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MicroscopeBiblical Christianity—derived from a diagram 
Part 1

Table of Contents


Software versus Hardware

Truth versus Truthiness

Facts versus Experiences

Education versus Blind Faith

Teacher Emotion versus Mercy Emotion

Copyright © 2010, Lorin Friesen



I have been working on the theory of mental symmetry for most of my life. This theory started out in the 1980s as a system of cognitive styles, a way of dividing people up into seven different personality types. That scheme did not originate with us. Instead, it is still being taught by others as seven types of people with seven lists of personality traits.

Around 1985 we came up with the diagram of mental symmetry. That was the major breakthrough. Instead of having a pile of unrelated facts, we now had a model of human personality. Since then, this theory has been tested as thoroughly as possible: Not only can it be used to describe human behavior, but we realized early on that it is a great tool for predicting compatibilities and conflicts in marriages and other close relationships. And unlike most theories of personality, this one actually appears to be a simple map of brain regions.

I then started to approach the subject as a computer programmer. If this model actually describes the mind, then how does one program this mental computer? That is when the really interesting stuff started to appear. At first, my research looked like a branch of Artificial Intelligence—using a model of the mind to analyze how objects are decoded, how speech is deciphered, and how music functions. But then, a whole new world of developmental psychology began to open up, which went far beyond the pioneering work of Piaget. And, after encountering Arnold Toynbee’s Study in History, I realized that these same stages of mental development have been occurring throughout human history in the growth of societies and cultures.

I also took some time to do an overview of philosophy. Again, I could see a mental progression, which one could compare to the movement of the sun over the course of a day. There was the ‘sunrise’ of discovering rational thought and logical analysis, leading to the ‘high noon’ of general theory. Then, as logic gave way to dialectic, the sun of philosophical theory started to set, resulting finally in the intellectual ‘sunset’ of deconstructionism.

With each of these intellectual surveys, more years of my life passed by. But, the diagram of mental symmetry also survived intact, growing in depth and universality. As neurologists continued to learn more about the human brain, I realized that my model was a generalization, and that many details could be added to it. However, it still seemed to be the simplest model that could explain all of human behavior. And so, I kept using it.

For me, the final frontier was religion. I grew up in a conservative Christian home, and was taught to respect and obey the Bible as a Holy Book. But, I also have a Master’s Degree in Engineering, which showed me how to approach subjects carefully and logically without assuming anything. As a Canadian engineer, I wear an Iron Ring, which continually reminds us that when engineers make mistakes, people die. Thus, my religious upbringing taught me that belief was a matter of life and death, while my engineering training insisted with equal fervor that rational thought was a matter of life and death.

So which of these two would win, Christian faith or engineering analysis? Both did—and neither. Instead, what eventually emerged was an integration of the two that was far more powerful than either of them in isolation. I kept waiting for my research to start contradicting Christian doctrine, but instead of contradicting it, it kept explaining it. But, by explaining it, it also transformed it.

Time and again, I would realize that some belief which I had been taught as blind faith was actually a general principle of mental programming. Blind faith had told me that it was absolute truth, but it was my rational analysis that actually turned it into universal truth, as I began to see how it applied to life in general, and not just to the restricted world of religious practice.  

In addition, I gradually realized that treating any belief as blind faith carries with it a heavy price. Strangely enough, as I continued my rational engineering approach, I would open my Bible and find that it made more sense and not less. But when I observed those who preached these same truths dogmatically as blind faith, I saw that their method was distorting their message. By clinging blindly to the Bible, they actually ended up denying some of what it said, whereas my path through critical thinking kept bringing me back to the content of the Bible.

Eventually, I realized that every major doctrine of Christianity could be derived using only the diagram of mental symmetry. There was no need to quote a single verse of Scripture. Let me state this once more:

If you start with the diagram of mental symmetry and if you ask how one would program such a computer so that all the parts work together in harmony, then you come up with a path of personal development that corresponds with Christian doctrine--at the level of systematic theology.

That is the topic of this book. Two years ago, I wrote a four hundred page tome describing my thesis. I have been working with mental symmetry for decades, so my words made perfect sense to me. But, others found my writing far too daunting and intimidating. According to them, I was speaking an entirely different language which they did not understand.

Therefore, I have taken the essence of this material and written it as simply and as clearly as I know how. I have organized the discussion into digestible chapters and I begin each chapter with an illustration. At the end of each chapter I summarize the material that was covered and then list the key concepts that were introduced in that chapter in bullet form.

I have also included questions to think about and homework to do. I know that no one likes to do homework, but I have also taught high school long enough to know that homework is essential for lasting understanding. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you do the homework.

There are many topics which this book either glosses over or does not cover. However, as far as I can tell, we do cover every major Christian doctrine.

So, let us begin…


Software versus Hardware

Imagine that you own a brand new 2002 Honda Accord EX-V6. You enjoy driving your car and you feel a sense of pride every time you open the door, step in, and turn the key. And then, 2002 turns into 2003 and Honda releases the new, next generation, Honda Accord EX-V6. No longer are you driving the latest and the greatest. Instead, what you have is now outdated and passé.

And so, you go to the Honda dealership and ask them to upgrade your vehicle to the 2003 standard. After all, your car and the latest vehicle have exactly the same labels; they are both a Honda Accord EX-V6. It should be a simple matter for the car dealer to exchange a few parts and turn your car into the new and improved 2003 version. Right?

Wrong. That is because an automobile is made out of hardware; it is fabricated out of real steel, plastic, rubber and aluminum. Changing hardware is difficult. It generally requires major rebuilding. Often, the only option is to get rid of the old and replace it with the new. Thus, when you ask the Honda dealer to upgrade your Accord, he will laugh at you and say, “I’m sorry, sir. I cannot upgrade your car. However, for a few thousand dollars, you could trade it in for a new vehicle.”

