening in the time of Jesus.

But one can also look at this in the context of righteousness and intellectual wealth, as illustrated by modern technology. Inventors use scientific understanding to invent new gadgets. These new gadgets are then used by consumers who comprise the rest of the population. Using the language of Matthew, laborsaving and entertaining gadgets can be viewed as mercy or alms for the poor. What happens when some new gadget is developed? This is typically accompanied by an angelic blowing of trumpets: ‘there has been a new scientific breakthrough’, ‘this is the latest technology!’ This is a cognitively accurate analogy because the word angel means ‘messenger’ and science inhabits the angelic realm of the messages of mathematical equations and verbal hypotheses. This blowing of trumpets is usually done either in the ‘synagogues’ of higher learning or else in ‘the rushing of the moving body’ of continual societal progress. The goal is to ‘be honored by men’, either by being acclaimed by one’s academic colleagues or by becoming famous in everyday society.

This is hypocritical because one is being guided by the TMNs of rational science in order to gain approval from human MMNs. It is also hypocritical in the theatrical sense by placing a mask of marketing upon the face of science. The phrase ‘they have their reward in full’ is not quite accurate. Reward is the familiar word that means wages. Have in full actually means ‘to have one thing by separating from (letting go of) another’. In other words, they are getting wages by performing a split. This split characterizes Western society, which is the split between objective and subjective. In the objective, we follow TMNs of rational scientific thought. In the subjective, we are driven by MMNs of personal approval.

Verse 3 describes the alternative: “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” ‘Give to the poor’ uses the same Greek words as in verse 2. Thus, there are still rich and poor, inventors and consumers. Left hand means ‘better, left, on the left’ and would represent the right hemisphere thinking used by Perceiver and Mercy thought. Right hand means ‘the right hand or side’ and would represent the left hemisphere thinking used by Server and Teacher thought.

Verse 2 described a split between the objective giving of alms and the subjective approval being received from people. Verse 3 also describes a split, but in this case, the split is between the left hand and the right hand. On the one hand (both metaphorically and symbolically), the ‘right hand’ of Teacher and Server thought is doing, which means ‘to make, do’. On the other hand, the ‘left hand’ of Perceiver and Mercy thought is not supposed to know what is being done, and this version of know refers to knowledge through personal experience.

Putting this together, when one is ‘giving alms’ Mercy thought is not supposed to gain an experiential knowledge of the technical machinations of Teacher thought. This may sound like a strange statement, but it is actually a profound insight. For instance, think of the typical high-tech entertainment show. The music is often not that great, but all the technical lights, sounds, and gizmos give Mercy thought a sensation of intense personal knowledge. Personal needs in Mercy thought are not being met, but Mercy thought has been given the emotional illusion that these personal needs have been addressed. One can find a more extreme example in public demonstrations of military might. The ‘shock and awe’ of technically enhanced weapons gives Mercy thought the illusion of great experiential knowledge. But when these weapons are actually used, the result for Mercy thought is destruction and death. A similar statement can be said about grand political shows, such as the Nazi Nuremberg rallies, or the communist Mayday parades. Science and technology is used to create intense Mercy feelings of experiential knowing, but the reality is that personal identity is being destroyed by the machine of autocratic government.

Saying this more generally, one should use Teacher thought to develop technology, but one should then use Mercy thought to decide how this technology should be used. One should not use Teacher emotions to give Mercy thought the illusion that the technology is being used appropriately. It needs to be emphasized that this principle applies specifically to the giving of alms—providing knowledge to those who are not rich in knowledge. When one is doing research or interacting with people who are not intellectually poor, then one should combine Teacher and Mercy emotions. But one should not use Teacher emotions to bamboozle those who lack technical understanding.

Verse 4 adds “so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Secret is used six times in this chapter, and means ‘hidden’. Hidden is the opposite of marketing. It does not say that the righteousness should be hidden. Instead, it is the ‘giving of alms’ that needs to remain secret. This principle would apply literally to acts of charity. For instance, most ambulances (and hospital buildings) in Israel are emblazoned with a phrase such as ‘donated by Mr. and Mrs. Goldberg of New York’. This is an example of giving of alms that does not remain secret.

Giving in secret addresses the problem of remaining successful. It is easy to follow God rather than men when one is working in obscurity and being ignored by society. But how does one continue to follow a concept of God in Teacher thought when one becomes rich and famous? The solution is to take advantage of the fact that people can only approve what they are aware of. A concept of God in Teacher thought describes how things always behave, whereas MMNs of societal approval only judge public behavior. Thus, giving in secret ensures that one is guided by the TMN of a concept of God rather than by MMNs of personal approval. The word reward here is a different word that means ‘to return, especially as a payment’. It was seen in 5:26 where Jesus warned that one will not escape the prison of technical thought until paying back the last cent. If God who sees in secret is paying back, then this implies that one is using technical thought in a manner that continues to be guided by TMNs of rational understanding.

For instance, Don and Katie Fortune started studying Romans 12 spiritual gifts in the 1970s about the same time that my brother Lane Friesen began. (I started helping my brother in the early 1980s.) Their first book has sold over 300,000 copies and they have given over 2000 seminars in 38 countries, while I have continued to struggle along, largely in secret. From the viewpoint of human MMNs, I am a failure compared to them. But from the viewpoint of a concept of God in Teacher thought, I have been able to develop Romans 12 spiritual gifts into a general theory of cognition that goes far beyond anything done by the Fortunes. (Their descriptions of Romans 12 spiritual gifts are about 90% consistent with the traits that we discovered, and their material is analyzed in another essay.)

Prayer 6:5-8

Verse 5 turns to prayer: “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners to be apparent to men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Prayer means ‘to exchange wishes’. With righteousness, the TMN of a concept of God is guiding personal behavior. Righteousness is not supposed to be guided by MMNs of personal identity. But this does not mean that personal identity should be suppressed or ignored. Instead, one is supposed to bring personal MMNs into emotional contact with the TMN of a concept of God through prayer.

Jesus refers again to the hypocrite, someone who is pretending to be one thing, while really being another. The word love here is not agape, but rather phileo, which means ‘warm affection in intimate friendship’. This describes being comfortable with another person—or liking another person. The hypocrite likes to stand and pray. ‘In the synagogues’ implies an academic or religious setting. A corner is ‘an angle, a corner’. Street refers to ‘a street, public square, broad way’. The focus here is not upon people moving by but rather upon a large public meeting place.

Prayer involves an interaction between personal identity in Mercy thought and a concept of God in Teacher thought. But personal identity involves specific experiences while a concept of God is based upon general theories. How does one connect specific with general? Mysticism jams these two together, leading to the feeling of being personally united with God, but mysticism destroys mental content. Here one is attempting to connect personal identity with a concept of God in a manner that preserves mental content. The solution is to place personal identity within a structure that is held together by a concept of God. This defines the essence of the third stage of personal transformation.

But what is the source of the structure? Does it exist within the mind, or is it being created externally through social interaction? Saying this another way, do I have an internal grasp of the big picture and know how my personal expertise fits into the big picture, or am I a specialist who has to interact socially with other specialists in order to gain a larger picture of the body of knowledge? The specialist will like to pray in the synagogues and in the public squares, because he needs to interact with other specialists in a social environment in order to go beyond his limited knowledge. He is a hypocrite because he is pretending to be guided by general theories in Teacher thought, but he does not mentally possess such general theories. Instead, he uses MMNs of social interaction to substitute for a general theory. Rather than having a general understanding, he is a member of academia—the modern form of the synagogue. And instead of building connections internally, he throws his ideas out into the public arena in order to achieve some sort of consensus—in essence, praying on the corner of the public square. This may sound like a harsh assessment, but it can be tested by presenting the specialist with an integrated understanding. Does the specialist respond by examining the integrated understanding or by emphasizing the primacy of academic consensus? Whenever I have presented mental symmetry, I have found that the overwhelming response is to ignore the theory and emphasize the academic community.

This Teacher focus can be seen in the phrase ‘so that they may be seen by men’. The word seen actually means ‘to bring to light, to cause to appear’. In verse 2, the hypocrite wanted to receive glory from people, which implies being motivated by MMNs of social approval. The motivation in verse 5 is quite different. The goal is to gain light, and light represents Teacher understanding. This describes the specialist who goes to the conference to gain interdisciplinary insights.

I am not suggesting that scientific conferences are bad or that public dialogue should be avoided. Instead, one is dealing here with a matter of ‘liking’. What does the researcher find most comfortable? In many academic circles today, social interaction has become so dominant that researchers regard social interaction as more important than individual people. But there are no brain cells in the air. All of the brain cells are in the physical bodies of individual people. Social interaction is significant, but it is not the most significant. Using another illustration, computers are more basic than the Internet, because the Internet is just a lot of interconnected computers.

For instance, I have presented at several academic conferences and have found this to be a useful exercise. But I do most of my thinking by myself building internal connections between one area of expertise and another. This does not mean that I ignore others. On the contrary, I have analyzed a number of authors and systems in the light of mental symmetry, and this intellectual broadening was essential for developing the theory of symmetry. But I like to think alone, because my primary goal is to build an internal concept of God and to place my MMNs of identity and culture within this internal mental structure. Looking at this distinction more clearly, is interdisciplinary research being regarded as an extension of some technical specialization or as an opportunity to form a more adequate concept of God? For the typical academic today, the very idea of bringing God into the discussion will be viewed as irrelevant.

The final phrase is the same in verse 2 and verse 5: ‘they have their reward in full’. Interdisciplinary insights have been acquired and consensus has been reached. But this does not mean that Teacher thought has gained additional understanding, or that a more adequate concept of God has been constructed.

Verse 6 describes the alternative: “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” The word inner room is used four times in the New Testament and means ‘a store-chamber, secret chamber, closet’. Going into your inner room means entering the internal world of thought, while closing your door means leaving social interaction. One can then interact with God ‘in the realm’ of the secret. This does not mean that it is wrong to be extroverted, but it does mean that one should be introverted when interacting personally with one’s concept of God.

Verse 6 is often treated as a proof text to justify the mystical prayer of hesychasm. Quoting from the Orthodox wiki, “The hesychasts interpreted Christ’s injunction in the Gospel of Matthew to ‘go into your closet to pray’ to mean that they should move beyond the senses and withdraw inwards to pray. Hesychasm often includes repeating the Jesus Prayer: ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me [a sinner]’.” Looking further at the Jesus prayer, “Monastics often have long sessions praying this prayer many hundreds of times each night as part of their discipline, and through the guidance of an elder, its practitioner’s ultimate goal is to ‘internalize’ the prayer, so that one is praying unceasingly there-by accomplishing Saint Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to ‘pray without ceasing’. For many, after a time, the Jesus Prayer enters into the heart, so that it is no longer recited by a deliberate effort, but recites itself spontaneously.”

Jesus addresses this practice in verse 7: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” The word meaningless repetition is found once in the New Testament, and combines ‘stammerer’ with ‘logos’. We have interpreted logos as a Teacher paradigm that lies behind some technical specialization. Stammering repeats syllables without moving on. One example of a stammering logos would be the Jesus prayer of Orthodox Christianity, because one is taking some short phrase and treating it in a stammering, repetitive manner as a paradigm for a whole system of thought.

Looking at this more carefully, a distinction needs to be made between a logos and the logos of incarnation. Every technical specialization is emotionally backed up by some specific logos—some general theory that has turned into a TMN and gives emotional support to that specialization. One can tell that the logos of one specialization is usually distinct from the logos of another specialization because each specialization will tend be governed by its own collection of technical vocabulary, and one will have to learn a new system of technical jargon when moving from one technical specialization to another. Incarnation also uses technical thinking guided by the TMN of a logos (or paradigm), but this logos is sufficiently general to describe the character of God. Hesychasm attempts to jump directly to the logos of the incarnation of God by ‘stammering’ the logos of the Jesus Prayer.

Verse 7 adds that this is ‘like the Gentiles’. Like means ‘just as, even as’, and Gentile comes from the word ‘nation’. In other words, when one uses internal meaningless repetition, then there ceases to be any distinction between Christianity and normal culture; one is acting just like the other. For instance, the hesychasm resembles Buddhist mysticism, and secular society has no problem embracing mysticism and meditation, because it brings a sense of peace without conveying any personal demands. Looking at this from another perspective, when internal cognition turns into mystical meditation, then there is no longer any scientific thought. That is because the abstract technical thinking of scientific thought requires precise definitions, while mysticism requires letting go of all precise definitions.

Verse 7 describes the motivation: “for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” The word suppose means ‘forming an opinion, a personal judgment’. Heard means ‘to listen intently’. And many words is used once in the New Testament and combines ‘much in quantity’ with ‘logos’. For instance, saying the Jesus prayer ‘many hundreds of times each night’ would qualify as a ‘logos’ that is ‘much in quantity’. Orthodox Christians typically respond that the Jesus prayer is not ‘vain repetition’ if one is saying it with one’s heart. But verse 7 does not say that one should add the Mercy feelings of the heart. Instead, it says in two different ways that there is a fundamental problem with endlessly repeating some logos.

There is a cognitive reason for this repetition. That is because repeating an action or sequence of words builds Server confidence, and a sequence that is held together by Server confidence will impose implicit theory upon Teacher thought. This is an important cognitive mechanism, and explains the need to memorize basic definitions and fundamental concepts. Memorization uses Server repetition to impose fundamental building blocks upon Teacher thought. Teacher thought will then be forced to think in the light of these building blocks. And whenever Teacher thought is forced to think in the light of some concept or set of words, then one has implicitly formed a general Teacher theory, because a general theory is basically some simple concept or set of words upon which Teacher thought continues to focus. But this cognitive mechanism of memorization and repetition also makes it possible to fool Teacher thought. A real general theory describes how things consistently work out there. The repetition is happening in the environment. However, one can also create the illusion of a general theory by continuing to repeat some set of words. This is a fake general theory because it is my repetition that makes the phrase feel general to Teacher thought. That is why verse 7 talks about personal opinion. Repeating some slogan will create the personal opinion that God in Teacher thought is listening intently to my words. But this personal opinion has nothing to do with reality.

A distinction needs to be made between verbal repetition and a cognitive mechanism. In both cases, something is being repeated within the mind. With verbal repetition, I am choosing to verbally or mentally repeat some set of words. With a cognitive mechanism, the structure of my mind is causing my thinking to repeatedly follow certain paths. Hesychasm is an example of verbal repetition, because one is continually repeating the same phrase, leading to the illusion of a general Teacher theory. A concept of incarnation is an example of a cognitive mechanism, because the structure of the mind is leading to the development of abstract technical thought as well as concrete technical thought, and a concept of incarnation is emerging as these two forms of technical thought become integrated.

Verse 8 concludes: “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” The word so is actually ‘therefore’. Like means ‘to make like’. In other words, Jesus is saying that one should not head in the direction of fooling Teacher thought through repetition. Know means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. One could refer to this as empirical evidence. It is used many times throughout the book of Matthew, but this is the first time that it occurs. Need means ‘need, necessity, business’. Teacher thought looks for general theories, and Teacher thought feels bad when there is an exception to the rule. A need is an exception to the rule, because things are not working together properly.

Putting this together, one does not have to bludgeon Teacher thought with personal problems—if Teacher thought is holding on to a general theory that describes reality, because Teacher thought will naturally view the personal problem as an exception to the rule and will become emotionally aware of this need. In fact, the worst thing that one can do is try to attract the attention of the Teacher thought through some form of meaningless repetition, because this will distract Teacher thought from emotionally noticing the real needs. Thus, when one reaches the stage of having a valid concept of God in Teacher thought, then the first step in praying to God is to step out of the way and simply allow Teacher thought to function in the presence of personal identity. Teacher thought will then notice the need, and one can then make a simple request. I am not suggesting that one should always pray to God in a calm and measured voice. I have yelled at God many times. But I also have found that the real praying happens after the yelling stops and one settles down.

One might respond that I am confusing a concept of God with the real God. And it is important to realize that my concept of God may have no connection with any real God. But the problem is actually more subtle. Suppose that I say that I believe in the real God of the Bible and do not want to get sidetracked by any psychological discussions about concepts of God. I am actually using verbal repetition—repeating what the Bible says about God—to create the mental illusion that I have a general understanding about God. Meanwhile, the repetition of how things work will cause an implicit concept of God to form within my mind, and when push comes to shove, then I will tend to obey my implicit concept of God rather than the biblical concept of God in which I am verbally asserting. And if I respond to this hypocrisy by verbally proclaiming the biblical God with greater vehemence, then this will actually make the problem worse. In contrast, if I focus upon constructing a more adequate concept of God, then I will look for repeated patterns in how things really work, and when I am examining how things really work, then I am investigating the character of the real God, because the real God created both the universe and the mind to function in a certain manner.

The Lord’s Prayer 6:9-15

The next verses describe the Lord’s Prayer. When I was in grade school, we would start every morning by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, and this was in a secular school. These days, it is illegal in BC for organizations to give Bibles to students on school property. That is ironic if the first book of the New Testament contains an outline of Western civilization—written before the existence of Western civilization.

The problem with merely reciting the Lord’s Prayer is that this prayer has a context. It was not spoken out of the blue. Instead, it is included right after the section on righteousness, and is preceded by a ‘therefore’.

The prayer begins, “Our father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name” (v. 9). The assumption is that one knows what it means to have a father in heaven. Cognitively speaking, this means having a concept of God in Teacher thought. But the average person today does not know what it means to have a concept of God in Teacher thought. Instead, God is viewed as some important person in Mercy thought, and heaven is treated as some incomprehensible realm that transcends rational human existence.

The word hallowed means ‘to regard as special’. The average person regards God as special within Mercy thought, connected with holy people and holy words and holy books and holy places. In contrast, the Lord’s Prayer says that one should regard the name of God as special. A name is a label in Teacher thought that describes some person or entity. In the words of the Bible dictionary, a name is ‘the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others’.

Applying this to the topic of prayer, which is what Jesus is doing in verse 9, prayer ‘exchanges wishes’ with God. It brings MMNs of personal identity into contact with the TMN of a concept of God. But what will be regarded as special when this happens? Will MMNs of identity and culture be preserved, or will the TMN of the name of God be regarded as special?

Verse 10 addresses this question: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Notice that the direction is from heaven to earth. But what is coming is not a person or a feeling, but rather a structure within which personal identity can live—a kingdom. This is the first time that will is mentioned in Matthew, and it actually means ‘a desire or wish’. Thus, what is being imposed from God upon Earth is not some sovereign will which pre-ordains every human decision. Instead, human activity is being guided by the ‘desires or wishes’ of God. Stated cognitively, a concept of God in Teacher thought is emotionally guiding MMNs of human activity. And the word translated done does not mean ‘done’ but rather means ‘to come into being’. This describes an organic form of rulership, in which a concept of God changes the nature of human desire causing new things to come into being.

Going further, as is a comparison word. Heaven is not just imposing itself upon earth in a dictatorial fashion. Instead, heaven is setting a pattern for Earth to follow. The word earth refers to ‘the physical earth, space and time’. A mystical mindset asserts that God in heaven transcends the rational thinking of space and time. The Lord’s Prayer says that a concept of God in Teacher thought sets the pattern for the rational thinking of space and time.

Verse 11 continues, “Give us this day our bread for tomorrow.” Bread was mentioned previously when Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread and replied that man shall not live by bread alone. Bread represents intellectual food. The term daily is only used twice in the New Testament, and actually means ‘for the coming day’, as shown by the alternate translation of ‘for tomorrow’ given in the NASB footnote. And this day means ‘today’. Several concepts are being conveyed. First, one should not regard research as something that is separate from real life. Instead, one should view research as bread for the day. Second, understanding should come before application. One should be given the bread today that will be needed for tomorrow. Third, understanding cannot run too far ahead of application. Understanding today needs to be followed by application tomorrow, because if there is no application tomorrow, then there will be no further understanding for the day after. Saying this another way, I have discovered over the years that one can only continue to make intellectual progress if one applies the knowledge that one already has.

Verse 12 says “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Forgive means to ‘send away, release’. A debt is ‘that which is owed, a debt’, while a debtor is ‘a debtor; someone under obligation to pay back’. When I was in primary school, we would recite ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’, which gives the impression that people are perpetrating unpleasant Mercy experiences upon one another. In contrast, debt implies that someone else has helped me and I need to pay back. One webpage discusses this and suggests that debt uses economic terms to convey the sense of what one person is doing to another while trespass has more emotional intensity.

I suggest that there is a deeper cognitive principle at play here. A mindset of absolute truth will naturally think in terms of substitutionary punishment. If God uses Mercy status to impose truth upon the mind, then God can also use emotional status to impose forgiveness and declare righteousness. This is like the government overruling one regulation by legislating a new law. The problem with this concept is that it makes God and moral law arbitrary. A more refined version of substitutionary punishment suggests that God has punished Jesus for my sins. This preserves the concept of moral cause-and-effect while changing the recipient of the punishment. But this does not work if punishment and reward are intrinsic. For instance, I cannot eat too much food and have someone else get fat.

We have seen in the previous verses that absolute truth is being replaced by a concept of intrinsic reward and punishment. One of the byproducts of this shift is that the mind will no longer be capable of believing in substitutionary punishment. Saying this crudely, it will no longer possible for me to believe that God made Jesus fat for all the extra food that I ate.

We have also seen a new form of deeper economic activity emerge, in which one lets go of one set of mental networks in order to gain access to a new set of mental networks. Economic activity is guided by Contributor thought, and Contributor thought relates to Incarnation. (And the description of Jesus in the Gospels is consistent with that of a Contributor person.)

Looking at this more carefully, the website referred to earlier prefers the word ‘trespass’ to ‘debt’ because trespass sounds more personal while debt feels too cold and economic. And I suspect that this preference reflects a general consensus. I suggest that this is because the typical person associates the word ‘economy’ with the current economy in which one typically prostitutes one’s soul in order to gain monetary wealth. Therefore, the gut response of Christians is to view God’s atonement in personal terms as opposed to economic terms. But Jesus consistently uses economic language in the Gospels. For instance, Matt. 16:26 says, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Therefore, I suggest that one should not view atonement as an alternative to economic thought, but rather as a deeper and more valid version of economic thought. This is not just a theoretical distinction, but rather will affect one’s concept of morality and judgment at a fundamental level.

Finally, we have seen the rising of a sun of general Teacher understanding. This means that people will no longer view sin primarily as doing something that is labeled bad by Mercy thought but rather view sin as falling short of the ideal perfection of the Platonic forms that emerge as a result of Teacher understanding.

Putting this together, a new cognitive mechanism will be needed for dealing with sin. The best analogy that I know of is that of school. The uneducated person lacks Teacher understanding. He feels stupid because he has not attended school. (The fact that it feels politically incorrect to make such a statement indicates that this is a powerful emotional effect.) He may not have done anything bad in Mercy thought but he falls short of the accepted standard in Teacher thought. The student who enrolls in school acquires the Teacher name of being a student. The beginning student is still ignorant, but his status in Teacher thought has changed. Using religious language, he has been justified by God. But he has also incurred a debt—and I am not just referring to the debt of a student loan. Instead, he has incurred the debt of having a Teacher status that he does not deserve. He must pay off this emotional debt by taking the classes of the school and graduating. A student who cheats does not pay off this emotional debt, and a student who studies in order to gain Mercy approval will not feel as if he has paid off this debt, as illustrated by imposter syndrome. This is not ‘salvation by works’ because the student is receiving grace from the accumulated knowledge of the previous generations. But it is also not cheap grace because knowledge was acquired at great cost, and this knowledge has to be made one’s own.

This leads to a mindset of ‘forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors’. I am in debt to others, society, and God for what I have received. Similarly, others are in debt to me when they receive knowledge and wisdom from me. I need to extend grace to others who are learning because grace was extended to me when I was a student.

Verse 13 talks about evil. “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Temptation was examined earlier when looking at the temptation of Jesus, and I suggested that one should distinguish between temptation and testing. Temptation comes from an adversary who wants me to fail, while the purpose of testing is to prove that something is genuine. Some form of testing is required because gaining confidence by passing tests is an essential aspect of making knowledge my own. However, if one thinks in terms of good and bad Mercy experiences, then most of this confidence-building will come through temptation. If one wants to move beyond temptation to testing, then one must go beyond the good and bad labels of Mercy thought to the order of Teacher thought. Temptation thinks in terms of good and bad Mercy experiences. I am tempted to do something desirable that is labeled evil in Mercy thought, such as stealing a valuable object, visiting an unsavory location, or experiencing forbidden pleasure. Testing, in contrast thinks in terms of Teacher order and Platonic forms. Will I meet the standards of ideal perfection or will I fall short?

Verse 13 is asking to move beyond temptation in order to be delivered from ‘the evil’. ‘The’ is in the original Greek, indicating that evil as a general principle is being discussed. Deliver is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to snatch out for oneself’. And evil is the familiar word that means ‘pain-ridden, emphasizing the inevitable agonies that always go with evil’. Thus, God in Teacher thought is being asked to snatch out a person from the pain-ridden realm of Mercy experiences in order to draw him to himself. For instance, a person attends school in order to be drawn out of pain-ridden uneducated existence and pulled into a new realm of professional skills. Using more colloquial language, a person goes to school so that he does not have to flip burgers for his entire life. One can see a partial illustration of this in the consumer society. Life before the development of science was pain-ridden. This does not mean that everybody was suffering all the time, but the average person continually encountered pain and suffering. The modern technological society may have its shortcomings, but the average citizen today has been pulled out of physical pain and suffering to an extent that a pre-scientific person would have regarded as heaven on earth.

The final phrase of verse 13 is not found in all manuscripts: “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” This phrase does not add any extra doctrine, but it does indicate a shift in mindset, because the person who reaches the level of Teacher thought will look back and retrospectively realize that God in Teacher thought has been in control all the time. For instance, this essay is retrospectively looking at the book of Matthew as a description of God being in charge of the history of Western civilization.

Verses 14-15 describe the impact that personal behavior has upon Teacher understanding: “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” The word ‘transgression’ is used two (or possibly three) times in these verses. It is translated ‘trespasses’ in the KJV, explaining why one might recite the Lord’s Prayer using the word trespasses. This word actually means to ‘fall away after being close-beside’, which is neither a transgression nor a trespass. Instead, it conveys the idea of becoming emotionally distant from God in Teacher thought. Teacher understanding feels wonderful when one is studying at a theoretical level, but it is easy become emotionally distant from this understanding when dealing with the experiences of daily life. Saying this another way, it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Notice that this defines ‘transgression’ as the lack of a positive rather than as the presence of a negative. In other words, one does not ‘transgress’ by being attracted to something forbidden in Mercy thought but rather by falling away from God in Teacher thought. Saying this more clearly, I suggest that sin meets legitimate personal needs in an illegitimate, self-destructive, and ‘pain-ridden’ manner. One sticks close to God in Teacher thought not to suppress personal desires in Mercy thought, but rather to meet these desires in a legitimate and lasting manner that builds up both self and others. When one falls away from being close beside God, one loses the global perspective that is required to pursue long-term, lasting fulfillment and happiness.

I have mentioned that righteousness performs Server actions that are guided by a Teacher understanding. This process also functions in reverse. The way that one behaves in Server thought will naturally be treated as a general theory by Teacher thought. We saw this principle a few verses earlier when looking at the repetition of the Jesus prayer. These verses point out that the way that I treat other people who fall short of my Teacher understanding is actually forming a general pattern within my mind which will affect my Teacher understanding. This pattern will determine how my concept of God in Teacher thought treats me when I fall short of my Teacher understanding. Verse 14 describes this principle functioning in a positive way; verse 15 describes the same principle functioning in a negative manner.

Looking at this cognitively, Teacher thought with its general theories bridges one situation to another, one context to another, and one specialization with another. One must choose to allow Teacher thought to view the current inadequacy in the light of the bigger picture; one must permit Teacher thought to point out that the forest is bigger than any specific tree. This bigger emotional picture makes it possible to let go of the specific situation. (Remember that forgive means to ‘send away, release’.) One is not letting go of the situation emotionally because it does not matter. It does matter—a lot. But God in Teacher thought will eventually deal with this specific situation in an effective and lasting manner. For instance, the student can let go of all the personal pain he endured as a menial laborer, not because it does not matter, but rather because getting an education will allow him to enter a new world of skilled labor.

Putting this into the bigger picture, the second half of Matthew 5 focused upon freeing Perceiver thought from being overwhelmed by Mercy emotions, and this led to the formation of a more legitimate concept of God in Teacher thought. That corresponds to the first stage of personal transformation, which is using (primarily) Perceiver thought to construct a concept of God. The first half of Matthew 6 has focused upon using Server thought to apply this Teacher-based concept of God through righteousness, which corresponds to the second stage of personal transformation. One primary result of this second stage is a more adequate concept of incarnation. That is because incarnation uses Contributor thought and Contributor combines Perceiver and Server. And one of the byproducts of a more adequate concept of incarnation will be a deeper understanding of the righteous economy of God and incarnation.

Fasting 6:16-21

The next section deals with fasting. “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they distort their faces so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (v.16).

One can decipher the deeper meaning of this passage by looking at what happens mentally when a person fasts. Eating obviously satisfies physical needs. But eating is also an easy way of satisfying mental networks of desire and satisfaction. Thus, fasting is a way of forcing the mind to go beyond physical sustenance to find internal satisfaction. And fasting has been used over the millennia in this manner to attempt to make spiritual breakthroughs.

Jesus has just talked about daily bread, which represents a regular diet of knowledge. Fasting implies that one is not eating one’s daily bread of knowledge. Gloomy face means literally ‘gloomy face’. Noticed means ‘to bring to light, to cause to appear’, while distort their faces actually adds the negative prefix to this word ‘bring to light, cause to appear’. Thus, a more accurate translation would be ‘When you fast, do not become like gloomy faced hypocrites, for they cause the light to vanish from their faces so that this will bring to light to people as fasting’. This sentence is grammatically confusing, so let me try to rephrase the second part: ‘They ensure that their faces do not light up in order to bring to light the fact that daily bread is missing’'. One sees this sort of attitude in modern academia. Academia bases its theories in the ‘daily bread’ of empirical facts and peer-reviewed articles. Any interaction that lacks this diet will cause the researcher to put on a gloomy face. Saying this another way, peer-reviewed research is required in order to bring the light of Teacher understanding to academia. If this diet is missing, then the researcher will interact in a way that prevents any light of Teacher understanding from appearing, in order to cause to appear the Teacher light that there is an absence of daily bread. Saying this more clearly, the researcher will make sure that he does not build any Teacher understanding upon this ‘inadequate’ data, and he will also make it clear that information must be presented in a proper manner. Summarizing, the way that facts are gathered and presented will take precedence over the facts themselves.

This describes the standard response that I have received from academia, because the theory of mental symmetry is not based directly upon empirical evidence or peer-reviewed papers. Instead, it is a secondary form of research that builds connections between various systems of thought, many of which have been built upon empirical evidence and peer-reviewed papers. When this lack of direct physical evidence and peer-reviewed papers becomes apparent, then a researcher will put on a gloomy face and refuse to discuss content, and instead attempt to enlighten me that I am not following official methodology.

Jesus then repeats the phrase “Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” There is a reward from focusing upon physical evidence and official papers, because one will eliminate a lot of subjective Mercy bias. But it is hypocritical. On the one hand, academia claims to be a search for pure Teacher understanding that eliminates all Mercy feelings through its methodology and its demand for empirical evidence. But on the other hand, the researcher is refusing to allow Teacher thought to function independently within his own mind, but instead hobbles Teacher thought to the experiential world of physical experiences and physical papers.

(Notice, by the way, that our examples are no longer being drawn from the early Middle Ages. This supports the idea that the Sermon on the Mount is skipping ahead in time and giving a general cognitive overview.)

Verse 17 describes the alternative: “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” Anoint means ‘to rub or smear olive oil on the body… Anointing brought healing and relief and hence became synonymous with gladness’. I would not feel healing and relief if someone smeared me with actual olive oil. But oil represents the Holy Spirit. Thus, ‘anointing your head’ would represent allowing thinking to be guided by the Platonic forms of the Holy Spirit. Saying this more carefully, Platonic forms are internal images of ideal perfection that emerge within Mercy thought as an indirect result of Teacher understanding. A concept of the Holy Spirit emerges as an integrated concept of God in Teacher thought causes the various Platonic forms to coalesce to create what Plato called the ‘form of the Good’.

Speaking from personal experience, I have found in my research that I have a secret weapon which is not possessed by those who demand empirical evidence and peer-reviewed studies. That secret weapon is the ‘oil of the spirit’. Instead of having to block off subjective Mercy bias, I find that Platonic forms within Mercy thought naturally lead my thinking in a direction that leads to further Teacher understanding. I can then use empirical evidence, peer-reviewed studies, and the theories of others to fine-tune my thinking. This idea of fine-tuning is brought up by the phrase, ‘wash your face’, and wash comes from the verb ‘to cleanse’. One does not have to put on a gloomy face, but it is necessary to wash one’s face. Mercy bias is a problem, but when one is guided by Platonic forms of the Spirit, it is no longer an insurmountable problem. Instead, it is sufficient to cleanse Mercy thought of Mercy bias with the water of experience.

Verse 18 continues, “so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Noticed is again ‘bring to light, cause to appear’. One ‘anoints your head and washes your face’ so that one does not ‘bring to light’ to people as fasting. In other words, when the ‘bread’ of empirical evidence and peer-reviewed studies is missing, then one does not have to focus upon the Teacher light of ‘Feed me; I have no data’. Instead, one can evaluate the reasonableness of information guided by Platonic forms. Saying this more specifically, one can listen to common sense being spoken by average people without fear of being mentally contaminated by false information.

This principle applies even in a society such as ours where common sense is no longer common. That is because human ignorance is not random, but rather tends to be predictable, guided by the structure of the mind. Thus, even if one cannot not trust what a person is saying, one can still uncover valuable cognitive principles by comparing the ignorance of one individual or group with that of another. These cognitive principles can then be used as a cognitive filter, making it possible to recognize the elements of common sense that still remain.

I am not suggesting that empirical evidence and peer-reviewed studies need to be ignored. They are significant. Fasting is not normal. Eating is normal. But one can survive for a while without eating.

Going further, I suggest that there is a reward, which is related to the idea of cognitive ownership. That is because one will be noticed ‘by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” When one demands empirical evidence and peer-reviewed papers, then one is actually preventing Teacher thought from taking ownership of ideas, because one is refusing to accept any Teacher theory that has not come through some approved expert in Mercy thought. Mental fasting makes it possible to come into contact internally with the TMN of a concept of God in TMN, because one is holding on to an idea because it is an expression of general Teacher understanding and not because it is associated with some official expert who has Mercy status. Using the language of Matthew, ‘your father who sees in secret will reward you’.

Verses 19-21 expand upon this concept of cognitive ownership. Verse 19 begins, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Store up is the verb form of the noun treasures, which means ‘a storehouse of treasure, including (treasured) thoughts stored up in the heart and mind’. This is the source of the English word thesaurus. And earth refers to ‘the physical earth… space and time’. One can interpret this literally as having physical wealth. But one can also think of it more generally as describing a wealth of empirical knowledge based in a study of physical space and time. This describes the state of current science.

A moth is a clothes-moth that eats fabric. Rust means literally ‘eating, food’. And destroy is the same word used three verses earlier, which combines ‘not’ with ‘bring to light, cause to appear’. Looking at this literally, physical wealth decays. But there is probably a deeper meaning, because the word translated ‘rust’ in verses 19 and 20 does not mean rust. Instead, it occurs 11 times in the New Testament and is translated ‘food’ every other time. Looking at this symbolically, a moth is a small creature that flies through the air of Teacher thought while clothes represent the fabric of social interaction. More literally, this passage says that moth and eating are causing the light to disappear. In other words, I may be a famous expert whom everyone quotes today, but every little moth of a new Teacher theory will eat away at my social significance, causing my intellectual wealth to gradually disappear. In fact, the very act of eating intellectual food will itself cause the body of knowledge to move on from my groundbreaking work. I will eventually turn into a former expert who is incapable of keeping up with the latest progress. This is what usually happens when one becomes an expert in some objective field of knowledge without becoming transformed into the sort of person who is capable of continually making progress. As Thomas Kuhn has pointed out, the average scientist is no better than the typical layman when it comes to changing from one paradigm to another.

Going further, a thief is someone ‘who steals by stealth’, and steal is the verb form of the noun ‘thief’. Break in means ‘to dig through (as of breaking into a house)’. This describes another shortcoming of objective knowledge: It can be stolen. Ideas can be and often are stolen from those who discover them. That is what happens when expertise is limited to some objective specialization. An intellectual thief can ‘break in’ to the specific context, learn the new facts, and then steal the ideas. One of the reasons that academia places such a great emphasis upon citing sources is because objective knowledge is susceptible to being stolen. But if one allows knowledge to be held together by the TMN of a general understanding, then thieves cannot break in to steal because one is no longer dealing with a collection of isolated facts that can be pilfered one at a time, but rather with an integrated system of facts. Using the analogy of Matthew, a thief would have to steal the entire house.

Saying this another way, if I focus upon becoming the kind of person who is capable of discovering intellectual wealth, then it does not matter if others steal the occasional idea from me because I am able to come up with more ideas. For instance, when I first started working on the theory of mental symmetry, I was worried about other people stealing my ideas. But I gradually realized that what makes mental symmetry unique is not the individual facts, because most of these facts can be found in other sources. Instead, the primary breakthrough with mental symmetry lies in the way that one puts these facts together to form an integrated Teacher theory, as well as the way that one applies these facts personally in Mercy thought. People steal in order to avoid paying the price. People will not steal ideas when these ideas have a built-in theoretical and personal price. My big problem now is not getting new ideas, but rather writing down all the ideas that I get.

Verse 20 describes the positive alternative: “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” This verse uses the same Greek words as the previous verse. Treasures in heaven could be interpreted literally as being rewarded after one dies. But the same principle also applies to the heaven of Teacher thought. The academic experts who continue to be remembered and quoted today are the ones who came up with general Teacher theories—they stored up for themselves a form of treasure in heaven. Looking at this more generally, the righteous person is capable of surviving paradigm shifts and cultural dislocations, because he has acquired general skills that are capable of being translated into different specific environments. For instance, the theory of mental symmetry has turned into a meta-theory that is capable of explaining many different fields. Whenever I have been excluded from one field, I have simply moved on to another field, and I soon found myself gathering more intellectual riches.

Verse 21 then makes the transition from knowledge to personal identity. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The heart refers to personal identity in Mercy thought. Remember that treasure does not just refer to individual fragments of wealth or knowledge, but rather describes ‘a store-house for precious things’. The point is that Mercy identity is an emergent property. Humans grow up in physical bodies that fill the mind with experiences of pain and pleasure. This leads to the assumption that Mercy experiences with their emotional labels are fundamental, because the average human mind is built upon core MMNs composed of experiences with emotional labels. But Teacher thought is actually more fundamental than Mercy thought. When one continues to gather intellectual treasure, it will eventually coalesce into personal identity within some place. For instance, academic research gives the impression of being a pursuit of theoretical knowledge that is completely independent of MMNs of culture. But anyone who spends time within academia learns that modern academic research has coalesced over the decades into a culture of academia. Similarly, any company or organization that grows to a sufficient size will develop a corporate culture enforced by non-verbal MMNs of social interaction and personal status. This is both a promise and a threat, because the type of heart that emerges will depend upon the kind of treasure that has been gathered.

This is the first time that this word where appears in Matthew, and it is used five times in verses 19-21. It means ‘in what place’. Looking at this cognitively, it is important to distinguish between a Teacher theory and the place that becomes associated with this Teacher theory. For instance, all forms of atomic energy are associated with the same Teacher theories of physics and chemistry. But when one uses atomic energy to create nuclear weapons, then one is associating this Teacher theory with a different place than when one is using atomic energy to build power plants. This place does not appear instantly. Instead, it emerges as one continues to gather intellectual treasure within some specific context.

For instance, the nuclear scientist who works on nuclear bombs will eventually find that he has become a person who constructs weapons of mass destruction. In contrast, the nuclear scientist who uses the same Teacher theory to work on nuclear power will eventually find that he has become a person who generates electricity that helps people. Saying this another way, objective science thinks that it can remove MMNs of subjective bias by being objective. But it does not realize that continuing to gather treasure within some context will eventually cause MMNs of personal identity to emerge within that context. For instance, the businessman who continues to pursue the objective task of buying and selling items will eventually discover that he has become a person who is a lover of money. Repeating what I said earlier, this is both a promise and a threat.

Light versus Darkness 6:22-24

Verse 22 warns that physical existence will also be affected. Verse 22 describes the positive side: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. A lamp is a portable light. Body refers to the physical body. And the eye refers to the literal eye or figuratively to ‘the mind’s eye’. Saying this cognitively, the brain uses the eyes to scan the visual environment in order to build up an internal map of the physically surroundings, and this internal map illuminates the physical actions of the body.

The word clear is used once in Matthew and means ‘unfolded, single – literally, without folds’. Physical sight is a combination of bottom-up perception and top-down pattern matching. The brain scans the elements of the visual environment in a bottom-up manner in order to try to construct a picture of the environment. At the same time, the brain also uses mental networks in a top-down manner to guess what is being seen. One can see this interplay at work with optical illusions, in which the image that one internally sees flips depending upon the internal viewpoint that one takes. Looking at this more generally, Thomas Kuhn says that acquiring a new paradigm literally causes a person to view the physical world in a slightly different manner. That is because the same visual elements are being placed within different mental categories driven by different mental networks. For instance, suppose that I am mailing a letter. I will start to notice that are mailboxes in my environment. These mailboxes did not suddenly appear. Instead, my previous mental context caused me to ignore these mailboxes, while my current mental context is causing me to look for mailboxes.

Clear vision means that there are no mixed messages coming from mental networks. No matter what level one observes, the message is the same. For instance, we are analyzing the book of Matthew at several different levels simultaneously, and we are discovering that a single, consistent message emerges at all of these levels. The person who reaches this level of mental integration will find that his ‘whole body will be full of light’. The word full of light means ‘brilliant, shining’. Light refers to Teacher understanding. The implication is that the light of Teacher understanding is required to reach this level of mental clarity and simplicity. That is because the physical and social environment will appear to be disconnected and fragmented when it is viewed at a surface level. The unity becomes apparent when one looks beyond surface appearance to underlying patterns and processes. Reaching this level of internal simplicity requires developing an integrated Teacher understanding, as described at the end of chapter 5, applying this understanding in righteousness, as described at the beginning of chapter 6, and then allowing this intellectual treasure to change one’s Mercy heart, as described in the previous section. This reborn heart will then alter the way that one views and interprets the world, leading to internal clarity and simplicity.