Now imagine a different situation. You are using your home computer to do word processing. But, you would also like to be able to use it to browse the web. And so, you take it down to the local computer store and say, “Could I exchange this word processing computer for one that includes an internet browser?” Again, the salesman will probably laugh at you and respond, “There is no need for you to exchange your computer. Instead, all you have to do is install some software.”

Do you see the difference between hardware and software? Hardware is physical; it is ‘nuts and bolts’; it is difficult to change. Software, in contrast, is not physical; it is information; it is easy to update.

A similar distinction applies to people. Every human being lives within a physical body; a body is hardware; it is made out of skin, bones, muscles, and other forms of physical matter. Operating within this human container is the software known as the mind, which contains our memories, our skills, our feelings, and our internal world.

When dealing with cars and computers, we find it easy to distinguish hardware from software. We know that vehicles must be exchanged and that computer programs can be installed. However, when dealing with human hardware and software, we often try to change that which cannot be altered, or assume that some mental condition is fixed when it really is not. I suggest that this is because we are confusing human hardware with human software.

The fault does not lie entirely with us. That is because human hardware is quite adaptable, whereas human software can be stubbornly resilient. If a person exercises, he can alter his physical form to an amazing extent, and surgery can change physical shape even further. However, this physical change has its limits. I may be able to make myself look a few years younger, but no one has figured out how to turn an old body into a young one. On the other side of the coin, when we look at human software, learning a new fact may be quite simple, but acquiring a new skill may take years of practice and education, while changing my personal character may require an emotional price that I am unwilling to pay.

This distinction between human hardware and human software is fundamental to the theory of mental symmetry. This theory suggests that humans can be divided into the seven different cognitive styles of Mercy, Perceiver, Server, Teacher, Exhorter, Contributor, and Facilitator. The premise is that cognitive style is a hardware distinction, and that it is impossible for a person to change his cognitive style. Someone who is born an Exhorter person, for instance, will always remain an Exhorter person, no matter what he does, learns, or experiences.

This may sound rather restrictive, but in actual fact it is not. That is because cognitive style defines where a person is conscious. It labels the mental room in which he lives. If you compare the human mind to a house, then everyone’s home has the same seven rooms; every human mind contains a Mercy room, a Perceiver room, a Server room, and so on. However, the Exhorter person lives in the Exhorter room; that is where he is conscious. That is what makes him an Exhorter person. In contrast, the other six rooms are subconscious; they operate autonomously; conscious thought does not ‘live’ there.

Consciousness may sound like a complicated concept, but it is not. It simply describes the aspect of thought that I can see and control. The Exhorter person, for instance, lives within the midst of excitement and imagination. He can decide what will be his current enthusiasm and he can choose the internal vision that will drive his thinking. The other six cognitive styles do not live in this mental room; they are conscious elsewhere. Instead, they become enthused and acquire a vision as subconscious Exhorter strategy within their minds autonomously decides what it will focus upon.

For the Exhorter person, the problem is exactly the opposite. He may be able to choose his vision and his excitement, but it is the rest of his mind that turns this vision into reality. If his subconscious mind is not developed, then he will turn into the empty mouth with the golden tongue, manipulating others into realizing his dreams and being motivated by his enthusiasms.

Why do I suggest that cognitive style is a matter of hardware? Because, if you look at the human brain—the physical hardware behind human thought—you find the same seven major divisions. Researchers, for instance, speak of Dopamine as the neurochemical of addiction; the neuromodulator that juices up the parts of the brain which provide the excitement and drive for the rest of human thought. Similarly, a correspondence can be made between the facts and maps of Perceiver thinking and the functioning of the right Parietal lobe, or between the skills and actions of Server thought and the operation of the left Parietal lobe.

The goal of this book is not to delve deeply into neurology. However, I would like to make the following point: As far as I know, the theory of mental symmetry is the only system of cognitive styles that claims to correspond to brain functioning and neurological organization. In plain English, it is the only one that deals with human hardware.

Let us turn our attention now to human software. I suggest that we have already uncovered the most critical aspect of mental software: subconscious thought. Subconscious thought is capable of deep intelligence, but it also runs autonomously; it operates apart from conscious control. As a Perceiver person, for instance, I have no direct control over Exhorter thought. The Exhorter person may be able to choose to get excited about some new product and sell it with great enthusiasm to others, but I cannot. Instead, Exhorter strategy in my mind has a life of its own. When it finds something exciting to focus upon, it continues doing so until something better comes along. All I can do as a Perceiver person is to use conscious control of facts and information to indirectly alter what my Exhorter part finds exciting.

Let me tie this down with a more personal example. I have been working on the theory of mental symmetry for most of my life. The theory and vision that I have mentally constructed is so compelling that Exhorter thought in my mind is incapable of getting excited by anything else. I cannot turn this off. It runs by itself. Everything that I do must tie into this fixation in some way, either as an aspect of the theory or as a step in realizing the vision.

Getting fixated on a general theory, such as mental symmetry, is great. That is because a general theory really does tie everything together. But, think of the artist who spends all of his time daubing paint on a canvas. He also is fixated by his vision; he too interprets everything in the light of his pigment. But, where is subconscious Exhorter excitement driving him? Does he really have a grasp of the universal, or is he simply adding color to paper? A similar statement could be made about any specialist. The plumber interprets everything in terms of plumbing, the policeman tends to see everyone as a potential criminal. Are pipes really that exciting? Do I want to be motivated by crime? Going to the extreme, what about the drug addict, who uses external means to artificially inflate his brain levels of dopamine. He is literally getting excited about nothing; he is building Exhorter thought upon a mirage, filling up his Exhorter room with the illusion of furniture. That is frightening.

Let us review. We started by looking at the difference between hardware and software. We saw that hardware is hard to change whereas altering software is simple. We then looked at ourselves and noticed that a similar distinction exists between the physical bodies within which we live and the thinking patterns that fill our minds. 

I then introduced the theory of mental symmetry and suggested that cognitive style is an example of human hardware which cannot be changed. Instead, each cognitive style is conscious in one mode of the mind while being subconscious in the other six. However, what can be changed is the information that is fed into each of these seven modes and how well each mode functions. As a Perceiver person, for instance, Exhorter thought may be subconscious in my mind. However, if I feed it with the right information, then it will eventually ‘turn on’ and begin to operate intelligently. That is a matter of mental software, which can be altered and developed through personal growth.

Which leads us to the really scary part. No matter what I feed my subconscious modes of thought, they will eventually ‘turn on’ and ‘become alive’. If I program them with healthy information, then they will assist conscious thought. However, if I feed them with inappropriate data, then they will function poorly or even begin to attack conscious processing.

Think, for instance, of the schizophrenic. Our research suggests that most schizophrenic individuals have the cognitive style of Mercy, the part of the mind that lives in experiences and emotions. When the schizophrenic ‘hears voices’, they are coming from subconscious Teacher strategy, the part of the mind that deals with words and general theories. But, what type of theory is being mentally proclaimed? Often, it is a universal theory of personal inadequacy: “You are stupid. You cannot succeed. Everyone hates you.” Like any good theoretician, subconscious Teacher strategy will attempt to cling to its explanation, attacking conscious Mercy thought whenever a counter-example arises of intelligence or personal success. Thus, subconscious Teacher strategy in the Mercy person will only feel intellectually satisfied when conscious Mercy identity experiences personal misery. That is definitely not healthy.

Let me finish this chapter with a universal statement for Teacher strategy. I suggest that all moral questions can be boiled down to the issue of mental wholeness. Whatever causes the seven ‘rooms’ of the mind to operate together can be defined as morally good, whereas anything that causes one room either to shut down, or else to attack another mental room, can be defined as morally bad. After years of examining and applying this moral yardstick, I have come to the conclusion that is both accurate and sufficient. In essence, it is simply a mental version of the golden rule, treating my mental neighbor as I would have him treat me.

In addition, I suggest that thought is more fundamental than behavior. If I as a Perceiver person, for example, treat subconscious Exhorter thought in a healthy manner, then when I meet an Exhorter person who is conscious in Exhorter strategy, I will also respond to him in an accepting manner. In contrast, if I find such a person repulsive, that is invariably a sign that I am treating subconscious thought in a similar manner.

This chapter has touched upon two mental struggles, using them as illustrations. The rest of this book will focus on several key areas of mental conflict, describing each problem and how it can be resolved. Our path will be driven by two ultimate goals: First, we want to see how mental wholeness can be achieved. Second, we want to derive the doctrines of Christianity. Hopefully, by the end of this book, we will see that these two goals are actually one and the same.

Such mental growth carries with it a high personal cost. In essence, each stage of personal development means replacing a childish and fragmented way of thinking with one that is more integrated and more complete. At each step, the old way of thinking must mentally ‘die’ in order to permit the new way of thinking to become ‘alive’.  

It is important to realize that each stage of personal development is necessary. Every step builds upon the previous one in order to generate something that is more integrated. The mind of the child may be fragmented, but it is more integrated than the mind of the infant, which itself is far more integrated than the emptiness of non-existence. Eventually, however, the childish mind must also die and be replaced by the more integrated thought processes of the adult. And, what we humans call ‘adult thought’ is itself only partially integrated. The ultimate goal is to achieve mental wholeness, in which all seven modes operate together in harmony; this is the final ‘software upgrade’.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

·         Cognitive Styles: Each cognitive style is conscious in one part of the mind.

·         Mental Growth: The goal is to get each part to operate and the parts to work together.

·         Mental Wholeness: Whatever leads to greater mental wholeness is morally good.

Questions to think about:

1)    Are there any areas where you are confusing mental hardware with mental software?

2)    Describe some area where you use one mental strategy at the expense of another.

3)    Describe some area where you are attempting to pursue mental wholeness.


Memorize the names of the seven cognitive styles. Also, as we describe each one briefly, memorize the core traits that are associated with each cognitive style. This will help immensely in understanding the theory of mental symmetry.

Truth versus Truthiness

Yes. Truthiness is actually a word. In fact, it was the Merriam-Webster Word of the Year in 2006, reintroduced to the modern public with a modified meaning by a popular American comedian, whose name I will not mention for fear that I might violate someone’s sense of truthiness.

Merriam-Webster gives the following definition: “1: truth that comes from the gut, not books; 2: the quality of preferring concepts or facts one wishes to be true, rather than concepts or facts known to be true.”

Not only was this word chosen as Word of the Year, but it won the popular vote by an overwhelming margin of 5-1. So, what is it about this term that managed to capture the zeitgeist of the early 21st century? I would like to spend this chapter describing some of the public attitudes that were responsible for giving birth to this word and examining some of the fallout of holding on to truthiness. Then, in the next chapter, we will use the diagram of mental symmetry to explain the mental basis for truthiness, examine the difference between truth and truthiness and introduce an alternative, more hardware-based, way of looking at truth.

Gut Feeling: Truthiness gives great weight to personal conviction. It feels deeply about a subject and knows that its feelings are correct. Notice the exact progression: The starting point is feelings. Not any feelings, but rather my feelings, my convictions. I and my personal feelings are the ultimate source.

From feelings, the leap is made to facts. I feel strongly about an issue, therefore my feelings define what is true. Truthiness may be based in emotions, but it does not speak the language of emotions. Instead, it states its conclusions using the language of truth—in no uncertain terms.

Truthiness does not stop at truth, but goes beyond individual facts to universal truth. Not only does my personal conviction define my truth, but it establishes the truth for me, you, everyone, everywhere, and at all times. Thus, it begins with personal feeling and ends up with universal truth.