The word body is soma. It refers to the physical body, but is also used to describe the body of Christ. This dual meaning is an illustration of mental integration, because one finds similar principles at work when using the physical body within the physical world and when working with ‘a body of knowledge’. In order to reach this level of parallel existence, one has to gather treasure in heaven to the extent of creating a place for one’s heart. Mercy thought, living in the physical world, will then reflect the thinking of Teacher thought which is living in abstract theory. This relates to the third stage of personal transformation, in which personal identity becomes reborn within the mental structure that was constructed during the previous two stages. The average person today tends to view abstract theory as separate from subjective experience. That is because science analyzes the world objectively. A Teacher understanding that is based upon facts that avoid subjective Mercy emotions will have no place for the heart. In contrast, following Matthew 5-6 leads to a Teacher understanding that provides clarity and simplicity for the heart. Instead of being driven to avoid the world with its Mercy experiences, one sees the world more clearly.

However, this same cognitive mechanism can also lead to deep mental darkness: “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (v.23). The word bad is the familiar word ‘pain-ridden’. And full of darkness is a single word that means ‘full of darkness’. In other words, mental blindness will not just be restricted to some specific context. Instead, the mental blindness will spread to all aspects of personal existence. Everything that one sees will be interpreted in the light of certain mental networks. Verse 23 says that if one interprets everything in the physical environment from the viewpoint of painful MMNs, then this will create a mindset that is full of darkness. For instance, someone who has fought in the military will see everything in the environment as a potential threat. Similarly, it is easy for policemen to view everyone as potential criminals.

Verse 23 continues by describing the potential extent of this darkness: “If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Darkness is the absence of light. Light represents Teacher understanding. It is possible to build Teacher theories upon the Mercy experiences of darkness. This leads to a mindset that is driven by Teacher emotion to remain ignorant. For instance, I have found that this describes the average theologian. That is because all current theology contains a core of mysticism, which emphasizes that God is ultimately an unknowable, transcendent being. But this doctrine of divine ignorance is stated using esoteric words and expanded upon in numerous volumes. The end result is a detailed Teacher theory about how one cannot construct a Teacher theory about the nature of God. Looking at this more carefully, mysticism uses overgeneralization to ‘construct’ a universal Teacher understanding about God. But once Teacher thought has a universal theory, then Teacher thought will be emotionally driven to use this theory to explain facts—even if this theory was initially formed by using overgeneralization to transcend all facts. This will express itself through the cycle of being driven to write many words about mysticism, followed by re-insisting that mysticism transcends all words that have been written about mysticism, leading to a reinvigorated drive to write more words about mysticism, and so on.

It is important to place verse 23 into the context. A theologian (or academic) who practices mysticism is not automatically full of darkness. Instead, the darkness will fill the mind when a legitimate general understanding arises that is capable of replacing the overgeneralization of mysticism. Before, one only had to assert in some vague fashion that God transcends rational thought, making it emotionally possible to pursue considerable rational thought when dealing with peripheral facts and doctrines. However, once a truly general theory arises, then the mystical theologian (or academic) has to consciously choose to suppress the facts in order to continue practicing mysticism. Each conscious decision to suppress the facts will spread the darkness to another aspect of the mind.

My experiences of using mental symmetry to attempt to convince such individuals have convinced me that these ‘experts’ are almost universally unteachable. They will use their Mercy status as official experts to ‘prove’ that they are right. They must use their emotional status to prove that they are right, because if they are wrong then they have wasted their life building upon ignorance, and no one who has paid the price to gain an education can handle the idea that he has wasted his life. I certainly cannot.

Verse 24 summarizes: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Stated cognitively, core mental networks will fight for domination of the mind, and one set of core mental networks will eventually overcome the other. A mindset of absolute truth will naturally interpret this as choosing to gain riches for personal identity versus denying self to follow God. And there is something to this interpretation, if denying self means moving past childish MMNs, and if following God means pursuing lasting value.

But this verse goes beyond choosing to follow one master rather than another to being driven inexorably to follow one master rather than the other. The word serve means ‘to serve as a slave’, and this verb is only used in this verse in the book of Matthew. And the verb can means ‘to be able, to have power’. In other words, one is dealing here with an impossibility. It is impossible to be a slave of two masters.

The first stage involves emotions: ‘for either he will hate the one and love the other’. Love is agape, which describes Teacher-driven love. Hate means ‘to love someone or something less than someone else’. Saying this cognitively, there is only room for one universal theory in Teacher thought. Whenever one loves some general theory in Teacher thought, then this theory will grow at the expense of others, causing Teacher thought to love other theories less. (General theories can coexist if one is seen as a translation or subset of another. I refer to mental symmetry as a meta-theory because it is possible to place many other theories within the general framework of mental symmetry. For instance, we are not viewing the traditional interpretation of this passage as wrong, but rather as incomplete—a partial expression of a more general understanding.)

The next phrase talks about devotion: ‘he will be devoted to one and despise the other’. Devoted means to ‘proportionally lay hold of’, while despise means to ‘esteem lightly, seeing as insignificant or detestable’. This goes beyond being emotionally attracted to one theory in Teacher thought instead of another. Instead, one is now adding details to the preferred theory by interpreting specific situations in the light of this theory. The competing theory, in contrast, is being belittled in Teacher thought by choosing not to use it to explain situations.

The final phrase returns to power and slavery: ‘You cannot serve God and wealth’. The word wealth is actually mammon, which means ‘the treasure a person trusts in’ and is related to the Hebrew word ‘to trust’. The previous verses compared treasures on earth with treasures in heaven. This final phrase suggests that treasures in heaven will eventually morph into a general attraction to a concept of God in Teacher thought. In contrast, treasures on earth will remain a collection of specific items. Saying this another way, the mind will eventually have to choose between pursuing universal Teacher understanding or becoming fixated upon specialized technical thought. Will I become the slave of a concept of God who rules over everything in Teacher thought or will I become the slave of the treasures of technical specialization? This will ultimately go beyond choice to slavery. I will find that I do not have the power to serve both of these masters at the same time.

One can see with this means by looking at modern civilization. The Western world has become subdivided into fiefdoms of technical specialization. No matter what people say or do, this specializing of existence has continued to grow and spread. Essentially every corner of human existence today is regulated, defined, and accredited by some official technical specialization. Mammon is often interpreted as money, and money is one form of mammon. But if one thinks more generally of mammon as ‘the treasure a person trusts in’, then one sees that modern civilization has become the slave of countless treasures in which we place our trust.

This may seem like an unusual interpretation, but it flows smoothly into the next section. Verse 25 begins with ‘for this reason’, which indicates that verse 25 follows logically from verse 24.

Following Fundamental Goals 6:25-26

Verse 25 says, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your soul, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” The word worried is used seven times in the book of Matthew, six times in this section. It means ‘drawn in opposite directions; divided into parts’. This describes what happens when mind and society are fragmented into technical specializations. Life will be ‘divided into parts’. The word life is actually ‘soul’, and I have been interpreting the soul as the integrated mind. Thus, ‘do not be worried about your soul’ means ‘do not allow your integrated mind to be pulled apart into distinct fragments’. Three different needs are then mentioned. The first is eating, which could refer to physical food or to intellectual food. The second is drinking, which could include physical liquid or else the ‘liquid’ of Mercy experiences. The third involves clothing the body. We have interpreted clothing as the fabric of social interaction. Looking at these three cognitively, what will I feed Teacher thought, what will provide experiences for Mercy thought, and how will I ‘clothe’ personal identity as I go through life?

Notice how these three needs pull people in different directions in today’s specialized society. Education and academia feed the mind with intellectual food, but most of this food is specialized information that has little to do with personal experiences or social interaction. Separated from objective understanding is the subjective realm of personal experiences. Somehow I have to find meaningful experiences for myself within Mercy thought, and I probably will not find this personal meaning in any technical specialization. Separated from these two is the third realm of social interaction. Not only do I have to feed my mind, not only to have to find meaningful personal experiences, but I also need social interaction. And when one is interacting socially, one usually avoids talking about either work or personal matters.

Verse 25 then asks, “Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Life is psyche (or soul), which refers to the integrated mind. Food means ‘nourishment, food’. Looking at this physically, staying alive is more fundamental than eating a meal. Looking at this cognitively, having an integrated mind is more fundamental than intellectual food. Moving to the second question, body is soma, which is used either for the physical body or for the metaphysical ‘body of Christ’. Clothing means ‘apparel, especially the outer robe’. Looking at this literally, my physical body is more fundamental than the clothing that I put upon this body. Looking at this cognitively, staying alive in the physical world is more fundamental than interacting with people in the physical world. The problem with technical specializations is that they deal with the peripherals while ignoring the essentials. They focus upon intellectual food while ignoring the integrated mind that is required to digest that food. They focus upon social interaction while ignoring the people that are having social interaction. For instance, I mentioned earlier that many researchers in the social sciences treat social interaction as more fundamental than the people who are having the social interaction.

Verse 26 then turns to the ‘air’ of Teacher thought. “Look at the birds of the heaven, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Many poetic sermons have expounded upon this text, but I suggest that one can also analyze the words from a more technical viewpoint.

The word bird literally means ‘winged’. Thus, ‘birds of the heaven’ emphasizes winging one’s way through the ‘heaven’ of Teacher thought. Sowing and reaping both happen within the concrete realm of cause-and-effect. In fact, concrete technical thought is based upon principles of cause-and-effect. Sowing-and-reaping adds mental networks of life to the cause-and-effect of concrete technical thought. The abstract thinking of ‘birds of the heaven’ is different than the sowing-and-reaping of concrete existence. Cause-and-effect focuses upon the specific Mercy results of performing Server actions within concrete thought, whereas abstract thinking compares many specific situations to come up with general patterns. Using the language of physics, science may start with concrete observations of cause-and-effect, but it then moves beyond this to enter the abstract realm of mathematical equations and general laws, and when one makes this transition, one leaves cause-and-effect. Using mathematical language, there is no longer an arrow of time.

Gather means ‘to lead together, bring together’. And a barn is ‘a place for putting away’. When one makes a transition from concrete to abstract thought one gathers evidence; one takes many pieces of information and brings them together, either by repeating experiments, or by performing some form of statistical analysis. However, once one enters abstract thought, then this idea of gathering evidence tends to be thrown out. Einstein, for example, based many of his theoretical breakthroughs in thought experiments, imaginary experiments that were not actually carried out in real life. Wikipedia explains that “As opposed to physical experiments, thought experiments do not report new empirical data. They can only provide conclusions based on deductive or inductive reasoning from their starting assumptions.” In other words, there is no gathering together of data. One of the most famous thought experiments of quantum mechanics is Schrödinger’s cat. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “The experiment as described is a purely theoretical one, and the machine proposed is not known to have been constructed.”

Verse 26 then points out, ‘and yet your heavenly Father feeds them’. The word feed means to ‘enlarge, fully develop because adequately nourished’. This refers to one of the great mysteries of science. For some reason, one can make scientific progress either by looking for natural cause-and-effect and gathering data, or by performing mathematical analysis guided by Teacher emotion. For some reason, the birds of the air continue to be fed, even though they do not sow or reap, and they do not gather into barns.

Verse 26 concludes by asking, “Are you not worth much more than they?” The word worth actually means ‘distinguishing what differs’, which implies ‘to distinguish fully to show what is better’. This is an interesting term because it describes the fundamental processing of abstract thought. Concrete technical thought is based upon cause-and-effect. Abstract technical thought is based upon precise definitions. One makes a definition more precise by ‘distinguishing what differs’. In other words, Jesus is pointing out that those who pursue life in an integrated manner are actually using abstract technical thought more effectively than those who specialize in using abstract technical thought. That is because having an integrated mind that is capable of distinguishing what differs is more fundamental than using rigorous technical thought to distinguish what differs. Using an analogy, having good eyesight is more fundamental than having a good camera.

Transcending Technical Thought 6:27-34

Verse 27 adds, “And who of you by being worried can add a single cubit to his life? Worried is the familiar word which means ‘drawn in opposite directions’, while add means to ‘put together for a purpose; to gather or add up’. As a footnote in the NASB points out, the word that is sometimes translated hour actually means ‘a cubit... the distance from the elbow to the end of the fingers’. The word life means ‘maturity… the end-stage of a full lifespan’.

This phrase does not make sense literally, which explains why ‘cubit’ is often translated as ‘hour’. This leads to the interpretation that there is no point in worrying about situations over which one has no control. And that is a valid interpretation.

Looking at this verse symbolically, the hands are used for detailed manipulation, and thus would represent technical thought. Verse 27 is pointing out that one cannot add to the reach of a fully developed technical specialization by using specialization. Instead, if one wants to increase the reach of some technical specialization, then one has to leave the subdividing of technical thought and use some other mental strategy, such as the analogies of normal thought. Saying this another way, one cannot use technical thought to come up with a universal theory, because technical thought by its very nature is limited to some specific specialization. Mental symmetry instead uses the analogies of normal thought in a semi-rigorous manner to build connections between one technical specialization and another, and to integrate technical thought with mental networks.

The next verses turn to clothing: “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin” (v.28). ‘Worried about clothing’ would mean getting pulled apart mentally about social interaction. Cognitively speaking, one is using technical thought to analyze the mental networks of social interaction. The word observe is used once in the New Testament and combines ‘down to a point, exactly according to’ with ‘learning key facts’. This describes using rigorous thought to analyze fundamentals. Lilies are mentioned only twice in the New Testament, here and in the parallel passage in Luke 12. A field is ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’. Labor means ‘exhausting labor’. Spin is found only here and in the parallel passage in Luke and means ‘to spin’.

Putting this all together, a field that grows crops would represent mental networks of life emerging out of the ground of rational thought. A lily is presumably a beautiful flower. We saw earlier that beauty is an expression of Teacher emotion. If one analyzes such beauty, one observes that it is not a matter of ‘exhausting labor’. Instead, true beauty is effortless. And it does not spin itself into threads of social convention. Instead, it emerges spontaneously.

Verse 29 continues this comparison: “yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.” The name Solomon means ‘his peace’ and peace describes wholeness or integration. Solomon was known for his wisdom, and the Greek word wisdom actually means ‘clarity’. Glory is the external representation of internal character. Thus, the glory of Solomon would mean a lifestyle that expresses deep wisdom. The word clothed means ‘to throw around, put on’. (In contrast, the word clothe used previously has ‘the sense of sinking into a garment’.) This conveys the idea of using wisdom in a spontaneous manner. Verse 29 says that spontaneous beauty is more attractive than careful wisdom, even when wisdom is used in a spontaneous manner. This does not mean that wisdom is bad. Instead, it means that one must go beyond being a technical student of wisdom to expressing the principles of wisdom in an intuitive manner. One must let go of technical thinking in order to be guided emotionally by the mental networks that have grown out of the technical learning. This mental transition from technical student to expert can be seen in any skill, but is especially obvious in the arts.

One also sees again the limitations of technical thought. For instance, one can see this distinction in astroturfing, which Wikipedia explains “is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message or organization (e.g., political, advertising, religious or public relations) to make it appear as though it originates from and is supported by grassroots participants.” Using the language of Matthew, astroturfing could be described as attempting to make the wisdom of Solomon look like a lily of the field, disguising deliberate action that is guided by the social research of ‘Solomon’ to make it appear as if it is the spontaneous societal response of ‘the lilies of the field’.

Verse 30 continues, “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” The original Greek starts by describing the impermanence of grass. Grass means ‘a feeding place, food, grass’, while a field is ‘a field, especially as bearing a crop’. The word alive means to exist. The grass exists today, and thrown into the furnace tomorrow. Furnace is found twice in the New Testament, here and in the parallel passage in Luke, and actually means ‘an earthen vessel for baking bread’. Thus, the focus is not upon burning something up, but rather upon baking bread from crops. This crop that is destined to make bread is being clothed by God. The word clothe is only found four times in the New Testament and means ‘to put around’.

Putting this together, social convention is ephemeral. It exists today and is studied tomorrow. And the very process of analyzing social convention and turning it into the bread of knowledge burns it up so that it ceases to exist. But what is causing this social convention to emerge in the first place? God in Teacher thought is causing various mental networks to coincide, which is ‘putting around’ the clothing of social convention upon the temporary ‘grass of the field’. Thus, using technical thought to analyze social trends will always be one step behind, and this technical analysis will inevitably end up destroying the social trend that it is attempting to analyze.

The final phrase of verse 30 has only five words in the original Greek: ‘Not much more you, of-little-faith?’ More ‘is a comparative adverb so it refers to what is better as compared to what is merely good’. Of little faith combines ‘little a number, low in quantity’ with ‘be persuaded’. In other words, if God in Teacher thought is guiding ephemeral social trends that emerge spontaneously, then surely he will guide people who have inadequate rational Teacher understanding.

Verse 31 then returns to the three categories mentioned in verse 25: “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’” Then means ‘therefore, now then, accordingly, so’, which indicates that verse 31 is a conclusion based upon the previous verses. Eat and drink are the same Greek words used back in verse 25, while wear is the ‘to throw around’ used to describe the clothes of Solomon. In other words, Jesus is saying that one should not be mentally fragmented, because in each of these three cases, one achieves better results by letting go of the fragmented specializations of technical thought.

Verse 32 then compares two mindsets: “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Gentiles means ‘forming a custom, culture’, which refers to MMNs of culture. Eagerly seek means ‘seek after, desire, search for’. This is the second time that this version of know is used in Matthew, which means ‘seeing that becomes knowing’. It was first used back in verse 8 to describe the knowing of the Father. In both cases, the idea is that a concept of God in Teacher thought looks beyond the specific empirical facts to how they fit together. This idea of God ‘causing all things to work together for good to those who love God’ is also found in Romans 8:28. Finally, the verb need is only used once in Matthew and comes from another verb that means ‘it is necessary, proper, fitting’.

Putting this all together, one mindset is driven by MMNs of culture to seek after knowledge, personal experience, and social interaction. The other mindset recognizes that an integrated concept of God in Teacher thought feels good when all the elements that are necessary for personal existence fit together in the proper way. (When I refer to a concept of God, I am not suggesting that such a God does not really exist. The very fact that we are able to analyze a 2000-year-old book in such a technical manner provides strong evidence that the Bible has a supernatural author. But even if such a God really exists, the access that I have personally to such a God depends upon my concept of God.)

Verse 33 concludes, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This verse is often quoted out of context, but it comes at the end of two long chapters of cognitive development. The word seek is the same verb to describe what the Gentiles are doing in verse 32. Thus, one is still searching diligently after some lifestyle. And first means ‘before, at the beginning’. In other words, one is not using a mindset of absolute truth to suppress MMNs of identity and culture. Instead, one is recognizing that the kingdom and righteousness of God in Teacher thought come before identity and culture in Mercy thought. One starts by constructing and following the TMN of a concept of God before placing MMNs of identity and culture within this structure. Saying this another way, one should recognize that Mercy thought is an emergent property and not the fundamental building block of personal existence.

One might think that the behavior of the typical Mercy person contradicts this principle. That is because the Mercy person often appears to have an integrated personal and social life despite lacking Teacher understanding. However, it is important to distinguish between conscious thought and mental development. A Mercy person can use conscious control of Mercy thought to keep Mercy thought functioning even when it is partially fragmented. Using an extreme example, my Mercy brother who has schizophrenia was capable of behaving fairly normally in front of visitors for a while. But when they left, then he would stop using conscious thought to try to look good in front of others, and his underlying mental fragmentation would become apparent.

The word add was seen back in verse 27 and means ‘to gather, add up’. We have just examined how one cannot come up with an integrated solution by using a mental strategy that separates and divides. If one wishes to have an integrated solution, one must start with a mental strategy that thinks in terms of integrated solutions. And one must also think in terms of the processes and paths of righteousness rather than the static facts of doctrine and belief.

Verse 34 is the final verse of the chapter: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Sufficient for the day is its evils.” Worry is used twice in this verse and means ‘drawn in opposite directions’. This verse makes sense if one recognizes that the dividing of technical thought is always limited to some context. ‘Do not worry about tomorrow’ means do not apply the technical thinking that is appropriate today to a different context. Tomorrow will be a different context with its own technical thought that has its own dividing and fragmenting. Today and tomorrow could refer to literal days, and it makes sense to focus upon today’s problems, but one does not usually have a paradigm shift every day. However, the word day means ‘the period from sunrise to sunset’, and we will be interpreting this symbolically as the period of time that is ruled by the ‘sun’ of some general theory. Thus, it does not make sense to apply the technical thinking under the current ‘sun’ to another period of time that is enlightened by the ‘sun’ of a different general theory.

This word evil is used once as a noun in Matthew and means ‘the underlying principle of evil (inherent evil)’. In other words, every system has inherent evil within it that is struggling to get out; every system has its own potential shortcuts. Do not try to solve the potential shortcomings of every system. Instead, focus upon dealing with the potential shortcomings of the current system. That is enough.

Judging 7:1-6

Chapter 7 starts by talking about judging. “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by what measure you measure, it will be measured to you” (v.1-2). This is normally interpreted as a warning against judging people. And this interpretation is backed up by the number of times that the pronoun ‘you’ appears in English translation. But the first four of the five personal pronouns in the NASB (and in the KJV) are not in the original Greek. Instead, the personal pronoun is implied by the conjugation of the verb. (The Greek will sometimes add an explicit personal pronoun for emphasis, but normally it is implied by how the verb is conjugated.) This means that the focus is not upon people, but rather upon the mindset of judging, which occurs five times, and the mindset of measuring, which is used three times.

We saw earlier that the verb judge actually means ‘to pick out or choose by separating’. And judgment is the noun form of the verb ‘judge’. Thus, the second sentence is more accurately ‘in the realm of which judgment is judged, will be judged’. ‘To pick out or choose by separating’ describes an essential element of abstract technical thought. Thus, these two verses are really warning against the spread of abstract technical thought—as applied to people. I add ‘to people’ because the word ‘judge’ has a legal context. One is not just using abstract technical thought. Instead, one is using abstract technical thought in a legal context to control the destinies of people. However, the lack of pronouns in these verses means that the emphasis is not upon judging people, but rather, upon judging people. This is consistent with the context, because the previous section looked at the challenge of trying to move personally beyond the limitations of technical thought.

Verse 1 says that one should not start using technical thought to control people, because this will lead to being controlled by technical thought. Abstract technical thought uses mathematics and rigorous logic. One needs to use mathematics and rigorous logic to control the physical world. But this is different than placing people with their mental networks into a framework of mathematics and rigorous logic, because that turns a person into a cog in the machine. If one wants to know what that feels like, one simply has to observe current Western civilization. The process starts by objectifying others. Some clever person decides that some area of human activity can be optimized (or improved) by subjecting this field to rigorous analysis. The dehumanizing effect will not be felt by the people who start the judging. But it will start a trend as others try to catch up or get ahead by rationalizing other aspects of personal existence. Eventually what goes around will come around, and those who started applying the rigorous thinking to other people will experience themselves what it means to be treated as objects.

Verse 2 gives the impression that whenever judgment starts in some field, it will spread to the rest of that field: ‘in the realm of which judgment is judged, will be judged’. That is because abstract technical thought is driven by Teacher emotions, and Teacher emotions come from generality. Thus, introducing abstract technical thought to some area will cause people who experience this abstract technical thought to be driven by Teacher emotion to extend its realm of application. Using a well-known saying, the bureaucracy will expand to meet the growing needs of the expanding bureaucracy. Notice that this growth has nothing to do with meeting personal Mercy emotions. The abstract technical thought will spread for its own sake, driven by Teacher emotion, whether this abstract technical thought actually helps people or not.

Verse 2 is typically interpreted as a warning that others will judge me by the standards that I judge others. And that is a valid interpretation. But I suggest that verse 2 goes beyond this to the general concept of quantification. Quantification turns observations into numbers. And numbers make it possible to use abstract technical thought. This quantification can be seen in the second half of verse 2, which says more literally ‘in the realm of whatever measure measured, will be measured to you’. The noun measure means ‘a measure, whether lineal or cubic; a measuring rod’. The verb measure is derived from the noun. Thus, the word ‘measure’ actually occurs three times in this one verse, and it is only used one other time in Matthew in 23:32. As with judging, measuring will start by using quantification upon others. Turning a person into a number is not a problem for me as long as it is the other person who becomes the number while I remain a human. But whenever quantification enters some realm, then people within that realm will be driven by Teacher emotion to extend this quantification to more aspects of this realm. Eventually, the personal pronoun will reappear—as the object of quantification. Everyone who used quantification will discover that they have won the battle but have lost the war. They may have improved some objective set of measurements, but they have also managed to dehumanize people by turning them into numbers.

Again, I need to emphasize that it is appropriate to use abstract technical thought with its numbers to analyze natural processes. That describes the basis of science. It is also appropriate to use abstract technical thought to help people by quantifying some aspect of human existence. The problem arises with judgment—squeezing people into some limited framework of abstract technical thought, and with quantification—shoving mental networks into some framework of numbers. Mental symmetry shows that an alternative exists, because one can use what I call normal thought to place both technical thought and mental networks into a semi-rigorous framework of analogies and patterns. Mental symmetry can explain how the mind uses abstract technical thought with its mathematics, logic, and numbers, but mental symmetry does not place people within a framework of math, logic, and numbers. That is one of the reasons why scientific research does not appreciate the theory of mental symmetry. It prejudges it as invalid because it does not measure anything; it does not use statistical analysis to assign numbers to personal behavior.

Saying this more carefully, one needs to distinguish between categorizing and assigning numbers. Mental symmetry categorizes people by placing them into seven different ‘boxes’. More generally, it places human behavior within a cognitive map of categories and classifications. Categories and boxes are a critical aspect of normal thought. But the categories of normal thought are flexible; they can stretch and twist to adjust to living mental networks. For instance, I am a Perceiver person. That is my category; I live within that box. But I keep discovering new aspects of what it means to be a Perceiver person. A number, in contrast, is rigid. Numbers do not flex or adjust. Going further, a category is multidimensional. For instance, the category of Perceiver person includes many different facets of personal identity. a number, in contrast, is one-dimensional. This inflexible, one-dimensional nature of quantifying people is reflected in the word bean counter, which is defined as ‘A person, such as an accountant or financial officer, who is concerned with quantification, especially to the exclusion of other matters’.

Saying this more technically, it appears that Contributor-controlled technical thought is only capable of thinking in terms of straight-line segments—which implies the use of one-dimensional numbers. The one-dimensional numbers of mathematics can interact with the messy world of real life and mental networks in one of two primary ways. The easy way is to try to squeeze the messy world of living and breathing reality into the rigid measurement of straight lines and numbers. Matthew 7 is warning against that approach. The harder way is to take the approach of calculus, in which one recognizes that one-dimensional numbers can be used to analyze specific aspects of messy reality but can only give approximate results when applied to reality in a more general manner. (This relates to the idea of infinitesimals.) In the first case, mental networks become the slave of numbers; in the second case, numbers are the servant of mental networks.

The next three verses then continue with what is typically regarded as an exaggerated analogy. Verse 3 begins: “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” This is usually interpreted to mean that one should deal with one’s own problems before attempting to address the problems of others. And that is a valid interpretation. But I suggest that one can go further. The two words ‘speck’ and ‘log’ are both used three times in these verses, as well as three times in the parallel passage in Luke 6. This is the only time that these two words are used in the New Testament. A speck is ‘a small dry stalk’, while a log is ‘a beam of timber, a log on which planks in the house rest’. The log is in the eye of the person doing the looking, while the speck is in the eye of the person being observed.

Notice that the size of the piece of wood may depend solely upon the perspective. One might be dealing with two samples of the same piece of wood, which appears small when seen in the eye of another person, but looms to cover much of the visual field within the eye of the person doing the observing. This means that everyone is committing the same crime. The crime is not being perpetrated by some strange person with an unusual case of mental blindness. Instead, everyone is guilty; everyone is attempting to look past the log in their eye in order to deal with the speck in their neighbor’s eye.

Moving further, what exactly is a log? It started out as the trunk of a living tree. It was then cut down in order to be used as the foundation beam of a house. The mind uses mental networks to represent living items. A tree is alive, but it is large and does not move. This would represent fundamental mental networks of society—the mental networks that provide the basis for some culture or group. One of the characteristics of technical thought is that it is always based upon a non-rigorous set of assumptions. Technical thought uses rigorous logic guided by precise definitions, but this rigorous thought always starts with a set of assumptions which cannot be proven by using rigorous logic. However, those who are using rigorous logic usually do not realize that their thinking is based upon a set of assumptions. That is because these initial assumptions are usually chosen implicitly by cutting down some tree of society, trimming the log to make it rigid and one-dimensional, and then using the resulting solid beam as a basis for building an entire house of logic. Going further, the technical specialist will interpret the world in the light of his paradigm; he will see his environment through a certain set of glasses; using the language of Matthew, he will look at others using eyes with a certain set of beams embedded in these eyes.

Thomas Kuhn pointed out that a new paradigm will always be evaluated in the light of some existing paradigm. He also pointed out that different paradigms treat different concepts as fundamental. That is because Teacher thought comes up with general theories by focusing upon specific elements and magnifying them into universal principles. For instance, Einstein took the specific principle that light moves at a constant speed in a vacuum and magnified this into a universal principle that applies to all of space and time. Before Einstein’s theory of special relativity, the speed of light was merely a ‘small dry stalk’ of information. After Einstein, it became magnified into a ‘beam’ through which all of reality was viewed. Saying this more generally, the fundamental ‘beam’ of one paradigm will be viewed as merely a ‘small dry stalk’ by another paradigm. I experience this continually when sharing mental symmetry with others, because I will describe what I regard as a fundamental principle, and the the listener will respond by treating it as an inconsequential detail.

Verse 3 talks about looking at the speck, and looking means ‘to see, be observant’. This describes how technical thought regards data. In contrast, verse 3 says that the log is not being noticed, and notice combines ‘exactly according to’ with ‘to think’. In other words, verse 3 is pointing out that technical thought is not applying rigorous thought to its own assumptions.

Moving on to verse 4, “Or how will you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” Let me means ‘to send away, leave alone, permit’. Take out means ‘throw, cast, put out’. Thus, the person using some system of rigorous logic is looking at the assumptions of some other system of logic and saying, ‘Let me help you by getting rid of your biases’. Getting rid of someone else’s fundamental biases is always easy because my system of thought is not based upon the assumptions of others. Jesus points out this fallacy, which one could paraphrase as: ‘Behold! You are also viewing the world with a set of fundamental assumptions.’ For instance, it is easy for me as a North American to see the shortcomings of African society—and vice versa. It is much harder for a North American to see the flaws of North American society, or for an African to see the weaknesses of African society.

Verse 5 clarifies the hypocrisy. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” A hypocrite is an actor who pretends to be one thing while really being another. Abstract technical thought pretends to be purely rational but its rigorous logic is actually driven emotionally by the TMN of a paradigm in Teacher thought. This emotional foundation becomes apparent whenever the paradigm is threatened or attacked, because the dispassionate logic will be immediately replaced by sarcasm, emotional belittling, or some other form of emotional attack.

The word see clearly is only used three times in the New Testament: here, in the parallel passage in Luke 6, and once more in Mark 8:25. It combines ‘through, thoroughly’ with the verb ‘see’ that was used in verse 3 to talk about looking at the speck in the other person’s eye. In other words, eliminating the beam in one’s own eye will make it possible to see the situation thoroughly and clearly, making it possible to eliminate the speck in the other person’s eye. This is not something that one can choose to do, because one is always looking at some other paradigm through one’s current paradigm; one is always evaluating another set of glasses by looking through a set of glasses. What is required is a concept of God in Teacher thought that transcends and integrates technical specializations—which was the topic of the previous section. Saying this another way, in order to go beyond dueling technical paradigms, one needs a meta-theory within which one can place these various technical paradigms. The end of chapter 6 described the process of acquiring such a meta-theory.

Verse 6 seems at first glance to change the subject completely: “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” However, I suggest that this analogy is actually addressing the topic of attempting to eliminate the beam in one’s brother’s eye.

in order to understand this suggestion some cognitive background is required. I have mentioned that every technical system is based in a set of assumptions. These assumptions usually come from core mental networks. What typically happens is that some technical system will emerge based upon assumptions of the current society. Over time, the technical system will develop and the core mental networks of surrounding society will change. Eventually, the mental networks of society will shift enough to make it emotionally possible for researchers within a field to use rigorous logic to analyze the assumptions upon which their technical field was founded. They will then discover to their horror that their rigorous edifice was built upon a non-rigorous foundation. This realization often causes a field to self-destruct. However, a field can survive such a crisis if it is a sufficiently hard science that is held together by the TMN of an integrated theory and not just a school of thought based in MMNs of personal expertise. I should emphasize that this kind of retroactive analysis will not necessarily lead to self-awareness. Those who use technical thought to analyze the assumptions of their field may also have a ‘beam in their eye;’ of which they are unaware. But it is a different beam based upon the assumptions of current society, making it possible to see the beam that was in the eye of the founders of that discipline.

Now suppose that one specialization attempts to address the underlying assumptions of another specialization. As I mentioned earlier, it is easy for me to analyze the core mental networks of another person or society if I do not share those core mental networks. It also permissible and possible to analyze the core mental networks of some specialization if the societal foundation of that specialization experiences significant change. But suppose that one attempts to analyze the core mental networks of some specialization that has not experienced self-discovery. This analysis will trigger strong emotions in the person or group being analyzed.

Verse 6 describes two kinds of core mental networks that might be triggered in the person or group being analyzed. The first phrase says ‘do not give what is holy to dogs’. Holy means ‘set apart and therefore different’. A dog is ‘literally, a dog, scavenging canine; (figuratively) a spiritual predator who feeds off others’. ‘Dog’ is mentioned five times in the New Testament, always in a derogatory sense. 2 Peter 2:22 gives the proverb of ‘a dog returns to its own vomit’. The idea there is that one will return to unpleasant mental networks because they are familiar. This suggests that giving what is holy to dogs would be like feeding vomit to someone on fine bone china. The beauty of the china will make obvious the disgusting nature of the vomit, leading to a strong desire to desecrate the china so that it matches the vomit.

For instance, the cognitive science of religion takes religious feelings about God and heavenly perfection and interprets them in terms of proto-human savages fleeing predators. That is an example of desecrating the ‘elegant tableware’ of religion to match the ‘vomit’ of animal survival. Saying this more generally, the cognitive science of religion replaces an uplifting concept of God with the degrading theory of evolution. Instead of viewing religion as an attempt to become more like God in character, religion is interpreted as a mistaken cognitive leftover of surviving as a savage in the jungle. (The cognitive science of religion does more than this, but this is a core aspect of reasoning within this specialization.)

The second phrase is longer: “Do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Dogs and holiness involve the emotional mismatch of attempting to juxtapose very good Mercy experiences with very bad Mercy experiences. Pearls and swine involve the relationship between Perceiver thought and Mercy thought. A pearl is something beautiful that is generated by a sea organism in response to some irritation. Looking at this cognitively, a pearl is a valuable mental network of character that emerges in response to suffering. A pig, like a dog, was considered an unclean animal. Pigs are also mentioned in 2 Peter 2:22 (The Greek word is different, but both words refer to pigs.) The proverb mentioned there is that ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire’. Pigs love to wallow in the mud, for temperature control and to get relief from parasites. Mud (or mire) has the characteristic of being neither liquid nor solid. It is neither a solid Perceiver object, nor liquid Mercy experiences. Cognitively speaking, this describes a mindset of situational ethics in which the bottom line is keeping personal identity happy. Such a mindset would never think of sticking with a painful situation and learning lessons from this situation.

The first response is to trample the pearl. Trample means to ‘trample underfoot’. When I step on something, I am asserting that my personal identity is above that situation. Thus, personal status will be used to step on the valuable experience. The very idea of learning lessons from hardship will be personally rejected as insulting. The second response will be to ‘turn and tear you to pieces’. Tear to pieces means ‘to break apart’. The core attribute of mud is that it is not solid. It can be molded to suit the needs of the moment. A person with a solid character is solid, and this stability challenges the concept of wallowing in mud. Therefore, some hidden flaw must be uncovered in the person who learns from suffering which demonstrates that he too is a hypocrite who only pretends to submit to the law when it is personally convenient.

Integrating Technical Specializations 7:7-12

The next section also seems to change the subject. But I suggest that it describes the process of attempting to go beyond technical specializations with their implicit eye-beams. Verse 7 is quite familiar: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” The core aspect of asking and being given is that one is behaving politely within a system. Mental networks of personal identity are not attempting to impose themselves upon each other in order to set up some pecking order. Instead, one approaches other people in a manner that gives them the right to exist and to behave freely. This may sound obvious, but the previous verse has just talked about people responding in an adversarial manner when their core mental networks are threatened. I suggested earlier that the third stage of personal transformation involves becoming reborn within a structure held together by Teacher thought. One of the characteristics of this rebirth is that MMNs of identity and culture no longer rub up directly against one another. Instead, people and culture are all placed within a mental map of character development, and when one needs help, one asks for help from someone who has the appropriate expertise. Using an analogy, one no longer robs a bystander in order to get what one needs. Instead, one can walk peacefully through town, enter the appropriate shop, and ask for the needed service.

Seek means ‘to seek by inquiring’. Similarly, find means ‘learn, discover, especially after searching’. In other words, the answer will come, but it will not come immediately. This illustrates another principle of living within a mental map of character development, which is that movement has a cost. One cannot teleport instantly from one state of mental maturity to another. Instead, one has to pay some sort of price in order to make progress. For instance, have found in my research that answers do come when I seek, but they only come when I really need an answer.

Knocking conveys the impression of respecting ownership. One does not just barge into someone else’s house or break down the door. Instead, one knocks. Knocking is followed by opening the door. In other words, when one encounters a solid barrier, one assumes that a mental network is present on the other side of the barrier, that it is possible to get the attention of that other mental network, and that the other mental network will be willing to open the door. For instance, I have found over the years that I keep learning from unexpected sources. I will discover some new concept, want to explore this concept, and find my progress blocked. I will then realize that some strange group, often one with whom I would never normally interact, has already explored this concept. I can then make further progress if I treat myself as a guest to the strange group without attempting to impose my mental networks upon the interaction. Verse 8 says that this methodology will work: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

This verse does not say that one will be personally welcomed by the person or group on the other side of the door. Similarly, I have found that attempts to interact personally with strange groups will usually be rebuffed. However, even if it is not possible to interact directly with any people in this group, one can still take an attitude of knocking, and this group will usually have enough written material to make it possible to learn what is necessary from that group.

Notice how asking, seeking, and knocking relate to the idea of integrating various technical specializations. One asks because one lacks knowledge; one is going to another technical specialization for help. But one does so in a manner that respects the existence of the other technical specialization. Similarly, seeking assumes that acquiring an answer means going outside of the comfort zone of my current culture and/or specialization. And when one is knocking, one is recognizing the existence of another specialization and asking to enter the realm of that specialization as a guest. I think that academia has learned these lessons to a greater extent than religion.

Jesus then gives two more analogies. Verse 9 asks, “What man is there among you whom his son will ask for a loaf, he will not give him a stone, will he?” The same two words of ‘stone’ and ‘bread’ appeared in the first temptation of Jesus, but in that case, Jesus was being tempted to turn stones into bread. Jesus needed stones to provide rocks of absolute truth for Perceiver thought. This passage is talking about something different, which is moving beyond an objective system of laws and procedures to an integrated map of personal interaction. The chapter began with people being placed within technical systems and being treated as numbers—in a judicial manner that does not care about personal opinion. This is going the opposite way. A son is asking for a loaf of intellectual food and hoping that he will not receive a stone of solid truth.

Verse 10 continues, “Or also will ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?” A fish lives in the water of Mercy experiences. A snake represents the mindset of mysticism, which jams personal identification in Mercy thought together with Teacher overgeneralization. Looking at this cognitively, if one lives intuitively within this new Mercy environment, will one encounter mysticism? This is a meaningful analogy, because when stones get turned to bread, then fish tend to turn into snakes. Saying this another way, when solid Perceiver facts get questioned, then this gives Teacher thought the freedom to overgeneralize, which leads to the discovery of mysticism. One can see this progression in the way that postmodern questioning has embraced meditative spirituality.

One of the key elements that prevent fish from turning into snakes is asking, seeking, and knocking. Postmodern deconstructionism does not ask, it demands. It does not seek, but rather makes snap judgments based upon surface appearance. And it does not knock, but rather screams at the inhabitants while attempting to batter down the door. This abrasive attitude removes any fabric of society that is held together by Teacher principles of law-and-order and brings MMNs of culture and personal status into direct contact with one another.

Verse 11 concludes, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” I have always read the ‘if’ in this verse as a ‘since’. In other words, I have assumed that humans do know how to give good gifts to their children. But the word if ‘should not be translated ‘since,’ but rather always ‘if’ – since the assumption may only be portrayed as valid’. Thus, the second part of this sentence is true to the extent that the first part is true. And the first part is not necessarily true. Evil means ‘pain-ridden’, which describes living within a world of unpleasant and hostile Mercy experiences. Good is used twice in this verse and describes what is ‘intrinsically good, good in nature’. A child is ‘anyone living in full dependence’. Putting this together, one satisfies the ‘if’ of this verse by giving what is intrinsically good to those who depend upon us, even though we live in a world that is full of sin and suffering.

If one does this, then one will find the second half also happening: one will discover that God in Teacher thought will give intrinsic goodness to those who ask him. This relates to the principle mentioned in chapter 6 that God will forgive us the way that we forgive others. Teacher thought does not function out of the blue. Instead, personal behavior creates a starting point upon which Teacher thought can generalize. When I give intrinsic goodness to vulnerable people even though I live in an unpleasant environment, I am creating a starting point for Teacher thought, because I am choosing to be guided by Platonic forms rather than MMNs of culture. Teacher thought can then generalize from my starting point, leading to a ‘how much more’.

I should add that giving intrinsic goodness is not necessarily the same as giving what is attractively good. Intrinsic goodness focuses upon underlying motivations, character development, and lasting improvement. Attractive goodness focuses upon appearance, surface need, and the immediate situation. Thus, giving intrinsic goodness to the vulnerable who are under my care may in the short term mean treating them in a manner that is not attractively good. Going the other way, the absence of attractive goodness does not imply the presence of intrinsic goodness. In other words, there is no intrinsic benefit in suffering. Instead, intrinsic goodness aims for long-term personal benefits and then seeks to reach this goal in the best manner possible.