Compare this with the traditional concept of “just the facts, ma’am,” made popular by the 50s police drama Dragnet. Here, the desire is to keep personal feelings at bay, making sure that personal conviction does not cloud the mind as it attempts to determine the truth. In addition, ‘just the facts’ stays away from universal pronouncements and satisfies itself with knowing exactly ‘what happened last Friday night at 3:27 AM in front of Mac’s All Night Diner.’

Morality: Truthiness is not usually content with making absolute pronouncements of universal truth. Instead, it generally adds a moral element to its statements. Thus, it is not just right, it is good, and it has a duty to spread this goodness to other people and other nations. The opposing side is not just wrong, but it is evil, and it must be stopped before it corrupts others with its evil message.

Thus, truthiness both starts and ends with personal feelings. It begins by using personal feelings to define universal truth. It finishes by saying that not only are opposing facts wrong, but that the people behind these facts are morally flawed.

As a result, truthiness will state that what really matters is personal character and moral fiber. You are wrong because your personal character is fatally flawed; I am right because I am morally upright and my personal character is pure.

When so many self-proclaimed sources of truthiness are clamoring to be heard, then it becomes very difficult to make out the voice of truth. How can a person determine ‘just the facts’ when facts have become so intertwined with conviction, emotion, moral judgment, and universality? As a Perceiver person, I live in a mental room populated with facts and information. In many cases, it has come to the point now where I am literally unable to sort through all of the competing voices and determine exactly what did actually occur. Instead, I am left in a state of confusion, condemned by both sides for questioning their party line.

In general terms, truth eventually becomes the enemy of truthiness. On the one hand, truth hates truthiness because it confuses facts with feelings, forcing the light of truth to be viewed through the distorting lens of personal emotion. On the other hand, truthiness despises truth because it lacks emotional conviction, refuses to commit itself emotionally to ‘us’ and dares to talk with ‘them’.

Spin: Spin is another word that has recently come into popular use. Today, we speak of spin doctors, who excel at presenting information in a way that makes it more palatable. Thus, if there is unpleasant news, it may be mentioned in passing alongside some major story, in the hope that listeners will focus on the big event and ignore the bad news. Or, the spin doctor may focus on the good aspects of a story while ignoring factors which are unpleasant.

Spin does not usually lie, instead it twists. It says the truth, but not the whole truth. It presents the facts, but controls the time and manner in which they are disseminated. In other words, spin always has an alibi. It may violate the spirit of truth, but never the letter. Whenever it is accused of changing the facts, spin can always back up its statements with chapter and verse.

Thus, we conclude that spin comes to birth within a context of truth. It would like to lie, but it dare not, and so it limits its activities to distorting, obfuscating, ambiguating, and cherry picking. Like truthiness, spin may have a personal emotional agenda, it may have a twisted accent, but it still speaks the language of truth.

Spin, however, goes beyond truthiness in one important factor. It is deliberate. Truthiness may confuse feelings with facts, it may be self-deluded and it may try to shoot the messenger, but it is sincere. It deeply believes what it says; it knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is right. Spin, in contrast, lacks deep conviction. It is not the true believer but rather the hired mercenary, motivated to defend the kingdom of truth by the promise of filthy lucre.

It is this cold and calculating approach which changes the nature of the debate. No longer is truth—or truthiness—a matter of personal conviction. Instead, it is a matter of pressing the right emotional hot buttons. Thus, spin ends up manipulating truthiness. Originally, spin was hired as the servant of truthiness. But, lacking true conviction, spin had no emotional reason to respect its master and so it decided to become the true power behind the throne, the real master behind the figurehead.

Truthiness, with its emotionally based, universally held convictions, is totally vulnerable to spin. That is because personal emotions are not stable. As 9/11 showed, it only takes a single traumatic event to change the emotional tenor of an entire nation. Spin doctors soon realize that they hold the real power, and that any emotional event which comes along—especially a national disaster—can be manipulated to change the content of truthiness and to mould personal conviction. Before, truthiness proclaimed absolute truth on the basis of personal feelings. Now, truthiness may still claim to proclaim moral absolutes supported by personal conviction, but this personal conviction is being controlled by the emotional packaging of the spin doctors. Truthiness has now become a puppet monarch, manipulated by the emotional strings held by the doctor of spin.

Control: This is when control of the media becomes paramount, for whoever packages and presents the news controls truthiness, and thus ‘absolute truth’. Those who desire to be in charge of society will buy up the television stations, the radio studios, and the newspapers, for these have the power to shape the face of the nation. And who will be hired to present the news? Spin doctors.

The next step is to get rid of the opposition. Truthiness attacked ‘them’ because ‘they’ proclaimed the wrong truth. Spin has far more pedestrian—and insidious—motives. For truthiness, the foundation may be personal feeling, but the discussion is still couched in terms of absolute conviction and eternal truth. For spin, truth and facts no longer have any independent existence. Instead, they are reduced to the role of servants in the grasp for personal power, tools to be used for controlling a gullible populace.

So who exactly is the opposition? One would think that it is the opposition, and that the goal would be for all the spin doctors to speak with a single voice. In fact, having an opposition is extremely useful, for it maintains the sense of emotional urgency upon which truthiness is based. When no one is proclaiming error, then there is no need to preach truth. Without an evil threat from ‘them’, there can be no strong sense of ‘us’. We conclude that spin works best with a two party system, in which all major issues can be crystallized into the two opposing views of ‘good’ and ‘evil’, right and wrong.

As far as the spin doctors are concerned, the exact nature of these two parties does not matter, for spin has neither truth nor conviction. Instead, what matters is the fact that there are two parties and that they oppose each other. Similarly, what causes any specific emotional crisis is irrelevant. The important thing is that there is an emotional crisis and that the population is in a constant state of emotional crisis. For, as long as emotions rule, then they can be manipulated.