We talked earlier about righteousness, and I suggested that a mental network will take ownership of behavior that it motivates. One is dealing here with a similar principle, which I refer to as the principle of existence. If I choose to do what is intrinsically good, simply because a concept of intrinsic goodness exists within my own mind, even when I cannot see any of this intrinsic goodness in my environment, then Teacher thought will connect my personal identity with Platonic forms of intrinsic goodness. Notice that one is asking God for intrinsic goodness. This section has been talking about asking. Verse 11 describes a very powerful form of asking God. One asks God by acting as if some general principle is true, because Teacher thought thinks in terms of general principles, and Teacher thought is affected by Server actions.

This may seem like a strange interpretation. But I know from personal experience that it is valid, and it also leads directly to the Golden Rule mentioned in verse 12. “In everything, therefore, you, too do so for them the same way you want people to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (As usual, I am using the literal translation given in the footnotes.) Do is mentioned twice in this verse, which means ‘to make, do’. Thus, the emphasis is upon performing Server actions. One is not doing Server actions in order to reach some specific goal in Mercy thought, but rather to create a pattern for Teacher thought. The first part of verse 12 is more literally, ‘all things therefore as many as, if you might desire that should do to you the men...’ In other words, if you want to live within a certain general pattern of behavior, then ‘so also you do to them’. And so means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Thus, one is establishing a general pattern of behavior by choosing to behave in a certain manner. Consistent with this, verse 11 describes behaving in a certain manner in order to ask God to expand this into a universal principle in Teacher thought.

Verse 12 summarizes that ‘this is the law and the prophets’. Law refers to ‘any system of religious thinking’. The prophets would refer to the content of revealed truth. Thus, Jesus is describing a system that is capable of moving beyond the legalism of technical specialization and the blind faith of fundamentalism without destroying either of them. For instance, mental symmetry began as a study of intrinsic goodness. My brother and I analyzed the seven cognitive styles and came to the conclusion that each cognitive style is conscious in one cognitive module and will naturally use and develop that cognitive module. I then started to ask if it was possible for all seven cognitive styles to function together in harmony. This is a definition of intrinsic goodness, because each cognitive module will provide its own reward when it is functioning effectively. I eventually discovered that buried within this question was the law and the prophets. One could use the intrinsic goodness of mental wholeness to analyze the technical thinking of law and science, and one can also use mental wholeness to analyze the revealed truth of the Bible. But discovering this relationship required a lot of asking God by choosing to follow the intrinsic goodness of mental wholeness in an environment that was pain-ridden with personal and societal fragmentation.

The Narrowness of Technical Specializations 7:13-14

Verses 13-14 describe what it means to follow such a path: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” This verse is normally quoted in the context of being a Christian versus being a non-Christian. (And there is a well-known German picture associated with this interpretation.) There may be something to this interpretation, especially if being a Christian requires paying some sort of personal cost, but we are looking here at a new way of functioning that goes beyond absolute truth and technical thought, and not one that follows God using a mindset of absolute truth to deny self with its ‘secular’ pleasures. These verses do not say anything about suffering or denying self, but they do talk about following a narrow path with few options, and they also say that this will be a lonely path.

Looking at this in more detail, a gate is ‘a large door; an entrance-gate to a city or fortress’. The word narrow means ‘narrow’ and is only used three times in the New Testament. A narrow gate implies that one starts by choosing to be restricted. One is not choosing to suffer, but one is choosing to enter a lifestyle in which one will not have many options. A large door followed by a way means that one is making a transition and then following a path. One could compare this to school, in which one enrolls in order to start out on a path of taking a series of classes.

The two alternatives are then contrasted. Wide is found once in the New Testament and means ‘broad, wide’. Broad is also found once in the New Testament and combines ‘broad, wide’ with a ‘wide-open area’. Way means ‘way, road, journey, path’. Putting these together, the emphasis is upon freedom. The broad way may not be that much more pleasant, but it definitely feels unrestricted. And it is also popular. However, the end is unpleasant. Leads means ‘to lead away’. Destruction ‘does not imply annihilation but instead loss of well-being’. Thus, one ends up personally inferior. One of the primary reasons is that going along with the crowd does not require the development of Perceiver and Server confidence, because one merely has to be drawn along by MMNs of culture and societal approval. It also does not take much confidence to follow a broad path. This is like driving in the prairies. The land is so flat that one will not have an accident even if one drifts off the road. This is quite different than traveling along a narrow road in the mountains.

In contrast, the narrow gate leads to tribulation. A more literal translation of verse 14 is ‘for narrow is the gate and tribulated the way...’ This verb ‘tribulated’ is only used once in Matthew and the noun form of this verb is the word ‘tribulation’ that is used in Matthew 24:21 and Revelation 7:14 to describe the Great Tribulation. This word thlipsis actually does not mean tribulation, but rather ‘carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is no way of escape’. Saying this more clearly, the Great Tribulation that is discussed in connection with the Rapture is actually a time of great squeezing and narrowness, and not necessarily a time of great persecution. This same word is used to describe the narrow or ‘tribulated’ path. (My general hypothesis is that we are currently living in the Great Tribulation, in which life has become very narrow because of all the squeezings from the various technical specializations. And the current Coronavirus pandemic is adding to this narrowness.)

Looking at this more carefully, technical specializations squeeze a person in several ways. First, one has to go through a narrow path of training in order to become qualified. Second, once one is qualified one is only permitted to perform a narrow range of activities. Third, in order to participate, one must also submit emotionally to the implicit set of mental networks that lie behind the technical specialization. Notice that both the narrow gate and the broad gate are followed by paths. In both cases, one is signing up for some career path. The broad gate and the wide path describe the accepted career paths of society, the myriad of possible careers that a person can choose from in today’s modern technical society. But this broad path leads to a loss of well-being for two primary reasons: First, one usually ends up developing a fragment of one’s personality. That is because what is being optimized is not personal well-being but rather professional productivity. Second, one often has to sell one’s soul in order to get ahead. That is because every technical specialization is accompanied by a set of subjective assumptions to which one must submit.

For instance, I play violin. When I was 17, I was made assistant concertmaster of the Saskatoon Symphony as well as being offered the job of concertmaster in a new chamber orchestra. But I had to join the Musicians Union. I had to allow an organization based in New York tell me where I would play, with whom I would play, and what I would charge. I chose not to join and never played another professional gig in the province of Saskatchewan.

Those who choose to walk such a narrow path will find themselves with few options and few friends. But this narrow path will lead to life and not a loss of personal well-being. The word life is not psyche (soul) but rather zoe, which refers to both physical and spiritual life. This is the first time that this word is used in Matthew, and it will not be used again until chapter 18. A big part of finding life is gaining the Perceiver confidence that is required to resist peer pressure along with the Server confidence that is required to follow a narrow path. In addition, the continual feeling of squeezing will force a person to develop higher strategies of existence. Verse 8 said that that whoever seeks shall find. This same word find, which means to ‘learn, discover, especially after searching’, is used in verse 13 to talk about finding life. I can state with certainty that if I had been permitted to pursue a career in music, I never would have had either the opportunity or the moral fiber required to pursue the theory of mental symmetry. I experienced a similar crisis of narrowness when doing my Master’s degree in engineering, and that crisis led directly to my choice to start focusing full-time on mental symmetry.

Good Fruit 7:15-20

This interpretation may seem somewhat unwarranted, but verse 15 warns explicitly about peripheral maturity being juxtaposed with inner nastiness. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” A false prophet is literally a pseudo-prophet. The only other time that this word is used is in Matthew 24, in the context of the Great Tribulation. A prophet is a source of Perceiver truth. Being a prophet implies that behavior is guided by truth and facts.

This is the first time in Matthew that sheep are mentioned. I am not exactly sure what a sheep represents, but sheep are highly social creatures and the followers of Jesus are often referred to as sheep. For instance, John 10 describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd who calls his sheep by name, and says that his sheep know his voice. Thus, we will be interpreting sheep as followers of some verbal or written message. The word clothing here refers to ‘the outer robe’. Thus, coming in sheep’s clothing would imply interacting socially in a manner that is consistent with being a follower of incarnation—someone who is presumably following the narrow path. Inwardly actually means ‘from within’. As everyone knows, wolves eat sheep. And the word ravenous means ‘seizing; a sudden snatching’. In other words, one will interact with such a person at a surface level and everything will seem to be fine. But then the inward nature will suddenly emerge and one will find oneself eaten.

For instance, I played in the Saskatoon Symphony for several years without joining the union. I never got paid, but I did get to attend a summer music program (Congress of Strings) at the University of Washington—ironically sponsored by the Musicians Union. However, suddenly the law was laid down. Either I joined the Musicians Union, or I would be kicked out of the symphony and blacklisted from then on. Several years later when I was visiting Saskatoon, I talked to the local union representative and told him my story. He said that he would have treated me much more politely—but added that he would have eventually banned me as well. Thus, the only difference between him and his predecessor was the thickness of the sheep’s clothing. That is what happens when professional fields are based upon implicit MMNs. Eventually, the mask of professionalism comes off and the underlying MMN-driven tribalism of dog-eat-dog, or in this case wolf-eat-sheep, is revealed. (Unions were formed to address legitimate problem. For instance, I have played in a professional orchestra in Korea where there was no Musicians Union and the conductor was in charge. The situation was not really any better for the average musician. However, the general principle is that the cure should be better than the disease and not just another version of the disease.)

Verse 16 says how one can recognize these people: “You will know them by their fruits.” This is the first time that this version of know is used in Matthew, and it combines ‘on, fitting’ with ‘experiential knowledge. This combination suggests experiential knowledge that is being factually analyzed. Fruit is mentioned seven times in verses 17-20. Fruit is something that grows from a plant. Cognitively speaking, it is an expression of mental networks. Thus, if one wants to know the character of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, one needs to observe how mental networks are being expressed.

Two analogies then follow: “They do not gather grapes from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, do they?” Grapes and wine represent the pleasant experiences associated with cultural MMNs of culture. A thorn is a ‘prickly plant’. Putting this together, prickly people will not generate a pleasant culture. A prickly person is someone who responds in an adversarial manner when mental networks are triggered. This may seem like an obvious statement, but for some reason we often idolize business leaders and politicians who ‘take charge decisively’ and then we wonder why our economic and political environment is so caustic. 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. All three synoptic Gospels also contain the story of Jesus cursing 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. A thistle is also a prickly plant, but this name (which only appears twice in the New Testament) combines ‘three’ with ‘missile’. Putting this together, one will not get healthy core mental networks from a person who reacts ballistically when core mental networks are triggered.

Verse 17 concludes, “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” So means ‘in this manner, in this way’. Thus, the analogies of verse 16 explain why there are two kinds of tree and fruit in verse 17. In brief, does one respond in a defensive manner when mental networks are challenged? And does one emotionally lash out when core mental networks are uncovered?

Both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are repeated in the English translation (in the NASB as well as most other English translations), but the original Greek words are different. The good tree is ‘intrinsically good’. The good fruit is ‘attractively good’. The bad tree is ‘rotten, worthless’. The bad fruit is ‘pain-ridden’. In both cases, the inherent quality of the tree results in fruit that has corresponding external characteristics. One cannot see the hidden nature of the tree, but one can notice how this hidden nature is expressed externally in fruit.

Looking at this more carefully, I suggest that these words are describing an aligning of internal and external standards. Those who followed the broad path in the previous section probably chose the path because it was attractively good, while those who followed the narrow path probably did so in order to pursue intrinsic goodness. However, experiences with various wolves in sheep’s clothing will make it apparent that only a tree that is intrinsically good will lead to fruit that is attractively good, as well as making it clear that trees that are rotten will lead to pain-ridden fruit. However, once a system of specialization and professional accreditation is established and continues to be used, then this system will become emotionally backed up by TMNs, which will ensure that the system continues to function—even if it leads to results that are pain-ridden in Mercy thought. This is an aspect of the loss of personal well-being that results from following the broad path. Verse 14 does not say that only a few people will want to enter the narrow path. Instead, it says that only a few will find this path; it will become increasingly obvious to the average person that the broad path does not lead to life, but most people will conclude that they must follow the broad path if they want to make a living.

Verse 18 expands upon this theme: “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” The NASB again repeats the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’. But these are not repeated in the Greek. Instead, the same for Greek words are used: intrinsically good tree, rotten tree, attractively good fruit, and pain-ridden fruit. The word can means ‘to be able, to have power’. This implies that people will try to address the pain-ridden nature of the rotten tree, but they will find that all of their attempts will be thwarted by the system. In other words, a rotten tree does not have the power to produce attractively good fruit. Going the other way, those who are following a tree of intrinsic goodness may want to impose their goodness upon the crowds, but they will find that something within forces them to interact with others in a manner that is attractively good. For instance, I have often wanted to blast others for their stupidity, but whenever I attempt to do so, my understanding of mental wholeness shuts me down and forces me to respond in a manner that is consistent with intrinsic goodness.

Verse 19 looks at the long-term result: “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” The good fruit here is ‘attractively good’. The word cut down means ‘entirely removed, emphasizing complete detachment’. Fire implies the burning of frustration, in which energy is being expended, but it is not being channeled into useful work. We just saw that those who function within a rotten tree will be driven by its pain-ridden fruit to attempt to fix the tree, but these attempts will be thwarted by the system. The long-term result is that the system will burn itself up—the tree will be thrown into the fire.

Turning now to those who are outside of this system, people may not be aware of the rottenness of a tree, but they can notice the presence or absence of attractively good fruit, and they will eventually reject the alternatives that are not attractively good. Stated more simply, the consumer will decide. The decision of the consumer may be based upon external appearance, but in the long term there will be a connection between inherent quality and external appearance.

Notice the role that is played by technical specialization. Technical specialization acquires a life of its own by becoming emotionally driven by the TMN of some paradigm. And technical specialization by its very nature optimizes and improves. Finally, technical specialization is objective, making it possible to use technical specialization to pursue goals in Mercy thought that are inherently rotten. Thus, when technical specialization is combined with rotten MMNs, then the technical specialization will prolong and amplify the inherent rottenness, eventually making it obvious to everyone that the tree is inherently rotten.

Verse 20 concludes, “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” This is a verbatim repetition of verse 16 with the addition of the word so, which means ‘it follows that’. Verse 16 stated the principle; the intervening verses have added the details. These details have shown that this knowing may not happen immediately, but the nature of the fruit will eventually make it clear which trees are intrinsically good and which ones are inherently rotten. The prolonging and amplifying nature of technical specialization will ensure that this becomes clear.

Character versus Professionalism 7:21-23

The next section looks forward to a coming judgment: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (v.21). This is usually interpreted as judgment after death. And this may be the case. But this section also flows smoothly from the previous section. We have just looked at the result of combining technical professionalism with inherently rotten MMNs. Verses 21-23 focus upon this mismatch between technical professionalism and personal inadequacy.

One can see such a mismatch in the strengths and weaknesses of current academia. If heaven represents Teacher thought, then a kingdom of heaven represents a realm that is governed by Teacher thought. Saying, ‘Lord, Lord’ to Jesus would mean claiming verbally to follow the technical thinking of incarnation. Academia claims to do this, proclaiming to the entire world that it follows rigorous, rational thought better than anyone else. And someone who wants to learn how to think clearly studies at a university. But as Thomas Kuhn pointed out, science may claim to develop hypotheses and come up with general theories, but the average scientist spends very little of his time actually doing this. Instead, the average scientist spends most of his time solving technical puzzles.

This pursuit of general Teacher understanding is reflected in the phrase ‘he who does the will of my father who is in heaven’. The word do refers to physical action. Will means ‘to desire, wish’. Putting this together, such a person is doing Server actions that reflect the desire of the father of incarnation who is in heaven, which means being guided by the Teacher emotions of a general understanding that is more general than the limited paradigm which lies behind some system of technical specialization. Using an analogy, this means recognizing that the tree is a part of the forest instead of focusing upon the tree and ignoring the forest. This may sound obvious, but I have encountered very few people within academia who are actually interested in forests. Instead, they all seem to be ignoring the forest of general Teacher understanding in order to fixate upon their specific tree of specialization, while at the same time claiming to love the forest.

Verse 22 summarizes all the positive things that academia does: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’” ‘Many’ tells us that this will be a common response. I do not know of any time in history when many people have literally prophesied, cast out demons, and performed miracles. Instead, literal prophesying, casting out demons, and performing miracles are all rather unusual activities. But many people within academia have performed these three tasks cognitively.

Looking at these three points in more detail, we have talked about prophecy, but I have not given a precise cognitive definition. One typically views prophecy as supernaturally receiving some message about the future, but the word prophecy actually means to ‘assert by elevating one statement over another’. Thus, prophecy can be interpreted cognitively as focusing upon some facet of society and then seeing where this leads. Notice how this is elevating one statement over other statements. Using two current examples, one might focus upon the current coronavirus and predict where this will lead, or one might focus upon the fact that the price of oil actually became negative for a while recently. (In other words, producers of oil had to pay in order to get their oil stored.) This transforms prophecy from some sort of magical pre-knowing into an aspect of Teacher thought. Teacher thought comes up with a theory by focusing upon some statement and elevating it above other statements. Prophecy follows this to its logical conclusion. Science is continually performing this kind of prophecy, coming up with mathematical models based upon Teacher theories to predict what will happen. In fact, one of the basic elements of science is a hypothesis followed by a prediction. In verse 22, people are prophesying in the name of incarnation. Similarly, academia performs its predictions guided by the Teacher words of technical thought, typically expressed as mathematical equations.

The New Testament talks about evil spirits and demons. (This is the first time that a demon is mentioned in the book of Matthew.) My general hypothesis is that the spiritual realm interacts with the mind by empowering mental networks. That is because the New Testament talks about people being possessed by demons and/or spirits, and it describes the superhuman abilities that result from this possession. More specifically, spirits would interact with MMNs, while demons would empower TMNs. Demons are always described as evil powers in the New Testament. Academia may not cast out literal demons, but it specializes in casting out false TMNs in order to replace these inadequate forms of thinking with what it regards as legitimate rational thought. And over the years, academia has done a good job of getting rid of the ‘demons’ of superstition, wishful thinking, and blind faith. (Many aspects of postmodern academia are now starting to reintroduce various demons.) This academic casting out of demons is also being done in the name of rational, technical thought. Christian fundamentalism looks at this academic casting out of demons and regards it as a bad thing because academia is attacking Christian fundamentalist belief. But what academia is attacking is actually an inadequate formulation of Christianity. Mental symmetry has shown that it is possible to reformulate Christianity as a theory of cognition which is compatible with the rigorous thinking of academia.

Finally, academia may attack the idea of miracles as a form of demonic thinking that needs to be cast out, but the word miracle actually refers to a work of power. Scientific academia has created a modern world that generates incredible amounts of power, which are expressed through awe-inspiring works of power. Again, this is done using the technical thinking of incarnation.

Summarizing, academia has made it possible to use abstract understanding to predict future reality, it has illuminated many kinds of false thinking, and it has led to awesome works and machines of power.

This transformation is good, but it also has been limited to the objective. Jesus does not challenge the statements that are made in verse 22. Instead, he responds in verse 23 by focusing upon the subjective. “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” The word declare means ‘to speak the same thing’, and this is the first time that this verb is used in Matthew. This emphasizes that Jesus is not saying something different, but rather extending what others are already saying. He is not questioning what was stated in verse 22, but rather taking the statement further by ‘speaking the same thing’. Never means ‘not ever’, know refers to experiential knowledge, and the pronoun ‘you’ is explicitly included. In other words, the technical expertise never extended to personal identity. The academic experts applied great rational thinking to their environment, but they did not apply the same great rational thinking to themselves. For instance, most systems that I analyze fall apart when one applies the system to the person or group who has developed that system. Going the other way, my primary goal with mental symmetry is to extend the rational thinking of science and technology to the realm of subjective.

Depart means ‘to go away, depart’ and is in the imperative. The word practice is different than the word ‘do’ and refers to ‘a deed (action) that carries out (completes) an inner desire’. Lawlessness adds the prefix ‘not’ to the word for ‘law’. Practice looks beyond the objective behavior to the mental networks that are motivating this behavior. Practice is being described as lawless. In order to be lawless one must know the law and then choose not to follow it. In the objective, the academic expert is following the systematic reasoning of law. Thus, academia knows the law. But the internal, subjective mental networks that motivate this rational academic behavior are not being submitted to law. This choosing not to do the law that one knows results in lawlessness.

I am not suggesting that everyone within academia suffers from these shortcomings. Verse 22 does not say that ‘everyone will say to me on that day’, but rather that ‘many will say to me on that day’. Thus, the shortcomings that we have described are systemic, but they are not universal. There are individuals within the system who apply technical expertise to their subjective identity, but the system as a whole does not.

Verse 22 says that this time of reckoning will come ‘on that day’. A day means a literal day, but it also means ‘the period from sunrise to sunset’. Thus, this time of reckoning will happen when society becomes illuminated by the sun of a general Teacher understanding. This will not just be a scientific understanding that is limited to the objective, but rather an integrated Teacher theory that bridges both the water of subjective experience and the solid land of rational thought. I suggest that this kind of day is being described in Revelation 10, because a mighty angel descends from heaven, puts his right foot on the sea of subjective experience, his left foot on the land of rational thought, swears by all of creation of the mystery of God is finished, and then takes the little book of a theory and gives it to the human author to digest.

The House on the Rock 7:24-28

The chapter ends with the familiar story of the house that is built upon a rock. Jesus begins the story by emphasizing the importance of applying theory: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them...” (v.24). The word for words is logos, which describes the Teacher paradigm behind some technical specialization. And does is the normal word which describes Server actions. These same two words are found in verse 26: “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them...” Thus, the distinction is between abstract technical thought that combines Teacher words with Server actions, and abstract technical thought that is limited to Teacher words. Thomas Kuhn says that this is the primary distinction between science and philosophy. Science is based in exemplars—Server sequences that serve as general processes. One learns science by solving scientific problems, and once one has solved a specific problem, one knows how to solve all similar problems. Similarly, science is the study of how the natural world behaves. Philosophy, in contrast, views Server actions as something that can be added to abstract thought after one has used rigorous verbal logic.

Verse 24 continues by saying that the one who combines words with actions “will be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock”. The word wise ‘essentially equates to personal opinion fleshing itself out in action. This idea is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking’. Again, one sees a combination of rational thought and gut feeling. The word built means ‘to build a house’ The word house is also explicitly added, and this is described as ‘his house’. This emphasizes the fact that one is not just constructing an edifice of knowledge, but rather building a home for my personal identity. This is the first time that the word rock is used in Matthew and it ‘is a solid or native rock, rising up through the earth’. This goes beyond isolated solid Perceiver facts to an interconnected network of solid Perceiver facts that are rooted in the stability of human existence. I know of two sources that would qualify: the stability of the physical universe, and the stability of the mind. Both are inescapable because one cannot leave the physical universe and one cannot run away from one’s mind.

Notice the direction. It does not say that one should build one’s house upon the rock. Instead, it says that one should combine Teacher logos with Server actions and that this is like building one’s house upon the rock. This is consistent with the idea that sequences in Teacher thought are more fundamental than Perceiver objects and Mercy experiences. This is literally true for biological life, because every fragment within the physical body starts out as a string of amino acids that is constructed by translating a segment of information from the DNA. This linear string of amino acids then folds in upon itself to become a functioning three-dimensional object, and the resulting proteins are then assembled to form living cells. Saying this cognitively, when a Teacher theory continues to be used, it will turn into a TMN which will eventually create a prison—or home—for personal identity.

This mental imprisoning will happen when any theoretical sequence of actions coalesces into a methodology. However, Jesus talks specifically in verses 24 and 26 about hearing these logos of him. ‘Him’ means that one is not just pursuing the methodology of some bureaucratic system, but rather acting upon the paradigms of incarnation. And ‘these’ means that one is acting upon the paradigms of incarnation that have just been described in the Sermon on the Mount. That type of applied theory will be like building a home upon the bedrock.

Verse 26 describes the alternative, which is to hear the words of incarnation and not do them. For instance, science and philosophy are both aspects of academia, but one hears the words and does them, while the other merely hears the words. (Is theology more like science, or more like philosophy? Many theologians are like philosophers. Dallas Willard is one example of a theologian who was more like a scientist, because he excelled at applied theology.) The one who hears without doing is compared to a foolish man. The word foolish is the root of the English word ‘moron’. The moron also builds a home, but he builds upon the sand. Sand is mentioned five times in the Bible, and the other four times connect sand with the sea. Cognitively speaking, the water of Mercy experiences has been organized into specific Perceiver facts, but this collection of facts has not been placed within an integrated structure.

Verse 26 does not say that the philosopher who uses only verbal logic is a moron who is building on the sand. Instead, the philosopher (or academic in general) who uses only verbal logic is compared to a moron who builds on the sand. One can explain this relationship by looking at the nature of reality. One of the major breakthroughs that led to scientific thought was a shift from thinking in terms of Perceiver objects to studying Server sequences. Before science, most civilizations thought in terms of fundamental elements, such as the four elements of earth, fire, water, and air. Johannes Kepler spearheaded this transition by moving away from geometric shapes to using mathematics to analyze the paths of planets as they travel through the sky. In other words, if one uses abstract technical thought to study Perceiver facts and objects, one will end up with the fragmented sand of isolated Perceiver facts, and not an integrated bedrock of Perceiver stability. However, if one combines abstract technical thought with Server actions, then one will end up with an integrated Perceiver bedrock. Looking at this personally, the breakthrough for me happened when I stopped viewing cognitive styles as a collection of static facts and started to focus upon the process of reaching mental maturity—and continued to walk this path as a person. The end result is the bedrock of an integrated meta-theory of existence.

Verses 25 and 27 contain the same sequence of events: “The rain fell, and the rivers came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house”. This is consistent with the end of chapter 5, which said that God sends his rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. The word rain is used only in these two verses and means ‘a wetting’. Fell means to ‘come down, either from the sky or from higher land’. The word rivers is a normal word for a river, blew is the normal word for blow, wind is the normal word for wind, fall is the normal word for fall, and slammed actually means ‘to fall down before’. Thus, the English translation sounds considerably more violent than the original Greek text, giving the impression that one is dealing with a natural sequence of events and not some sudden cataclysm. It starts with rain coming down, which we interpreted earlier as gadgets and various kinds of experiences descending from the sky of Teacher thought. A river is a path of water, and would represent the ‘stream’ of some society. For instance, modern society experiences a continual stream of new-and-improved gadgets. Blowing wind would represent changes in abstract thought that result from the various streams of society.

Both the house on the rock and the house on the sand experience the same societal changes. But the house on the rock does not fall while the house on the sand does. Applying this to modern society, modern thought has now been replaced by postmodern questioning. The hard sciences are surviving postmodern questioning without falling down. Theology, philosophy, and the soft sciences are not surviving. Verse 27 adds ‘and great was its fall’. Great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. This describes Teacher generality. Applying this to current society, postmodern deconstructionism has led to the widespread fall of most academic thought.

The Sermon on the Mount finishes by describing the reaction of the crowd. “And it happened when Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes” (v.28-29). The word happened means ‘to come into being’. Finished means ‘to complete the necessary process’. What is being completed is the logos of Jesus. Curiously, this is the only time in the Sermon on the Mount that the name Jesus is explicitly mentioned. Jesus means ‘salvation’. This implies that a new way of thinking will come into being at the end of the process described in the Sermon on the Mount. People will look back and they will realize that all of the various technical paradigms have been leading Western civilization along a path of salvation. And this path of salvation now involves the entire globe because the influence of Western civilization has spread to cover the entire globe.

I specifically say Western civilization not because I am trying to ignore the rest of the world or because I am being Eurocentric, but rather because I think that God has been allowing other societies much more freedom to develop normally without intervening. I am willing to change my mind if someone else can find an example of a holy book predicting the course of another civilization. This does not mean that members of Western civilization are inherently superior. God has also been guiding the course of the Jews as his ‘chosen people’ for millennia, and continues to do so. The course of Jewish history makes it very clear that being chosen by God is both a promise and a threat. Whenever the Jewish people have regarded themselves as inherently superior, the end result has generally been national tragedy.

The word astonished is a strong word that means ‘to strike out, hence to strike with panic, to amaze’. The word teaching means ‘established teaching, especially a summarized body of respected teaching’. Thus, Jesus is not just conveying a set of disconnected facts, but rather an integrated package of understanding based upon accepted knowledge. Saying this another way, people are looking back at history and grasping that all the trees are part of a forest, and this is blowing their minds.

The word authority means ‘delegated empowerment, operating in a designated jurisdiction’. This describes the mindset that thinks in terms of Teacher order and structure, and this same word will be used by the centurion in the beginning of the next chapter. Scribe comes from the verb ‘to write’. Those who write are probably part of the group that ended up with a house on the sand. This comparison suggests that a new form of rational understanding will come into being and replace all of the verbal knowledge that fell because it was like a house on the sand. And this new form of understanding will lead to feelings of astonishment. Applying this to Western civilization, Matthew 24 seems to indicate that a dismantling of all the stones of truth by postmodern questioning will be followed by what I call the theoretical return of Jesus, in which people grasp the nature of incarnation in a new and integrated manner. My goal is to use mental symmetry to help lay the foundation for this transition.

Healing the Leper 8:1-4

We have interpreted the Sermon on the Mount as a cognitive plan for Western civilization. This does not mean that one can ignore the Sermon on the Mount as a general moral guide. That is because the divine plan for history is based in universal cognitive principles. Thus, each step in the plan involves the implementation of a universal cognitive principle that applies at all times. But the divine plan takes these universal cognitive principles and places them in a certain order, and shapes them so that they fit together smoothly. Therefore, if one looks at individual elements of the plan, one will discover universal cognitive principles, but one also finds that the description of these principles is slightly fuzzy. In other words, the original Greek words will make sense, but they will also appear at times somewhat strange. However, we are seeing that if one takes an individual element and places it within the plan, then one finds that the Greek text clarifies. This clarifying of the original Greek text provides evidence that one is interpreting the biblical message in the intended way.

We saw previously that every system of technical thought is based in a set of assumptions. The technical thinking of incarnation is also based upon a set of assumptions. Similarly, I suggest that every civilization is also based upon fundamental assumptions, basic ideas which people in that society assume to be valid. The fundamental assumptions of Western civilization were established during the early Middle Ages and were described in chapter 5. The Sermon on the Mount presented a plan that is based upon these assumptions, and the next chapters will describe how this plan is implemented. Chapter 8 will now return to the description of Western history. This return from theory to practice can be seen in the first phrase of Matthew 8: “When he came down from the mountain, many crowds followed him.” A mountain represents a ‘big picture’, a pragmatic form of general theory.

Jesus first encounters a leper. “And a leper came to Him and worshiped before Him, and said, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean’” (v.2). The word leper actually refers to ‘a scale of a fish, a scaly substance thrown off from the body’. This leper is worshiping and says, ‘if you desire, you have the power to make me pure’. Pure actually means ‘without admixture’, in which everything is the same stuff.

Jesus responds with healing in verse 3: “Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Touch means ‘to modify or change by touching’. Looking at this literally, one did not touch a person with leprosy. Instead, lepers were supposed to avoid all physical contact with healthy people for fear of making them both ceremonially unclean and physically sick. However, in this case, the unclean person is purified, and not the other way around.

Jesus then instructs the former leper to follow religious procedure: “And Jesus said to him, ‘See that you tell no one; but go, show yourself to the priest and present the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.’” The word priest means ‘sacred because belonging to the Temple’. Present means ‘gift, present’. Command is found twice in Matthew and combines ‘move towards’ with ‘to place, arrange’ which conveys the idea of moving toward some structure.

This is the only reference to Moses in the first 16 chapters of Matthew (Moses will show up next in the Transfiguration.) Exodus 2:10 explains that Moses was given his name because he was ‘drawn out of the water’. Similarly, the law of Moses was drawn out of the ‘water’ of a Mercy mindset of tribalism.

Putting this all together, Jesus encounters a person with a skin disease that is fish-like. The skin is the primary source of physical pain and pleasure which programs Mercy thought with emotional experiences. This describes a mindset that has just emerged from the sea of raw Mercy experiences and is driven by unhealthy, conflicting MMNs. This mindset fixates emotionally upon Jesus in an attitude of worship and recognizes that Jesus can bring coherence to conflicting Mercy desires. Jesus responds immediately by adopting an attitude of touching the sick culture rather than staying away from it. Jesus then says that the healed leper should respond by giving a gift to the religious leaders in order to be an example to the church.

These various characteristics were present in Celtic Christianity. This form of Christianity emerged primarily in areas just outside the previous Roman Empire, including Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. In other words, Celtic Christianity was most prevalent among people who were emerging from the ‘sea’ of barbarism. Wikipedia explains that “The title of ‘saint’ was used quite broadly by British, Irish, and English Christians… More often, the title was given to the founder of any ecclesiastical settlement, which would thenceforth be known as their llan. Such communities were organized on tribal models: founding saints were almost invariably lesser members of local dynasties, they were not infrequently married, and their successors were often chosen from among their kin.”

Notice the focus upon personal help within a personalized religious system. People are being healed, they are recognizing the role of priests, and they are supporting a system of priests. One can see this combination in Celtic monasticism. In the words of Wikipedia, “It seems that the first Celtic monasteries were merely settlements where the Christians lived together—priests and laity, men, women, and children alike—as a kind of religious clan. According to James F. Kenney, every important church was a monastic establishment, with a small walled village of monks and nuns living under ecclesiastical discipline, and ministering to the people of the surrounding area.” The core aspect of Celtic Christianity is that the monasteries and churches played a major role in society. There was no central government. Similarly, in Matthew 8 the leper is instructed to show himself to the priests.

The idea of offering gifts that are commanded by Moses can the seen in the Celtic practice of penance. Wikipedia explains that “In Christian Ireland – as well as Pictish and English peoples they Christianised – a distinctive form of penance developed, where confession was made privately to a priest, under the seal of secrecy, and where penance was given privately and ordinarily performed privately as well. Certain handbooks were made, called ‘penitentials’, designed as a guide for confessors and as a means of regularising the penance given for each particular sin... The Irish penitential practice spread throughout the continent.” Notice that verse 4 does not refer to the law of Moses, but rather to a set of regularized rules that are being pulled from the water of experience. youThis reflects the phrase ‘Moses commanded’ which emphasizes the idea of moving from experience towards some arrangement or structure.

The leper approached Jesus with an attitude of worship. Similarly, Celtic Christianity had a strong sense of the sacred and the mystical. Quoting from one website, “Celtic Christian prayers tend to be beautifully poetic, meditating on the wonder of Creation. They stressed the immanence (closeness) of God more than Roman Christianity. So they didn’t make the Roman distinction between the sacred and the secular. The whole of life was sacred to the Celtic Christians. They said blessings over lighting the fire, milking the cow and all the ordinary activities of life. They prayed often for the protection of the Lord. The hymn ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’ is a good example of this Celtic, Trinitarian prayer for protection. However the Celts also taught the awesome transcendence (exaltation) of Christ. Celtic prayers can emphasize a proper mysticism: a sense of awe and mystery at the majesty of God.”

Irish monasticism was not isolated from the surrounding environment but rather interacted heavily with the local culture, living as a ‘witness to them’: “This willingness to learn, and also to teach, was a hallmark of the ‘permeable monasticism’ that so characterised the Irish monastery. While a hermitage was still the highest form of dedication, the monasteries were very open to allowing students and children within the walls for an education, without requiring them to become monks. These students were then allowed to leave and live within the community, and were welcomed back in their old age to retire in peace. This style of monasticism allowed for the monastery to connect with, and become a part of, the community at large. The availability of the monks to the people was instrumental in converting Ireland from paganism to Christianity, allowing a blend of the two cultures.” Notice the mutual relationship. On the one hand, the average person is presenting himself to the church and offering gifts (including gifts of self), while on the other hand, the surrounding culture is acting as a testimony to the church.

The idea of Moses being drawn from the water can also be seen in the copying of written texts performed by Celtic monks: “One of the most important duties of a Celtic monk, for those with the aptitude, was the copying of manuscripts. And the Irish monks and their students copied everything they received—not only the Bible, but also Greek and Latin literature. They copied pagan works, mind you. The Celtic monks even recorded their own ancestral tales, such as The Tale of the Tain. Churchmen outside of Ireland disapproved of this welcoming view of non-Christian writings. But the Irish monks’ ready acceptance of all literature, no matter its religious worldview, helped to preserve the great works of western civilization.” In the same way that the Mosaic law was written down in an environment of tribalism, so the Irish monks performed their copying of written works in an environment of tribalism. (This does not mean that the Mosaic law was not divinely revealed. But even if God revealed the Torah directly to Moses, this still happened in an environment of tribalism, and the Torah describes the Israelites continually regressing to a mindset of tribalism.)

The Centurion 8:5-13

The encounter with the leper is followed by the story of the centurion. The only other mention of a centurion in the book of Matthew is in chapter 27. The story of the leper focused upon interaction with the priesthood. A centurion was a Roman military officer. This implies that the next step in the development of Western civilization will involve a secular government and military power. One sees this in the Carolingian Empire.

The story begins, “And when He entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my boy is thrown down paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented” (v.5-6). Notice that the centurion is not worshiping Jesus. This is not a case of secular power bowing before the church. Instead, the centurion ‘approaches, draws near’. And he implores him, which means to ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’. This is not just an emotional term, but also ‘has legal overtones’. This happens when Jesus enters Capernaum, which means ‘village of consolation’.

The centurion complains that his son (or servant) has been cast or thrown in the house, that he is ‘affected with paralysis’, terribly, vehemently examined by torture. Wikipedia describes the problem faced by the Carolingian rulers. “A lack of Latin literacy in eighth-century western Europe caused problems for the Carolingian rulers by severely limiting the number of people capable of serving as court scribes in societies where Latin was valued. Of even greater concern to some rulers was the fact that not all parish priests possessed the skill to read the Vulgate Bible… To address these problems, Charlemagne ordered the creation of schools in a capitulary known as the Charter of Modern Thought, issued in 787. A major part of his program of reform was to attract many of the leading scholars of the Christendom of his day to his court.” Notice how a secular kingdom is turning to the church for help. The lack of the literacy was literally paralyzing the kingdom so that it could not function.

The terrible and tortured state of Carolingian society can be seen in the following quote by Walahfrid Strabo (died 849): “Charlemagne was able to offer the cultureless and, I might say, almost completely unenlightened territory of the realm which God had entrusted to him, a new enthusiasm for all human knowledge. In its earlier state of barbarousness, his kingdom had been hardly touched at all by any such zeal, but now it opened its eyes to God’s illumination.”

Jesus offers to come and heal the servant, but the centurion responds that he is not worthy. “Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say with a word, and my boy will be healed’” (v.7-8). The first heal ‘usually involves natural elements’ and is the source of the English word ‘therapy’. Worthy is used three times in Matthew and means ‘reach to, attain’. Roof is used once in Matthew and means ‘a roof’. Applying this to Carolingian society, we saw in the previous paragraphs that Western civilization had not yet ‘reached to’ the level of being able to provide a home for the therapy of incarnation. Instead, all that it could offer was shelter under a roof, and that was insufficient.

Moving on, word means logos, which we are interpreting as the Teacher paradigm behind some technical specialization. ‘Only speak the word’ implies that the verbal framework for technical thought is being initiated without the technical details themselves. One can see this in Charlemagne’s legal system, which was not a system, but rather a collection of legal experts to whom people submitted. Quoting from Wikipedia: “Around 780 Charlemagne reformed the local system of administering justice and created the scabini, professional experts on the law. Every count had the help of seven of these scabini, who were supposed to know every national law so that all men could be judged according to it.”

The final healed is a different word that means ‘healing, particularly as supernatural and bringing attention to the Lord himself as a great physician’. The word boy means ‘a child under training’, and this word is used in verses 6, 8, and 13. This combination can be seen in the educational reforms of Charlemagne. He set up schools for ‘children under training’, but these schools were actually run and organized by church monks, deacons, and abbots. One can see this in the previous quote about attracting leading church scholars to his court. Looking at this further, “Alcuin was a Northumbrian monk and deacon who served as head of the Palace School from 782 to 796… Among those to follow Alcuin across the Channel to the Frankish court was Joseph Scottus, an Irishman who left some original biblical commentary and acrostic experiments… The later courts of Louis the Pious and Charles the Bald had similar groups of scholars. The Irish monk Dicuil attended the former court, and the more famous Irishman John Scotus Eriugena attended the latter… One of the primary efforts was the creation of a standardized curriculum for use at the recently created schools. Alcuin led this effort and was responsible for the writing of textbooks, creation of word lists, and establishing the trivium and quadrivium as the basis for education.”

Wikipedia suggests that “by means of the Carolingian Renaissance, Western civilization survived by the skin of its teeth.” In other words, it was the ‘secular centurion’ of the Carolingian Empire that enabled Western civilization to survive. This explains why Jesus says in verse 10 that he has ‘not found such great faith with anyone in Israel’. Jesus says that the centurion has great faith because the centurion is thinking in terms of Teacher order and structure: “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” Notice that the centurion has soldiers under him, and this is the only mention of a soldier until chapter 27. Thus, one is not dealing with a church structure, but rather a military structure.

Wikipedia describes the soldiering nature of the Carolingian Empire: “Almost every year between the accession of Charles Martel and the conclusion of the wars with the Saxons Frankish forces went on campaign or expedition, often into enemy territory. Charlemagne would, for many years, gather an assembly around Easter and launch a military effort that would typically take place through the summer as this would ensure there were enough supplies for the fighting force.”

Notice that the centurion is not functioning within a system of order. Instead, he is giving military orders and they are being followed. Similarly, “Charlemagne passed regulations requiring all mustered fighting men to own and bring their own weapons; the wealthy cavalrymen had to bring their own armour, poor men had to bring spears and shields, and those driving the carts had to have bows and arrows in their possession. In regards to provisions, men were instructed not to eat food until a specific location was reached, and carts should carry three months’ worth of food and six months’ worth of weapons and clothing along with tools.”

A centurion is a low ranking officer who gives direct orders rather than relaying orders through some chain of command. Similarly, “The oath of fidelity was a way for Charles to ensure loyalty from all his subjects. As early as 779 he banned sworn guilds between other men so that everyone took an oath of loyalty only to him. In 789 (in response to the 786 rebellion) he began legislating that everyone should swear fidelity to him as king, however in 802 he expanded the oath greatly and made it so that all men over age 12 swore it to him.” This form of leadership indicates an empire that is just starting to emerge out of the Dark Ages. There is no established bureaucracy or system of government. Instead, principles of authority are being set up for the first time.