I would like to point out in passing that one can see the same principle at work in communism. A communist regime comes to power through revolution, by attacking ‘the enemy’. Likewise, it stays in power by maintaining a permanent state of revolution, in which ‘the enemy’ is always threatening to undermine the communist regime and is blamed for any problems which the communist state experiences. 

The real enemy of the spin doctor is the independent, individual voice of truth. Truthiness hated truth because it lacked emotional conviction and because it consorted with the enemy. Spin hates truth because it acts like the little boy in the fable who pointed out that the emperor has no clothes.

As I mentioned before, spin initially feels that it must submit itself to truth. That is why it backs up its factual distortions with alibis; it may twist the facts but it avoids telling outright lies. Eventually, though, spin reaches the point where it no longer feels bound by such qualms. Instead of twisting the news, it simply makes it up. When caught with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar of factual fabrication, it simply tells another bald-faced lie, assuming that spin can always outmaneuver stolid truth.

What spin cannot manipulate is the seeker of truth, who refuses to be taken in by emotional manipulation and who is jarred by outright lies. And, as the lies of the spin doctors become increasingly blatant, these falsehoods also become increasingly obvious to the portion of the population that does not follow truthiness.

Spin tends to respond to truth in two ways: First, it tries to marginalize it. When society is divided into two opposing camps, then what ‘they’ say may be wrong, and false, and evil, but it is also expected. Everyone knows what ‘we’ believe, and we all know what ‘they’ believe, and both ‘us’ and ‘them’ are backed up by a large group of people with strong personal convictions. The key is for spin to dismiss any independent voice as that of the extremist, and to write off his opinions as a ‘conspiracy theory’. This is easy to do, for when truthiness rules and people are convinced that facts come from personal convictions, then there will always be eccentric individuals with idiosyncratic personal feelings who hold strongly to bizarre viewpoints and who believe that some group of people is using their personal agenda to impose universal truth on the population.

Strangely enough, while most of these conspiracy theories may be inaccurate, the overall conclusion of the conspiracy theorist is actually quite sound. For, by now there really is a cabal of individuals using emotional manipulation to foist their agenda upon the populace.

Spin will also respond to truth by attempting to legislate it away. Thus, whenever an emotional crisis comes along, spin will use it as an excuse to limit personal freedom, especially intellectual freedom. The main goal is to make sure that no little boy ever gets a chance to see the emperor up close, and that if he ever does notice that the emperor lacks clothing, that any attempt by him to speak his mind to the crowd will be shut down immediately as illegal. 

From here, it is only a few short steps to the doublespeak, eternal war, universal surveillance, and personal enemy described within the book 1984. Of course, I am not the first to point this out. However, in the next chapter, I would like to show how the diagram of mental symmetry provides a simple explanation for this process, and there it appears that I am adding something genuinely new to the overall discussion.

Let us review. We began with a distinction between truth and truthiness. We saw that truthiness uses emotions to define truth. We then saw that truthiness gets hijacked by spin, which uses emotional manipulation to promote its own agenda. In particular, spin uses a two party system, along with any major crisis which comes along, to maintain a continual state of emotional urgency. Ultimately, spin turns into a form of dictatorship in which the only absolute truth is that of the state.

In this chapter, I have only described the situation. The next chapter will look at the mental processes which are responsible for creating this conflict. I have also deliberately avoided giving specific examples in order to try not to trigger anyone’s sense of truthiness.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

·         Truth: A search for ‘just the facts’.

·         Truthiness: ‘Truth’ that is based in gut feeling and personal conviction.

·         Morality: Truth that includes feelings and personal conviction.

·         Spin: Triggering gut feelings and personal conviction in order to create truthiness.

·         Control: Gaining ownership of media so that you can use spin to define truthiness.

·         Two Party State: Maintaining the feeling of ‘us versus them’ that breeds truthiness.

·         Conspiracy Theory: Any truth or truthiness that does not come from ‘us’ or ‘them’.

Questions to think about:

1)    What issues do you feel strongly about?

2)    Are there any areas where you have an attitude of ‘us versus them’?

3)    Have you ever rejected information because it came from ‘them’?

4)    Have you ever been misled through ‘spin’?


Watch a news broadcast on your favorite news channel. Write down all the examples of truthiness and spin that you can find. Now repeat this with a news program that you would not normally watch.

Facts versus Experiences

I am afraid that we can postpone it no longer. We will have to bite the bullet, take the plunge, grab the bull by the horns, and start our engines. That is because it is time for us to take a look at the diagram of mental symmetry. But, fear not, we will only examine the teensy-weensy little part that lies within the friendly rounded square—the square surrounding the two words Mercy and Perceiver.

Mercy and Perceiver are two of the seven cognitive styles. There is the Mercy person, who ‘lives’ within the Mercy room, and the Perceiver person, who is conscious within Perceiver mode. Remember that cognitive style is the ‘room’ in which a person is conscious. This, I have suggested, describes mental hardware. It is innate; it cannot be altered. But, if everyone has a complete brain with all seven ‘rooms’, then Perceiver and Mercy also describe two modes of thought which reside within every individual—mental rooms that can be programmed and developed. That is software. It can be changed. In fact, these rooms can and should be developed by every individual. And, if you look at the development psychology of Jean Piaget, you find that these two modes of thought do operate in every person. But, how they operate is another story, which we will now begin to tell.

If you look above the black square, you see the word associative. This tells us that Mercy and Perceiver operate associatively. Because it is possible that the meaning which I give to this term is slightly different than that which others assign to it, let me give you a formal definition:

Associative: “1: a way of thinking that associates between one memory and another; 2: mental processing that deals with spatial items such as facts, objects, maps, experiences and events; 3: right hemisphere processing.”