This idea of both soldiers and the centurion being men under authority can be seen in the system of feudalism, which started with the Carolingian Empire. In the words of Wikipedia, “Feudalism, in its various forms, usually emerged as a result of the decentralization of an empire: especially in the Carolingian Empire in 8th century AD/CE, which lacked the bureaucratic infrastructure necessary to support cavalry without allocating land to these mounted troops.” Continuing, “The classic François-Louis Ganshof version of feudalism describes a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations which existed among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals and fiefs.”

Verse 10 describes the response of Jesus: “Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.’” Marveled means ‘to regard with amazement’. This word is used 44 times in the New Testament and the only other time that Jesus marvels is in Mark 6:6 where he marvels at the people’s unbelief. A similar response of marveling can be seen in how Western civilization has viewed the Carolingian Empire. “Despite the relatively short existence of the Carolingian Empire when compared to other European dynastic empires, its legacy far outlasts the state that had forged it.” A long article in the Catholic Encyclopedia describes the intimate relationship between Charlemagne and the Catholic Church in Rome. Quoting one a key section, “Charles constantly attributed his imperial dignity to an act of God, made known of course through the agency of the Vicar of Christ; also that after the ceremony he made very rich gifts to the Basilica of St. Peter... The Roman Empire (Imperium Romanum), since 476 practically extinguished in the West, save for a brief interval in the sixth century, was restored by this papal act, which became the historical basis of the future relations between the popes and the successors of Charlemagne (throughout the Middle Ages no Western Emperor was considered legitimate unless he had been crowned and anointed at Rome by the successor of St. Peter).”

The word faith actually means to ‘be persuaded’, and this is the first time that the noun ‘faith’ has been used in the book of Matthew. (Faith is used for the first time in Matthew as a verb in 8:13.) This implies a new focus upon rational learning that has not existed before. One can see this in Charlemagne’s establishment of schools. One can also see it in the emphasis upon curriculum, writing, and the copying of texts. Wikipedia explains that “One of the primary efforts was the creation of a standardized curriculum for use at the recently created schools. Alcuin led this effort and was responsible for the writing of textbooks, creation of word lists, and establishing the trivium and quadrivium as the basis for education. Another contribution from this period was the development of Carolingian minuscule, a ‘book-hand’ first used at the monasteries of Corbie and Tours that introduced the use of lower-case letters. A standardized version of Latin was also developed that allowed for the coining of new words while retaining the grammatical rules of Classical Latin. This Medieval Latin became a common language of scholarship and allowed administrators and travellers to make themselves understood in various regions of Europe. Carolingian workshops produced over 100,000 manuscripts in the 9th century, of which some 6000 to 7000 survive.” The monasteries had preserved some of the classic works and opened some schools, but this was a level of intellectual pursuit that was new in Western Europe.

Verses 11-12 are strange, because Jesus says that “many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This is usually viewed as a reference to some future time of divine judgment, but I suggest that it can also be applied to the history of the church. That is because Jesus is specifically comparing the faith of the secular centurion with the faith of the religious community of Israel. More technically, the word Israel means ‘God strives’ or ‘contending with God’. This conveys the two ideas of a concept of God deliberately guiding human society and people consciously interacting with the concept of God, which summarizes the role of a ‘church’. (I am not suggesting that the church has taken the place of Israel in some version of replacement theology. Instead, I think that Israel continues to play a role in the plan of God at a national level, but not necessarily at an individual level.) East and West can be interpreted as physical directions, but they are actually defined with respect to the sun. East means ‘a rising’ while west means ‘a setting’. If the sun represents a period of time in which society is illuminated by a general Teacher theory, then one could interpret this is a reference to the rise and setting of some general theory.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent the three stages of the path of personal transformation: Abraham left his culture to follow God, Isaac was a son of promise, while Jacob wrestled with the angel to gain his birthright. This symbolism is discussed in other essays. Thus, ‘reclining with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven’ would represent following a version of the three-stage process of personal transformation. The real Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob followed this process in concrete form in the physical world. Verse 11 connects this process with ‘the kingdom of heaven’, which suggests that an abstract version of this three-stage path is being followed. For instance, one can see these three stages in abstract form in leaving normal life to enroll in school, studying at school, and then re-entering life as a graduate.

Verse 11 talks about the kingdom of heaven, while verse 12 refers to the sons of the kingdom. In other words, the first generation is going through a path of personal transformation guided by the heaven of Teacher thought. Their sons then become part of a normal kingdom based in MMNs of culture and social status.

These two verses are stating the general principle that it is usually outsiders ‘from east and west’ who go through a process of personal rebirth. Interpreting this in terms of the rising and setting of the sun, most of the rebirth usually happens at the beginning of a movement when everything is new, or at the end of the movement when people are facing basic questions. In contrast, the sons of the kingdom typically end up ‘cast out into the outer darkness’—excluded from the light at the edges. Charlemagne’s kingdom would be an example of ‘coming from the west’.

‘Weeping and gnashing of teeth’ can be interpreted literally as responding to extreme suffering in Mercy thought. But one can also view this from a cognitive perspective. Weeping means ‘bitter grief that springs from feeling utterly hopeless’. And ‘gnashing of teeth’ means just that. One uses teeth to chew food. Thus, gnashing of teeth implies that one is attempting to digest intellectual food but getting nowhere. This is leading to a feeling of utter hopelessness, driven in this case by a lack of Teacher understanding rather than some Mercy trauma. One can see this kind of abstract weeping and gnashing of teeth in the sons of the kingdom. They expect to be able to repeat the breakthroughs achieved by their predecessors, but they are not succeeding because they are doing the right things for inadequate reasons—they are being driven by MMNs of culture to follow a process that needs to be guided by Teacher thought. Meanwhile, outsiders from the East and West are continuing the process, because the fact that they are outsiders forces them to go through a process of personal rebirth.

This continual recycling of outsiders coming in and insiders being rejected can be seen at many scales throughout Western history. For instance, during the Protestant Reformation, the countries that turned Protestant had been outside of the ancient Roman Empire, while the countries within the boundaries of the bygone Roman Empire remained Catholic. Countries on the edge of the Roman Empire struggled between Catholicism and Protestantism. Similarly, Western universities are now filled with foreign students and foreign professors while the average Western citizen feels increasingly sidelined by the progress of society.

Peter’s Mother-in-Law 8:14-17

Verses 14-15 describe a short account of Peter’s mother-in-law getting healed. “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him.” Peter means ‘rock’, and Peter was a Perceiver person. Peter’s mother-in-law would be the mother of his wife. (Peter had a wife, but the Catholic Church, which claims to possess the keys of Peter, forbids its priests from marrying. I suggest that this prohibition against marriage is an example of a mindset of absolute truth leading to an attitude of religious self-denial.) If one interprets this in terms of male and female thought, then Peter’s mother-in-law would refer to the mental networks behind the current mental networks associated with Perceiver truth.

The word fever means literally ‘on fire’. ‘Lying on fire’ implies being driven with motivation, but having no way to express this motivation. The first mention of touching was in verse 3 where Jesus touched the paralytic. Hands are used for detailed manipulation. In verse 3, Jesus stretched out his hand, suggesting that the detailed manipulation is coming from the church. In verse 14, Peter’s mother-in-law is being touched on the hand, suggesting that detailed manipulation is being re-enabled. Waiting means ‘to serve’ and is the source of the English word ‘deacon’. The implication is that there is a revival of the cultural elements behind the current cultural elements associated with absolute truth, and that this revival is expressing frustrated urges in some sort of detailed manner. Wikipedia explains that “Instead of being a rebirth of new cultural movements, the period was more an attempt to recreate the previous culture of the Roman Empire.”

Looking at more concrete examples, a construction boom happened during the Carolingian Renaissance. Wikipedia explains that “Just during Charlemagne’s reign, 16 cathedrals, 232 monasteries and 65 palaces were built.” This building boom was sparked by a rediscovery and revitalization of Roman building techniques: “The rediscovery of the architecture treatises written by Vitruvius enabled the building in stone, a material little used until then North of the Loire Valley. During their travels to Italy, the Carolingians discovered the roman basilicas, the triumphal arches and the palatine chapels. The architects did not simply copy the roman forms but rather adapted their plans to serve the needs of the royal and religious ceremonies. Most of the architectural elements invented at the beginning of the Carolingian period were refined over decades and successively adapted to eventually lead to the Romanesque architecture of the 11th century.” Notice how the Roman culture before the Carolingian period with its absolute truth is being revitalized in order to serve the current regime.

There was also a revitalization of the religious clergy, which was also rooted in the MMNs of past authority. Quoting from the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Legislation, traditional in spirit and content, was inspired by a conviction that the norms required to correct the deficiencies besetting Christian life in the 8th century had already been defined by Scripture and by earlier church councils and ecclesiastical authorities. The reform focused on a few major concerns: strengthening the church’s hierarchical structure, clarifying the powers and responsibilities of the hierarchy, improving the intellectual and moral quality of the clergy, protecting and expanding ecclesiastical resources, standardizing liturgical practices, intensifying pastoral care aimed at general understanding of the basic tenets of the faith and improvement of morals, and rooting out paganism.”

The Carolingian Renaissance did not last very long. In the words of Wikipedia, “The Carolingian Renaissance in retrospect also has some of the character of a false dawn, in that its cultural gains were largely dissipated within a couple of generations.” Consistent with this, verses 16-17 refer to evening coming. “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.’” This is the first use of the word ‘evening’ in the book of Matthew, which implies that this is the first time that a ‘sun’ has set within the new Western civilization.

Looking at these words in more detail, we have interpreted demon-possessed as being emotionally driven by the TMN of bad habits. (If real demons exist, mental symmetry suggests that they would interact with humans by empowering undesirable TMNs. A spirit, in contrast, would empower MMNs.) Word is logos. The word sick means ‘inwardly foul, rotten’. And heal is the source of the English word ‘therapeutic’. These terms could be summed up as society becoming more civilized: unwanted behavior is being eliminated, tribal desires are being replaced by TMNs of technical thought, and inward rottenness is being treated. This development of civilization must have happened to some extent during the Carolingian era, because it is referred to as a Carolingian Renaissance.

Isaiah the prophet is then quoted. Infirmity means ‘without strength’. And a disease is a ‘chronic disease’. These conditions are being taken on and carried. This describes an attitude of being willing to consider and embrace medical conditions, rather than any significant ability to cure these problems. Evidence suggests that such a change of attitude did occur during the Carolingian era. Quoting from the abstract of one paper: “This article argues that beginning around the turn of the ninth century Carolingian intellectuals engaged in a sustained effort to confirm medicine’s status as a sacred art. It examines the theological justifications for medicine’s utility contained in the Lorscher Arzneibuch. It likewise analyzes how scribes manipulated visual illustrations, metaphors, biblical citations, and histories of medicine in other ninth-century medical manuscripts in an effort to absorb classical medical knowledge within a Christian tradition.”

Progress Falters 8:18-22

Verse 18 implies that a major transition is about to happen: “Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea.” (‘Of the sea’ is not in the original Greek.) Gave orders means ‘to command’, and this is the first occurrence of this word in Matthew. Depart simply means ‘to go away’. This departure happens when Jesus is surrounded by a crowd. Similarly, when Charlemagne died and the kingdom was at its greatest extent, then it immediately started to go away, largely as a result of imperial commands. Wikipedia relates that even “Prior to the death of Charlemagne, the Empire was divided among various members of the Carolingian dynasty.” Louis ended up being the sole surviving heir, and Louis used commands to get rid of his rivals. “As soon as he heard of the death of Charlemagne, he hurried to Aachen, where he exiled many of Charlemagne’s trusted advisors, such as Wala. Wala and his siblings were children of the youngest son of Charles Martel, and so was a threat as a potential alternative ruling family. Monastic exile was a tactic Louis used heavily in his early reign to strengthen his position and remove potential rivals.”

The next verses briefly describe two encounters.

In verses 18-19, “a scribe came and said to Him, ‘Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.’ Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” The word scribe means ‘a writer’. The response of Jesus indicates that education is in a rather sad state, because he responds to the scribe by saying that he has no place to lay his head—‘head’ presumably being a symbol of education and intellectual activity. Consistent with this, Wikipedia relates that “After the death of Charlemagne and the dismemberment of the empire, the educational reforms introduced by him received a setback. There was a brief period under Charles the Bald, when royal favour was once more bestowed on scholars. But with the advent of the tenth century came other cares and occupations for the royal mind. Nevertheless, the monastic and episcopal schools, and no doubt the village schools too, continued wherever war and pillage did not render their existence impossible.” Notice the attempt to continue education, symbolized by the scribe coming to Jesus. However, there are no permanent locations for education, illustrated by the scribe following Jesus wherever he goes and Jesus saying that he has no place to lay his head. (The first independent European universities with their permanent locations were founded in the 11th and 12th centuries.)

Foxes are mentioned three times in the New Testament: Here, in the parallel passage in Luke, and in Luke 13:32 where Jesus refers to King Herod as a fox. A fox is a ‘crafty person’. We saw at the beginning of this essay that the name Herod means ‘son of a hero’. Thus, the reference to foxes implies the presence of crafty people who are the sons of heroes. If one views Charlemagne as the hero, then the history of the Carolingian dynasty that followed can be summarized as foxy sons of heroes struggling for dominance. That is because the Empire of Charlemagne ended up splitting into three parts, each ruled over by one of his grandsons.

(It is interesting that something similar happened with Alexander the Great, because he also established a great empire that immediately fragmented into parts upon his death. Arnold Toynbee suggested that a growing civilization is characterized by many competing kingdoms who view themselves as related. A large empire that immediately fragments will create this combination of elements.)

The foxes are described as having ‘a burrow or lurking-place’, a word that is only used here and in the parallel passage in Luke. A lurking place implies a temporary home, and the rulers of that era did not have permanent palaces. Instead, “In medieval Western Europe, a migrating form of government was more common: the itinerant court or travelling kingdom. This was the only existing West European form of kingship in the Early Middle Ages, and remained so until around the middle of the thirteenth century, when permanent (stationary) royal residences began to develop - i.e. embryonic capital cities… Medieval Western Europe was characterized by a political rule where the highest political authorities constantly changed their whereabouts, bringing with them (the whole or parts of) the country’s central government on their journey.”

‘Birds of the air’ would refer to scholars living within the ‘air’ of Teacher thought. The noun nest is only found here and in the parallel passage in Luke 9 and actually means ‘to pitch one’s tent’. A tent also contains the impression of impermanence. Wikipedia describes this impermanence: “Before the 12th century, the intellectual life of Western Europe had been largely relegated to monasteries, which were mostly concerned with performing the liturgy and prayer; relatively few monasteries could boast true intellectuals… Pope Gregory VII was critical in promoting and regulating the concept of modern university as his 1079 Papal Decree ordered the regulated establishment of cathedral schools that transformed themselves into the first European universities.” (In 13:32 the birds of the air will nest in the branches of a tree, implying the development of the various branches of academia. Here, the birds are merely nesting, implying the more isolated study that was happening within some monasteries.)

Verses 21-22 describe the mindset of scholars: “Another of the disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.’ But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.’” We looked at the mental networks of female thought when discussing Peter’s mother-in-law. Here a person is burying his father. Allow means ‘to turn to, entrust’. Go means ‘to go away, go after’. Burying one’s father suggests that one knows that previous technical thinking has come to a dead end, but one is still focusing upon honoring the expertise of the past. Saying this more carefully, burying takes a dead body and places it within the earth; it studies past experts and places them within the ‘solid ground’ of some factual framework.

This focus upon past knowledge can be seen in the mindset of scholasticism. Scholasticism uses male technical thought. Quoting from Wikipedia, “It places a strong emphasis on dialectical reasoning to extend knowledge by inference and to resolve contradictions. Scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions.” But it focuses upon the experts of the past: “Scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers, to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism.” Scholasticism began with the Carolingian Renaissance. Jesus responds by telling the disciple to move on from the mindset of scholasticism: ‘Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead’.

Jesus Calms the Storm 8:23-27

The next section describes the familiar story of Jesus calming the storm. It begins in verses 23-24: “When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep.” A boat was mentioned earlier when talking about Jesus calling his first disciples in chapter 4, but this is the first time that Jesus gets into a boat. And his disciples follow him, suggesting that they are also in a boat.

As a footnote in the NASB points out, the word storm actually means ‘earthquake’. This word occurs at 14 times in the New Testament and is translated as ‘earthquake’ every other time. Verse 24 is more literally, ‘a great earthquake came into being in the realm of the sea’. This describes what happened in European history at this time. The solid facts of societal existence experienced a great shaking as a result of the Vikings appearing in the realm of the sea. Wikipedia summarizes that “The period from the earliest recorded raids in the 790s until the Norman conquest of England in 1066 is commonly known as the Viking Age of Scandinavian history.”

The reference to Jesus getting into a boat is relevant because “Ships were an integral part of the Viking culture. They facilitated everyday transportation across seas and waterways, exploration of new lands, raids, conquests, and trade with neighbouring cultures. They also held a major religious importance. People with high status were sometimes buried in a ship along with animal sacrifices, weapons, provisions and other items, as evidenced by the buried vessels at Gokstad and Oseberg in Norway and the excavated ship burial at Ladby in Denmark.”

Europe was deeply shaken by the Viking sea raid of Lindisfarne. Wikipedia explains that “In England the Viking Age began dramatically on 8 June 793 when Norsemen destroyed the abbey on the island of Lindisfarne. The devastation of Northumbria’s Holy Island shocked and alerted the royal courts of Europe to the Viking presence. ‘Never before has such an atrocity been seen,’ declared the Northumbrian scholar Alcuin of York. Medieval Christians in Europe were totally unprepared for the Viking incursions and could find no explanation for their arrival and the accompanying suffering they experienced at their hands save the ‘Wrath of God’. More than any other single event, the attack on Lindisfarne demonised perception of the Vikings for the next twelve centuries.”

Verse 24 adds “but Jesus Himself was asleep”. The shocking destruction of Lindisfarne, combined with the many similar Viking raids that followed probably created a medieval mindset that ‘Jesus was asleep’. Verse 24 says that “the boat was being covered with the waves”. Similarly, Europe was inundated by wave after wave of Viking invasion.

In verse 25 the disciples wake Jesus, “saying ‘save us, Lord; we are perishing!’” The word perishing ‘implies permanent absolute destruction’. Similarly, the Viking raids pushed Western civilization to the edge of destruction. On the continent, “The Kingdom of the Franks under Charlemagne was particularly devastated by these raiders, who could sail up the Seine with near impunity. Near the end of Charlemagne’s reign (and throughout the reigns of his sons and grandsons), a string of Norse raids began, culminating in a gradual Scandinavian conquest and settlement of the region now known as Normandy.” This culminated in a Viking siege of Paris: “The siege was the most important event of the reign of Charles the Fat, and a turning point in the fortunes of the Carolingian dynasty and the history of France… With hundreds of ships, and possibly tens of thousands of men, the Vikings arrived outside Paris in late November 885, demanding tribute.” Similarly, England was also overrun by Viking armies: “In 865 a group of hitherto uncoordinated bands of predominantly Danish Vikings joined together to form a large army and landed in East Anglia. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle described this force as the mycel hæþen here (Great Heathen Army) and went on to say that it was led by Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan Ragnarsson... In 871 the Great Heathen army was reinforced by what was known as the Great Summer Army.”

Jesus responds in verse 26, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” Fearful ‘refers to an excessive fear of losing’. Men of little faith was seen in 6:30 in connection with the clothes of social interaction and combines ‘low in quantity’ with ‘be persuaded’. Got up means ‘to awaken, to raise up’. Rebuke means ‘warning to prevent something from going wrong’. The word calm is only used in the three accounts of this story and means ‘calm’. And great means ‘large, great, in the widest sense’. Putting this together, people overcame their cowardice and started interacting with each other on the basis of persuasion. This awakened a new attitude of rebuking and warning, which led to a widespread calm.

This generally describes how Viking age came to an end. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “The assimilation of the nascent Scandinavian kingdoms into the cultural mainstream of European Christendom altered the aspirations of Scandinavian rulers and of Scandinavians able to travel overseas, and changed their relations with their neighbours. One of the primary sources of profit for the Vikings had been slave-taking. The medieval Church held that Christians should not own fellow Christians as slaves, so chattel slavery diminished as a practice throughout northern Europe. This took much of the economic incentive out of raiding, though sporadic slaving activity continued into the 11th century. Scandinavian predation in Christian lands around the North and Irish Seas diminished markedly.” Notice how the persuasion of Christianity is altering the situation, leading to a rebuke against the slave trade, calming the storm of Viking invasions. A similar combination of persuasion and rebuke can be seen in the Viking settlement of Normandy in northwest France. “After being defeated by the Franks (led by Robert I of France) at the Battle of Chartres in 911, the Viking leader Rollo and the Frankish King Charles the Simple signed the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, under which Charles gave Rouen and the area of present-day Upper Normandy to Rollo, establishing the Duchy of Normandy. In exchange, Rollo pledged vassalage to Charles and agreed to baptism. Robert I stood as godfather during Rollo’s baptism. Rollo vowed to guard the estuaries of the Seine from further Viking attacks.”

The story finishes with the reaction of the disciples in verse 27: “The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” Amazed means to ‘to marvel, wonder’, and was seen in 8:10 where Jesus marveled at the faith of the centurion. What kind is literally ‘from what country’, and is used once in Matthew. Obey means ‘acting under the authority of the one speaking’. This implies the development of a new kind of society, involving many countries, which take authority over the wind and the sea.

The Vikings are typically regarded as savage invaders—but they also played a major role in reintroducing trade to Europe. According to Wikipedia, “Trade routes would play an important role in rebuilding the economy of Europe during the Viking Age. The collapse of the Roman Empire significantly reduced the European economy. Prior to the start of the Viking Age trade had begun to rise again but was highly dependent on bartering, meaning that all trade hinged on ‘a double coincidence of wants’. Viking trade and raids helped reintroduce coins and other valuable goods that were either traded for or stolen back into the economy. Such goods were reintroduced into the economy through either trade or markets that were set up by the Vikings for the purpose of selling plundered objects.” This trade involved mastery over wind and sea: “The Vikings had a vast, expansive, and planned out trade network. Trade took place on a gold level and over short and long distances. Improvements in ship technology and cargo capabilities made trade and the transport of goods much easier, especially as Europe began to shift to a bulk economy. The majority of trade was conducted among the several ports that lined the Scandinavian coasts.”

Demons and the Herd of Swine 8:28-34

Matthew 8 finishes with the story of Jesus casting out demons into a herd of swine. The story begins, “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way” (v.28). ‘Came to the other side’ implies that the Viking raids have now come to an end. I cannot find any meaning for the word Gadarenes. But the word tomb means a ‘memorial, a monument’ and this is the only time this word is used in the first 22 chapters of Matthew. Violent means ‘irksomely hard to bear’. And extremely means ‘very, exceedingly’. Pass means ‘to pass by’.

Medieval Christendom placed a great emphasis upon memorials and monuments with its multiplicity of holy relics. The center of ‘memorials and monuments’ was the city of Jerusalem, because this is where Jesus was crucified, and many Christians would make pilgrimages to Jerusalem. This path became blocked in the 11th century. Wikipedia explains, “In Western Europe, Jerusalem was increasingly seen as worthy of penitential pilgrimages. The Seljuk hold on Jerusalem was weak, and the group lost the city to the Fatimids, and returning pilgrims, such as the Great German Pilgrimage of 1064–1065, reported difficulties and the oppression of Christians.” Using the language of Matthew, no one could pass by that way because of the violence.

In verse 29, the demon-possessed men meet Jesus “And they cried out, saying, ‘What is to us and to you, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” ‘What is to us and to you?’ is a Hebrew idiom which means ‘What do we have in common?’ Torment means ‘to examine by using torture’. And time means ‘time as opportunity’ rather than clock time. The implication is that an encounter is happening before the opportune time between groups that have nothing in common.

Looking at this cognitively, the European fixation upon relics and pilgrimages was also preventing European society from ‘passing by’ cognitively. This focus upon relics began with Charlemagne: “Much of the activity related to pilgrimages and holy sites in the Middle Ages can be connected to a renewed interest in relics that began in the ninth century in northern European Christendom. Any physical objects tied to famous saints or holy personages, such as body parts, bones, hair, fingernails, or even clothing worn during their lifetime, qualified as relics. In 801 and again in 813 the emperor Charlemagne revived a statute from the Council of Carthage (401) that required all altars to contain relics. The Carolingians went so far as to import relics from Italy and Spain. Pilgrimages to the tombs of saints were also encouraged. Charlemagne even suggested that important oaths were to be sworn upon relics. Not all relics were kept in churches, however. Charlemagne himself kept relics in his throne room for the occasion of oaths… In the tenth and eleventh centuries, nobles would swear peacekeeping oaths upon relics.”

The idea of making a pilgrimage to see a holy relic is actually a juxtaposition of incompatible mindsets. The purpose of viewing a relic is to use Mercy emotions to overwhelm Perceiver thought into believing ‘truth’. Cognitively speaking, the worship of relics is an emotional ‘demon’ that comes out of a tomb and uses emotional violence to prevent Perceiver thought from passing by. But taking a trip as an unarmed pilgrim assumes that Perceiver connections exist between physical locations in Mercy thought which do not require Mercy force to maintain.

In verses 30-31, the demons ask to be sent into a distant herd of swine: “Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. The demons began to entreat Him, saying, ‘If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’” A request from a demon can be interpreted cognitively as a desire to express a bad habit in a different way. This emotional component is seen in the word entreat, which means ‘to make a call from being close-up and personal’.

Distance is mentioned at the end of the English translation, but the reference to distance occurs at the beginning of the Greek text, and distant means ‘at a distance, far away, remote, alien’. This suggests that the problem will be addressed by relocating it to some distant location. In this distant location is a herd of many feeding pigs.

This idea of exporting violence to a foreign location was conveyed in the speech by the pope which led to the first Crusade. Five versions of the speech have been recorded. “All versions except that in the Gesta Francorum agree that Urban talked about the violence of European society and the necessity of maintaining the Peace of God; about helping the Greeks, who had asked for assistance; about the crimes being committed against Christians in the east; and about a new kind of war, an armed pilgrimage, and of rewards in heaven, where remission of sins was offered to any who might die in the undertaking.”

That brings us to the matter of the pigs. We have defined a pig as a mindset that wallows in the mud. Mud is neither liquid nor solid. When one wallows in the mind, the mud sticks. Saying this cognitively, mud exhibits neither the stability of Perceiver facts nor the fluidity of Mercy experiences, but it does stick to MMNs of personal identity. A warrior society is an extreme example of wallowing in the mud. This is literally true, because combat tends to be physically filthy. For instance, during World War I the constant shelling eventually turned front lines into seas of mud within which soldiers actually drowned. This is also symbolically true. On the one hand, warriors use personal force to impose Mercy experiences that overturn existing Perceiver facts of ownership and rule of law. On the other hand, warriors also use personal force to establish new Perceiver facts of ownership and rule of law. What is constant is the continual presence of the warrior, either as a marauding force, or as a protective garrison. Like mud, warriors stick to personal identity. Thus, sending a group of warriors on a foreign quest could be symbolized as casting demons into a herd of distant swine. We have interpreted demons as the TMNs of bad habits. A warrior may be useful in wartime, but living as a warrior builds many strong habits that are incompatible with peacetime existence.

Saying this another way, warriors served a necessary purpose when Europe was fighting barbarians and Viking invaders. But once the barbarians and Vikings became Christianized, then these habits of aggression and destruction had to be redirected elsewhere in order to preserve the emerging structure of Western society.

Taking this analogy further, verse 30 says that the herd of pigs was feeding at a distance. This implies that the distant society existed as a herd that fed upon a warrior mentality. Feeding represents intellectual food. The word herd is interesting. It is found seven times in the New Testament, but only within the context of this story as related in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It comes from the verb ‘to lead, bring’, and is related to the word angel, which means ‘messenger’. Putting this together, this describes a society that is spreading an angelic message as a group of warriors and feeding intellectually upon this diet of being such a group of people. This is an accurate description of Islam, which was using armed force as a group to spread a message that supposedly came from the angel Gabriel and had succeeded in building a fairly stable society upon this foundation. (I should also point out that in many ways, Muslim society at that time was more advanced than Western society.)

Verse 32 describes what happens when the demons are sent into the herd of swine. “And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.” The word steep bank is used only in this story and comes from a verb that means ‘to hang’. Looking at this fairly literally, rushing as a herd down a steep bank into the sea could represent a group of people plunging lemming-like off their known world of solid existence into a sea of unknown experiences. Looking at this in a more abstract manner, it could also represent people driven by a herd mentality to plunge off the cliffs of societal stability into a sea of wanton destruction. Going further, this is the first time that this version of perish is used in Matthew, and it means to ‘die off, focusing on the separation that goes with the dying off’.

Both of these interpretations, including the ignominious end, characterized the Crusades. The Crusades began with a People’s Crusade. Wikipedia explains that “The People’s Crusade was the first, largest, and most well-documented of the popular crusades. It lasted roughly six months from April to October 1096.” The plunging off the cliffs of civilization into the sea of barbarism started before the horde left Europe. “In the late spring and summer of 1096, crusaders destroyed most of the Jewish communities along the Rhine in a series of unprecedentedly large pogroms in France and Germany in which thousands of Jews were massacred, driven to suicide, or forced to convert to Christianity.” The barbarism continued when the crusade reached present-day Turkey. “Once in Asia Minor, they began to pillage towns and villages until they reached Nicomedia, where an argument broke out between the Germans and Italians on one side and the French on the other. The Germans and Italians split off and elected a new leader, an Italian named Rainald, while for the French, Geoffrey Burel took command. Peter had effectively lost control of the crusade.” And shortly after, the army of 20,000 was destroyed by the Turkish army.

This was followed by the first Crusade, which was more organized and succeeded in conquering Jerusalem and surrounding cities. But the Army of crusaders also descended into barbarism when taking Jerusalem. “The massacre that followed the capture of Jerusalem has attained particular notoriety, as a ‘juxtaposition of extreme violence and anguished faith’… Muslims were indiscriminately killed, and Jews who had taken refuge in their synagogue died when it was burnt down by the Crusaders. The following day, Tancred’s prisoners in the mosque were slaughtered. Nevertheless, it is clear that some Muslims and Jews of the city survived the massacre, either escaping or being taken prisoner to be ransomed.”

The defeat of the Frankish army of Crusaders by Saladin in 1187 can also be summarized as a herd of soldiers plunging off hills of security in a desperate search for water, being separated, and dying off. Wikipedia describes the final scene: “Thirsty and demoralized, the crusaders broke camp and changed direction for the springs of Hattin, but their ragged approach was attacked by Saladin’s army which blocked the route forward and any possible retreat. Count Raymond launched two charges in an attempt to break through to the water supply at Lake Tiberias. The second of these enabled him to reach the lake and make his way to Tyre. After Raymond escaped, Guy’s position was now even more desperate. Most of the Christian infantry had effectively deserted by fleeing in a mass onto the Horns of Hattin where they played no further part in the battle. Overwhelmed by thirst and wounds, many were killed on the spot without resistance while the remainder were taken prisoner.”

The fourth Crusade collapsed into the barbarism of sacking Constantinople. “Constantinople had been in existence for 874 years at the time of the Fourth Crusade and was the largest and most sophisticated city in Christendom. Almost alone amongst major medieval urban centres, it had retained the civic structures, public baths, forums, monuments, and aqueducts of classical Rome in working form. At its height, the city was home to an estimated population of about half a million people protected by thirteen miles of triple walls.” This eventually led to the fall of the Byzantine Empire. “The crusade dealt an irrevocable blow to the Byzantine Empire, contributing to its decline, paving the way for Muslim conquests in Anatolia and the Balkans in the coming centuries.”

The Crusades as a whole eventually failed because Perceiver stability became overwhelmed by Mercy feelings of religious impulse and personal desire. In the words of Wikipedia, “The causes of the decline in crusading and the failure of the crusader states are multi-faceted. The nature of crusades was unsuited to the defence of the Holy Land. Crusaders were on a personal pilgrimage and usually returned when it was completed. Although the ideology of crusading changed over time, crusades continued to be conducted without centralised leadership by short-lived armies led by independently minded potentates, but the crusader states needed large standing armies. Religious fervour was difficult to direct and control even though it enabled significant feats of military endeavour.”

Looking at this more carefully, using Mercy emotions to overwhelm Perceiver thought will lead in the short term to Perceiver certainty, but this sense of Perceiver ‘knowing’ will be unstable, and it will result in a mindset that instinctively establishes Perceiver ‘truth’ by creating defining Mercy experiences. This mindset can be seen in swearing upon religious relics, swearing oaths to go on crusades, and using armies to enforce Christendom. In each case, the religious fervor eventually collapsed into self-interest and/or wanton destruction.

Verse 33 describes the aftermath of this event. “The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, and the things of what had happened to the demoniacs.” The word herdsman is the same word as ‘feeding’ in verse 30. And to is more properly ‘into’. Looking at this symbolically, when faced with this plunging into the sea, those who are feeding this mindset run away into the city of civilized existence. Within this civilized environment, they then report the entire situation.

Wikipedia summarizes that, “The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The term refers especially to the Eastern Mediterranean campaigns in the period between 1096 and 1271 that had the objective of recovering the Holy Land from Islamic rule. The term has also been applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns fought to combat paganism and heresy, to resolve conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or to gain political and territorial advantage.” In other words, the Crusades were instigated by the popes and the Catholic Church; these were the herdsman that fed the herd of swine. For instance, the Catholic Encyclopedia relates that “Scarcely had Innocent III been elected pope, in January, 1198, when he inaugurated a policy in the East which he was to follow throughout his pontificate. He subordinated all else to the recapture of Jerusalem and the reconquest of the Holy Land.” Notice that the papal instigators are living within the city of Rome, the Crusades are happening elsewhere, and when the Crusades run into problems, then ‘herdsmen’ are returning to the city of Rome and reporting what has happened.

And the whole region responds by asking Jesus to leave: “The whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.” Looking at the story literally, the people probably did not want personal salvation if this meant the end of their livelihood, even if this livelihood involved the raising and selling of un-kosher animals. Looking at this symbolically, ‘the whole city’ would refer to the civilized world view. The word meet is only used three times in the New Testament and means ‘a going to meet’. This implies that civilized society is meeting Jesus in a new way as an indirect result of the Crusades. Implore is the familiar word that means ‘make a call from being close-up and personal’. Putting this together, civilized society is being drawn out of its shell to meet incarnation. Once it grasps the nature of incarnation, it is driven emotionally to ask Jesus to leave.

The Crusades did have an indirect positive result that pulled Europe out of that shell and caused it to grasp incarnation a new manner. The Encyclopaedia Britannica summarizes that “The sectors acquired by burgeoning Italian cities in the Crusader states enabled them to extend their trade with the Muslim world and led to the establishment of trade depots beyond the Crusade frontiers, some of which lasted long after 1291. The transportation they provided was significant in the development of shipbuilding techniques. Italian banking facilities became indispensable to popes and kings. Catalans and Provençals also profited, and, indirectly, so did all of Europe. Moreover, returning Crusaders brought new tastes and increased the demand for spices, Oriental textiles, and other exotic fare.” Another website emphasizes the impact which the Crusades had upon the ‘city’ of Western civilization: The flow of traffic from Europe to the Holy Land opened the doors to expansion in the trade of goods and ideas. While Europe was just emerging from the Dark Ages, the East was experiencing an intellectual Golden Age. Europeans were exposed to new concepts in mathematics, engineering and warfare, and they brought these ideas home when they returned. Because the Crusades went on for over two centuries, there was a need for goods and supplies. Merchants returning from the East brought spices, fruit and other commodities, while raw materials were sent back to the Holy Land to aid the Crusaders who remained. The merchant class increased in strength, and there were new banking institutions established to help move vast quantities of money safely.”

But Western Europe gradually soured on the idea of the Crusades and ‘implored Jesus to leave the region’. The Catholic Encyclopedia explains that “The crusade as preached in the thirteenth century was no longer the great enthusiastic movement of 1095, but rather a series of irregular and desultory enterprises… Emperor Frederick II, who was to be the leader of the crusade, had remained in Europe and continued to importune the pope for new postponements of his departure… Frederick set sail again June 18, 1228, but instead of leading a crusade he played a game of diplomacy. He won over Malekel-Khamil, the Sultan of Egypt, who was at war with the Prince of Damascus, and concluded a treaty with him at Jaffa, February, 1229, according to the terms of which Jerusalem. Bethlehem, and Nazareth were restored to the Christians… In 1260, Bibars began a merciless war on the remaining Christian states. In 1263 he destroyed the church at Nazareth; in 1265 took Caesarea and Jaffa, and finally captured Antioch (May, 1268). The question of a crusade was always being agitated in the West, but except among men of a religious turn of mind, like St. Louis, there was no longer any earnestness in the matter among European princes. They looked upon a crusade as a political instrument, to be used only when it served their own interests.” Notice how religious motivation for armed conflict is fading and being replaced by personal interest, as well as a search for diplomatic solutions.

This new emphasis upon avoiding violence can also be seen in the Peace and Truce of God. This initial effort to limit local violence attempted to coexist with the exported violence of the Crusades. It was eventually extended in the Holy Roman Empire into a larger Landfrieden movement which limited warfare. Wikipedia explains that “In the High Middle Ages from the 11th century onwards, the Landfrieden movement strove to extend the so-called Peace and Truce of God (Gottesfrieden)… In 1152 Frederick Barbarossa proclaimed the Great Imperial Peace (Großer Reichslandfrieden), which extended to the whole Empire… Subsequently, numerous regional and local Landfrieden alliances, such as city federations arose during the 13th and 14th centuries. The 1235 Peace of Mainz was superseded by the Perpetual Public Peace (Ewiger Landfriede) passed by Maximilian I in 1495, which definitely outlawed any feuds and constituted a permanent Landfriede for the Holy Roman Empire.” Going further, “In addition to the Peace and Truce of God movement, other non-violent, although less direct, methods of controlling violence were used by the clergy. By adding the religious oaths of fealty to the feudal act of homage, and in organizing rights and duties within the system, churchmen did their utmost to civilize feudal society in general and to set limits on feudal violence in particular. Louis IX of France was famous for his attention to the settlement of disputes and the maintenance of peace, at least within the Kingdom of France. He issued the first extant ordinance indefinitely prohibiting warfare in France, a text dating from January 1258.”

Forgiveness of Sins 9:1-8

Chapter 9 begins by discussing the topic of forgiveness of sins. Verse 1 sets the scene. “Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city.” (‘The sea’ is not in the original Greek.) Looking at this literally, the region of the Gaderenes (the city of Gadara) was part of the Decapolis, which were centers of Greek and Roman culture. Jesus is crossing in a boat back to a Jewish city. Looking at this symbolically, incarnation is returning to the civilization of the city that is compatible with the character of incarnation. This implies that the development of the Crusades was unnatural, because it juxtaposed barbaric instincts with foreign travel in order to indirectly generate societal progress. The next step will see Western civilization developing in a more natural manner.

In verse 2, Jesus proclaims forgiveness to a paralytic. “And [they] brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Take courage, child; your sins are forgiven.’” ‘They’ is not in the original Greek, but rather implied from the conjugation. Thus the focus is upon the bringing. The word brought means ‘to bring to, to offer’ and is usually used to describe the offering of a gift or sacrifice. The word bed is only used in Matthew in the context of this story. Looking at this symbolically, a mindset of paralysis is being offered to incarnation in the hope of experiencing positive results.

Jesus sees their faith, and faith means to ‘be persuaded’. Stated cognitively, Jesus notices that they are using rational thought to address their attitude of paralysis. Child means ‘a child living in willing dependence’. And take courage means ‘emboldened from within’.

Looking at this cognitively, a mindset of absolute truth is mentally paralyzing, because it leads to the conclusion that I, my thinking, and my decisions, are nothing compared the source of truth in Mercy thought. I remember fighting these feelings when I started to work with mental symmetry. It almost felt blasphemous to think that I could dare to analyze the holy book of the Bible or add anything new to the opinions of centuries of established experts. This kind of absolute mindset leads to the taking of oaths. And such a mindset was prevalent when the Crusades began. For instance, Pope “Urban tried to forbid certain people (including women, monks, and the sick) from joining the crusade, but found this nearly impossible. In the end, most who took up the call were not knights, but peasants who were not wealthy and had little in the way of fighting skills, in an outpouring of a new emotional and personal piety that was not easily harnessed by the ecclesiastical and lay aristocracy. Typically, preaching would conclude with every volunteer taking a vow to complete a pilgrimage to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; they were also given a cross, usually sewn onto their clothes.” Notice how the average person who feels that he is nothing is submitting personal identity to a vow based upon the Mercy status of the church and the Pope.

Jesus addresses his statement to such mental ‘children living in willing dependence’, who are mentally paralyzed. He sees their rational thought and tells them to have internal fortitude. Similarly, the Crusades were initially driven by blind obedience to absolute truth, but carrying out the Crusades led indirectly to the development of rational thought as well as forcing crusaders to gain internal courage. Notice the two perspectives: From the viewpoint of absolute truth, the Crusades are a failure because religious fervor is being replaced by self interest and the holy land has been lost to the infidels. But from the viewpoint of cognitive development, significant growth has occurred as a result of all the logistics involved in facilitating the Crusades.

Jesus then declares that ‘your sins are forgiven’. Forgive means ‘to send away; release’. And sin actually means ‘to miss the mark’. If the goal is to reach mental maturity, then the period of the Crusades has succeeded in eliminating the dead end of religious fanaticism. Jesus has now returned to his own city.

This statement of forgiveness leads to a religious backlash: “And some of the scribes said among themselves, ‘This fellow blasphemes’” (v.3). Scribe means a writer, and would refer to those who work with written truth. As the NASB indicates, ‘fellow’ is implied and is not in the original Greek. Thus, the focus is upon the blasphemy rather than upon Jesus as a blasphemer. Blasphemy means ‘to speak lightly or profanely of sacred things’.