In plain English, associative thought deals with stuff that stays still, whereas analytical processing deals with stuff that moves. There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? So, what sort of stuff? That question can be answered by looking at the two diagonal lines. Notice that Perceiver is connected with abstract and Mercy with concrete. Thus, Perceiver thought deals with abstract stuff that doesn’t move, such as facts, maps, and other types of information. Mercy, in contrast, works with concrete ‘stuff that doesn’t move’, such as events, experiences, situations, and people. So, if you tell something to the Perceiver person, he will ask what you are talking about. Tell the same thing to the Mercy person and he will ask who you are referring to.

But, people move, don’t they? Yes, technically speaking, you are correct. But how do we think of people; what is our mental image of them? We remember them as a sort of connected group of pictures, like a set of snapshots in a photo album. In other words, we remember people primarily within concrete, associative thought—otherwise known as Mercy mode.  

Facts versus Experiences: We can now take our attention away from the diagram and return to the heading of this chapter: facts versus experiences. We have just learned that Perceiver strategy works with facts, whereas Mercy thought handles experiences. That is thehardware division. As we shall see later, truth, spin and truthiness are all the result of software—programming Perceiver and Mercy thought in a certain manner.

Suppose that you walk into a dining room and look around. Mercy strategy will see the individual items: a table, four chairs, a cupboard, dishes, and so on. Perceiver thought, in contrast, will notice the connections between these items: the chairs are around the table; the dishes are in the cupboard.  A similar mental division of labor happens if you look at one of the chairs. Mercy will see the overall ‘flavor’ of the chair, noticing that it is ‘an antique chair with carved wooden legs’. Of course, Mercy thought won’t use those words. Wehave to use words to describe the chair. Instead, Mercy strategy will be reminded of images of antique, carved chairs. Perceiver thought, in contrast, will notice how the legs have been fastened together. If that does not make sense, then refer to the two friendly pictures shown below.

      CHAIR: Perceiver Viewpoint                                                  CHAIR: Mercy Viewpoint








A similar division of labor occurs with any event, situation, person, map, object, or other ‘thing that doesn’t move’. Perceiver strategy notices the connections; Mercy thought picks up an overall flavor. Some drawings, such as diagrams, schematics and maps, are geared to Perceiver thought. Mercy strategy, in contrast, prefers color images with textures and tones. Give a camera to a Perceiver person, and he will tend to take pictures of things, especially one thing juxtaposed with another. Give the same camera to the Mercy person, and he will focus on people, especially facial expressions.

Emotion versus Confidence: Which brings us to the last piece of information that we need from the diagram of mental symmetry. That is the label which is placed upon each memory. Look to the left of the diagram, and you will see that Mercy lies on the row labeledemotion, while the row on which Perceiver lies is labeled confidence.

When Mercy strategy attaches an overall flavor to a situation, experience, or person, that flavor is actually experienced as an emotion. Everyone knows about Mercy feelings, for they are the first to develop within the mind of the child. Milk tastes good; dirty diapers feel bad. Associations help to propagate feelings. Seeing mother, for instance, makes the baby feel good, for she provides milk and changes diapers. Thus, the Mercy person—whether male or female—lives in a sea of emotions, in which every experience and every memory is colored with an emotional tone. Some of these feelings are weak, others are strong. The toast that I had for breakfast may only trigger mild feelings of pleasantness, whereas the encounter I had with that angry dog five years ago may still bring back a flood of vivid emotional pain.

Perceiver thought, in contrast, works with confidence. Another word for confidence is certainty. How certain am I about a specific fact or piece of information? I may know beyond a shadow of a doubt that 2 + 2 = 4, and be equally certain that Santa Claus does not exist. But, do I know exactly where I was last Thursday afternoon, or how many years remain before the world runs out of oil? Here, the confidence is much lower; I definitely do not have the same level of certainty.

Emotion and confidence interact. Emotion disturbs confidence; confidence must survive emotion. That is why there is an arrow in the diagram running from Mercy to Perceiver thought. I may know that 2 + 2 = 4. But, if I have two thousand dollar bills and someone gives me two more, I may have to count the total several times before being absolutely certain that it adds up to four. The fact has not changed, but the emotional pressure has definitely increased.

What happens if we raise the emotional pressure even further? Initially, Perceiver thought experiences confusion, unable to determine the facts with any certainty. We sometimes call this ‘feeling flustered’, the sort of mental confusion that arises when you are trying to figure things out and too many people are putting emotional pressure on you, or the uncertainty that can envelop you when you are taking an exam.

Increase the emotional pressure further, though, and a new type of thinking emerges, in which the arrangement of that specific emotional situation becomes Perceiver truth. If one ferocious dog attacks you, for instance, the emotional trauma of that event can overwhelm Perceiver thought and mesmerize it into knowing that all dogs always bite. In technical terms, the specific arrangement of one situation is accepted by Perceiver thought as universal truth. Because dogs and biting were connected that one time, Perceiver strategy knows that dogs and biting will always go together.

Notice that I said know and not feel. Perceiver thought knows; Mercy strategy feels. But, if feeling is strong enough, then feeling turns into knowing. The person knows because he feels. He will say that he knows, but he really means that he felt so strongly that it overwhelmed Perceiver thought, stopped it from operating, and fooled it into knowing. But, because Perceiver thought is not working in this context, he won’t know that he doesn’t know. Even though he really feels, he will still know that he knows and he will state his feeling in terms of knowing. Ok, I’ll quit. Hopefully, you get the picture.

Truthiness: That, I suggest, explains the mental mechanism behind truthiness. It knows because it has a gut feeling; it ignores conflicting facts and opposing information because emotional pressure has shut down Perceiver thought, disabling the part of the mind which handles facts and digests information.