Verses 4-5 look further at the forgiveness of sins. “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, ‘Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? Which is easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Get up, and walk”?’” This word thought is only used four times in the New Testament and means ‘inner-passion, the emotional force driving meditation and reflection’. Thus, Jesus is focusing not upon rational analysis but rather upon the inner motivation that drives thought and behavior. Thinking then repeats this same noun in verb form. (And the verb form is only used three times in the New Testament.) The heart is ‘the affective center of our being’, which describes MMNs of personal identity. And evil means ‘pain-ridden’. In other words, Jesus is asking the scribes why they are being driven by their core mental networks to fill personal identity with pain-ridden experiences. We have seeing that such religious self-denial is an natural byproduct of absolute truth. And the Crusades have just provided a vivid example of being driven by core mental networks of holiness to fill personal identity with pain-ridden experiences.

Putting this all together, the mindset of suffering for God in religious self-denial is being questioned, and those who focus upon the absolute truth of holy books are regarding this questioning as blasphemy because people are starting to ‘speak lightly or profanely of sacred things’. A similar transition happened in World War I. At the beginning of the war, leaders could call upon citizens to die for God and country, driven by feelings of religious self-denial. But after years of senseless slaughter, the average citizen started to question the holiness of God-and-country.

The Crusades were strongly driven by promises of divine forgiveness. In the words of Wikipedia, “Theologian Anselm of Lucca took the decisive step towards an authentic crusader ideology, stating that fighting for legitimate purposes could result in the remission of sins… The first crusade was advocated by Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095, promising absolution for the participants’ sins.” More generally, “The difference between these campaigns and other Christian religious conflicts was that they were considered a penitential exercise that brought forgiveness of sins declared by the church.”

This was not a trivial doctrinal issue. That is because the Catholic Church started abusing its practice of forgiving sins and this abuse was a major factor in provoking the Protestant Reformation: “Elected pope in 1198, Innocent III reshaped the ideology and practice of crusading… With his 1213 bull Quia maior he appealed to all Christians, not just the nobility, offering the possibility of vow redemption without crusading. This set a precedent for trading in spiritual rewards, a practice that scandalised devout Christians and later became one of the causes of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. From the 1220s crusader privileges were regularly granted to those who fought against heretics, schismatics or Christians the papacy considered non-conformist. When Frederick II’s army threatened Rome, Gregory IX used crusading terminology.”

Verse 5 compares a verbal declaration of forgiveness with the actual forgiveness of being released from paralysis. “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?” Easier means ‘with easier labor’. In other words, which option takes less work? One option is to make a verbal pronouncement of forgiveness, which describes what church leaders did to help motivate the Crusades. The other option is to demonstrate a releasing of the past by enabling a person to ‘get up and walk’. Get up means ‘to waken, to raise up’. Walk means to ‘walk around’ and describes how ‘I conduct my life’. In essence, we are looking here at two different kinds of atonement being practiced in Medieval Europe. On the one hand, important religious people are using their Mercy status to override Perceiver facts about moral cause-and-effect. On the other hand, people are being emotionally released from their emotional bondage so that they can emerge from their mental paralysis, wake up, and start to have a life.

Verse 6 then ties together these two concepts of forgiveness. “‘But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—then He said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, pick up your bed and go home.’” This is the second time that the term ‘Son of Man’ has been used in Matthew. The first time was in 8:20 where Jesus said that the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Son of Man implies a concept of incarnation that is being formed from human experiences, a way of looking at human existence in an integrated, technical manner. This first started to emerge in the Carolingian Renaissance, but it did not find a permanent home. It is now reemerging in a more authoritative manner, as shown by the phrase ‘authority on earth’. Authority means ‘delegated power’ and was previously used in 8:9 by the centurion when he said that he was a man under authority. Earth refers to physical ‘space and time’. The implication is that a new system of societal order is starting to emerge which is leading to a release of the emotional bondage of the past.

Jesus tells the paralytic three things. First, awaken. Second, ‘pick up your bed’. In other words, instead of lying passively on a bed of self-denial, make self-denial a tool of personal identity. Third, ‘go home’. More literally, ‘go to the house of you’. The word go means ‘to lead away under someone’s authority’. This implies that one is still behaving with an attitude of submission to authority but is using this attitude to build a home for personal identity, rather than fulfill some oath of religious self-denial in a distant land.

Verse 7 describes what the paralytic does. “And he got up and departed home.” As a footnote in the NASB points out, a different verb is used for go which means ‘to go away, go after’. And there is no mention of picking up his bed. This implies that the attitude of self-denial is not being mastered.

Verse 8 finishes the story by describing the response of the crowds. “But when the crowds saw this, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” The word afraid means ‘to fear, withdraw from, avoid’. Glory describes an external expression of internal character. What is being glorified is a God who has given such authority to humanity. These adjectives are consistent with the idea that self-denial is not being mastered. Instead, human activity is occurring underneath an overall umbrella of a fear of God.

One can see this combination illustrated by the building of cathedrals. On the one hand, constructing a cathedral requires great human mastery of building techniques. On the other hand, one is being motivated by deep religious feelings to construct an edifice that shows how puny the average human is compared to the awesome majesty of God. Wikipedia summarizes that cathedral building became widespread during this period of Western history. “Church buildings embodying the functions of a cathedral first appeared in Italy, Gaul, Spain and North Africa in the 4th century, but cathedrals did not become universal within the Western Catholic Church until the 12th century, by which time they had developed architectural forms, institutional structures and legal identities distinct from parish churches, monastic churches and episcopal residences.”

Tax Collectors 9:9-13

The attention turns from forgiveness of sins to tax collectors. “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he got up and followed Him” (v.9). The name Matthew means ‘gift of Yahweh’. This implies behavior that is guided by Teacher feelings of universality which transcend Mercy feelings of culture and location. The word tax collector is τελώνης (telones). This word is used twice in verses 10-11, and the word used in verse 9 is tax collecting booth, which is related the word tax telones. One Bible Encyclopedia explains that “there were many forms of indirect taxation. Charges were made on all imports and exports, including the transportation of slaves. These were collected by the τελῶναι of the gospels. They examined goods and collected tolls on roads and bridges. There was also a market toll in Jerusalem introduced by Herod.” In other words, this section is referring to taxes collected for trade and commerce.

Turning to European history, government-supported trade started to emerge at this time. In northern Europe, the Hanseatic League was formed. Wikipedia describes that “Well before the term Hanse appeared in a document in 1267, merchants in different cities began to form guilds, or Hansa, with the intention of trading with towns overseas, especially in the economically less-developed eastern Baltic. This area could supply timber, wax, amber, resins, and furs, along with rye and wheat brought down on barges from the hinterland to port markets. The towns raised their own armies, with each guild required to provide levies when needed. The Hanseatic cities came to the aid of one another, and commercial ships often had to be used to carry soldiers and their arms.” Notice the strong role played by government force in enabling trade. And the same organization also controlled trade. “The century-long monopolization of sea navigation and trade by the Hanseatic League ensured that the Renaissance arrived in northern Germany long before it did in the rest of Europe.” Thus, the Greek word telones is an accurate description.

The word got up in verse 9 means ‘to raise up, to rise’ and the same word is used to describe the resurrection of Jesus. The Hanseatic League was a resurrection of trade that had died with the fall of the Roman Empire. Similarly, the trading power of Venice went through a kind of resurrection during this period. Venice had achieved a trading monopoly in the Eastern Mediterranean, but in 1182 Byzantine mobs reacted by massacring Latins living in Constantinople and the Byzantine Emperor suppressed Venetian trade. The Venetians responded by provoking the fourth crusade to sack Constantinople in 1204. Wikipedia explains that “Venice became an imperial power following the Fourth Crusade, which, having veered off course, culminated in 1204 by capturing and sacking Constantinople and establishing the Latin Empire. As a result of this conquest, considerable Byzantine plunder was brought back to Venice… Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Venice had always traded extensively with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world. By the late 13th century, Venice was the most prosperous city in all of Europe. At the peak of its power and wealth, it had 36,000 sailors operating 3,300 ships, dominating Mediterranean commerce.”

In verse 10 Jesus interacts with tax collectors. “Then it happened that as He was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.” ‘At the table’ is not in the original Greek, and dining with means ‘to recline with’. This implies eating, but eating is not explicitly mentioned. This relationship between Jesus and tax collectors suggests that the development of Western society during this time was driven primarily by government-controlled trading powers, such as the Hanseatic League, Venice, and Genoa.

Looking at this economic growth more generally, “International business was now booming as many city-ports established international trading posts where foreign merchants were allowed to live temporarily and trade their goods. In the early 13th century CE Genoa, for example, had 198 resident merchants of which 95 were Flemish and 51 French. There were German traders on the famous (and still standing) Rialto bridge of Venice, in the Steelyard area of London, and the Tyske brygge quarter of Bergen in Norway. Traders from Marseille and Barcelona permanently camped in the ports of North Africa. Economic migration reached such numbers that these ports developed their own consulates to protect the rights of their nationals and shops and services sprang up to meet their particular tastes in food, clothing, and religion.”

The start of verse 10 is more literally, ‘And it came into being reclining in the realm of his house...’ During the Crusades, people were leaving their homes in order to fulfill vows to God. In the trading that followed, people were building homes, and using wealth accumulated from trade to build bigger homes—and home cities. The accumulation of wealth was not the result of some top-down decision, but rather came into being as many individuals and cities started to trade.

Sinners are mentioned three times in verses 10-13, and this the first use of this word in Matthew. (Sin was mentioned three times in beginning of the chapter.) To sin means to fall short of the mark, which implies that some mark exists that one can fall short of. Trading requires a level of ethics and honesty in the realm of physical goods. The reference to sinners could mean that Jesus is interacting with traders who are applying stricter standards of ethics to their trade than to their personal behavior. It could also mean that an occupation of trade would have been viewed as sinful by the prevailing mindset of absolute truth with its implicit self-denial.

Eating is explicitly mentioned in verse 11: “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, ‘Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?’” Jesus is described here as ‘eating with the tax collectors and sinners’, and eating symbolizes intellectual food. This and the parallel passages in the other Gospels are the only time that sinners are connected with food. ‘Eating with sinners’ accurately describes the extensive transmission of knowledge from the Muslim world to Western Christendom which happened at this time. Wikipedia explains that “During the 11th and 12th centuries, many Christian scholars traveled to Muslim lands to learn sciences… From the 11th to the 14th centuries, numerous European students attended Muslim centers of higher learning (which the author calls ‘universities’) to study medicine, philosophy, mathematics, cosmography and other subjects.”

In addition, many Arab textbooks, both original and translations of earlier Greek texts, were translated into Latin. Wikipedia describes the translation work in Toledo, Spain: “Raymond of Toledo, Archbishop of Toledo from 1126 to 1151, started the first translation efforts at the library of the Cathedral of Toledo, where he led a team of translators who included Mozarabic Toledans, Jewish scholars, Madrasah teachers, and monks from the Order of Cluny. They translated many works, usually from Arabic into Castilian, and then from Castilian into Latin, as it was the official church language. In some cases, the translator could work directly from Arabic into Latin or Greek. The work of these scholars made available very important texts from Arabic and Hebrew philosophers, whom the Archbishop deemed important for an understanding of several classical authors, especially Aristotle. As a result, the library of the cathedral, which had been refitted under Raymond’s orders, became a translations center of a scale and importance not matched in the history of western culture.” This translation of Arabic books could be viewed doubly as ‘learning from sinners’ because it was often done by bilingual Jewish scholars.

Notice that it is the Pharisees who are accusing the disciples of Jesus that their teacher eats with tax collectors and sinners. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. During this period, monastic orders emerged with the purpose of protecting the purity of church doctrine. For instance, the Dominican order was founded in 1216. “Founded to preach the Gospel and to oppose heresy, the teaching activity of the order and its scholastic organisation placed the Preachers in the forefront of the intellectual life of the Middle Ages. The order is famed for its intellectual tradition, having produced many leading theologians and philosophers.”

Jesus responds in verse 12 by looking at priorities: “But when Jesus heard this, He said, ‘It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.’” The word healthy means ‘embodied strength that gets into the fray’. And this is the only mention of a physician (healer) in Matthew. Sick is related to ‘a morally rotten character’. The reference to a physician is appropriate because “Medicine was not a formal area of study in early medieval medicine, but it grew in response to the proliferation of translated Greek and Arabic medical texts in the 11th century. Western Europe also experienced economic, population and urban growth in the 12th and 13th centuries leading to the ascent of medieval medical universities.” In addition, “During the thirteenth century an immense number of hospitals were built. The Italian cities were the leaders of the movement.”

In other words, the response of Jesus seems to be suggesting that the religious scholars of the day should have learned from the emerging medical establishment. Looking at this cognitively, absolute truth thinks naturally in terms of ‘us versus them’: We have the ‘truth’, they do not; we protect our truth from being contaminated by them. This leads to the mindset of the Pharisee or separatist. But when Perceiver truth becomes sufficiently integrated, then Teacher feelings of order are sufficient to protect truth from being contaminated by MMNs of ‘a morally rotten character’. This makes it possible to become a physician to the sick, rather than a purist who tries to remain strong.

The church had an ambivalent view of medicine. “Members of religious orders were major sources of medical knowledge and cures. There appears to have been some controversy regarding the appropriateness of medical practice for members of religious orders. The Decree of the Second Lateran Council of 1139 advised the religious to avoid medicine because it was a well-paying job with higher social status than was appropriate for the clergy. However, this official policy was not often enforced in practice and many religious continued to practice medicine.”

Jesus addresses this ambivalence in verse 13. “But go and learn what is: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Learn is related to the word disciple and means ‘learning key facts’. Thus, Jesus is talking about a basic orientation towards learning. The first contrast is an emotional one. Mercy means ‘mercy, pity, compassion’. Sacrifice is used twice in Matthew and means ‘an official sacrifice prescribed by God’. The idea is that one is denying self for God in an officially approved manner.

This combination can be seen in the mendicant orders, which arose during this period. Wikipedia explains that “The twelfth century saw great changes in western Europe. As commerce revived, urban centers arose and with them an urban middle class. New directions in spirituality were called for. Church reform became a major theme of the cultural revival of this era. In response to this, there emerged the new mendicant orders founded by Francis of Assisi (c. 1181–1226) and Dominic Guzman (c. 1170–1221). The mendicant friars were bound by a vow of poverty and dedicated to an ascetic way of life, renouncing property and travelling the world to preach.” Notice the focus upon preaching, consistent with the Pharisees referring to Jesus as a teacher. Notice also that the mendicants are practicing religious self-denial in an official manner. They are making vows of poverty and joining orders that are officially sanctioned by the church.

The lack of mercy can be seen in the Inquisition, which started during this time and was spearheaded by these mendicant orders. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Historians use the term ‘Medieval Inquisition’ to describe the various inquisitions that started around 1184, including the Episcopal Inquisition (1184–1230s) and later the Papal Inquisition (1230s). These inquisitions responded to large popular movements throughout Europe considered apostate or heretical to Christianity…By 1256 inquisitors were given absolution if they used instruments of torture. In the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX (reigned 1227–1241) assigned the duty of carrying out inquisitions to the Dominican Order and Franciscan Order. By the end of the Middle Ages, England and Castile were the only large western nations without a papal inquisition. Most inquisitors were friars who taught theology and/or law in the universities.”

Verse 13 finishes with Jesus saying that “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Righteousness describes Server actions that express Teacher understanding. This relationship was mentioned in the beginning of Matthew 6. Normally, righteousness is regarded as something good in the New Testament, but here Jesus is calling sinners and not the righteous. This distinction also relates to the mendicant orders, because they were organized in a new manner guided by a concept of righteousness. Wikipedia explains that “Unlike the Benedictine monks, the mendicants were not permanently attached to any one particular convent and to its abbot… The freedom of mendicancy allowed Franciscans and Dominicans mobility. Since they were not tied to monasteries or territorial parishes, they were free to take the gospel into the streets, to preach, hear confessions and minister to people wherever they were… Consequently, they organized themselves differently in comparison with the majority of monastic orders. Instead of the traditional autonomy that every monastery enjoyed, they gave greater importance to the order as such and to the Superior General, as well as to the structure of the order Provinces.” Looking at this cognitively, monasteries had been organized according to Mercy concepts of home and place. The new mendicant orders had no home in Mercy thought. Instead, they were held together by Teacher feelings of order and hierarchy.

Summarizing, the cognitive mechanism of righteousness was being used to reinforce Mercy feelings of ‘us versus them’, as evidenced by the role that these orders placed in the Inquisition. However, instead of using their Mercy status as officially sanctioned orders to torture sinners whom they regarded as doctrinally impure, they should have used their verbal knowledge to call sinners. The mindset and history of the mendicant orders will be discussed further in Matthew 10.

Fasting Promoted 9:14-17

The next section addresses the question of fasting. “Then the disciples of John came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?” (v.14). John the Baptist was last encountered back in 4:12, which talked about John being taken into custody. We have equated John the Baptist with a mindset of absolute truth. Disciple means ‘a learner, a disciple’. Thus, a disciple of John the Baptist would imply a fundamentalist who studies the Bible and other holy books. Pharisee means ‘a separatist, a purist’. These two groups are fasting, which means to ‘abstain from food’. Intellectual fasting would mean abstaining from learning new information but rather thinking about existing facts.

This combination can be seen in scholasticism. “The 13th and early 14th centuries are generally seen as the high period of scholasticism. The early 13th century witnessed the culmination of the recovery of Greek philosophy.” Scholasticism centered upon the study of special books. “Courses were offered according to books, not by subject or theme. For example, a course might be on a book by Aristotle, or a book from the Bible. Courses were not elective: the course offerings were set, and everyone had to take the same courses. There were, however, occasional choices as to which teacher to use.”

Wikipedia adds that “Scholastic instruction consisted of several elements. The first was the lectio: a teacher would read an authoritative text followed by a commentary, but no questions were permitted. This was followed by the meditatio (meditation or reflection) in which students reflected on and appropriated the text. Finally, in the quaestio students could ask questions (quaestiones) that might have occurred to them during meditatio. Eventually the discussion of questiones became a method of inquiry apart from the lectio and independent of authoritative texts. Disputationes were arranged to resolve controversial quaestiones.” Notice the extensive amount of intellectual fasting. One is not gathering empirical data, but rather reading approved sources. This is followed by the meditatio of intellectual fasting. It is only later that one follows ‘a method of inquiry apart from the lectio and independent of authoritative texts’.

The scholasticists “would choose a book by a renowned scholar… as a subject for investigation. By reading it thoroughly and critically, the disciples learned to appreciate the theories of the author. Other documents related to the book would be referenced, such as Church councils, papal letters and anything else written on the subject, be it ancient or contemporary. The points of disagreement and contention between multiple sources would be written down in individual sentences or snippets of text, known as sententiae. Once the sources and points of disagreement had been laid out through a series of dialectics, the two sides of an argument would be made whole so that they would be found to be in agreement and not contradictory.”

The ‘tax collectors and sinners’ with whom Jesus was eating were using a different form of learning. The trading guilds were learning from the experiences and people they encountered while trading. And the Muslim ‘sinners’ were acquiring empirical knowledge by studying their physical environment. Wikipedia summarizes that “Science in the medieval Islamic world was the science developed and practised during the Islamic Golden Age under the Umayyads of Córdoba, the Abbadids of Seville, the Samanids, the Ziyarids, the Buyids in Persia, the Abbasid Caliphate and beyond, spanning the period roughly between 786 and 1258. Islamic scientific achievements encompassed a wide range of subject areas, especially astronomy, mathematics, and medicine. Other subjects of scientific inquiry included alchemy and chemistry, botany and agronomy, geography and cartography, ophthalmology, pharmacology, physics, and zoology.” While scholasticism had its nose buried in holy books in an attitude of intellectual fasting, Muslim scholars were feasting upon riches of knowledge acquired through scientific inquiry.

Jesus responds with a rather strange analogy: ““The sons of the wedding place cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (v.15). Wedding place is only used here and in the two parallel passages in Mark 2 and Luke 5. It means ‘the chamber containing the bridal bed’. The ‘sons of the wedding place’ were ‘friends of the bridegroom, whose duty it was to provide and care for whatever pertained to the bridal chamber’. ‘Days will come’ can be interpreted as some reference to the future, or as referring to future societal eras, in which society is illuminated by the sun of some general Teacher understanding. The word taken away is also found only here and in the two parallel passages and means ‘to lift off’. What will be lifted off from them is the bridegroom. When that happens, then they will fast.

This strange language makes sense if one thinks in terms of male and female thought. Thus, a wedding place would describe the integration of the technical thinking of male thought with the mental networks of female thought. The thinking of the early medieval period was not sufficiently developed to integrate male and female thought, but it was heading in the direction of integrating these two forms of thought. However, the time would come when male technical thought would be lifted up to the extent that it became separated from mental networks. This describes modern scientific thought, which has utterly transformed male technical thinking while leaving mental networks largely unchanged. And this transformation of technical thought has continued through several days of major paradigm shifts. Jesus is saying that when scientific thought emerges and starts to transform technical thinking in an objective and specialized manner, then the followers of Jesus will adopt the mental fasting of scholasticism by turning away from empirical evidence in order to meditate upon the words of the Bible and other approved sacred texts.

Jesus then describes two dangers of attempting to mix old with new. Verse 16 warns that “No one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for that which fills up pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.” The two words put on and patch are almost identical in the original Greek and mean ‘to throw over’. Cloth is only used here and in the parallel passage in Mark 2 and means a rag’. Unshrunk is also used only in these two passages and adds the prefix ‘not’ to ‘one who cleans woolen cloth’. Garment refers to the ‘outer garment’. Pulls away is actually a version of the verb ‘lift off’ that was seen in the previous verse. That which fills up means ‘fullness, filling up’. Worse is a variant of the word ‘inwardly foul, rotten’, and tear is schisma, which means ‘split, division’.

Putting all these words together, a more literal transformation would be ‘No one throws over a throwing-over of a rag on an ancient outer garment. For the filling up will lift up away from the outer garment and a more inwardly-foul schism will come into being.’ This makes sense cognitively if one interprets an outer garment as social interaction and recognizes that ‘throwing over’ travels through the ‘air’ of Teacher thought. In other words, one cannot use Teacher thought to try to fix social interaction in an ad-hoc manner. That is because Teacher thought will cause this new ‘rag’ to fill the void, leading to a methodology that is supported by Teacher emotions. This new methodology will become separated from the original fabric of social interaction leaving intact the inadequate MMNs that originally motivated social interaction. Saying this another way, it is very difficult to use Teacher thought to improve the inadequate culture of some institution. What happens is that the improvements will acquire a Teacher life of their own and become distinct from the original Mercy inadequacies which will continue to fester under the surface.

Applying this to the mindset of scholasticism, Europe is about to go through a period of deep trouble in which existing institutions will fail. Science will emerge on the other side of this societal cataclysm.

Verse 17 gives another analogy: “Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” Most of the English words here accurately reflect the original Greek. Wine represents MMNs of culture. Old means ‘old, ancient’. New means ‘recently revealed or what was not there before’. Similarly, fresh means ‘not found exactly like this before’. Ruined ‘implies permanent destruction’. Preserved combines ‘closely together with’ and ‘guard, keep’.

One can decipher what is being stated here by understanding the nature of mental networks. A mental network generates positive emotions when it encounters content that is consistent with that structure. Stated simply, what is familiar feels good. (This emotional label of familiar versus unfamiliar that is generated by a mental network is different than any emotions being generated by specific memories within a mental network. Thus, an MMN may feel familiar but be composed of painful experiences.)

Verse 17 says that one cannot take brand-new cultural experiences that have never been encountered before and place them within an existing cultural framework. On the one hand, the new experiences will permanently ruin the existing cultural framework. On the other hand, the new experiences will dissipate, because society will attempt—unsuccessfully—to place these brand-new experiences within existing MMNs of culture. Therefore, new cultural experiences need to be combined with a new cultural framework, because each will then provide emotional support for the other.

Applying this to the coming scientific revolution, the new wine of scientific thought will need to be placed within a new wineskin of society. Thus, the existing wineskin of medieval society needs to be overturned in order to create a new wineskin within which the new wine of scientific thought will survive.

The Ruler’s Daughter 9:18-19

The rest the chapter contains four interconnected stories: the main story involves the daughter of a ruler; a woman with a hemorrhage is encountered on the way to the house of the ruler; two blind men are encountered after leaving the house; and the story ends with a deaf-mute man. Going further, verse 18 opens by saying, “While He was saying these things to them…” This tells us that we are dealing with the same historical time period.

Verses 18-19 continue by starting the main story. “A synagogue ruler came and bowed down before Him, and said, ‘My daughter has just died; but come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live.’ Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples.” The NASB suggest that the story is about a ruler of the synagogue, and it is likely that the original story did involve such an individual. However, as the NASB points out, the word ‘synagogue’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, the word ruler means to ‘rule, take precedence’. Thus, the primary story involves official government. Bow down means ‘to do reverence to’. This suggests that the story involves government-sanctioned worship. The word died is consistently translated as ‘died’, but it literally means ‘to complete, to come to an end’. And just means ‘in the immediate present’. If one interprets daughter as referring to the mental networks of female thought, then one comes up with the interpretation that government authority is realizing that the cultural expressions of government have currently reached an end, and they are turning to Jesus to restore worship.

The ruler asks Jesus to ‘come and lay Your hand on her, and she will live’. The hand is related to detailed manipulation. Hands have been mentioned several times in Matthew, but this is the first time that the verb lay is used, which means ‘to lay upon, to place upon’. And the preposition upon is also explicitly included. Looking at this cognitively, the ruler is asking that the technical thinking of incarnation be applied in a detailed manner to government-sanctioned worship. The word live means both physical and spiritual life. Thus, the ruler wants officially sanctioned worship to live both physically and spiritually in some new manner.

We interpreted the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law back in 7:14 as a rediscovery of Roman building techniques, leading to the construction of many cathedrals and palaces. Such edifices were erected by government officials in order to create mental networks of awe and power in the population. In the words of Wikipedia, “At the end of the 12th century, Europe was divided into a multitude of city states and kingdoms… Throughout Europe at this time there was a rapid growth in trade and an associated growth in towns. Germany and the Lowlands had large flourishing towns that grew in comparative peace, in trade and competition with each other, or united for mutual weal, as in the Hanseatic League. Civic building was of great importance to these towns as a sign of wealth and pride. England and France remained largely feudal and produced grand domestic architecture for their kings, dukes and bishops, rather than grand town halls for their burghers.”

The revival of Roman building techniques had led to what is known as Romanesque architecture. As Wikipedia explains, “Romanesque architecture was the first distinctive style to spread across Europe since the Roman Empire. With the decline of Rome, Roman building methods survived to an extent in Western Europe, where successive Merovingian, Carolingian and Ottonian architects continued to build large stone buildings such as monastery churches and palaces.” Romanesque architecture basically consisted of thick walls and small windows. “The general impression given by Romanesque architecture, in both ecclesiastical and secular buildings, is one of massive solidity and strength… The walls of Romanesque buildings are often of massive thickness with few and comparatively small openings. They are often double shells, filled with rubble.”

This building style changed, starting in the 12th century. “Gothic architecture (or pointed architecture) is an architectural style that flourished in Europe during the High and Late Middle Ages. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture. It originated in 12th century northern France and England as a development of Norman architecture.”

The pointed arch of Gothic architecture made it possible to construct far more elegant buildings. Wikipedia elaborates: “While, structurally, use of the pointed arch gave a greater flexibility to architectural form, it also gave Gothic architecture a very different and more vertical visual character to Romanesque. Rows of pointed arches upon delicate shafts form a typical wall decoration known as blind arcading. Niches with pointed arches and containing statuary are a major external feature of Gothic cathedrals. The pointed arch also lent itself to elaborate intersecting shapes which developed within window spaces into complex Gothic tracery forming the structural support of the large windows that are characteristic of the style.”

Romanesque architecture was dark and solid with its thick walls and small windows. Gothic architecture, in contrast, was filled with light. “Expansive interior light has been a feature of Gothic cathedrals since the first structure was opened. The metaphysics of light in the Middle Ages led to clerical belief in its divinity and the importance of its display in holy settings. Much of this belief was based on the writings of Pseudo-Dionysius, a sixth-century mystic whose book De Coelesti Hierarchia was popular among monks in France. Pseudo-Dionysius held that all light, even light reflected from metals or streamed through windows, was divine. To promote such faith, the abbot in charge of the Saint-Denis church on the north edge of Paris, the Abbot Suger, encouraged architects remodelling the building to make the interior as bright as possible. Ever since the remodelled Basilica of Saint-Denis opened in 1144, Gothic architecture has featured expansive windows.”

(The reference to pseudo-Dionysius is revealing. Wikipedia explains that “The author pseudonymously identifies himself in the corpus as ‘Dionysios’, portraying himself as Dionysius the Areopagite, the Athenian convert of Paul the Apostle mentioned in Acts 17:34. This false attribution to the earliest decades of Christianity resulted in the work being given great authority in subsequent theological writing in both East and West. The Dionysian writings and their mystical teaching were universally accepted throughout the East, amongst both Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians, and also had a strong impact in later medieval western mysticism, most notably Meister Eckhart.” Stated bluntly, the Christian church pursued mysticism for centuries on the basis of a forgery. This is consistent with the suggestion that mysticism is based in cognitive mechanisms, because medieval theologians literally invented a justification for this practice when it was not present in the Bible.

I have come to the conclusion that the theory of mental symmetry cannot coexist with mysticism. That is because mysticism bases a concept of God in Teacher overgeneralization that transcends all rational Perceiver facts, while mental symmetry constructs a general Teacher theory of God and religion which is based upon rational Perceiver facts. One cannot simultaneously suppress facts and build upon facts, and my repeated experience over the decades has been that it is almost impossible to discuss mental symmetry with someone who practices mysticism. Gothic architecture may have been motivated by Teacher feelings of mysticism, but when one is constructing a cathedral out of stone, one is literally building Teacher order out of solid Perceiver facts, and if one does not do so in a rational manner, then the building will collapse.)

A subtle point in verse 19 suggests that this digression may be appropriate. The verb follow is used 25 times in the book of Matthew. In every other case, people are following Jesus. This is the only time where Jesus is described as following someone else. “Jesus got up and began to follow him, and so did His disciples.” Notice that the disciples are following the ruler as well. The word got up that means ‘to awaken, to raise up’. This implies that the development of new building techniques for cathedrals and palaces is causing technical thought to emerge in a new way. But technical thought is acting as the servant of rulers. The ruler is leading, and Jesus and his disciples are following. In contrast, if theologians had gone beyond mysticism to a rational understanding of God and religion, then the positions would have been reversed, and the ruler would have been doing the following. Saying this more generally, an overgeneralized mystical concept of God that transcends rational content is incapable of imposing moral rules. This leaves an emotional vacuum which the rulers of society will gladly fill with their own rational content, often delivered in the name of God.

The Hemorrhaging Woman 9:20-22

While Jesus is on the way to the ruler’s house, the incident with the hemorrhaging woman takes place. “And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak; for she was saying in herself, ‘If I only touch His garment, I will be saved’” (v. 20-21). The word saved, which means to ‘deliver out of danger and into safety’ is used three times in verses 21-22. The words cloak and garment both refer to the outer garment. The woman ‘approaches behind’, giving the impression that this encounter is happening without fanfare as a byproduct. The word fringe is kraspedon, which is used in the Septuagint to refer to the tzitzit, which Jewish men used to remind themselves of God’s law. This woman has been hemorrhaging blood for a long period of time, a word that only occurs once in the New Testament.

Looking at this symbolically, blood represents personal identity, and the spilling of blood describes a threat to MMNs of personal identity. A person who continues to lose blood will eventually die physically. Similarly, MMNs of personal identity that continue to lose blood metaphorically will fall apart and die. Thus, a woman with a long-term hemorrhage would represent female thought living in continual fear of injury and death. Western Europe was just emerging out of centuries of barbarism in which personal identity would feel continually threatened. The focus of these verses is upon salvation. The woman wants to be saved out of her predicament. She does this by touching the outer garment of official power. This touching does not happen anywhere. Instead, the social interaction of official powers is being touched where official power is building symbols of civilization. This touching is happening silently, as defenseless civilians are gathering around cathedrals and palaces for personal safety. And what part of the outer garment does the woman touch? The tzitzit—the aspect of social interaction that reminds rulers of the rule of law. Wikipedia states briefly that “A castle town is a settlement built adjacent to or surrounding a castle. Castle towns were common in Medieval Europe... In Western Europe, and England particularly, it is common for cities and towns that were not castle towns to instead have been organized around cathedrals.” Another website explains that “Most people in Medieval England were village peasants but religious centres did attract people and many developed into towns or cities. Outside of London, the largest towns in England were the cathedral cities of Lincoln, Canterbury, Chichester, York, Bath, Hereford etc. That these cities were big can be explained simply because they were cathedral cities. These cities attracted all manner of people but especially traders and pilgrims.”

Verse 21 describes the thinking of the woman: ‘She was saying in the realm of herself, if only I touch his outer garment, I will be saved’. Jesus responds in verse 22, “But Jesus turning and seeing her said, ‘Daughter, take courage; your faith has saved you.’ From that hour the woman was saved.” On the one hand, the woman needs to ‘be persuaded’ to ‘show courage’. Saying this another way, the mental networks of female thought need to find security and confidence in the persuasion of rational thought. On the other hand, female thought finds salvation from that time. This suggests a new era of towns guided by the rule of law.

Raising up the Girl 9:23-26

The main story resumes in verse 23: “When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute-players and the crowd in noisy disorder.” Looking at this literally, the ruler was probably employing professional mourners. But this verse does not explicitly talk about death or mourning. Flutes are only mentioned twice in the book of Matthew. Noisy disorder is found once as a verb in Matthew and means ‘to make a noisy upheaval, tumult’. If one interprets the ruler’s daughter symbolically as Gothic architecture, then verse 23 suggests that something is also wrong with the music.

A new form of music known as Ars Antiqua was developed at this time in connection with the new Gothic architecture. Turning as usual to Wikipedia, “The flowering of the Notre Dame school of polyphony from around 1150 to 1250 corresponded to the equally impressive achievements in Gothic architecture: indeed the centre of activity was at the cathedral of Notre Dame itself. Sometimes the music of this period is called the Parisian school, or Parisian organum, and represents the beginning of what is conventionally known as Ars Antiqua. This was the period in which rhythmic notation first appeared in western music, mainly a context-based method of rhythmic notation known as the rhythmic modes. This was also the period in which concepts of formal structure developed which were attentive to proportion, texture, and architectural effect.” Notice how musical chaos is being tamed with the introduction of structure and rhythmic notation.

Jesus interrupts the musical chaos by saying, “‘Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep.’ And they began laughing at Him.” The word leave means ‘to go back, withdraw’. Jesus tells this to the crowd that is making the commotion. Curiously, churches started physically pushing back the crowds at this time. Wikipedia explains that “For most of the medieval period, there would have been no fixed screen or barrier separating the congregational space from the altar space in parish churches in the Latin West; although as noted above, a curtain might be drawn across the altar at specific points in the Mass. Following the exposition of the doctrine of transubstantiation at the fourth Lateran Council of 1215, clergy were required to ensure that the reserved sacrament was to be kept protected from irreverent access or abuse; and accordingly some form of permanent screen came to be seen as essential, as the parish nave was commonly kept open and used for a wide range of secular purposes.”

The word dead ‘focuses on the separation that goes with the dying off’. And the word girl actually means ‘a little girl’. Looking at this symbolically, the worshipers have been viewing architecture and music as relics from a bygone age that is becoming increasingly separated from current reality. We have looked at how Romanesque architecture was based in Roman building techniques. Similarly, church music was based in Gregorian chants which had Roman origins. “Although popular legend credits Pope Gregory I with inventing Gregorian chant, scholars believe that it arose from a later Carolingian synthesis of Roman chant and Gallican chant.” Jesus describes the little girl as sleeping. Looking at this symbolically, a new form of art and music is about to emerge starting with Gothic architecture and the Ars Antiqua.

The verb laugh is only used here and in the two parallel accounts and means ‘to laugh down’. Gothic architecture was mocked by later experts. “The term ‘Gothic architecture’ originated as a pejorative description. Giorgio Vasari used the term ‘barbarous German style’ in his Lives of the Artists to describe what is now considered the Gothic style, and in the introduction to the Lives he attributes various architectural features to the Goths, whom he held responsible for destroying the ancient buildings after they conquered Rome, and erecting new ones in this style.” I do not know if the Ars Antiqua was subject to similar derision. But this new style of music came into existence in a time when Gregorian chants were regarded as the official standard for church music, and those who follow official standards tend to view any alternatives with derision. “Gregorian chant eventually replaced the local chant tradition of Rome itself, which is now known as Old Roman chant. In the 10th century, virtually no musical manuscripts were being notated in Italy. Instead, Roman Popes imported Gregorian chant from (German) Holy Roman Emperors during the 10th and 11th centuries... Reinforced by the legend of Pope Gregory, Gregorian chant was taken to be the authentic, original chant of Rome, a misconception that continues to this day. By the 12th and 13th centuries, Gregorian chant had supplanted or marginalized all the other Western plainchant traditions.”

Verse 25 describes what Jesus does: “But when the crowd had been sent out, He entered and took her by the hand, and the girl got up.” Crowd means ‘crowd, multitude, the common people’, sent out is actually ‘to cast out’, while took means ‘to be strong, rule’. And got up means ‘to waken, to raise up’. Looking at this cognitively, Jesus is ejecting common opinion from the scene and exhibiting strength and rulership. This causes the little girl to waken and raise up. If one recognizes that incarnation uses technical thought, then this means that technical thought is taking control of the situation. Such a mental transition is required if one is going to construct massive physical edifices. One has to reject popular opinion and be guided firmly by technical thought. Similarly, I would guess that about half of the most famous musical composers of history have been Contributor persons who have thrown out influences of popular music and have used technical thought to take mastery of the musical idiom.

Verse 26 describes the result. “This news spread throughout all that land.” Looking at this literally, news of a physical resurrection would spread quickly. The word news actually derives from a word that means ‘to bring to light’. And land refers to space and time. Interpreting this symbolically, what is spreading is a new form of religius thinking based upon light. As was mentioned earlier, the primary goal of the new Gothic architecture was to bring more light into a building guided by a religious philosophy of light. And this new view of physical reality spread beyond cathedrals ‘throughout the land’. Wikipedia relates that ‘As an architectural style, Gothic developed primarily in ecclesiastical architecture, and its principles and characteristic forms were applied to other types of buildings. Buildings of every type were constructed in the Gothic style, with evidence remaining of simple domestic buildings, elegant town houses, grand palaces, commercial premises, civic buildings, castles, city walls, bridges, village churches, abbey churches, abbey complexes and large cathedrals.”

Two Blind Men 9:27-31

Verses 27-31 describe an event that happens right after. “As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’” (v.27). Cry means ‘to croak; hence, generally used of inarticulate cries’. David means ‘beloved’.

This is the first reference in Matthew to blindness, but eyes were mentioned several times in the Sermon on the Mount. We interpreted eyes as using Perceiver thought to scan the physical environment in order to come up with facts about the situation. Therefore, mental blindness would mean being unable to evaluate the environment in a rational manner. The term blind has a masculine plural ending, which means that these were blind men. And they are following after Jesus just after the power of using technical thought has been revealed. However, these blind men are exhibiting emotional behavior. They want mercy, which means receiving good experiences in Mercy thought. They are focusing upon Jesus as an important person—the son of David. And they are crying out in an incoherent fashion.

The story continues in verse 28: “When He entered the house, the blind men came up to Him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord.’” The reference to entering a house implies that they are trying to build something for personal identity. Jesus then asks if they are willing to be persuaded that he has the power to do this. Power relates to Perceiver thought. That is because one accesses power by harnessing natural processes, which means containing and connecting one natural process with another. For instance, an automobile contains the process of combustion and then connects this combustion with the spinning of the wheels. Doing relates to Server thought. Thus, Jesus is asking them if they will use the persuasion of rational thought to use Perceiver facts to manipulate Server actions, similar to the way that an engineer designs an automobile engine. They answer in the positive.

In response, “He touched their eyes, saying, ‘Let it be done to you according to your faith’” (v.29). More literally, ‘according to the faith of you, may it come into being to you’. Looking at this cognitively, technical thought is influencing the way that a person interprets the environment, making it possible for rational persuasion to cause new things to come into being.

Putting this all together, I suggest that this passage is describing the rise of alchemy. Wikipedia explains that “In Europe, following the 12th-century Renaissance produced by the translation of Medieval Islamic works on science and the rediscovery of Aristotelian philosophy, alchemists played a significant role in early modern science (particularly chemistry and medicine). Islamic and European alchemists developed a structure of basic laboratory techniques, theory, terminology, and experimental method, some of which are still in use today. However, they continued antiquity's belief in four elements and guarded their work in secrecy including cyphers and cryptic symbolism. Their work was guided by Hermetic principles related to magic, mythology, and religion.” The medieval alchemists did use technical thought to manipulate their physical environment. They came up with rational laboratory techniques that are still used today. But they were driven in Teacher thought by incoherent theories. And their primary quest was to discover the Philosopher’s Stone which would be capable of transmuting base metals into gold. “The philosophers’ stone was the central symbol of the mystical terminology of alchemy, symbolizing perfection at its finest, enlightenment, and heavenly bliss. Efforts to discover the philosophers' stone were known as the Magnum Opus (‘Great Work’).”

This explains Jesus’ warning in verse 30. “And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them: “See that no one knows about this!” On the positive side, their eyes were opened. They saw their physical environment in a totally new way based upon chemical manipulation. But on the negative side, their thinking was fatally flawed. The word sternly warned is found once in Matthew and means to ‘snort like an angry horse’. This is not just a verbal warning. Instead, it is a gut revulsion against what is happening. As the NASB points out, ‘about this’ is not in the original Greek. Instead, the Greeks says ‘see that no one knows’, and the word knows means ‘to know, especially through personal experience’. In other words, Jesus is telling them at a gut level not to base their Perceiver facts in personal Mercy experiences. This warning is appropriate, because that is precisely what alchemy did. Quoting again from Wikipedia, “In the eyes of a variety of esoteric and Hermetic practitioners, alchemy is fundamentally spiritual. Transmutation of lead into gold is presented as an analogy for personal transmutation, purification, and perfection. The writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus are a primary source of alchemical theory. He is named ‘alchemy’s founder and chief patron, authority, inspiration and guide.’” Thus, alchemy became an admixture of chemistry and the ‘experiential knowledge’ of spiritual questing and personal transmutation.