This emotional pressure can come either from events or from people. With events, it is the situation itself that provides the emotional intensity, mesmerizing Perceiver thought with feelings of horror, terror, love, or ecstasy. With people, the process occurs more indirectly. If I attach sufficient respect—or fear—to some individual, then whatever he tells me will be accepted by my Perceiver mode as ‘gospel truth’. The facts themselves may not be emotional, but because I heard it from this person, or read it in that newspaper, saw it on their television network, or read it on his website, then the emotional pressure will fool Perceiver thought into knowing that it is true. 

Truthiness, by its very nature, is mentally unstable. It only takes one emotional event to mesmerize Perceiver thought into knowing what is true or false. Similarly, a single new traumatic incident is sufficient to re-mesmerize Perceiver strategy into believing an entirely new set of absolutes. Perceiver confidence, in contrast, takes much longer to build, but also has much greater stability. It does not come to an immediate conclusion but rather tests, checks and double-checks. However, once it decides, then it takes a lot of emotional pressure for these conclusions to change. That explains why the spin doctor loves truthiness. It is so malleable. Truth, in contrast, is stubborn; it refuses to be affected by propaganda and spin.

I should point out in passing that we are only looking here at Mercy emotion and Perceiver confidence. A similar interaction occurs in the left hemisphere between Teacher emotion and Server confidence. But, I promised that we would only look at the part of the diagram that lies within the rounded box, so we will leave that relationship for a later chapter. I only mention it here for those who like to cross their t’s and dot their i’s and who will accuse me later on of leaving out critical information.

The balance between Mercy feeling and Perceiver confidence continually changes. Every time another event comes along, it adds new emotional color to the mix, making overall feelings either weaker or stronger. Trauma is one way of increasing feeling; humor is a method for weakening emotion. Similarly, whenever Perceiver thought succeeds in working out the facts, or manages to hold on to information in the midst of emotional pressure, then the level of confidence within that mental context goes up, giving Perceiver thought the ability to handle stronger feelings without falling apart. In contrast, every time that a person avoids emotions or gets flustered by feelings, Perceiver thought becomes weaker, loses confidence, and becomes less able to deal with emotional pressure.

One could compare the relationship between emotion and confidence to the level of water behind a dam. Emotion is like the level of the water; add water and it increases the pressure on the dam. Confidence is like the height and strength of the dam. The stronger the dam, the more water can handle without crumbling. A dam will burst either if the water level is too high, or if the dam strength is too low.

This explains the difference, for instance, between a phobia and a panic attack. A phobia is triggered by some emotional event. For instance, I may see a big hairy tarantula walking up the wall and freak out. A panic attack, in contrast, comes out of the blue, and is not triggered by any specific event. Instead, it occurs when the mental dam of confidence weakens to the point where the normal emotional situations of life are sufficient to cause a dam break.

Let us return now to the mental mechanism behind truthiness. Am I really suggesting that Perceiver thought is shut down, that the person is mentally mesmerized, and that factual processing has been disabled? Yes. But isn’t that terrible? Yes. But, how could anyone actually allow themselves to get into such a predicament? This type of mental state emerges naturally whenever a person watches endless television and other forms of entertainment, in which the viewer ‘suspends disbelief’, turns off critical thinking, ignores the facts, and allows Mercy thought to be flooded with an endless stream of emotional images. Like the panic attack victim, such a lifestyle will generate a mind with low mental dams, susceptible to the high water of any emotional flood. But, I digress. Or, maybe not.   

In general, I suggest that every human being begins life in a mesmerized state. Just think what it means to be a baby or a small child. Everyone around you is huge; they know everything. You probably still remember the shock to your system when you discovered for the first time that your father did not know everything. In addition, when you were young, every new event was traumatic, and every crisis was earthshaking. Just think what it takes to burst the ‘childish dam’ and start a youngster screaming: a colored pencil, a chocolate bar, a few measly cents. But, that is how we all began life. Even the rational scientist, with his factual nose in the air, began his human existence as a tiny infant, believing in Santa Claus and shrieking when he didn’t get his bottle of milk right now.

This chapter has introduced a lot of new concepts, so let us try to wrap things up with a general discussion. We began by looking at the two associative modes of thought: Mercy and Perceiver. We saw that Mercy strategy remembers events, whereas Perceiver strategy looks at the relationship between events. Every event is given an emotional label by Mercy thought; each connection is given a label of confidence by Perceiver strategy. It is possible for Mercy feelings to overwhelm Perceiver thought. When Mercy rules over Perceiver, the result is truthiness. Perceiver thought can also protect itself from Mercy pressure by avoiding strong emotions. This is the attitude behind ‘just the facts, ma’am’. Here, Perceiver rules over Mercy.

For those of you who are familiar with MBTI®, the personality scheme developed by Carl Jung and Briggs Myers, I suggest that we have just described the division between Thinking and Feeling. Thinking works with facts but avoids emotions, whereas Feeling uses emotions to determine facts. According to MBTI®, The mental division between Thinking and Feeling is fundamental and unchangeable.

This, I suggest, is a prime example of confusing mental software with mental hardware. Is there a natural division between Thinking and Feeling? Yes. It is normal for strong Mercy feelings to mesmerize Perceiver thought into knowing through truthiness. And, it is also normal for Perceiver strategy to protect itself by avoiding emotional pressure. But, does this describe mental hardware or mental software?

Mental software. That is because there is a third option. Mercy and Perceiver thought do not have to fight each other. Instead, it is possible for them to cooperate. This is when the true hardware distinction emerges: Mercy strategy works with events; Perceiver thought works out the relationship between events. However, this constructive interaction will only happen to the extent that an individual builds Perceiver confidence, and learns how to hold on to truth in the midst of emotional stress.

And, since every human being emerges from childhood with a mind that is semi-mesmerized, that means rethinking everything that was learned as a child. Is this easy? No. It is extremely hard. Is it possible? Yes. But, it means dying inside to childish thinking and coming alive to adult thought. Yes, it really is that difficult. Thus, when Christianity states that every person is ‘born in sin’ and that everyone needs to be ‘transformed by the renewing of his mind’, it is saying something quite profound. Likewise, when the psychologist insists that everyone is ‘born good’ and that he only needs to be allowed to ‘be himself’, he is deeply in error.