Verse 27 mentions two blind men. Similarly, alchemy was driven by a dual quest. “Both the transmutation of common metals into gold and the universal panacea symbolized evolution from an imperfect, diseased, corruptible, and ephemeral state toward a perfect, healthy, incorruptible, and everlasting state, so the philosopher’s stone then represented a mystic key that would make this evolution possible. Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented a hidden spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal.”

Mental symmetry is also driven by a similar dual quest of transforming the mind and discovering spiritual insights that would make it possible to change the nature of physical reality. In addition, my thinking is guided by the experiential knowledge that I have acquired through applying mental symmetry and attempting to share with others. But I am trying very hard to remain compatible with the rigorous thinking and empirical knowledge of scientific thought and I am doing my best to be guided by how the mind functions rather than be sidetracked by MMNs of personal feeling. I am painfully aware that interpreting a biblical book as a prophecy of Western history smells like alchemy. That is why we are going through Matthew as well as Western history in such detail, and why I keep basing my analysis in cognitive principles rather than personal experience. Alchemy was ultimately rejected because it didn’t work. But alchemy developed many elements of chemistry, which does work. I am doing this historical analysis of the book of Matthew because it works. The ultimate bottom line for scientific thought is that one follows what works regardless of how it smells.

Unfortunately, verse 31 concludes that what spread in medieval Europe was the semi-sanity of alchemy. “But they went out and spread the news about Him throughout all that land.” Compare this with verse 26, which says that “This news spread throughout that land”. The verb spread in verse 31 means ‘to spread a report’, and is a stronger version of the noun ‘news’ in verse 26. In verse 26 the focus was upon the report, which went out. In verse 31, a person is being reported abroad. Verse 26 caused people to copy the technical thinking. Verse 31 caused people to fixate upon the experiential knowledge. But chemistry should be driven by the general Teacher theory of the periodic table, and not by an experiential knowledge of spiritual transmutation within Mercy thought.

The Mute Man 9:32-34

The final of the four related stories involves a mute man. “As they were going out, they brought a mute, demon-possessed man to Him” (v.32). Going out is the same word that was used in verse 31. In this story, the patient is being brought and is not following Jesus. Mute means ‘blunted, dull’, and was used for both deaf and mute. This man is also possessed by a demon.

Verse 33 describes what happens. “After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever appeared in Israel.” Amazed means ‘to regard with amazement’ and was last seen when Jesus calmed the wind and the sea. Appeared means ‘to bring to light’. Israel was last mentioned in 8:10, where Jesus said that the faith of the centurion exceeded anything he had found in Israel. We have been interpreting demons as TMNs that drive unwanted habits. Putting this together, something new is happening involving the realm of habitual action which goes beyond what people have seen so far in the religious realm, and this new thing is replacing fragmented bad habits with intelligible communication.

My best guess is that this may be referring to guilds. Wikipedia explains that “Guilds arose beginning in the High Middle Ages as craftsmen united to protect their common interests. In the German city of Augsburg craft guilds are mentioned in the Towncharter of 1156.”

Craft guilds regulated TMNs of skilled labor. “Craft guilds were, as noted, particularly keen to make sure their members’ products were of a high enough quality and the weights, dimensions and materials or ingredients of goods all met the current industry standards… Quality was further maintained by regulating apprenticeships which had to be of a minimum duration and with a master who had proven skills at their craft.”

Guilds started with merchant associations and then spread to include skilled artisans. “From the 12th century CE guilds were organised according to types of merchants and professionals like doctors before the idea expanded to include skilled artisans. Accordingly, there were over 100 guilds in Britain, for example, representing first merchants and traders, and then any skilled craft industry from weaving to metalworkers.”

Using the language of Matthew, the speechless demons of unorganized and unskilled labor are being brought to the technical thinking of incarnation which is casting out TMNs of random behavior, teaching technical skills, and giving an intelligent voice to organized labor.

Verse 34 says that this secular organization was denounced by the purists. “But the Pharisees were saying, ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.’” Jesus contests this conclusion in the parallel passages in Mark 3 and Luke 11, but in Matthew 9 the statement of the Pharisees is made without any rebuttal from Jesus. This implies that the Pharisees may have been correct in their assessment when one interprets the passage symbolically. Guilds did eventually fragment labor into a myriad of separate specializations. “Craft guilds eventually included associations of cutlers (makers of cutlery), haberdashers (dealers in goods needed for sewing and weaving), dyers, bakers, saddlers, masons, specialists in metal goods such as blacksmiths, armourers, locksmiths and jewellers, and many others covering all aspects of daily life. Some guilds were based on the materials their members worked with rather than the end product so that, in France, for example, there were separate guilds for makers of buckles depending on whether they used brass or copper. So, too, guilds of the makers of prayer beads were distinguished by which material they used to make their beads, whether it be bone, amber, jet or whatever.” Thus, demons of unskilled labor were being cast out, but the end result was the ‘prince of demons’ of a system of fragmented labor.

Teaching with Insufficient Workers 9:35-38

Verse 35 describes a period of general prosperity. “Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” Wikipedia describes the general transformative impact of the technical thinking of incarnation. “During the 12th and 13th century in Europe there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth. In less than a century there were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history all over the globe.”

A village is ‘a village or country town, properly as opposed to a walled city’, and this is the first time that villages are mentioned in Matthew. The implication is that growth is spreading beyond the city to affect towns as well. Wikipedia describes the growth of both cities and towns: “The High Middle Ages was a period of tremendous expansion of population. The estimated population of Europe grew from 35 to 80 million between 1000 and 1347, although the exact causes remain unclear: improved agricultural techniques, the decline of slaveholding, a more clement climate and the lack of invasion have all been suggested. As much as 90 per cent of the European population remained rural peasants. Many were no longer settled in isolated farms but had gathered into small communities, usually known as manors or villages.”

‘Teaching in their synagogues’ implies that people are identifying with the organized church and the organized church is educating the people. What is being proclaimed is the ‘good news of the kingdom’ (Gospel means good news.) Thus, a civilization is spreading, and this is good news. But notice that this is not the ‘kingdom of heaven’. What is spreading is an earthly kingdom that is not ruled by the heavens of Teacher understanding. Disease refers to ‘chronic disease’, while sickness ‘is an ailment that disables’. Thus, civilization is addressing chronic problems and enabling people.

Verse 35 is almost identical to 4:23 which we suggested describes European society initially emerging from the Dark Ages. The primary difference is that 4:23 was happening within the societal cycles of ‘Galilee’, while 9:35 is happening within the civilized structure of cities and towns.

In verse 36, Jesus bemoans the incomplete nature of this salvation. “Seeing the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were harassed and thrown down like sheep not having a shepherd.” Felt compassionate means ‘to be moved in the inward parts’. Harassed means ‘skin alive, mangle or flay’, but the four times that it is used in the New Testament are all translated figuratively as ‘troubled’. Thrown down means ‘to throw off’. These strong words describe the response of Jesus when he ‘sees the crowds’.

In medieval times, the ‘crowds’ consisted primarily of villeins who had a status between peasant and slave. “Villein was a term used in the feudal system to denote a peasant (tenant farmer) who was legally tied to a lord of the manor – a villein in gross – or in the case of a villein regardant to a manor. Villeins occupied the social space between a free peasant (or ‘freeman’) and a slave. The majority of medieval European peasants were villeins… Because of the low social status of villeins, the term became derogatory.” Villeins did have some rights and were not literally ‘skinned alive’. But if one regards the skin symbolically as the source of emotional experiences (this hurts, that feels good), then the villein was being skinned alive. Quoting from Wikipedia, “As part of the contract with the landlord, the lord of the manor, they were expected to spend some of their time working on the lord’s fields. The requirement often was not greatly onerous, contrary to popular belief, and was often only seasonal, for example the duty to help at harvest-time. The rest of their time was spent farming their own land for their own profit. Villeins were tied to their lord’s land and couldn't leave it without his permission. Their lord also often decided whom they could marry.” On the one hand, villeins were permitted to live a fairly independent existence. But on the other hand, key aspects of their personal existence in Mercy thought were ripped out of their control. Thus, they were alive, while being periodically skinned.

Jesus looking with compassion at the crowds implies that technical thought is starting to help some people, but not really touching the lifestyle of the common crowd.

Verses 37-38 describe the response of Jesus. “Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’” This verse is typically used at church conferences to encourage people to become missionaries and win converts. But we are interpreting grain as related to intellectual food. Thus, the harvest would represent the gathering of intellectual food. In other words, the conditions are ripe for making breakthroughs of understanding.

This intellectual openness is demonstrated by all of the universities that were spontaneously founded at this time. Wikipedia elaborates: “The earliest universities emerged spontaneously as ‘a scholastic Guild, whether of Masters or Students... without any express authorization of King, Pope, Prince or Prelate.’ Among the earliest universities of this type were the University of Bologna (1088), University of Paris (teach. mid-11th century, recogn. 1150), University of Oxford (teach. 1096, recogn. 1167), University of Modena (1175), University of Palencia (1208), University of Cambridge (1209), University of Salamanca (1218), University of Montpellier (1220), University of Padua (1222), University of Toulouse (1229), University of Orleans (1235), University of Siena (1240), University of Valladolid (1241) University of Northampton (1261), University of Coimbra (1288).”

The term workman appears for the first time in Matthew and is used twice in these two verses. Work describes ‘a deed (action) that carries out (completes) an inner desire’. This goes beyond manual labor to labor that is motivated by internal desire. Even though there were many universities, their occupants were not necessarily workmen who were gathering an intellectual harvest. Instead, the students of the day were infamous for not being motivated by inner desire. Wikipedia relates that “students often lived far from home and unsupervised, and as such developed a reputation, both among contemporary commentators and modern historians, for drunken debauchery. Students are frequently criticized in the Middle Ages for neglecting their studies for drinking, gambling and sleeping with prostitutes.” In addition, we have already seen that the primary method of teaching was scholasticism, which emphasizes intellectual fasting, rather than the harvesting of intellectual crops. Moreover, a teacher of scholasticism is motivated primarily by MMNs of personal status and not by TMNs of internal understanding. He is too busy quoting authorities to think for himself.

The word beseech is found once in Matthew and means ‘to feel pressing need because of lack’. The word send out means ‘to cast out’. Thus, there was a real need to take the students and scholars and cast them out of their institutions of scholasticism into the harvest of empirical data.

Verse 37 does not say that there were no workers, but rather that the workers were few. There were some scholars doing original thinking and heading in the direction of science, but not many and not enough to spark a scientific breakthrough. The Wikpedia article on Roger Bacon summarizes that “The medieval church was also not generally opposed to scientific investigation and medieval science was both varied and extensive. As a result, the picture of Bacon has changed. Bacon is now seen as part of his age: a leading figure in the beginnings of the medieval universities at Paris and Oxford but one joined in the development of the philosophy of science by Robert Grosseteste, William of Auvergne, Henry of Ghent, Albert Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham.”

The First Disciples 10:1-2

Chapter 10 turns away from history to instruction. This section starts in verse 1 with Jesus commissioning his twelve disciples. “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.” This section finishes at the end of chapter 10, because chapter 11 then begins by saying that “When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his 12 disciples…”

Chapter 10 was the most difficult chapter to analyze and describe. That is because it describes major transitions in ways of thinking. Historically speaking, Western society went through a huge mental shift during the late Middle Ages. Thus, there is definitely a relationship between Matthew 10 and Western history. But the relationship between Matthew 10 and Western history in this chapter is not as easily subdivided into specific chunks as we saw in the previous chapters and will also see in succeeding chapters. Instead, the chaotic state of late medieval thought will also be reflected in our somewhat convoluted discussion of Matthew 10.

The four primary mendicant orders are the Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustinians, and Carmelites. The instructions given to the disciples in verses 5-15 sound rather like the mendicant orders, which were founded in the early 13th century. In fact, Matthew 10 was actually responsible for motivating Francis of Assisi. Wikipedia recounts that “A sermon Francis heard in 1209 on Mt 10:9 made such an impression on him that he decided to devote himself wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance.” Therefore, we will compare the mendicant orders with the instructions given in these verses, interpreting them both literally and symbolically.

Turning now to verse 1, Jesus commissions his disciples in two ways. Looking first at the second phrase, he tells them “to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness”. This precise phrase was seen back in Matthew 4:23 as well as 9:35. We have interpreted this healing as therapeutic rather than miraculous (the Greek word heal is the source of the English word ‘therapeutic’). I do not want to state that miracles never occur, but I think that it is more therapeutic to view miracles as an extension of natural healing rather than as a divine intervention that overrules natural law.

Turning now to the first phrase, he “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out”. The New Testament talks about being possessed by evil spirits and by demons. It does not talk about being possessed by angels. As I have mentioned before, my general hypothesis is that the spiritual realm interacts with the mind by empowering mental networks. More specifically, demons empower TMNs while spirits empower MMNs. Thus, a demon would motivate some habitual behavior or action, while a spirit would motivate some personal or cultural fixation. This interpretation makes it possible to discuss demons and spirits from a purely cognitive perspective, while leaving room for the existence of a real spiritual realm. Even if a real spiritual realm exists, it appears that this realm has no inherent content, and that spiritual beings acquire their content from mental physical structure. This means that it is pointless to turn to the spiritual realm for insight, because even if one succeeds, one will merely end up reinforcing one’s own existing mental networks.

These spirits are described as ‘unclean spirits’, and unclean means ‘not pure because mixed’. Saying this cognitively, an unclean spirit is an MMN that pulls a person emotionally in inconsistent directions. The word ‘unclean’ is found 32 times in the New Testament. It is used as an adjective of spirit 22 times, leading to the phrase ‘unclean spirit’. The only time that a demon is referred to as unclean is in Luke 4:33 which talks about a man having a spirit of an unclean demon. Demons are mentioned 63 times in the New Testament and are always viewed as evil. Spirits, in contrast, can be either good or evil.

Looking at this cognitively, a demon will never be impure, because a habit, by definition, consistently pulls a person in a certain direction. However, a demon is evil because it is pulling a person in a direction that is inconsistent with the general structure of how things work. In other words, righteousness is the opposite of a demon, because righteousness behaves in a manner that is guided by a general Teacher understanding, while a demon empowers the TMN of some fragmented habit. Demons form within the human mind because it is possible to build confidence in any Server action merely by repeating that action. The end result is a habit, which becomes a demon if it is disconnected from general Teacher understanding. A spirit can be impure, because emotional experiences from the physical environment impose themselves upon the mind, and there is no guarantee that these emotional experiences will be internally consistent. An MMN that results from a juxtaposition of inconsistent Mercy experiences is by definition an impure spirit. Returning to verse 1, ‘authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out’, implies that it is possible to deal with emotional Mercy experiences in an integrated manner.

Verses 2-4 give a list of the 12 disciples. I have found in my study of the Bible that lists of names make cognitive sense. Therefore, we will examine this list of names from a cognitive perspective. “Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.”

Simon means ‘hearing’, while Peter means ‘stone’. This combination implies solid Perceiver facts acquired verbally from words in Teacher thought. Simon is described as coming first. This could mean that he was the first disciple chosen, or it could also mean that this list describes a process that begins with hearing words in Teacher thought. This is different than the cognitive development of a child, which begins by having experiences in Mercy thought. Going further, the Greek says that “of the twelve apostles, the names are these’. This also suggests that the focus is upon verbal labels in Teacher thought rather than upon Mercy experiences. It also suggests that the actual apostles did not necessarily have this character, because this list is talking about the names of the apostles and not their behavior.

Simon Peter describes the attitude of absolute truth, in which one treats the words of some book as solid. Andrew means ‘manly’. One can view holy words from a female perspective of mental networks or from a male perspective of technical thought. ‘Manly’ implies that male thought is being used to evaluate the words of absolute truth.

This is not a trivial distinction. That is because two of the mendicant orders developed strong mystical emphases that were guided by female thought. And there was a relationship between women and female thought, because this focus upon mysticism happened in many female Dominican houses. According to Wikipedia, “There were seventy-four Dominican female houses in Germany, forty-two in Italy, nine in France, eight in Spain, six in Bohemia, three in Hungary, and three in Poland… A number of these houses became centers of study and mystical spirituality in the 14th century, as expressed in works such as the sister-books.” These “sister-books are also characterized by both the forms and structures of legendary narrative and the vocabulary and motifs of mysticism; the texts take images and metaphors quite seriously.” Unfortunately, these books pushed religious thought in the direction of mysticism. “These books are important documents for the history of German mysticism. They show that mysticism in women’s monasteries was not just a consequence of Dominican preaching; rather, it preceded it in some monasteries. In the discourse on women’s religious experiences, Meister Eckhart, Johannes Tauler, Heinrich Seuse and others developed their mystical theology and pastoral care.”

I am not suggesting that female intuitive thought is inherently inferior. But I do suggest that intuition needs to be trained. (Trained intuition describes the highest level of expertise, which functions at an intuitive level guided by the mental networks of female thought.) Unfortunately, women living in female Dominican houses had no contact with the common sense of physical reality. “Female houses differed from male Dominican houses in that they were enclosed. The sisters chanted the Divine Office and kept all the monastic observances. The nuns lived under the authority of the general and provincial chapters of the order. They shared in all the applicable privileges of the order. The friars served as their confessors, priests, teachers and spiritual mentors.”

And Dominican nuns had to write about personal experience because they were not permitted to write about theology. “While the sister-books were often devalued as products of naive nuns and as an expression of a flattened mysticism in earlier scholarship, today they find new attention as authentic testimonies of a women’s monastic writing culture. Since only men were permitted to write theological treatises, highly educated women turned to narrative forms, especially in the form of vision narratives, to explain or discuss concepts of religious thought and action.” Despite these imposed limitations, female Dominican houses did emphasize education: “As well as sewing, embroidery and other genteel pursuits, the nuns participated in a number of intellectual activities, including reading and discussing pious literature. In the Strassburg monastery of Saint Margaret, some of the nuns could converse fluently in Latin. Learning still had an elevated place in the lives of these religious. In fact, Margarette Reglerin, a daughter of a wealthy Nuremberg family, was dismissed from a convent because she did not have the ability or will to learn.”

While women naturally tend to emphasize female thought, the Carmelite order illustrates that men are also capable of fixating upon female thought. “Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the ‘Lady of the place.’” The relationship between fixating upon female thought and mysticism can be seen in the following quote from a Carmelite monk, who “wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means: ‘a special call to the interior life, which is preeminently a Marian life. Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalculable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme. [...] Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God.’”

Continuing with the list of disciples in verse 2, 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’. Mysticism uses Teacher overgeneralization to come up with a general theory by ignoring Perceiver facts. This will lead to the feeling of being united with God. But a concept of God that transcends all rational human content is incapable of assisting rational human content. Thus, I suggest that one should follow the manly thinking of Andrew not in order to be a ‘male chauvinist pig’, but rather because one wants to experience the practical benefits of ‘the Lord has been gracious’. Similarly, mental symmetry is opposed to the practice of mysticism not because of inherent prejudice, but rather because mysticism uses mental tricks to fool the mind, and these mental tricks will prevent the mind from developing fully. Going the other way, I have repeatedly found that those who pursue mysticism will be driven at a gut level to instinctively reject the theory of mental symmetry, because the rational content of mental symmetry stops overgeneralization in Teacher thought and prevents identification in Mercy thought.

Looking at this more fully, mysticism sidetracks the mind with feelings of ecstasy. This will happen even if one warns that it should not happen. For instance, “Humbert of Romans, the master general of the [Dominican] order from 1254 to 1263... advised his readers, ‘[Young Dominicans] are also to be instructed not to be eager to see visions or work miracles, since these avail little to salvation, and sometimes we are fooled by them; but rather they should be eager to do good in which salvation consists. Also, they should be taught not to be sad if they do not enjoy the divine consolations they hear others have; but they should know the loving Father for some reason sometimes withholds these. Again, they should learn that if they lack the grace of compunction or devotion they should not think they are not in the state of grace as long as they have good will, which is all that God regards’. The English Dominicans took this to heart, and made it the focal point of their mysticism. [However], by 1300, the enthusiasm for preaching and conversion within the order lessened. Mysticism, full of the ideas Albertus Magnus expostulated, became the devotion of the greatest minds and hands within the organization. It became a ‘powerful instrument of personal and theological transformation both within the Order of Preachers and throughout the wider reaches of Christendom.’” Notice how the warning against being motivated by mystical feelings was ignored. Instead, the ‘greatest minds’ developed a fixation upon mystical devotion.

The Next Disciples 10:3-4

Moving on to verse 3, Philip means ‘horse-loving’ and horses have historically been implements of organizational and government might. Deuteronomy 17:16 says that Jewish kings should not ‘multiply horses’. One website explains that “horses were prime war materiel in those days, particularly for pulling chariots, so multiplying horses can indicate territorial aggression and a warlike spirit.” Bartholomew means ‘son of Tolmai’ and a Tolmai is a ‘plowman’. Philip and Bartholomew are connected in the original Greek by an ‘and’, suggesting that these two are cognitively related. The idea is that a movement will eventually turn into an organization, and this organization can grow through the application of institutional power or it can grow in a more organic manner. One can see both of these trends in the mendicant orders. On the one hand, they all turned into powerful organizations. On the other hand, they also emphasized intellectual food acquired through teaching and learning.

The next pair of names is Thomas and Matthew. Thomas means ‘the twin’ while Matthew means ‘gift of Yah’. Matthew is described as the tax collector, and we saw that this word specifically refers to tax from commerce. We saw previously that Zebedee means ‘bestowed by Yah’. ‘Bestowal’ focuses upon the giving of a gift while ‘gift’ emphasizes the gift itself. When movements turn organizational or start to develop organically, then the movement itself acquires an existence that is distinct from the founder—the emphasis changes from the giving of the gift to the gift itself. This leads to a twinning of internal content and external structure. On the one hand, there is the content that is being taught and the internal goals that are being pursued. On the other hand, there is the physical organization that is being maintained and improved. These will be mentally equated with one another and treated as twins. People will assume that joining the organization automatically means internalizing the principles of that organization, and they will also assume that holding on to the principles of the organization will be followed by joining the organization. Unfortunately, maintaining an organization requires physical resources. Thus, the organization that views itself as a ‘gift of Yah’ will have to act like a tax collector in order to maintain its existence. Saying this another way, those who work within the organization will claim to be following the unseen God and administering gifts of God, but they will actually be collecting taxes for the physical organization, which will tend increasingly to become a foreign secular power while still being viewed as the twin of the original religious mission.

The next pair of names involves another Jacob: James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddaeus. The name Alpheus probably means ‘changing’, and Thaddaeus means ‘heart or courageous heart’. Jacob implies that another mindset is following and Alpheus means that this new mindset will involve the Mercy emotions of the heart. Looking at this cognitively, the founders of the movement may have been driven by TMNs of God and rational understanding, but once the movement expresses itself as a physical organization, then it is possible for followers to be motivated by MMNs of culture and approval. Saying this more simply, what started off as following God will turn into maintaining culture.

The final pair of names is “Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him” (v.4). This list began with Simon, which means ‘hearing’. But this Simon is a zealot, which is derived from the Hebrew word that means ‘jealous’. Jealousy describes the feelings of exclusivity. Those who follow a movement for cultural reasons will naturally be driven by tribal feelings of jealousy, because they will want ‘us’ to grow at the expense of ‘them’. Judas means ‘praised’. Praise naturally goes together with jealousy because both are tribal feelings. Praise attributes emotional status to ‘us and our leaders’, while jealousy is a negative emotion that arises when praise is given to ‘them and their leaders’. Iscariot means ‘man of a city’. This implies that feelings of jealousy and praise are being expressed more at a nationalistic or organizational level, as illustrated by the American campaign slogan ‘Make America Great Again’. Judas Iscariot is described as ‘the one who betrayed him’. Betray means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. This conveys the idea that the betrayal is not being done by a stranger, but rather by someone who claims to be close to the organization. Looking at this cognitively, when an organization reaches this stage of tribal feelings, then any form of salvation that was originally connected with the movement has been betrayed. There is no more salvation, only tribalism and xenophobia.

We have read a lot into a list of twelve names, but it is possible to find illustrations of this progression in many organizations. For instance one can see this progression happening with the 12th-century mendicant orders. Before we continue, I need to point out that one can also interpret this progression of the twelve disciples from a positive light as stages in the process of growth. The same disciples emerge in the same order, but the results are constructive rather than destructive. Unfortunately, the mendicant orders tended to follow the destructive version.

The Dominican order is one of the mendicant orders. The starting point of Simon Peter can be seen in Dominic’s studying of books. “As an adolescent, he had a particular love of theology and the Scriptures became the foundation of his spirituality. During his studies in Palencia, Spain, he experienced a dreadful famine, prompting Dominic to sell all of his beloved books and other equipment to help his neighbours.” Dominic was physically manly in taking up a challenge to preach to the Cathars. “Diego suggested that the papal legates begin to live a reformed apostolic life. The legates agreed to change if they could find a strong leader. The prior took up the challenge, and he and Dominic dedicated themselves to the conversion of the Cathars. Despite this particular mission, Dominic met limited success converting Cathars by persuasion, ‘for though in his ten years of preaching a large number of converts were made, it has to be said that the results were not such as had been hoped for.’” The reason that I say physically manly is because we saw earlier that Dominic was guided mentally by the untrained female intuition of mystical thought.

This preaching ministry then shifted into a focus upon systematic learning. “In 1215, Dominic established himself, with six followers, in a house given by Peter Seila, a rich resident of Toulouse. Dominic saw the need for a new type of organization to address the spiritual needs of the growing cities of the era, one that would combine dedication and systematic education, with more organizational flexibility than either monastic orders or the secular clergy.” Dominic was guided by Teacher emotions of understanding: “In Dominic’s thinking, it was impossible for men to preach what they did not or could not understand.”

I should point out that mysticism is capable of coexisting mentally with rational thought, as long as the rational thought is regarded as subservient to the mysticism. In other words, one must believe that the mystical God transcends rational human thought. This works because Teacher emotion actually comes from order-within-complexity. Simply saying that ‘all is one’ is not enough. Instead, the mind needs to be filled with complexity and Teacher thought then finds order within this complexity by asserting that the God of mystical oneness transcends the complexity of knowledge. This is different than coming up with a concept of God in Teacher thought that integrates the complexity of knowledge—which is what the theory of mental symmetry attempts to do.

This was then followed by the ‘Philip’ of organization as well as the ‘Bartholomew’ of plowing. The Dominican order became an organization officially approved by the pope. “The Order of Preachers was approved in December 1216 and January 1217 by Pope Honorius III in the papal bulls Religiosam vitam and Nos attendentes. On January 21, 1217, Honorius issued the bull Gratiarum omnium recognizing Dominic’s followers as an order dedicated to study and universally authorized to preach, a power formerly reserved to local episcopal authorization.” Intellectual plowing can be seen in Dominic’s founding of schools. “On August 15, 1217, Dominic dispatched seven of his followers to the great university center of Paris to establish a priory focused on study and preaching. The Convent of St. Jacques, would eventually become the order’s first studium generale. Dominic was to establish similar foundations at other university towns of the day, Bologna in 1218, Palencia and Montpellier in 1220, and Oxford just before his death in 1221.”

The Dominicans then acquired the ‘Thomas’ of physical headquarters and a physical organization. “In 1219, Pope Honorius III invited Dominic and his companions to take up residence at the ancient Roman basilica of Santa Sabina, which they did by early 1220. Before that time the friars had only a temporary residence in Rome at the convent of San Sisto Vecchio, which Honorius III had given to Dominic circa 1218, intending it to become a convent for a reformation of nuns at Rome under Dominic's guidance. The official foundation of the Dominican convent at Santa Sabina with its studium conventuale, the first Dominican studium in Rome, occurred with the legal transfer of property from Pope Honorius III to the Order of Preachers on 5 June 1222, though the brethren had taken up residence there already in 1220.”

The shift away from rational Teacher thought to subjective feelings of the heart as a byproduct of organizational growth can be seen in the following quote: “The expansion of the order produced changes. A smaller emphasis on doctrinal activity favoured the development here and there of the ascetic and contemplative life and there sprang up, especially in Germany and Italy, the mystical movement with which the names of Meister Eckhart, Heinrich Suso, Johannes Tauler, and Catherine of Siena are associated.”

And the zealous pursuit of the right words can be seen in the role that Dominicans played in the Inquisition. “The order’s origins in battling heterodoxy influenced its later development and reputation. Many later Dominicans battled heresy as part of their apostolate. Indeed, many years after Dominic reacted to the Cathars, the first Grand Inquistor of Spain, Tomás de Torquemada, would be drawn from the Dominican Order. The order was appointed by Pope Gregory IX the duty to carry out the Inquisition. Torture was not regarded as a mode of punishment, but purely as a means of eliciting the truth. In his Papal Bull Ad extirpanda of 1252, Pope Innocent IV authorised the Dominicans’ use of torture under prescribed circumstances.”

The papal inquisition began officially in 1231 and Dominicans and Franciscans were immediately appointed to the role of inquisitors. “In 1231 Pope Gregory IX appointed a number of Papal Inquisitors (Inquisitores haereticae pravitatis), mostly Dominicans and Franciscans, for the various regions of Europe. As mendicants, they were accustomed to travel. Unlike the haphazard episcopal methods, the papal inquisition was thorough and systematic, keeping detailed records.”

And ‘Simon the Zealot’ can also be seen in the way that Gregory IX treated the Jewish words of the Talmud. “In the 1234 Decretals, he invested the doctrine of perpetua servitus iudaeorum – perpetual servitude of the Jews – with the force of canonical law. According to this, the followers of the Talmud would have to remain in a condition of political servitude until Judgment Day. The doctrine then found its way into the doctrine of servitus camerae imperialis, or servitude immediately subject to the Emperor’s authority, promulgated by Frederick II. The Jews were thus suppressed from having direct influence over the political process and the life of Christian states into the 19th century with the rise of liberalism.… In 1239, under the influence of Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity, Gregory ordered that all copies of the Jewish Talmud be confiscated. Following a public disputation between Christians and Jewish theologians, this culminated in a mass burning of some 12,000 handwritten Talmudic manuscripts on 12 June 1242, in Paris.” Notice that this was not just a personal betrayal of the message of salvation, but rather a betrayal by Judas Iscariot—a praise related to the city. It carried out tribalism in a systematic and civilized manner, forcing the Jewish ‘them’ to forever give the praise of religious and political superiority to the ‘us’ of Christendom. (I should add that Gregory IX treated Jews with civilized tribalism. On the one hand, they were regarded officially as second-class citizens. On the other hand, they were protected from persecution.)

Given such a church environment, it was inevitable that any officially approved mendicant order would quickly acquire the flavor of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. I am not suggesting that this is still the case. Both the Catholic Church and the mendicant orders have gone through numerous transformations since then. However, one can definitely make these statements about the 13th century Catholic Church.

Before we continue, I would like to return to the topic of female mysticism. One can find some deep wisdom and possibly valid prophecies in medieval Christian women’s mysticism. But one can state categorically that the movement as a whole was poneros, a word that means pain-ridden and is translated as evil. One simply has to read the Wikipedia article on medieval women’s mysticism to come to this conclusion. “The legitimacy of the medieval woman mystic was gained through partnership with the Catholic Church and observed proof of physical suffering and deterioration. Medieval women mystics lived ascetic lives of severe fasting, abstinence, and isolation lifestyle choices that became physically debilitating and in some instances resulted in death.” Going further, “The proof of a medieval woman's mystical ability was shown through physical suffering due to mortification of the flesh and by the wounds that symbolized the mystic’s connection to Christ. The presence of the Stigmata on a mystic’s body served as divine evidence of her ability to communicate with God. Another sign of mystical ability was observed bleeding on Fridays during the hour of the Crucifixion. By the end of the Middle Ages the physical deterioration of the woman mystic’s body was considered proof of her sanctity. Medieval women mystics were marked as special instances of God’s grace because of their choice to suffer.” If evil means pain-ridden, then this is pure, distilled evil. The reason I attack untrained female intuitive thought is because it leads to personal suffering in many ways and not because I am a male chauvinist pig. The word Jesus means salvation. Salvation takes people out of their present state and brings them to someplace better.

And then to make things even worse, the church turned on women mystics and started burning them at the stake. “Toward the end of the Middle Ages, from the thirteenth century onward, women mystics faced greater scrutiny due to the growing prominence of inquisitional procedure… In the Rhineland and Southern France from 1318 to 1328, Dominican inquisitors began to burn Beguines and other religious women at the stake in response to the papal bull Quum Inter Nonnullos of John XXII which condemned poverty-based religiosity. By the end of the fifteenth century, the mystical marriage of the medieval woman mystic’s marriage with Christ had come to be viewed as a copulation with devil by the Dominicans.”

The Mendicant Path 10:5-15

The next section describes what appears at first glance to be a description of the mendicant orders, in which followers of Jesus travel in poverty to teach the people.

Beginning with verses 5-6, “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: ‘Do not go off on the road of Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” The word instructing means to ‘give a command that is fully authorized because it has gone through all the proper channels’, and this is the first time that this word is used in Matthew. In a similar vein, Jesus gives authority to the disciples in verse 1, which means ‘delegated empowerment’. This implies that religion has reached a new level of order and structure. Wikipedia relates that “Gregory was a remarkably skillful and learned lawyer. He caused to be prepared Nova Compilatio decretalium, which was promulgated in numerous copies in 1234 (first printed at Mainz in 1473). This New Compilation of Decretals was the culmination of a long process of systematising the mass of pronouncements that had accumulated since the Early Middle Ages, a process that had been under way since the first half of the 12th century and had come to fruition in the Decretum, compiled and edited by the papally commissioned legist Gratian and published in 1140. The supplement completed the work, which provided the foundation for papal legal theory.” Thus, the haphazard papal decrees of the past were finally organized and systematized. Such systemization will lead to the dilemma of Thomas and Matthew the tax collector. When one is dealing with the twin structures of mental order and physical organization, then which of these two is more fundamental? Who is the tax collector really serving, the religious mindset of ordered thinking, or the secular mindset of ordered buildings?

Gregory IX tried to mix these two, because at the same time that he was bringing order to the thinking of the church, he was also fighting with Frederick II over the physical control of Lombardy. One can see how physical organization took precedence over mental order in the following quote: “In June 1229, Frederick II returned from the Holy Land, routed the papal army which Gregory IX had sent to invade Sicily, and made new overtures of peace to the pope. Gregory IX and Frederick came to a truce, but when Frederick defeated the Lombard League in 1239, the possibility that he might dominate all of Italy, surrounding the Papal States, became a very real threat. A new outbreak of hostilities led to a fresh excommunication of the emperor in 1239 and to a prolonged war. Gregory denounced Frederick II as a heretic and summoned a council at Rome to give point to his anathema. Frederick responded by trying to capture or sink as many ships carrying prelates to the synod as he could.” This is a bizarre juxtaposition of religious and secular power.

Jesus begins in verse 5 by warning, “Do not go off on the road of Gentiles”. This literal translation from the NASB footnotes accurately reflects the original Greek. Gentiles means ‘people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture’. This summarizes what Gregory IX was doing. He was getting sidetracked on a path of warfare based in cultural conflict; he was going off on the road of the nations.

Verse 5 continues, “do not enter any city of the Samaritans”. A city is a structured system of society. This is the only time that the Samaritans are mentioned in Matthew. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews as a mixed race that was partially Jewish and partially pagan, both religiously and ethnically. Looking at this, one is not supposed to construct a social system that is partially religious and partially heathen, which is precisely what Gregory IX was doing (along with the other popes of that era). He was attempting to be simultaneously religious and heathen.

Verse 6 then turns to the positive: “but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The word go means ‘to transport, moving something from one destination to another’. Verse 5 warned about going off on a side path. Verse 6 talks about going forward through a transition. To actually means ‘motion towards’. Sheep were mentioned a few verses earlier in 9:36 where Jesus complained that the crowds were like sheep without a shepherd. ‘Lost’ is more accurately ‘lost and being lost’ (perfect participle active), and lost ‘implies permanent destruction’. In other words, the innocent followers—or sheep—of Christendom are facing permanent destruction. A transition needs to be made to reach these people.

The mendicant orders were initially motivated by a desire to reach the new urban class. Quoting from Wikipedia, “The twelfth century saw great changes in western Europe. As commerce revived, urban centers arose and with them an urban middle class. New directions in spirituality were called for. Church reform became a major theme of the cultural revival of this era. In response to this, there emerged the new mendicant orders founded by Francis of Assisi and Dominic Guzman.”

But how did Gregory IX respond to the lost sheep of the house of Israel? With the Inquisition: “The Inquisition, as a church-court, had no jurisdiction over Moors and Jews as such. Generally, the Inquisition was concerned only with the heretical behaviour of Catholic adherents or converts. The overwhelming majority of sentences seem to have consisted of penances like wearing a cross sewn on one’s clothes, going on pilgrimage, etc. When a suspect was convicted of unrepentant heresy, the inquisitorial tribunal was required by law to hand the person over to secular authorities for final sentencing, at which point a magistrate would determine the penalty, which was usually burning at the stake although the penalty varied based on local law.”

Verse 7 described the message to be conveyed: “And as you go, proclaim, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’” The kingdom of heaven was last mentioned in 8:15 where Jesus predicted that outsiders would be part of the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom would be cast out. The Catholic Church of that era could no longer be viewed as the kingdom of heaven, because it was acting as sons of the kingdom—heirs of a physical kingdom guided by MMNs of personal status and culture. Instead of proclaiming that ‘the kingdom of heaven has come near’, the Inquisition proclaimed that ‘the powers of earthly kingdoms have come near’. The situation was so bad that in 1241 the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg called Gregory IX the antichrist, saying “A little horn has grown up with eyes and mouth speaking great things, which is reducing three of these kingdoms—i.e. Sicily, Italy, and Germany—to subserviency, is persecuting the people of Christ and the saints of God with intolerable opposition, is confounding things human and divine, and is attempting things unutterable, execrable.”

Verse 8 describes the actions that should be done: “Heal sick, raise dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (‘The’ is not in the original Greek.) Healing the sick has been mentioned several times, as has casting out demons. But this is the first reference to ‘raising the dead’. Similarly, a leper was cleansed back in 8:2, but this is the first reference to cleansing lepers. Lepers had contagious skin conditions, and the skin provides experiences of physical pain and pleasure for Mercy thought. Cleansing means ‘removing all admixture’ and the relationship between Mercy thought and purity was seen in verse 1 when looking at unclean spirits.

Looking at this cognitively, an integrated Teacher understanding will lead to the development of Platonic forms in Mercy thought. Platonic forms have the mental power to cognitively raise the dead and cleanse lepers. Saying this more carefully, when Mercy Platonic forms of ideal perfection are added to Teacher feelings of structure and righteousness, then this combination has sufficient emotional power to bring life to personal networks that have died, and to bring purity to deep Mercy inconsistencies. Speaking from personal experience, I currently do not have sufficient strength to write this essay on Matthew. So many forces are now mentally arrayed against me that hope has essentially died within my mind. But I am finding that the combination of TMNs of righteousness and MMNs of Platonic forms is sufficient keep me going.

But I have also found that this higher motivation will only kick in if one follows the command ‘Freely you received, freely give’. The word freely simply means ‘as a free gift, without payment’. Looking at this cognitively, technical thought handles transfer of ownership. The Contributor person is naturally good at buying and selling. Payment uses the circuit at the level of people and things. The end result is a physical economy. But it is also possible to have an internal economy involving cognitive ownership, in which mental networks transfer ownership of thought and behavior. ‘Raising dead and cleansing lepers’ involves cognitive ownership because new mental networks of life and purity are motivating thought and behavior. This cognitive economy will only function if it is not short-circuited by a physical economy. We saw this principle mentioned in Matthew 6, where Jesus warned that the person who does acts of righteousness in order to gain human approval has received his reward in full.

The Catholic Church of that era was not practicing the principle of ‘freely you received, freely give’. Instead, the internal economy of forgiveness, righteousness, purity, and resurrection was being reduced to the level of money through the use of indulgences. That is because the church needed money to support its earthly kingdoms. “With the permission of the Church, indulgences also became a way for Catholic rulers to fund expensive projects, such as Crusades and cathedrals, by keeping a significant portion of the money raised from indulgences in their lands. There was a tendency to forge documents declaring that indulgences had been granted. Indulgences grew to extraordinary magnitude, in terms of longevity and breadth of forgiveness. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) suppressed some abuses connected with indulgences, spelling out, for example, that only a one-year indulgence would be granted for the consecration of churches and no more than a 40-days indulgence for other occasions… Very soon these limits were widely exceeded. False documents were circulated with indulgences surpassing all bounds: indulgences of hundreds or even thousands of years.”

Verses 9-10 contain the words that inspired Francis of Assisi: “Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.” As mentioned earlier, Wikipedia relates that “A sermon Francis heard in 1209 on Mt 10:9 made such an impression on him that he decided to devote himself wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept, without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance.” But verse 9 does not say that one should give away all one’s wealth. Instead, one is not supposed to acquire money for one’s belt when one is on this preaching mission. (Biblehub explains that ‘a belt was often hollow to be used as a money-belt’.) Similarly, the parallel passage in Luke 9:3 says that one should not take anything for the journey, but it does not say that one should give away all of one’s possessions. However, Franciscans placed such an emphasis on total poverty that “The Franciscans were authorized by Pope Gregory IX to have non-members who would look after their material needs, while the friars themselves would own nothing and would only make use according to the vow of poverty of what was given to them. From the beginning, two tendencies developed. Some friars, referred to as the Zelanti, living more isolated and simpler lives, strictly observed the poverty enjoined by the testament of Saint Francis. Others lived in convents in the towns, tending the attached churches with the necessary liturgical furnishings and devoting themselves also to study and preaching, which required the use of books. They observed the Franciscan Rule in accordance with interpretations officially made by the Popes.”

I suggest that one can explain this emphasis upon total poverty as a byproduct of absolute truth. If ‘truth’ comes from people or institutions with great emotional status in Mercy thought, then this means that I am nothing compared to my source of ‘truth’, which means that I show devotion to truth by denying myself totally.

Looking at verse 9 cognitively, Jesus is saying that one should not use intellectual wealth as a belt. In other words, one should not treat knowledge in an objective manner and then bring it close to personal identity. A focus upon physical poverty does exactly this, because it fixates upon what I own, rather than upon what I am. Total physical poverty then brings this objective fixation close to personal identity like a belt: ‘I am holy because of what I do not own’. In contrast, verse 9 appears to be saying that what really matters is what I am rather than what I have or what I know. Being someone does not negate having knowledge or possessions. Instead, it means that having is an expression of being. And the mention of gold, silver, and copper suggests that this principle should be applied to both large issues and small issues. This happens naturally when one thinks in terms of cognitive ownership because physical ownership will become treated as a byproduct of cognitive ownership.

Verse 10 says more literally, ‘nor a provision-bag for a road’. The focus here is not about having nothing, but rather carrying nothing extra for the path in Server thought. This again has to do with cognitive ownership. The TMN of a concept of God will only have to provide motivation for the Server path if the Server path is not supported by MMNs of status and approval. The Franciscans had provision bags for their road from the Pope himself: “Pope Gregory IX adopted a legal construct whereby gifts given to the Franciscans was vested in the Holy See, which granted the friars the mere use of it. In this way, they need not be perennially destitute.”

Verse 10 continues that one should not have ‘two coats, or sandals, or a staff’. The coat here refers to the ‘tunic, undergarment’. This would refer to the more personal side of social interaction which one does not display in public. The four mendicant orders all wore two tunics. On the one hand, they were denying self by living a life of physical poverty. On the other hand, they were officially authorized by the Church. The average person would not notice this duality, but it would become apparent in personal interaction, and it would also affect the self-image of these people. Sandals protect the feet from contact with the ground as one walks. Symbolically, they cushion personal identity as one walks through life. In the second temptation of Jesus back in Matthew 4, the devil told the Jesus to throw himself off the Temple because the angels would bear him up so that he would not strike his foot against a stone. The mendicant orders were throwing themselves off the ‘temple’ of the isolated monastery in order to live among the average person. But they were being supported by the messengers of the Church so that they would not ‘strike their feet against a rock’. Saying this more simply, they may have lived lives of poverty among the people, but they had the official backing of the largest organization in Christendom. When they declared someone to be a heretic, then that person got burned at the stake. This official backing can be seen in the word staff, which means ‘a rod, staff, staff of authority, scepter’.

This is followed by the phrase “for the worker is worthy of his nourishment” (v.10). The word worthy means ‘to weigh in, assigning the matching value’. This word is used four times in verses 10-13, indicating that it is a core concept. The word nourishment means ‘nourishment, food’ and was last used in 6:25 where Jesus said that the soul is more than food. Worker refers to ‘a deed that carries out an inner desire’ and this term was first used in 9:37-38 where Jesus said that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Putting this together, a worker describes someone whose behavior is internally motivated. Such a person will be worthy of peripheral food, because there will be a correspondence between inner character and peripheral expression. Saying this another way, a healthy soul will naturally lead to intellectual food. Such a person will not be a turncoat who is wearing two tunics. Such a person also does not need institutional backing because the internal character of his soul backs up his message. He does not need a staff of authority because he has moral authority. And he will not clutch peripheral wealth to his person, because he recognizes that the soul is more than food.

Verse 11 describes the focus of ministry: “And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy in it, and stay there until you leave that [city].” The word who can mean who, which, or what. And stay simply means ‘to remain’ and, as a footnote in the NASB points out, house is not specifically mentioned. Inquire is only used three times the New Testament and means ‘looking into something in a precise, meticulous manner’. In addition, the final word ‘city’ is not in the Greek. And leave actually means ‘to go or come out of’. A more literal translation would be ‘into whatever city or village one enters, examine closely what is worthy and remain there until coming out’. In other words, each visit should be viewed as an opportunity for gaining value. The mendicant orders tended to do the opposite, searching each region for error and heresy and then focusing upon extirpating this error. That is a natural byproduct of a mindset of absolute truth, because it will think that it already possesses all significant truth and that there is no need to learn from others. Instead, it will feel that one should use Mercy status to impose absolute truth upon others.

One can see this focus upon correcting error in the Dominicans. Initially, “Dominic saw the need for a response that would attempt to sway members of the Albigensian movement back to mainstream Christian thought. Dominic became inspired into a reforming zeal after they encountered Albigensian Christians at Toulouse.” Going further, “The order’s origins in battling heterodoxy influenced its later development and reputation. Many later Dominicans battled heresy as part of their apostolate. Indeed, many years after Dominic reacted to the Cathars, the first Grand Inquistor of Spain, Tomás de Torquemada, would be drawn from the Dominican Order. The order was appointed by Pope Gregory IX the duty to carry out the Inquisition.”

Verses 12-13 describe the attitude that one should have. “As you enter the house, give it your greeting. If the house is worthy, your peace is to come upon it. But if it is not worthy, your peace is to return to you.” House is explicitly mentioned twice, indicating a focus upon where personal identity lives. Greet is used twice in Matthew and means ‘to welcome, greet’. In other words, approach MMNs of personal identity in a friendly manner and not in an adversarial fashion. Do not project the feeling of ‘us versus them’. Saying this more simply, do not treat ‘them’ as heretics.

The Greek includes a word that means ‘truly, indeed’. More literally, ‘if the house is truly worthy’. In other words, one starts by investigating to see what is worthy. One then takes a closer look emotionally by ‘entering the house’ and this closer look makes it possible to evaluate the worthiness more accurately. Worthy means ‘to weigh in, signing the matching value’ which was done using a balance scale. Taking a closer look personally makes it possible to balance the external appearance of worth with the actual subjective worth. Is there a correspondence between these two? Does one ‘weigh as much as’ the other? If there is, then ‘your peace is to come upon it’. The word peace means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. In other words, one takes what is worthy from other people and places it into a larger picture of wholeness.

The inquisitions are usually viewed as something totally negative, but they had a positive side. Wikipedia explains that “One reason for Pope Gregory IX’s creation of the Inquisition was to bring order and legality to the process of dealing with heresy, since there had been tendencies by mobs of townspeople to burn alleged heretics without much of a trial. Pope Gregory’s original intent for the Inquisition was a court of exception to inquire into and glean the beliefs of those differing from Catholic teaching, and to instruct them in the orthodox doctrine. It was hoped that heretics would see the falsity of their opinion and would return to the Roman Catholic Church. If they persisted in their heresy, however, Pope Gregory, finding it necessary to protect the Catholic community from infection, would have suspects handed over to civil authorities, since public heresy was a crime under civil law as well as Church law.” In other words, an initial impression is being followed by a closer personal look, similar to what is being described in verse 13. But what is being investigated is not worthiness but rather heresy. The focus is upon error rather than upon truth. And wholeness is not being extended to those who follow truth. Instead, punishment is being extended to those who demonstrate error.

Going further, verse 13 also says how one should respond if a closer look reveals a lack of worthiness. “If it is not worthy, your peace is to return to you”. (This is the translation from the footnote.) More literally, ‘The peace of you, to you let it return’. Notice that the focus is not upon blessing or cursing the other person, but rather upon retaining one’s own peace. It is disturbing to discover that another person lacks worth, and the natural tendency will be to attack the other person. But one needs to focus upon maintaining one’s own wholeness rather than becoming personally fragmented by the unworthiness of the other person. For instance, it is easy for me to be sarcastic or get angry at the mendicant orders and the pope when writing this because my closer look is revealing their lack of worth. I am doing my best to maintain my personal peace and wholeness when doing this analysis. In contrast, when the mendicant orders uncovered a lack of worthiness, they replaced a mindset of wholeness with a mindset of judgment and condemnation. Their peace did not survive contact with error.

Verse 14 states how one should judge others. “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.” Receive means ‘to receive in a welcoming way’. This is not talking about forced repentance, but rather of willing acceptance. Words is logos, which refers to the paradigm driving some system of technical thought. Theologically speaking, this would refer to fundamental doctrines. Putting this together, you as a person are not being welcomed and your doctrines are not being heard. This combination describes encountering a heretic.

Continuing with the response, as you go means ‘to go or come out of’. And out means ‘outside, without’. In other words, do not stay around. Leave. Do not declare a holy crusade. Do not set up an inquisition. Leave. Let them alone. ‘Shake the dust off your feet’ is not a judgment upon the other person, but rather an attempt to free yourself from personal involvement. Dust comes from the word ‘to stir up’ and represents fragments of Perceiver facts that were stirred up as a result of walking within this area. In other words, let go of the situation in your mind. Do not let any facts of the situation that were stirred up through personal involvement cling to your personal identity. The mendicant orders did exactly the opposite. When they encountered heresy, then not only did the dust cling to their feet, but they ensured that their feet ground the heretics into the dirt.

In conclusion, these verses may appear at first glance to describe the mendicant orders, but if one takes a closer look, as instructed in verse 13, one realizes that the mendicant orders were consistently violating the commands of this text. It is possible that these orders began by attempting to follow these principles. In addition, I am certain that many members of these orders attempted to follow a path of peace to the best of their abilities. But the papal mindset of that era ensured that any officially-approved religious movement would become fatally corrupted.

In verse 15, Jesus concludes that “it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” The meaning of these two names is uncertain, but the story of the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah is in Genesis 19. In brief, two angels come to the city of Sodom and are welcomed by Lot into his house where he serves them a meal including unleavened bread. The men of the city congregate around Lot’s house and demand to have intimate relations with Lot’s guests. Lot offers the men his two virgin daughters but they refuse and try to break their way into Lot’s house. These men are then struck blind by the two angels. This is normally interpreted as male homosexuality, which does not make sense within the context of the mendicant orders. However, verse 15 talks about the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, which implies looking at the bigger picture.

Here there is a striking analogy. In brief, angelic messengers (the word angel means ‘messenger’ in both Greek and Hebrew) come to visit a society. These messenger share an intellectual meal with members of this society. A large group of men who spurn women then demand to have intimate relations with the angelic messengers. (Celibacy was first made mandatory for Catholic clergy in 1123.) Or saying this more clearly, the absolute truth of the Bible comes to Western society and scholars start to understand the message of the Bible. Many of the men of this society who are following a path of celibacy treat the Bible in a mystical manner in order to have intimate ecstatic experiences. This desire for mystical ecstasy blinds the men so that they are incapable of evaluating their environment rationally.

The Waldensians

We have looked at the four mendicant orders. However, there is another group that emerged at the same time which we have not discussed because it did not become officially approved by the pope. This group is the Waldensians started by Peter Waldo. Wikipedia describes their origins. “According to legend, Peter Waldo renounced his wealth as an encumbrance to preaching, which led other members of the Catholic clergy to follow his example… In 1179, Waldo and one of his disciples went to Rome, where Pope Alexander III and the Roman Curia welcomed them. They had to explain their faith before a panel of three clergymen, including issues that were then debated within the Church, such as the universal priesthood, the gospel in the vulgar tongue, and the issue of voluntary poverty. The results of the meeting were inconclusive, and the Third Lateran Council in the same year condemned Waldo’s ideas, but not the movement itself; the leaders of the movement had not yet been excommunicated. The Waldensians proceeded to disobey the Third Lateran Council and continued to preach according to their own understanding of the Scriptures. By the early 1180s, Waldo and his followers were excommunicated and forced from Lyon. The Catholic Church declared them heretics, stating that the group’s principal error was contempt for ecclesiastical power. Rome also accused the Waldensians of teaching innumerable errors.”

Summarizing, Waldo went to the Pope for permission, just like Dominic and Francis, but Waldo was not given permission to preach. When Waldo continued to preach, the pope called him a heretic for committing the sin of not obeying the pope.

Wikipedia explains why the likely reason why Francis was accepted and Waldo rejected. “In spite of some similarities between this principle and some of the fundamental ideas of the followers of Peter Waldo, the brotherhood of Assisi succeeded in gaining the approval of Pope Innocent III. What seems to have impressed first the Bishop of Assisi, Guido, then Cardinal Giovanni di San Paolo and finally Innocent himself, was their utter loyalty to the Church and the clergy.” Stated bluntly, Francis was a bootlicker while Waldo was not. Stated cognitively, Francis allowed his mind to be overwhelmed by the emotional status of the pope.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica adds some details: “As a layman, Valdes preached (1170–76) in Lyon, France, but ecclesiastical authorities were disturbed by his lack of theological training and by his use of a non-Latin version of the Bible.” In other words, Waldo did not have the Mercy status of an official degree, and his use of the Bible in the vernacular questioned the emotional status of a holy book. After being ordered by the pope to stop preaching, “The Waldenses departed from the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church by rejecting some of the seven sacraments. The confession of sins was guided by their leaders but did not require a priest; they rejected the use of indulgences. Baptism was to be by full immersion in water and was not administered to infants. Eventually, the elements of the Eucharist (bread and wine) were understood as symbols only, and the Waldenses denied the doctrine of transubstantiation. They also rejected the notion of purgatory and of prayers offered for the dead. Their views were based on a simplified biblicism, moral rigour, and criticism of abuses in the contemporary church. They accepted the Bible as the sole, total authority of all doctrine.” The last sentence is the key. Waldo did not worship the pope because he followed the absolute truth of the Bible. He read the Bible in his own language because he wanted to understand the Bible. And he rejected the other Catholic doctrines because they are not found in the Bible.

Instead, the Waldensians focused upon following the Sermon on the Mount, which we interpreted earlier as a blueprint for Western civilization. “The goal of the Waldenses was to live in absolute faithfulness to the teachings of Jesus Christ, especially those in his Sermon on the Mount.”

Waldo’s views spread widely and the Catholic Church responded with force: “Their movement, often joined to and influenced by other sects, spread rapidly to Spain, northern France, Flanders, Germany, and southern Italy and even reached Poland and Hungary. Rome responded vigorously, turning from excommunication to active persecution and execution.” Summarizing, because Waldo studied the Bible and followed the Bible rather than licking the pope’s boots like Francis, the pope got Francis’s followers to hunt down Waldo’s followers and condemn them to death. And Francis’s followers obeyed, because they were licking the pope’s boots.

There is a recent postscript to this story. “In 2015, after a historic visit to a Waldensian Temple in Turin, Pope Francis, in the name of the Catholic Church, asked Waldensian Christians for forgiveness for their persecution. The Pope apologized for the Church's ‘un-Christian and even inhumane positions and actions.’” This is meaningful, but it was also 850 years late.

So where was God in all this? He was predicting that it would happen, because the next section talks about the followers of Jesus being persecuted. Before we look at this, I want to examine briefly how the Waldensians measured up to the verses that we have just examined. They started with the ‘Simon Peter’ of absolute truth by basing their beliefs in the words of the Bible. But instead of adding female mental networks of mysticism to the words of the Bible, they added the manly content of rational analysis. (The mental networks of female thought function quickly and intuitively. When intuitive thought is trained, then this leads to the highest level of expertise. When intuitive thought is not trained, then the result is irrational gut feelings and mysticism.) I searched on the Internet and cannot find any evidence that the Waldensians practiced mysticism.

Moving on, James and John represent a cognitive transition in which studying the words of the holy book lead to Teacher understanding with its associated Teacher emotions. One can tell that Waldo went through this transition because “Between 1170–80 Waldo commissioned a cleric from Lyon to translate the New Testament into the vernacular ‘Romance’. He is credited with providing to Europe the first translation of the Bible in a ‘modern tongue’ outside of Latin.”

The next pair of names is Philip and Bartholomew, representing organization and the plowing of intellectual ground. “Waldo and his followers developed a system whereby they would go from town to town and meet secretly with small groups of Waldensians. There they would confess sins and hold service. A traveling Waldensian preacher was known as a ‘barba’. The group would shelter the ‘barba’ and help make arrangements to move on to the next town in secret.” If one follows a God of mysticism, then there will be no connection between the physical organization and one’s concept of God, because a physical organization involves rational content while a mystical concept of God transcends all rational content. Instead, one will turn one’s back mentally upon the organization in order to focus upon the transcendental God. In contrast, if one follows a God of content, such as the content of the Bible, then the physical organization will be viewed as an expression of moral understanding.

This is followed by Thomas and Matthew the tax collector. When one builds a physical organization, then the organization becomes a twin of the internal thought and the organization also needs to be supported through some form of taxation. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes how this worked: “Among the Waldenses the perfect, bound by the vow of poverty, wandered about from place to place preaching… The perfect were not allowed to perform manual labour, but were to depend for their subsistence on the members of the sect known as the friends. These continued to live in the world, married, owned property, and engaged in secular pursuits. Their generosity and alms were to provide for the material needs of the perfect.” If one has followed a path of mysticism, then there will be no relationship between the two twins, and a cognitive disconnect will emerge between what one says about God and how one behaves in reality. In contrast, if one follows a God of content, then those who live in reality will look to those who talk about God for instruction.

James and Thaddaeus represent another shift, this time away from Teacher thought to Mercy thought. When the Waldensians became condemned by the Catholic Church, they responded by questioning the religious MMNs connected with the Church. One website explains that “It was natural that the Poor of Lyons, feeling that they had acted out of devotion to God from the beginning, would wonder whether denial of access to the priestly functions of the Roman Church could alter their destiny. Especially with the Bible in their own language, it was natural that they would re-examine these issues, and ultimately deny Roman Catholic teaching in these areas. Therefore the rejection of priestly function in the church was probably done in reaction to the action of the Roman Church, rather than being a native sentiment of the movement.”

That brings us to the final question of zealotry and organized betrayal. The word betray means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. It is used to describe Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, but it is also used in a positive sense by Paul to talk about delivering doctrines to people, or about Jesus delivering the kingdom to God the Father. In essence, this describes a break between the old and the new. This break can happen when one betrays what one was following, or it can happen when one breaks through to something completely new. Waldensians did not break through to something new but they also did not betray their origins the way that other mendicant orders did. Instead, for many Waldensians, the final break with the Catholic Church came 300 years later when the Waldensians heard about the Protestant Reformation, came out of hiding, and adopted a Protestant confession of faith.

Some final words before we move on to the next section of Matthew 10. I am not suggesting that the Waldensians were perfect in either behavior or doctrine. It also does not appear that the Protestant Reformation began with the Waldensians, or that a chain of ‘true believers’ extends through the Waldensians back to the original Christians. Instead, they should probably be viewed as new wine in old wine skins. They were ahead of their time, and Western society was not yet ready to receive them. But Western Christendom was about to go through many years of great trauma during the late Middle Ages, and the new wineskins that would emerge on the other side would be capable of receiving this new wine. Thus, being officially rejected by the existing wineskin of medieval Catholicism actually protected them as a movement from being corrupted by the medieval Catholic Church. (Notice that I am referring specifically to the medieval Catholic Church. We shall see later that the Renaissance Catholic Church was even more corrupt. Today’s Catholic Church is often condemned as being corrupt, but it is often less corrupt than other churches and is far less corrupt than the Catholic Church of either the medieval or Renaissance era.)

Official Persecution 10:16-20

Verse 16 begins, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Wolves are mentioned one other time in Matthew in 7:15 where it referred to false prophets as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus describes his followers as sheep, implying a pure, simple faith. Wolves eat sheep: those who crave power (such as Pope Gregory IX) love to feed on those (like Francis of Assisi) who are trying to follow God in a simple but sincere manner.

The second half of this verse implies that it is possible to combine simple faith with deep wisdom. The word be means ‘to come into being’, which implies that this level of simple wisdom will take time to emerge. The word shrewd refers to gut feelings, and ‘This idea is difficult to translate into English because it combines the visceral and cognitive aspects of thinking’. And a serpent is a normal snake and not a poisonous snake. Going the other way, innocent means ‘unmixed, pure’. And dove was used in 3:16 to describe the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus. I have referred several times to untrained intuition. I suggest that verse 16 is describing a form of trained intuition. Looking at this cognitively, there is a simplicity that comes from a lack of knowledge. This type of childish innocence does not last. But there is also a simplicity that relates to the Platonic forms of the spirit, in which one is simple because one has an internal vision of simple perfection and one is followed this simple perfection to the extent of transforming gut feelings.

Snakes are mentioned 14 times in the New Testament, and this is the only time that one is instructed to be like a snake. The word like is significant because it is used three times in this verse. One is like sheep, like the serpents, and like the doves. But the wolves are referred to as wolves and not like wolves. Thus, the wolves are exhibiting their true nature while the other three forms are resemblances.

One can understand what is happening from the rest of the verse as well as the historical context. The phrase begins with a therefore. One is being sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, one should become shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. These describe basic Mercy traits that emerge in the absence of detailed knowledge. A snake is visually the simplest form of life; it is basically a living string. Similarly, mysticism is based in Teacher overgeneralization, and Teacher thought thinks in terms of strings and sequences. The theory that ‘all is one’ is the simplest form of general theory. In terms of mental networks, it is basically a verbal string. Therefore, a snake represents mysticism.

This explains why the mendicant orders tended to go in the direction of mysticism. Mysticism is a natural trap when one is starting to learn. The solution is to replace Teacher overgeneralization with generalization—to replace the assertion that ‘all is one’ with a rational integrated Teacher understanding based upon Perceiver facts. But this is not a simple task. It has taken me most of my lifetime to construct the theory of mental symmetry, and I have been functioning in a scientific society with a world of facts literally at my fingertips—via the Internet. How could the average medieval believer have constructed a rational understanding of theology when Waldo was the first to have the Bible translated into the vernacular and he was forbidden to teach by the learned men of his day? The only remaining option is to fight the emotional intimacy of mysticism with a gut-level feeling of simplistic comprehension—and I use the term comprehension rather than understanding. In simple terms, one walks a path of personal character development in the middle of a world of wolves for long enough to know at a gut level what is good and what is evil. This will lead to the development of Platonic forms of simple goodness that are potent enough to overcome the evil of society. This will not be an integrated goodness, but rather a single-minded focus upon goodness, in which life is pared down to its essentials. This radical simplicity can be seen in individuals such as Francis of Assisi and Waldo of the Waldensians.

Looking at the example of Waldo, “Extant sources relate that he was a wealthy clothier and merchant from Lyon and a man of some learning. Sometime shortly before the year 1160, he was inspired by a series of events… From this point onward he began living a radical Christian life, giving his property over to his wife, while the remainder of his belongings he distributed as alms to the poor. At about this time, Waldo began to preach and teach publicly, based on his ideas of simplicity and poverty, notably that ‘No man can serve two masters, God and Mammon.’” This is not an integrated solution; it is mentally a form of snake. But it is the only positive response that is possible when society is emerging out of ignorance and knowledge is being suppressed.

Verse 17 warns of religious persecution. “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues.” This same word beware, which means ‘to give full attention’, was used in 7:15 to warn about wolves in sheep’s clothing. The word of actually means ‘from, away from’. And men is the generic word for mankind. A more literal translation would be ‘but give full attention away from the mankind’. Stated more simply, do not expect anything from people. Look elsewhere for rewards and satisfaction. The next phrase explains why. Hand over is the word ‘betray’, which means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. And the word courts is Sanhedrin, a term that was used for the religious courts of the Jews. In other words, if one gets too close to peoples’ personal MMNs, then they will betray you and send you to the religious courts. We have seen that this was standard operating procedure during the high Middle Ages. The Waldensians responded by practicing their faith in secret, similar to the way that one does not share one’s personal beliefs with friends when living in a communist society for fear of being betrayed to the secret police.

This warning may seem like a statement of the obvious, but the natural tendency when living in an environment that is based upon personal and cultural MMNs is to turn to one’s fellow humans for support, confirmation, and validation. There is always that nagging internal voice which suggests that ‘Maybe this group will be different. Maybe they will listen. Maybe their initial interest will not be followed by betrayal.’ I am speaking here from personal experience. Thankfully, the only punishment that I have received is academic, personal, and economic shunning.

The word scourge is nasty, and refers to a leather whip with metal pieces embedded. The same word is used to describe Jesus being scourged before he was crucified. Punishment for heresy during the Middle Ages was also nasty. Looking at this symbolically, fragments of hard truth are being used to brutalize personal Mercy emotions. That is because a mindset of absolute truth uses strong Mercy emotions to impose ‘truth’ upon Perceiver thought. Therefore, the underlying assumption will be that torture leads to truth.

The reference to religious scourging is historically accurate. We have looked at the persecution of the Waldensians. The Inquisition actually began as an aftermath of the crusade against the Cathars of southwestern French. Like many, the Cathars despised the wealth and power of the Catholic Church, but they followed a form of gnostic dualism, which viewed physical matter is evil and God as pure spirit, untainted by physical matter. Wikipedia describes the role played by scourging. “Punishments for Cathars varied greatly. Most frequently, they were made to wear yellow crosses atop their garments as a sign of outward penance. Others made obligatory pilgrimages, which often included fighting against Muslims. Visiting a local church naked once each month to be scourged was also a common punishment, including for returned pilgrims. Cathars who were slow to repent suffered imprisonment and, often, the loss of property. Others who altogether refused to repent were burned.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the emergence of the Inquisition in the 13th century. “During the first three decades of the thirteenth century the Inquisition, as the institution, did not exist. But eventually Christian Europe was so endangered by heresy, and penal legislation concerning Catharism had gone so far, that the Inquisition seemed to be a political necessity… From the foregoing it cannot be doubted that up to 1224 there was no imperial law ordering, or presupposing as legal, the burning of heretics. The rescript for Lombardy of 1224 is accordingly the first law in which death by fire is contemplated.”

Notice that the church has taken over the role of the state. Normally when there is a division between church and state, then church affects people through conscience while the state controls people through force. Here, the church is responding to mental error with physical abuse.

Secular powers are mentioned in verse 17: “And you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.” Governor means ‘what goes before, in front’ and this title is used several times in Matthew 27 to describe the governor Pilate. King Herod had the title of King, and the word kingdom has been seen several times. Testimony means ‘testimony, witness’ and is the source of the English word ‘martyr’.

In this verse, the persecuted people are playing the role that the church should be playing. The church should be acting as a conscience for the state. In this case, the church is bringing people who have a conscience before the state and these people are acting as a conscience for government leaders. Notice also that secular leaders are listening while religious leaders are punishing. Another inversion is that the church is using a court system, while secular leaders are responding personally. Normally the church makes personal appeals while the secular realm runs the courts.

The reference to church courts is historically relevant because “The Catholic Church has the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, much later than Roman law but predating the evolution of modern European civil law traditions.” And “In the thirteenth century, the Roman Church began to collect and organize its canon law, which after a millennium of development had become a complex and difficult system of interpretation and cross-referencing. The official collections were the Liber Extra (1234) of Pope Gregory IX, the Liber Sextus (1298) of Boniface VIII and the Clementines (1317).”

Going further, “In the Middle Ages the bishops acted likewise as judges, both in civil and in criminal matters. In civil matters the Church drew to its jurisdiction all things of a mixed character — the causae spirituali annexae, which were partly temporal and partly ecclesiastical. Criminal matters were brought before the bishop’s court… After the twelfth century the Church elaborated her own method of procedure, with such comparative perfection that it was imitated to a large extent by modern courts.”

The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that those who were regarded as heretics by the church would then be handed over to secular powers. Pope Gregory IV “continued to insist on the exclusive right of the Church to decide in authentic manner in matters of heresy; at the same time it was not her office to pronounce sentence of death. The Church, thenceforth, expelled from her bosom the impenitent heretic, whereupon the state took over the duty of his temporal punishment. Frederick II was of the same opinion; in his Constitution of 1224 he says that heretics convicted by an ecclesiastical court shall, on imperial authority, suffer death by fire.”

As far as I can tell, the idea of being a witness to the secular authorities did not play a major role with the Waldensians. But it did play a role in the next proto-Protestant movement in the 14th century that was led by John Wycliffe. He translated the Bible into English and his followers were known as the Lollards. Unlike Waldo, Wycliffe was protected from the wrath of the church by the powerful John of Gaunt. Wikipedia explains: “Wycliffe was summoned before William Courtenay, Bishop of London, on 19 February 1377. The exact charges are not known, as the matter did not get as far as a definite examination. Lechler suggests that Wycliffe was targeted by John of Gaunt’s opponents among the nobles and church hierarchy. Gaunt, the Earl Marshal Henry Percy, and a number of other supporters accompanied Wycliffe. A crowd gathered at the church, and at the entrance, party animosities began to show, especially in an angry exchange between the bishop and Wycliffe’s protectors. Gaunt declared that he would humble the pride of the English clergy and their partisans, hinting at the intent to secularise the possessions of the Church. The assembly broke up and Gaunt and his partisans departed with their protégé.”

Verses 19-20 say how a person should respond when brought to trial. “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” Worry means ‘to go to pieces because pulled apart’. When one goes to trial, one normally prepares a legal defense. But in this case, the legal language is merely a smokescreen, a way of expressing personal feelings in a more civilized and organized manner. What really matters is personal integrity in Mercy thought—not being pulled apart. This personal integrity will only happen if Mercy thought is guided by Platonic forms of the spirit, and these will guide words. God is described as Father numerous times in the Sermon on the Mount, but this is the first reference to God as Father after the Sermon on the Mount. The implication is that Platonic forms of the spirit will turn the attention away from Mercy feelings of personal status and religious domination to Teacher feelings of God as a universal being.

Societal Chaos 10:21-23

The next three verses talk about persecution and end with the phrase ‘until the Son of Man comes’. This is typically interpreted as a reference to the Second Coming because similar language is found in 24:9-14 and my hypothesis is that Matthew 24 is referring to a Second Coming. (Notice that I said ‘a’ and not ‘the’. This will be clarified when looking at Matthew 24.) Instead, I suggest that Matthew 10 is referring to a ‘second coming’ that the medieval world was looking forward to, which we know as the Scientific Revolution. I say this because science and technology are partial expressions of a concept of incarnation and European society went through a significant period of troubles in order to break through to this coming of the Son of Man. This time of troubles is known as the Crisis of the late Middle Ages. This period of time includes the Great Famine of 1315-1317 in which up to a quarter of the city population died, the Great Schism of 1378-1417 when the Catholic Church had two rival popes, the Black Death which peaked in 1347-1351 and killed half of the European population, and the Hundred Years War which ravaged France from 1337-1453.

Matthew 10 does not refer directly to any of these disasters. Similarly, Matthew 18 appears to be describing the time of the first and Second World Wars, but it does not describe any of the atrocities of those conflicts. This may initially leave the impression that Matthew really is not describing Western history, but I suggest that there is a major theological reason for this apparent omission. Stated simply, if Matthew directly predicted human evil, then God becomes the source of evil. Instead, Matthew describes the cognitive progression that must occur using the language of analogy. This makes it possible for human free will to determine the specific way in which the analogy will be turned into reality.

This sheds light on what has been suggested in other essays regarding the sovereignty of God. In brief, I have suggested that God functions at the level of general equations in abstract Teacher thought, giving human substantial freedom regarding how these general equations will be translated into the specific events of history. This concept can be seen in Matthew 26:24 where Jesus talks about being betrayed: “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!” In other words, it was (and is) preordained at the level of divine equation that incarnation will eventually be betrayed. But exactly which person will fill the variable in this divine equation remains to be determined. And the word betrayal itself conveys the idea that this handing over can happen in either a negative or a positive manner. Thus, while Matthew 10 does not refer directly to the crisis of the late Middle Ages, it does describe the mental shift that such a crisis would provoke. This shift can be seen in verses 21-23.

Before we go further, I need to make a brief comment regarding the Old Testament. Many of the prophecies of the Old Testament describe very specific physical disasters. How does this fit in with the idea of God functioning at the level of general equations? First, I have looked at some of the Torah from a symbolic perspective and it makes sense. I suspect that it may be possible to analyze the entire Old Testament from a symbolic, cognitive perspective. Second, the Old Testament begins with God the Father dealing directly with humans at a tribal and personal level. When that is the case, then one has no choice but to deal with people at the level of physical pain and pleasure, similar to the way that one has to use some physical discipline with a child. (Notice that I said ‘some’. A child who grows up without any physical discipline will tend to become a child in an adult body who ends up being ‘spanked’ by the painful physical consequences of pursuing childish thought.) When a society develops the ability to be guided by TMNs of abstract thought, then it becomes possible to use these TMNs to emotionally guide people and groups, similar to the way that it is possible to reason with older children. We saw that the mendicant orders introduced the new approach of being guided by TMNs of order and structure that were independent of MMNs of location and culture.

Verse 21 says that “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and put them to death.” The NASB says that ‘children will cause parents to be put to death’ but as a footnote points out, the original Greek actually says that children are putting their parents to death. (And this is how the most literal translations render this verse.) Looking at the other words in this verse, betray means ‘to deliver over with a sense of close involvement’. Death refers to ‘physical or spiritual death’. And child means ‘anyone living in full dependence’. Rise up against is only used in this verse and in the parallel passage in Mark 13 and means ‘to raise up against’. And put to death is verb form of the noun ‘death’ used earlier in the verse.

Looking at this cognitively, what is being described is a major generation gap, similar to what Western society has been experiencing during the 20th and 21st centuries. The mental networks of society are undergoing a massive shift. This shift is being experienced actively by the current generation of ‘brothers’ who are responding in various conflicting ways to what is happening. This is causing one brother to betray another, which may be taking the negative form of betraying those who are going too far, or the positive form of handing them over in order to help them to go further. In either case, this is causing mental networks that are based in the old society to fall apart and die. (A mental network will die if it continues to receive input that is inconsistent with its structure. This will happen inevitably when society is going through a major shift.)

Going further, the older generation of ‘fathers’ is trying to kill the mental networks of those from the younger generation who are in willing dependence upon them. This ‘killing’ can be achieved by imposing the current mental networks of society upon the younger generation, which means that ‘brother’ and ‘father’ only have to deliver others up to death.

This first phrase happened literally with the Black Death. Wikipedia quotes one Italian writing in 1348 that “Father abandoned child, wife husband, one brother another; for this illness seemed to strike through the breath and sight. And so they died. And none could be found to bury the dead for money or friendship. Members of a household brought their dead to a ditch as best they could, without priest, without divine offices… great pits were dug and piled deep with the multitude of dead.”

The younger generation, in contrast, is creating a counterculture by ‘rising up against’ the older generation. Because this counterculture actively violates existing norms, the younger generation has to actively choose to kill the mental networks of the previous generation.

Wikipedia summarizes the societal flux that occurred during the crisis of the late Middle Ages. “The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages was a series of events in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that brought centuries of European stability to a halt. Three major crises led to radical changes in all areas of society: demographic collapse, political instabilities and religious upheavals… Popular revolts in late-medieval Europe and civil wars between nobles within countries such as the Wars of the Roses were common—with France fighting internally nine times—and there were international conflicts between kings such as France and England in the Hundred Years’ War. The unity of the Roman Catholic Church was shattered by the Western Schism. The Holy Roman Empire was also in decline; in the aftermath of the Great Interregnum (1247–1273), the Empire lost cohesion and politically the separate dynasties of the various German states became more important than their common empire.”

This was also a period of revolt against established authority. Quoting from Wikipedia, “Popular revolts in late medieval Europe were uprisings and rebellions by (typically) peasants in the countryside, or the bourgeois in towns, against nobles, abbots and kings during the upheavals of the 14th through early 16th centuries, part of a larger Crisis of the Late Middle Ages.”

Verse 22 continues, “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” Almost exactly the same Greek phrase is found in Matthew 24:9 and 24:13—with one difference. Matthew 24:9 describes being ‘hated by all nations’, while in 10:22 one is merely ‘hated by all’. This is a significant difference because the concept of nationalism did not really exist in the Middle Ages. Instead, it emerged after the Napoleonic era. In contrast, mental networks of nationality, ethnicity, and culture have played a defining role in the conflict that is being experienced within modern society.

One can understand the phrase ‘hated by all because of my name’ by looking at how a mental concept of incarnation functions. A concept of incarnation combines abstract technical thought with concrete technical thought. Concrete technical thought uses principles of cause-and-effect to save things—and incarnation extends this to save people. Adding abstract technical thought to this makes it possible to come up with much greater forms of salvation. For instance, concrete technical thought uses machines to make life easier for people. The abstract technical thinking of science makes it possible to come up with bigger, better, and more powerful machines.

Salvation, by its very nature, will disturb the status quo, and salvation that is enhanced by abstract technical thought will threaten the status quo in major ways. The church and nobility of the Middle Ages, in contrast, were attempting to preserve the status quo, motivated by mental networks of established power and authority. Looking first at the established authority, Wikipedia explains that “the origins of this change can be traced to the 12th century and the rise of the concept of nobility. Dress, behaviour, courtesy, speech, diet, education — all became part of the noble class, making them distinct from others. By the 14th century the nobles had indeed become very different in their behaviour, appearance and values from those ‘beneath’… To make matters worse, the nobles had become accustomed to a more luxurious lifestyle that required more money. To address this, nobles illegally raised rents, cheated, stole, and sometimes resorted to outright violence to maintain this lifestyle.”

Turning now to the lower classes, “Most of the revolts expressed the desire of those below to share in the wealth, status, and well-being of those more fortunate. In the end, they were almost always defeated by the nobles. A new attitude emerged in Europe, that ‘peasant’ was a pejorative concept, it was something separate, and seen in a negative light, from those who had wealth and status. This was an entirely new social stratification from earlier times when society had been based on the three orders, those who work, those who pray, and those who fight, when being a peasant meant being next to God, just like the other orders.” Notice how the name of a status-quo threatening incarnation is being hated by those who control society.

The peasants may have been looking to a concept of incarnation to better their condition, but they still tended to hate the name of incarnation. Wikipedia explains that “layered on top of this was a popular ideological view of the time that property, wealth and inequality were against the teachings of God, as expressed through the teachings of the Franciscans. The sentiment of the time was probably best expressed by preacher John Ball during the English Peasant Revolt when he said, ‘When Adam delved and Eve span, who was then the gentleman?’, criticizing economic inequality as human-made rather than a creation of God.” Personal salvation by its very nature will save some people more than it saves others, leading to inequality. A fully developed concept of incarnation contains mechanisms for addressing such inequalities, but if society is being guided by the general feeling that it is sinful to have property and wealth, then one can conclude that the name of incarnation is being hated by all. Saying this another way, the peasants may have wanted to get ahead, but this Mercy desire was not backed up by a theoretical embrace of the concept of progress.

Continuing with verse 22, the word endure means ‘remaining under’. End means ‘the end-goal, purpose’. And saved means to ‘deliver out of danger and into safety’. The general principle is that following a plan of incarnation is like crossing a bridge. If one wants to reach the safety of the other side, then one has to stay on the bridge. It is easy to lose patience part way through and jump off the bridge into some form of revolt—or other form of societal shortcut.

This does not mean that one had to passively endure hardship, because verse 23 provides a positive alternative. “But whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the other; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.” Persecute means to ‘aggressively chase, like a hunter pursuing a catch’, and this is the first use of this word outside of the Sermon on the Mount. The other means ‘another of a different kind’. In other words, when one is being hunted down in one society, one should move to a different kind of society. This could mean fleeing to a different physical location, or it could mean changing careers. This became possible in the late Middle Ages because “As a result of the decimation in the populace the value of the working class increased, and commoners came to enjoy more freedom. To answer the increased need for labour, workers travelled in search of the most favourable position economically.”

And one can also see a similar principle with the early Protestant movements. When Protestant believers were hunted down in one city, it was often possible for them to find safety by fleeing to another city. For instance, I come from a Mennonite background. The Mennonites began in the 16th century, which is later than the era we are currently examining, but for several centuries Mennonites managed to survive primarily by fleeing from one location to another.

Verse 23 finishes by saying that ‘you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.’ ‘Going through’ is not in the original Greek and finish means ‘to complete, consummate’. We have interpreted Israel as the system by which one interacts with God, because Israel means either ‘God strives’ or ‘striving with God’. Thus, one could interpret verse 23 cognitively as a process of rethinking one aspect of existing religion and then moving on to another aspect when one experiences opposition. Verse 23 appears to be saying that a breakthrough into scientific thought will occur before this process of religious rethinking is finished.

One can see this intellectual moving from one city to another in the way in which academic thought became free from religious restrictions during the Late Middle Ages. Initially, “The Condemnation of 1277, enacted at the University of Paris, placed restrictions on ideas that could be interpreted as heretical; restrictions that had implication for Aristotelian thought. An alternative was presented by William of Ockham, following the manner of the earlier Franciscan John Duns Scotus, who insisted that the world of reason and the world of faith had to be kept apart.” Notice how academia has managed to carve out a region of thought that is free of religious control. Wikipedia continues by saying that “This new approach liberated scientific speculation from the dogmatic restraints of Aristotelian science, and paved the way for new approaches. Particularly within the field of theories of motion great advances were made, when such scholars as Jean Buridan, Nicole Oresme and the Oxford Calculators challenged the work of Aristotle.”

This same principle applied to the ‘city of a different kind’ of technology. “Certain technological inventions of the period – whether of Arab or Chinese origin, or unique European innovations – were to have great influence on political and social developments, in particular gunpowder, the printing press and the compass.” The ‘cities’ of art, architecture, literature, music, and theatre were also transformed. And in most of these cases, the transformations that began in the late Middle Ages laid the foundation for the Renaissance, which was followed by the Scientific Revolution. Using the language of Matthew 10, the Son of Man came before the process of going through the different cities was finished.

Matthew 24 says something different. Instead of fleeing from one city to another, one is instructed to flee from Judea when one sees the abomination of desolation in the temple. This implies that the persecution in the Middle Ages was much more fragmented and localized, while Matthew 24 describes the very core of religion being overturned.

Transcending Schools of Thought 10:24-25

Verses 24-25 describe one of the first steps that must be taken if one is to mentally escape from the scholastic mindset of basing Perceiver truth in Mercy sources of authority to the scientific mindset of discovering Teacher order. “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!”

A mindset of absolute truth thinks in terms of personal sources of truth backed up by emotional status in Mercy thought. Thus, one begins by learning from accepted authorities and one replaces existing truth with new truth by assigning greater Mercy status to new authorities than to old authorities. This concept of following the latest and greatest authorities was a characteristic of medieval universities. Wikipedia explains that “Initially medieval universities did not have physical facilities such as the campus of a modern university. Classes were taught wherever space was available, such as churches and homes. A university was not a physical space but a collection of individuals banded together as a universitas… Universities often competed to secure the best and most popular teachers, leading to the marketisation of teaching. Universities published their list of scholars to entice students to study at their institution. Students of Peter Abelard followed him to Melun, Corbeil, and Paris, showing that popular teachers brought students with them.”

We looked previously at the mendicant orders as examples of attempts to follow God being twisted by church authority and mysticism. The mendicant orders also played the positive role of providing much of the instruction for the early universities. Wikipedia summarizes that “Universities developed in the large cities of Europe during this period, and rival clerical orders within the church began to battle for political and intellectual control over these centers of educational life…. [The Franciscan’s] leader in the middle of the century was Bonaventure, a traditionalist who defended the theology of Augustine and the philosophy of Plato, incorporating only a little of Aristotle in with the more neoplatonist elements. Following Anselm, Bonaventure supposed that reason can only discover truth when philosophy is illuminated by religious faith. Other important Franciscan scholastics were Duns Scotus, Peter Auriol and William of Ockham. By contrast, the Dominican order, a teaching order founded by St Dominic in 1215, to propagate and defend Christian doctrine, placed more emphasis on the use of reason and made extensive use of the new Aristotelian sources derived from the East and Moorish Spain. The great representatives of Dominican thinking in this period were Albertus Magnus and (especially) Thomas Aquinas, whose artful synthesis of Greek rationalism and Christian doctrine eventually came to define Catholic philosophy.” Notice that the Franciscans emphasized the mindset of absolute truth while the Dominicans emphasized rational thought, and that rational thought eventually replaced absolute truth.

Turning now to Matthew 10, verse 24 states that one should not think in terms of replacing one authority in Mercy thought with another. Verse 25 presents the alternative, which is to think in terms of similarity. A disciple should become like his teacher and a slave like his master. And the word like means ‘as, like as’. When one person becomes like another, then one is using Perceiver and Server thought to compare the thinking and behavior of one individual with another. This type of comparing should be used both in abstract thought between disciples and teachers and within concrete thought between servants and masters.

These two verses describe a mental progression. One begins by thinking in terms of Mercy status: he is the teacher; I am the disciple. As a student acquires knowledge, he acquires personal status in Mercy thought relative to the personal status of his instructor. Instead of blindly accepting the words of his instructor, he starts to question them. But this should not be followed by the ex-student becoming a new instructor who uses his Mercy status to impose truth upon a new batch of students. Instead, it is enough for the student to become like his teacher. Once a student has acquired sufficient personal status, he should switch gears mentally and start thinking in terms of similarity rather than status. ‘How does my teacher think? How does he function? How can I operate the way that my teacher does?’ Using educational language, rote learning should be followed by critical thinking.

Notice that one is dealing here with a period of time before the rise of science with its abstract theories. There are universities, but they are based in the absolute truth of scholasticism. Verses 24-25 describe how rational thought can be encouraged in such an academic environment.

Verse 25 continues by using an analogy. “If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” As the NASB points out, ‘will they malign’ is not in the original Greek. This is the first time that the word head of the house is used in Matthew, and it combines the word ‘house’ with ‘despot’. Members of his household is a single Greek word that occurs only here and in verse 36 which means ‘belonging to the household’. Looking at this academically, these two terms describe schools of thought, in which each school of thought is like a house controlled by the absolute truth of some despot. We just saw that medieval universities tended to function in this manner, with students following their favored teachers. What is being described here is not so much a condemnation as a viewpoint.

This is the first time that the word Beelzebul is used in Matthew and it means ‘lord of the flies’. Symbolically speaking, a fly is a small creature that flies through the air of Teacher thought. A lord of the flies implies a realm composed of many isolated fragments of Teacher thought buzzing around—probably in an annoying fashion. Early universities with their various schools of thought probably conveyed this impression. Obviously, if the head of some school of thought is regarded as a lord of flies, then his students will be viewed in a similar manner. (And it is appropriate to talk about students and teachers as ‘he’ because women were not allowed to enter these early universities.)

This ‘lord of the flies’ was a contrast to the institutional might and unity of the Catholic Church as well as large kingdoms such as the kingdom of France. Thus, established clergy and nobility would have viewed themselves as part of a legitimate unified Teacher structure while regarding the upstart universities as merely lords of the flies. In a similar manner, any proto-Protestant groups who challenged the integrated institutional might of the Catholic Church would also have been regarded as ‘lords of the flies’—small groups with fragments of Teacher order buzzing around the unified structure of institutional Christendom.

Evil is Uncovered 10:26-27

Verses 26-27 refer to this unequal relationship. “Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” Fear means ‘to fear, withdraw from, avoid’. When one is part of a small group, the natural tendency is to try to avoid any direct conflict with established authority. But verse 26 gives a reason for hope. The word concealed means ‘to cover’. This is the first time in Matthew that revealed is used, which adds the prefix ‘away from’ to ‘to cover’. In other words, covers are about to be removed. People are about to see what is happening under the surface. Going further, hidden means ‘hidden, secret’, while known refers to experiential knowledge. This suggests that people are going to experience personally what has been happening in secret.

The cover on the Catholic Church was lifted during the Avignon Papacy, a period of time from 1309-1376 when the Pope resided in Avignon, France. As Wikipedia explains, “The Avignon Papacy had developed a reputation for corruption that estranged major parts of Western Christendom. This reputation can be attributed to perceptions of predominant French influence, and to the papal curia’s efforts to extend its powers of patronage and increase its revenues.” The public papal corruption was so severe that “The period has been called the ‘Babylonian captivity’ of the popes. When and where this term originated is uncertain although it may have sprung from Petrarch, who in a letter to a friend (1340–1353) written during his stay at Avignon, described Avignon of that time as the ‘Babylon of the west’, referring to the worldly practices of the church hierarchy. The nickname is polemical, in referring to the claim by critics that the prosperity of the church at that time was accompanied by a profound compromise of the papacy’s spiritual integrity, especially in the alleged subordination of the powers of the Church to the ambitions of the French kings.” The Catholic Church had already become corrupt by this time, but this corruption was covered and not apparent to the average person. The blatant behavior of the Avignon papacy lifted the lid on this corruption.

The Avignon Papacy was followed by the Great Schism, which lasted from 1378 to 1417. During this time, there were two rival popes, one in Rome and one in Avignon. This public rivalry transformed previously hidden ecclesiastical behavior into experiential knowledge for the average person. Rival popes actively courted nobles for political support. “For nearly forty years, there were two papal curias and two sets of cardinals, each electing a new pope for Rome or Avignon when death created a vacancy. Each pope lobbied for support among kings and princes who played them off against each other, changing allegiance according to political advantage.” And support for rival popes turned into hatred between cultural groups. Wikipedia elaborates: “In the intense partisanship, characteristic of the Middle Ages, the schism engendered a fanatical hatred noted by Johan Huizinga: when the town of Bruges went over to the ‘obedience’ of Avignon, a great number of people left to follow their trade in a city of Urbanist allegiance; in the 1382 Battle of Roosebeke, the oriflamme, which might only be unfurled in a holy cause, was taken up against the Flemings, because they were Urbanists and thus viewed by the French as schismatics.” Notice how for both nobility and the common person, the secret machinations of the papal court did not just become public knowledge, but they became experiential knowledge that affected people at the level of personal mental networks. (Notice also the mindset of ‘house-despot’ combined with ‘members of a household’.)

Verse 27 describes the proper response: “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” The contrast here is between darkness and light. One could interpret this as replacing secrecy with openness, and such a transition did definitely happen during this period. However, one can also view light as referring to Teacher emotions. In other words, shed the light of Teacher understanding upon information. Going further, one is not instructed to spread gossip, but rather to openly share what comes from incarnation.

For instance, this describes what I am attempting to do with these essays. My goal is to shed the light of integrated Teacher understanding upon information that has existed in the darkness of specialization. And I am doing this by using mental symmetry in a semi-rigorous manner to analyze these facts.

The second phrase could be interpreted as a repetition of the first, but there may also be a deeper meaning. The NASB uses the verb ‘whisper’, implying that the emphasis is upon publicizing what was hidden. But the Greek simply uses the normal verb hear. Proclaim is an accurate translation and means ‘to be a herald, proclaim’. The word housetop is only used one other time in Matthew, in 24:17 where anyone who is on the housetop is instructed not to go down into the house before fleeing. In biblical times, houses were close together in a city, and it was possible to run from one housetop to another. Similarly, people often spent time on their housetops at night when it was too hot inside.

Looking at ‘housetop’ symbolically, we are interpreting ‘moving up’ or ‘being on top of something’ as heading in the direction of Teacher generality. Thus, ‘housetop’ implies viewing a house from a Teacher perspective of generality. When academic thought is divided into various ‘houses’ and scientific thought does not exist, then the only way to add Teacher understanding is to ‘proclaim upon the housetops’.

Applying this to the second phrase of verse 27, the emphasis appears to be on one’s source of information and where one spreads this information. This is the first time in Matthew that the word ear is used. It is used three times in 13:15-16 and three times in the phrase ‘he who has ears to hear, let him hear’. In each case, the emphasis appears to be upon analyzing a situation at the verbal level of Teacher thought. Applying this to the current verse, conversation should not focus upon personal experiences, culture, the latest news about war, or the latest gossip about the church. Instead, conversation should be guided by Teacher thought.

This may sound like an obvious statement, but most of the conversations that I have had with academic individuals about the theory of mental symmetry over the years have focused upon the fact that I am not part of an institution, or that I need to get a PhD, or that I am not following established methodology, or that I have not published in peer-reviewed journals. Very seldom has Teacher thought ever been used to discuss the intellectual content of mental symmetry.

The reference to proclaiming on the housetops indicates the method that one should use as well as the audience. On the one hand, dialogue is not yet possible because people have not yet acquired a general Teacher understanding. But it is possible to generalize from personal experience, as symbolized by proclaiming from the housetop. (We are interpreting upward movement as heading in the direction of Teacher generality.) On the other hand, one cannot preach at religious or academic leaders because they will not listen. If today’s scientific community has become so preoccupied by status and methodology, imagine how the situation would have been in pre-scientific scholastic institutions reinforced by official church dogma and backed up by the power of the state. The only option left is to proclaim on the housetops to one’s neighbors.

Organization versus Teacher understanding 10:28-31

Verse 28 warns that there will be a severe official backlash: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” The word soul is psyche, which I have been interpreting as the integrated mind. This word was mentioned in 2:20 to refer to the baby Jesus and was also used twice in 6:25 in the Sermon on the Mount. This is the first occurrence after the Sermon on the Mount, suggesting that it is now possible for people to think in terms of mental wholeness.

Saying this more carefully, people who live in a tribal society have no sense of self. Instead, they think in terms of the group and the environment. Similarly, when absolute truth rules supreme then a sense of self will become overruled by potent feelings of duty to one’s sources of truth—as illustrated by the initial response of the crowds to the Crusades. Building one’s own Teacher understanding will be accompanied by the development of a sense of self. That is why those who teach absolute truth are suspicious of higher learning, because the person who gains a Teacher understanding will tend to ‘fall away from the faith’. This explains why verses 24-25 talked about becoming like one’s teacher. Falling away from blind faith should be followed by becoming like one’s former teachers and not by personally becoming a new source of blind faith for the next generation.

Gaining a Teacher understanding also leads indirectly to the formation of Platonic forms, making it possible to distinguish mentally between the soul and the body. Postmodern humanity is losing this ability as postmodern questioning eliminates existing Teacher understanding and attacks existing Perceiver facts. As a result, there is an increasing emphasis upon embodiment, emphasizing that the mind does not exist independently of the body. Matthew 10 refers to a period in Western history when people increasingly started to realize that the mind could exist independently of the body. (This does not mean that there is no relationship between mind and body. They are connected, but they are not identical. For instance, a male person can develop the female side of his mind without having a gender crisis.)

Verse 28 contrasts two alternatives. The first alternative is killing the body while lacking the power to kill the soul. The word kill here simply means to ‘put to death, kill’. The second alternative is destroying both soul and body in Gehenna. The word destroy ‘implies permanent destruction’. And Gehenna referred to a valley of continually-burning trash and dead bodies outside of Jerusalem. On the one hand, we have seen that building a general Teacher understanding makes it possible to believe that a soul exists which is capable of surviving physical death. On the other hand, it was becoming increasingly clear to the average person that the existing system with its scholastic emphasis upon dead experts and its monarchical fixation upon dead ancestors was coming to an end. And this end was destroying people, both mentally and physically.

This focus can be seen in the Protestant emphasis upon the invisible church. For instance, Wikipedia relates that Wycliffe, who lived during the 14th century, “expressed a strong belief in predestination that enabled him to declare an ‘invisible church of the elect’, made up of those predestined to be saved, rather than in the ‘visible’ Catholic Church. To Wycliffe, the Church was the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation.” Notice the stark contrast between an eternal invisible church and the visible Catholic Church.

Wycliffe’s followers were known as Lollards, and “The Lollards stated that the Catholic Church had been corrupted by temporal matters and that its claim to be the true Church was not justified by its heredity. Part of this corruption involved prayers for the dead and chantries. These were seen as corrupt since they distracted priests from other work; instead, all should be prayed for equally. Lollards also had a tendency toward iconoclasm. Expensive church artwork was seen as an excess; they believed effort should be placed on helping the needy and preaching rather than working on expensive decorations. Icons were also seen as dangerous since many seemed to be worshipping the icons more fervently than they worshipped God.” Notice how a focus on the visible church with its icons is being replaced by following the invisible church without appealing to visible images.

Going further, the reference to killing the body is appropriate because many were burned at the stake for having the wrong beliefs. In 1401, a law was passed in England declaring that heretics should be burned at the stake, and this law was used to persecute Lollards. In 1314, the Knights Templars were dissolved and the leaders burned at the stake. During the Black Death, thousands of Jews were burned alive and hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed.

This is then followed by two analogies. Verse 29 asks, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” A cent is was ‘a brass Roman coin of little value’ and is only mentioned in the context of this parable. The word sparrow is also used only in this parable, and is the diminutive form of a word that refers to a sparrow. The next phrase is more literally ‘and one out of them will not fall to the ground without your father’.

This describes a characteristic of Teacher thought, which is that Teacher thought is very sensitive to an exception to the general rule. It is not the sparrow itself that attracts the attention of Teacher thought, but rather the fact that one sparrow out of a group of sparrows is falling to the ground. Going further, a sparrow may be small, and a small sparrow is even smaller, but it is also alive. Using cognitive language, it is a mental network. What really attracts the attention of Teacher thought is a mental network that is an exception to the general rule.

What is being compared is two forms of attention. A small Teacher theory may only be regarded as a tiny sparrow with very little value, but when this tiny Teacher theory becomes part of a flock of Teacher theories, then it requires significance to Teacher thought. (This implies that thinking is developing beyond the fragmented mindset of a ‘lord of the flies’ to a more integrated mindset.)

Verse 30 turns to another analogy: “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” I suggest that the hair of the head represent intuitive thought. This may seem like a counterintuitive interpretation, but it can be seen in Luke 21: Verses 14-15 instruct a person to use intuitive thought when defending themselves from adversaries. This is followed by verse 18, which says that ‘not a hair of your head will perish’. The relationship between head hair and intuition can also be seen cognitively. Intuition jumps from personal experience directly to general Teacher theory, and Teacher thought thinks in terms of strings and sequences of words. Similarly, hair is a visual string that grows out of a person’s head. There is something cognitively natural about this symbolism because long hair looks good on a young woman, but not on an old lady. And intuition plays a major role in female thought. (The Internet contains many sites describing how older women can still wear long hair, implying that this combination is cognitively unnatural.)

The word numbered is related to the English word ‘arithmetic’. If ‘the hair of the head’ represent intuitive thought and if these hair are numbered, then this implies that there is a relationship between the intuitive thinking of female thought and the technical thinking of male thought. Notice that this relationship is occurring at the basic level of arithmetic and numbers. It has not yet graduated to the level of logic, rational thought, or paradigms. Similarly, the word all ‘focuses on the parts making up the whole’. This also suggests that there is not yet integrated understanding, but rather that individual elements of intuitive thought are being translated into technical thinking at a basic level.

Verse 31 returns to sparrows: “So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” The word more valuable means to ‘take all the way through to the end’. Two things are being compared. On the one hand, there are ‘many sparrows’. Cognitively speaking, this represents a collection of small Teacher theories. The other hand, there is ‘you’. When one takes this comparison all the way through to the end, one recognizes that people are more valuable than a collection of theories. That is because the little theories are like hair growing on a person’s head. It is possible to number these hairs of intuitive thought because they are all growing out of a single head. They are unified because they come from the same mental source. For instance, this implicit unity becomes apparent whenever I analyze some book or theory, because all of the intuitive insights are expressions of the same cognitive mindset with the same cognitive strengths and weaknesses. That is why ‘you’ are worth more than ‘many sparrows’. But this is not immediately obvious. Instead, it becomes apparent when taken all the way through to the end.

Verse 31 says that because of this, one should not fear. Fear includes the sense of running away. One does not have to run away from authority because there is an implicit rational unity to intuitive thought. Notice how this expands on the previous discussion of the soul. The soul describes the integrated mind. The previous verses have just talked about an implicit integrity that is present in intuitive thought.

Looking at the larger picture, I am not suggesting that intuitive thought is always sufficient. Instead, we are looking here at a pre-scientific society in which people are just starting to learn how to be guided by Teacher thought in the midst of a society characterized by a fixation upon absolute truth. On the one hand, the intuition comes out of an assumed framework of Christian absolute truth. On the other hand, the intuition does not have to compete with well-formulated theories of scientific thought. This can be seen by examining the thinking of people from this era. Many of their ideas were rather primitive and simplistic, but this simplistic thinking did have an organic unity and it provided the ‘arithmetic’ that made possible the more advanced thinking of later ages.

For instance, we saw a few paragraphs earlier that Wycliffe taught a doctrine of predestination. Predestination is a simplistic way of viewing the sovereignty of God, because it asserts in an overgeneralized manner that God controls everything. If this essay on Matthew is accurate, then it demonstrates that God is sovereign, but the sovereignty of God functions at the level of a father intelligently directing the cognitive development of his children (and Matthew repeatedly refers to God as a heavenly father). However, the idea of God being in control over human machinations is a powerful concept which one can use as a kind of arithmetic for building further.

Integrating Abstract and Concrete Technical Thought 10:32-33

The next two verses describe how one should move intuitively from personal experience to Teacher theory. “Therefore everyone who will confess in Me before men, I will also confess in him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever will deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (v. 32-33).

The word confess is found four times in Matthew, with two of these occurrences in verse 32. It means ‘to speak the same thing’. Similarly, deny is also found four times in Matthew, two times in verse 33. It means to deny or disown. The Sermon on the Mount referred several times to a father in heaven, but this is the first time in Matthew outside of the Sermon on the Mount that a father in heaven is mentioned. This implies that a new concept of God is starting to form within Teacher thought.

Footnotes in the NASB explain that ‘confess me’ and ‘confess him’ should actually be translated as ‘confess in me’ and ‘confess in him’. This sounds awkward in English, because one tends to view confessing as stating something controversial in public, like a Christian daring to talk about his faith in a secular setting. But confess actually means ‘to speak the same thing’ and in is more accurately ‘in the realm of’. Thus, verse 32 is really an example of Perceiver and Server thought, in which one is verbally asserting that one situation or sequence is the same as another. If one adds the fact that a concept of incarnation uses technical thought, then verse 32 says that one is looking for Perceiver and Server connections in the realm of technical thought in front of people. Thus, one is using the technical language of incarnation when in the realm of human activity. And the reward for this is that the technical language of incarnation will also become applicable to the theoretical realm of Teacher thought. Going further, the second phrase is more literally ‘Technical thought will also look for Perceiver and Server connections in the realm of him before my Father in the heavens (of Teacher thought)’.

This may sound theoretical, but verse 32 summarizes a fundamental operating assumption of scientific thought. Scientific research assumes that if one uses technical thought to analyze physical experiences, then the resulting technical data can be explained using the Teacher theories of abstract thought. However, the mind will not jump automatically from the experiences of concrete technical thought to the theories of abstract technical thought. Instead, Perceiver and Server connections of ‘confessing’ provide the mental glue that sticks together pieces of experience with pieces of theory. If this ‘confessing’ is done, then personal experiences will become mental building blocks that technical thinking will use to construct general theories in Teacher thought.

Using a simplistic example, this means ‘confessing’ that the sentence ‘I threw the ball’ is the same as the action of throwing a ball. Science follows these individual confessions by comparing the movement of one ball with the movement of another. Saying this more generally, verse 32 says that gathering data can be followed by forming a hypothesis.

This may seem obvious to a modern mind that has been scientifically educated, but it would have been a radically new concept for someone living in the Middle Ages. For instance, Roger Bacon, who lived during the 13th century, “was a medieval English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empiricism.” But Wikipedia observes that “Bacon was largely ignored by his contemporaries in favor of other scholars such as Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas, although his works were studied by Bonaventure, John Pecham, and Peter of Limoges, through whom he may have influenced Raymond Lull. He was also partially responsible for the addition of optics (perspectiva) to the medieval university curriculum.” Thus, the very idea of gathering empirical evidence and forming hypotheses was new and controversial.

One also sees this kind of proto-scientific thinking in the Oxford Calculators, a group of 14th century thinkers based at Oxford. Wikipedia explains that “The advances these men made were initially purely mathematical but later became relevant to mechanics. They used Aristotelian logic and physics. They also studied and attempted to quantify every physical and observable characteristic, like heat, force, color, density, and light… Although they attempted to quantify these observable characteristics, their interests lay more in the philosophical and logical aspects than in natural world.” Notice how confessing technically with personal experiences is leading to abstract technical thought.

And the proto-scientific thought of the Oxford group spread: “the main kinematical properties of uniformly accelerated motions, still attributed to Galileo by the physics texts, were discovered and proved by scholars of Merton college.... In principle, the qualities of Greek physics were replaced, at least for motions, by the numerical quantities that have ruled Western science ever since. The work was quickly diffused into France, Italy, and other parts of Europe.” Wikipedia points out that this was not yet science because algebra was missing.

Going the other way, verse 32 says that if one denies the existence of technical thought when functioning in the realm of human activity, then one will not discover that there is a correspondence between specific situations and general theories. For instance, one can see such denying in Wycliffe’s doctrine of predestination. Wycliffe’s views are described on one website. Wycliffe wrote that “predestination is the principle gift of God, most freely given, since no one can merit his own predestination. Since it cannot be present without being present at the first moment of existence of the predestinate, it follows what is commonly said of grace that this is the principle grace. It can never be lost, since it is the basis of glory and bliss, which equally cannot be lost.” This is a form of Teacher overgeneralization, because Wycliffe is making the blanket statement that ‘God in Teacher thought chooses the eternal destiny of everyone’.

But what happens when this blanket statement comes into contact with the facts of human reality? Quoting further from this website, “Realising that the predestinate does not always live according to righteousness he adds the teaching of ‘Final Perseverance’, that is, the elect are saved and remain so regardless of what sin they may commit. Wycliffe explains his theory as follows: ‘God loves Peter infinitely more even while Peter is denying Him than He loves Iscariot while Iscariot is in grace. For God’s love is unchangingly equal, so that He always loves Peter to Bliss [i.e. Heaven], since He knows he is to be finally converted, and He always loves Iscariot to everlasting punishment, since He eternally sees all past and future things as present.’” In other words, God’s sovereignty in Teacher thought overrides all human events within Mercy thought.

However, “This left Wycliffe with a dilemma. How does a person know that he is actually one of the chosen and therefore be assured of eternal salvation? For although he acknowledges that a believer is saved by faith alone, he oversteps the mark by introducing something he calls ‘Special Revelation’, which those without such special revelation are without assurance of eternal life. He is forced to suggest that few of the elect can know that they are saved in this life; ‘Indeed, nobody knows whether he is himself predestined or not. Without a special revelation no one should assert that he is predestined; and similarly he should not assert that he is a member of the Church, or, for that matter its head.’” Notice how intuition is being used to override empirical evidence. Eternally chosen people can intuitively know that they have eternal salvation as a result of ‘special revelation’, and this intuitive knowing overrides any empirical facts about their actual behavior.

My goal is not to attack Wycliffe, but rather to examine the type of theological thinking that occurred at this time. Wycliffe did ‘confess me before men’ in the sense of standing up for personal Christian faith in the face of institutional persecution. But he did not ‘confess me before men’ in the sense of building upon empirical evidence. Instead, he used a Teacher overgeneralization about the character of God to override empirical facts about personal behavior. However, even if Wycliffe’s ideas are simplistic, they still set a direction for the future, and Wycliffe is legitimately regarded as the grandfather of the Protestant Reformation. (A similar statement can be made regarding current Reformed theology. On the one hand, I suggest that Reformed concepts about the sovereignty of God are simplistic and ignore empirical evidence. But on the other hand, I have found that the Reformed viewpoint sets a direction, causing Reformed writers to write more intelligently about God and Christianity than most other Protestant authors.)

Turning now to secular thought, the idea of basing abstract thought in empirical evidence was one of the founding concepts of the Italian Renaissance. For instance, “Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) said, ‘If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.’” And the famous Galileo Galilei was actually guided by the thinking of his father. “In his study of pitch and string tension, [the older] Galilei produced perhaps the first non-linear mathematical description of a natural phenomenon known to history. It was an extension of a Pythagorean tradition but went beyond it. Many scholars credit him with directing the activity of his son away from pure, abstract mathematics and towards experimentation using mathematical quantitative description of the results, a direction of utmost importance for the history of physics and natural science.”

A Shifting Society 10:34-39

I mentioned that the late Middle Ages went through a major crisis, including the Black Death, the Hundred Years War, and the Great Schism. The next verses refer implicitly to these events: “Do not think that I came to cast peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household” (10:34-36).

Looking at verses 34-36 in more detail, the verb set is used once in the New Testament and means to ‘cut into two parts’. This definitely describes the Great Schism of 1378-1417, as well as the Hundred Years War. The church did not collapse during the Great Schism, but instead was cut into two parts, with England, Scandinavia, Poland, and Hungary recognizing the Roman Pope, while France, Spain, and Scotland supported the rival Pope at Avignon. Similarly, Wikipedia summarizes that “The Hundred Years’ War was a series of conflicts from 1337 to 1453, waged between the House of Plantagenet, rulers of England and the French House of Valois, over the right to rule the Kingdom of France. Each side drew many allies into the war. It was one of the most notable conflicts of the Middle Ages, in which five generations of kings from two rival dynasties fought for the throne of the largest kingdom in Western Europe.” Notice again the cutting into two parts.

Looking at this cognitively, a division into two competing parts is different than rebellion, fragmentation, or societal chaos. Rebellion leads to a division between Teacher thought and Mercy thought. The rebels are individuals and/or groups within Mercy thought that are rebelling against the Teacher order of society. Similarly, when there is societal chaos or fragmentation, then the Teacher order of society collapses and is replaced by various fiefdoms of Mercy status, similar to the way that the Dark Ages replaced the Roman Empire. A split between rival powers maintains concepts of Teacher order, because one system is fighting another system. This will normally lead to Mercy feelings of ‘us versus them’ unless both rival groups have legitimate claims. The end result is a conflict between ‘us and us’ rather than between ‘us and them’. In the Great Schism, both of the Popes were regarded as legitimate leaders of the Catholic Church. Similarly, the Hundred Years War was fought by two rival houses that both claimed to be legitimate heirs to the French throne. This internal conflict is summarized by verse 36, which says that “a man’s enemies will be the members of his household”.

Verse 34 contrasts peace with a sword. The word peace means ‘wholeness, when all essential parts are joined together’. The Catholic Church and the kingdom of France were the two primary medieval examples of wholeness, in which many parts function together in an integrated manner. These two greatest examples of societal peace were cut into two parts. Going further, verse 35 says that a man will be set against his father and a daughter against her mother. This suggests that the splitting involves both male and female thought. The Great Schism affected primarily the mental networks of female thought by challenging existing sources of authority, religious icons, and concepts of God. The Hundred Years war, in contrast, involved primarily the male realm of combat and technology.

The word daughter-in-law actually means bride. This implies that female thought has recently become married to some ‘husband’ of rational technical thought. Applying this to Western society, the development of law, order, and higher thought caused European society to experience a period of growth and urbanization, known as the High Middle Ages. As Wikipedia summarizes, the crisis of the late Middle Ages brought this to an end: “Key historical trends of the High Middle Ages include the rapidly increasing population of Europe, which brought about great social and political change from the preceding era, and the Renaissance of the 12th century, including the first developments of rural exodus and of urbanization. By 1250, the robust population increase had greatly benefited the European economy, which reached levels that would not be seen again in some areas until the 19th century. That trend faltered during the Late Middle Ages because of a series of calamities, most notably the Black Death, but also numerous wars as well as economic stagnation.”

A ‘bride against her mother-in-law’ implies that this new culture is coming into conflict with the previous culture that accompanied the male-oriented medieval system of military might. One can see this illustrated by the popular revolts of late-medieval Europe. Repeating an earlier quote from Wikipedia, “Popular revolts in late medieval Europe were uprisings and rebellions by (typically) peasants in the countryside, or the bourgeois in towns, against nobles, abbots and kings during the upheavals of the 14th through early 16th centuries, part of a larger ‘Crisis of the Late Middle Ages’. Although sometimes known as Peasant Revolts, the phenomenon of popular uprisings was of broad scope and not just restricted to peasant.” This also led to a cutting into two parts, between the new ‘bride’ and the old nobility. “Most of the revolts expressed the desire of those below to share in the wealth, status, and well-being of those more fortunate. In the end, they were almost always defeated by the nobles. A new attitude emerged in Europe, that ‘peasant’ was a pejorative concept, it was something separate, and seen in a negative light, from those who had wealth and status. This was an entirely new social stratification from earlier times when society had been based on the three orders, those who work, those who pray, and those who fight, when being a peasant meant being next to God, just like the other orders.”

Verses 37-39 summarize the attitude that a person should take. “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his soul will lose it, and he who has lost his soul for My sake will find it.”

The word worthy, which means ‘to weigh-in, assigning the matching value’, was seen earlier in verses 10-13, where the disciples were instructed to enter households that were regarded as worthy. This same word is used three times in verses 37-38 at a deeper level. That is because the disciple is not just evaluating whether his audience is worthy, but now looking internally to see if he himself is worthy. Such introspection only becomes possible when ‘a man’s enemies will be the members of his household’ (v.36). One can see this principle illustrated when visiting a foreign country. A person who has never traveled is not capable of stepping back and evaluating himself. Instead, his behavior is instinctively driven by core mental networks that are implicitly reinforced by surrounding culture. Living within a radically different culture will face these core mental networks with incompatible input, bringing them to light and making it possible for a person to look within and evaluate what is worthy. Saying this another way, free will becomes maximized when the mind has to choose between incompatible core mental networks.

The word love in these verses is phileo, which means ‘affectionate friendship’. This describes liking rather than loving, in which one feels comfortable in the presence of the other person. Such comfort will be generated by compatible mental networks. Verse 37 contains two comparisons. The first comparison is between father or mother and incarnation. The name Jesus means salvation, and salvation takes a person from one place to another place that is better. Thus, the choice here is between holding on to the status quo—the existing mental networks of female thought and technical thinking of male thought, or following incarnation out of the status quo into something better. This choice can be seen illustrated by the Renaissance and the Reformation. The Renaissance chose to follow a new form of male technical thinking while the Reformation chose to follow new mental networks of religious belief. Notice the progress that has been made from verses 21-23. There the status quo was winning; here pursuing progress has become a legitimate option to maintaining the status quo. There everyone was hating the name of incarnation; here, it has become possible to be comfortable with the mindset of incarnation.

The second comparison is between son or daughter and incarnation. The challenge here is to continue following a transformative path of salvation. What normally happens is that a person or group will take some transformative steps and then turn into a conservative who builds a kingdom and raises a family based upon the few steps that have been taken. However, looking back at history we can see that the entire European world was about to be totally transformed, and taking a few steps forward would not be enough.

Verse 37 does not say that one should enter a monastery and deny human existence. Instead, it describes a priority. One should be more comfortable with the transformation of incarnation than either the mental networks of the status quo or the mental networks of personal success. One of the biggest breakthroughs of the Renaissance was the idea of following growth and taking risks rather than holding on to the status quo.

Verse 38 raises the stakes. “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” This is the first reference to a cross in the book of Matthew. The idea of ‘taking up one’s cross’ is typically viewed as a form of religious self-denial in which one is ‘suffering for Jesus’. It is true that being hung on a cross was a particularly gruesome way to die, but dying a cross has two key elements. First, a person on a cross is immobilized. Second, it takes hours to days for a person on a cross to die. This describes accurately how a mental network dies. A mental network cannot be instantly killed. Instead, it will gradually crumble and eventually fall apart if it is continually fed incompatible input. A mental network that is not triggered will not die. Instead, it will only die if it is continually triggered and then fed incompatible input.

Verse 39 says that one should ‘actively lay hold of’ one’s cross and then follow Jesus. One cannot actively lay hold of a physical cross. Instead, one is actively laid hold of by someone else and bound to a cross. And when one is bound to a cross, then one can no longer move. Thus, this phrase does not make sense if one interprets it too literally. But it does make sense if one examines it from a cognitive perspective. Verse 37 has presented two alternatives. If one chooses consistently to follow one of these alternatives, then this will automatically put the other alternative on a mental cross. Saying this another way, mentally feeding one set of mental networks will automatically starve competing mental networks.

This implies that choosing to follow a path of transformation will be emotionally draining. One will continually feel as if mental networks of preservation and personal success are dying a slow and painful death, the way that a person dies on a cross.

This cognitive interpretation is supported by verse 39: “He who has found his soul will lose it, and he who has lost his soul for My sake will find it.” Twenty-eight common English translations all use the word ‘life’. But as a footnote in the NASB points out, the Greek word is actually psyche, which means ‘soul’. Thus, the topic of this section is finding internal wholeness. When core mental networks are being torn apart, then discovering mental wholeness becomes a major goal.

Verse 39 points out that the salvation of Jesus applies to the soul. Two alternatives are presented. The first alternative is to find one’s soul, and find means to ‘discover, especially after searching’. This will lead to losing it, and lose ‘implies permanent destruction’. In other words, now is not the time for pursuing mental integration. That is because the entire Western world is about to become permanently transformed. The medieval age is coming to an end, and those who try to build their minds upon existing ways of thinking and functioning will eventually face permanent mental destruction.

The second alternative is to lose one’s soul for the sake of incarnation. The word lose here also ‘implies permanent destruction’, which means that existing ways of functioning will come to an end. Thus, with both alternatives, the soul falls apart. But the motivation is different with the second alternative. The word used here means ‘for this cause, by reason of’. And find is again to ‘discover, especially after searching’. In other words, embracing the transformative path of salvation will cause existing medieval mental networks of preservation and personal success to fall apart, but this will eventually lead to a new form of mental integration—a new kind of soul—that is based upon transformation. For instance, the modern consumer society expects technology to come up with new and improved gadgets. We think that this is natural. But this idea of continual progress guided by technical thought is not historically natural. Instead, it is a characteristic of modern Western thought which started to emerge during this period of rebirth or Renaissance.

One can see what this means by comparing Western exploration with Chinese voyages of exploration. Prince Henry the Navigator lived during the first half of the 15th century. He “was a central figure in the early days of the Portuguese Empire and in the 15th-century European maritime discoveries and maritime expansion. Through his administrative direction, he is regarded as the main initiator of what would be known as the Age of Discovery.” Looking at this cognitively, Prince Henry played a major role in leading Europe away from medieval thought to a new mindset based in progress and technical development. The postmodern mindset looks back at such figures and condemns them as initiators of an evil era of Western colonialism. And Western colonialism was often evil. But it also replaced a mindset of cultural preservation with one of salvation.

Compare this with the Chinese voyages of discovery. During the same period of time, the Chinese Empire sent out seven voyages of discovery, going at least as far as Africa. In 1405, Zheng He took 27,800 men on a flotilla of 255 ships. In contrast, Christopher Columbus’ famous voyage in 1492 took three medium-size ships with a total crew of less than 100 men. Technologically speaking, the Chinese should have taken over the world. But the Chinese lacked a mindset of transformative growth. Instead, Wikipedia relates that in 1464, “Documents of the treasure voyages are removed from the archives of the Ministry of War and destroyed by Liu Daxia on the basis that they were ‘deceitful exaggerations of bizarre things far removed from the testimony of people’s ears and eyes,’ and that ‘the expeditions of Sanbao to the Western Ocean wasted tens of myriads of money and grain, and moreover the people who met their deaths [on these expeditions] may be counted in the myriads. Although he returned with wonderful precious things, what benefit was it to the state? This was merely an action of bad government of which ministers should severely disapprove.’” In other words, what matters is holding on to the ‘mother and father’ of existing Chinese societal structure as well as the ‘children’ of economic success. These are so important that the new idea of transformative growth through discovery needs to be mentally nailed to a cross until it dies.

A Spreading Message 10:40-42

The final verses of chapter 10 describe this mindset of transformative growth extending to the rest of society. Verse 40 begins, “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” The word receive is used six times in verses 40-41 and means ‘to receive in a welcoming and receptive way’. This describes an emotional response, in which one enthusiastically welcomes something at the level of mental networks. Verse 40 contains a chain of emotional responses. First, one enthusiastically welcomes people who are following a transformative path. At a low level, this would include welcoming sailors who go on voyages of discovery. At a higher level, this would mean welcoming individuals who are attempting to transform ways of thinking and believing. This leads automatically to the second stage, which is enthusiastically embracing the mindset of transformative change. And this is followed by the third stage of recognizing that behind this transformative behavior lies a mindset of transformation. This happened in many ways during this period, including the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Age of Exploration. The reason that this progression occurred was that the crisis of the late Middle Ages created a mental vacuum which called all existing mental networks of society into question at a fundamental level. People knew at a fundamental level that life was changing. Thus, when a few individuals started to pursue transformative change, then embracing these people led naturally to accepting their lifestyle and embracing a mindset of change.

Verse 41 adds more details: “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” Two kinds of transformative people are described here: a prophet and a righteous man.

A mindset of absolute truth views a prophet as someone who is motivated by some source of truth within Mercy thought to predict Perceiver facts about the future. But the word prophet actually combines ‘beforehand’ with ‘asserting one idea over another’. Cognitively speaking, a prophet predicts the future by focusing upon certain present trends. One sees this type of prophecy illustrated by experts today who attempt to predict the future. This kind of prophecy is possible because Contributor-controlled technical thought is always limited to some specialization. Thus, a transformative breakthrough will typically occur when Perceiver thought links an existing specialization to some new context, causing technical thought to extend in a specific direction beyond the existing specialization. This relationship between Contributor transformation and Perceiver unfolding will be seen in Matthew 16 when looking at the keys of Peter. For instance, the caravel, described below, was based upon the lateen sail, which was copied from Arab fishing vessels.

Verse 41 emphasizes that one needs to enthusiastically receive a prophet in the name of a prophet. A name is a verbal label, which implies using Teacher thought. Thus, one should not view prophets from a Mercy perspective as being sources of truth who magically speak wonders about the future. Instead, one should view prophets from the Teacher perspective of people who are focusing upon transformative trends that are currently happening in some narrow segment of society. For instance, one of the goals of Henry the Navigator was to discover the legendary Christian kingdom of Prester John. Getting excited about voyages of discovery guided by myths about Prester John is an example of enthusiastically receiving a prophet from a Mercy perspective.

But “Under his direction, a new and much lighter ship was developed, the caravel, which could sail further and faster, and, above all, was highly maneuverable and could sail much nearer the wind, or ‘into the wind’. This made the caravel largely independent of the prevailing winds. With the caravel, Portuguese mariners explored rivers and shallow waters as well as the open ocean with wide autonomy. In fact, the invention of the caravel was what made Portugal poised to take the lead in transoceanic exploration.” Enthusiastically receiving the technical achievements of the caravel is an example of receiving a prophet in the name of a prophet, because one is focusing upon the technical trends and expanding these into transoceanic voyages of exploration.

Verse 41 also refers to receiving a righteous man in the name of a righteous man. Righteousness means doing Server actions that are consistent with the character of God in Teacher thought. One of the key principles of science is that behavior in Server thought is guided by general laws in Teacher thought.

This idea started to emerge in the Renaissance. Wikipedia summarizes that “Another important development was in the process for discovery, the scientific method, focusing on empirical evidence and the importance of mathematics, while discarding Aristotelian science. Early and influential proponents of these ideas included Copernicus, Galileo, and Francis Bacon. The new scientific method led to great contributions in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology, and anatomy.”

This scientific mindset can be seen especially clearly if one skips forward to the work of Galileo Galilei (who lived from 1564-1642). Wikipedia summarizes that “Galileo made original contributions to the science of motion through an innovative combination of experiment and mathematics… Galileo was one of the first modern thinkers to clearly state that the laws of nature are mathematical.” This was a major change from Aristotle who thought in terms of Mercy sources—everything had some original ‘cause’ in Mercy thought. In the words of Wikipedia, “Whereas Aristotle thought that a science should be demonstrated from first principles, Galileo had used experiments as a research tool. Galileo nevertheless presented his treatise in the form of mathematical demonstrations without reference to experimental results. It is important to understand that this in itself was a bold and innovative step in terms of scientific method. The usefulness of mathematics in obtaining scientific results was far from obvious. This is because mathematics did not lend itself to the primary pursuit of Aristotelian science: the discovery of causes.”

Verse 41 says that someone who receives a prophet or righteous man in the name of a prophet or righteous man will receive the reward of a prophet or righteous man. The word reward means ‘wages, hire’. This is especially true when people are just starting to follow such a mindset. That is because results will be easy to achieve. Saying this another way, when the transformative thinking of Contributor thought is first applied within a culture that maintains the status quo, then success will be easy to achieve. That is because any movement forward will win a race when most people are not moving.

Verse 42 adds “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” Water represents Mercy experiences. Drinking a cup is used to represent going through some context of experiences. For instance, in Matthew 26:39 Jesus prays that he does not have to drink the cup of going through the experience of crucifixion. Drinking a cup of cold water would represent a collection of experiences that lack the heat of Mercy emotions. (The adjective cold is found four times in the New Testament. Two of these times are in Revelation 3:15 where it says that God will spit out the church of Laodicea, because it is lukewarm and neither cold nor hot.)

Putting this together, ‘giving a little one a cup of cold water to drink’ would represent allowing someone to apply their thinking in an environment that is free of strong Mercy emotions. Scientific research today suffers from the flaw of being overly objective. Objectivity would be a rare quality in an environment that is driven by Mercy emotions of religious status, official dogma, and cultural taboos. In brief, this describes allowing a person to function without them having to fear that someone will step in suddenly and accuse them of some form of blasphemy against the powers that be.

Verse 42 says that the reward of doing this shall not be lost, and lose ‘implies permanent destruction’. We just saw that this was not the case in 15th century China, because even the record of the voyages of discovery were expunged from the official history. However, Europe is now entering a new era in which those who pursue progress will no longer find their results suppressed and eliminated.

Part 2