Unfortunately, the Christian who is most vocal in telling others to ‘be born again’ often tends also to be the one whose mind is most deeply rooted in truthiness, whereas the psychologist who tells others that they do not need to undergo fundamental personal change is generally quite proficient at using Perceiver thought to determine truth in other, less critical, areas. Thus, we have the strange paradox of childish minds commanding us to grow up, while adult minds are telling us that it is fine to remain a child. This combination is enough to confuse almost anyone, and the only solution is to use Perceiver thought to distinguish very carefully between the message and the messenger.

And this is precisely the distinction which truthiness is incapable of making, because it bases its message upon the emotional status of the messenger. As far as it is concerned, the messenger is the message; whatever the High Reverend Doctor Jones says is, by definition, true.

The psychologist also makes a critical mistake, for he assumes that it is possible to separate the message from the messenger. He thinks that he can remain objective. But, true objectivity is a myth. That is because am always involved in the equation. Examine the typical, supposedly objective, university environment, and you will see that intellectual pride, educational tenure, political pressure, and personal status play a dominating role.

Instead, messenger and message must be carefully teased apart. It takes Perceiver confidence to be able to distinguish the person from what he says, and to separate me from my opinions. And, such Perceiver confidence can only be grown one successfully handled emotional crisis at a time.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

·         Mercy: remembers experiences and people.

·         Perceiver: organizes Mercy experiences into categories, objects and maps.

·         Confidence: Facts need sufficient confidence to handle emotional pressure.

·         Truthiness: Mercy feelings can overwhelm Perceiver thought into ‘knowing’ truth.

·         Defining Experience: overwhelming feelings can come either from events or from people.

·         Emotional Instability: Each new defining experience creates its own truthiness.

·         Childish mentality: Truthiness rules the mind of every child.

·         Message versus Messenger: The Perceiver message is not the Mercy messenger. 

Questions to think about:

1)    Describe some examples of truthiness that really bother you in other people.

2)    Give an example of an area in which you used to accept truthiness but now accept truth.

3)    Do you know of some region of thought where you presently follow truthiness?

4)    Is there some region of thought where others accuse you of following truthiness?


Memorize the diagram of mental symmetry. Practice drawing it by memory on a blank sheet of paper.

Education versus Blind Faith

For the last seven years, I worked at an international school in Seoul, Korea, teaching mainly high school math and physics. During this time, I learned a lot about education, students and educational psychology. I also endured—twice—the procedure of going through the official accreditation process.

Education prides itself on going beyond blind faith. Under blind faith, the teacher lectures and the students memorize; learning is a one-way street, with information exiting the mouth of the teacher and entering the ears of the student. The teacher demands respect from his students, expects them to say ‘yes sir’ and ‘no sir’, and to sit quietly in their desks in neat rows. And, when test time comes, then the students are supposed to regurgitate what they have imbibed from their instructor. For, with blind faith, what ultimately matters is not understanding, but rather memorization and adherence.

Defining Education: Education, in contrast, is far more enlightened. It frowns upon the lecture method, and encourages discussion, exploration, projects, and other forms of self-education. It expects learning to be a two-way street, with students teaching themselves and learning from one another. Teachers are not supposed to lord it over their students, but rather protect the self-worth of their charges, making sure that fragile student self-image is not damaged with harsh words. Finally, the mantra of education is critical thinking—going beyond a mere parroting of facts to an in-depth grasp of the material.

In terms of what we discussed in the last chapter, one could say that blind faith leads to truthiness, whereas education builds truth. On the one hand, blind faith is based in the expert with his emotional status. Whatever he says, is by definition absolute fact. Education, on the other hand, downplays the emotional importance of the instructor and realizes that information cannot be swallowed whole, but must rather be broken into bite sized chunks, chewed carefully, and digested.

More subtly, blind faith feels that it is the instructor and his emotional significance that gives coherence to the material. Without an exalted teacher, there can be no absolutes. If the emotional source were to disappear, all would turn into chaos. Education, in contrast, feels that the job of the instructor is to get out of the way, because it is convinced that the material being taught is ultimately held together by something else, and not by the teacher and his emotional status. For education, truth is not created but rather discovered.

That is the theory. What happens in practice is somewhat different. Student self-education and critical thinking are admirable goals, and they often do make an appearance in the classroom. However, in order to become an effective educator, what one really must learn is classroom management and curriculum mapping. For those of you who are not familiar with edu-speak, classroom management is the ability to maintain a ‘controlled learning environment’, in which students pay attention, avoid talking, and ‘stay on task’. Curriculum mapping means sitting down, planning ahead what you will teach to the students, and making sure that it lines up with what the State of California, or some other similar exalted source, has decided that you should be teaching.

In other words, when push comes to shove, there really isn’t any major difference between blind faith and most school education. Remove all of the elegant sounding instructional terminology and you end up with the same two fundamental points: The student must respect the teacher, and the teacher decides what the student will learn.

So, why the doublespeak? Why use such highfalutin terms if you really mean the same thing? Why does education despise blind faith, when the two are actually so closely related? I would like to suggest two possible reasons, one based in cognitive style, and the other in personal experience.

Facilitator Led Education: First, when we examined the fields of education, psychology, and educational psychology, we discovered that Facilitator persons are heavily overrepresented in these occupations. They love education, and they are attracted to psychology. As a result, education tends to reflect the thinking of the Facilitator person.

Examine the diagram of mental symmetry, and it appears as if the Facilitator has almost been tacked on to the bottom of the diagram as an afterthought. This is not an accident, for the Facilitator room really does lie on the edge of the house of the human mind. It occupies the final stage in the mental path of producing intelligence and provides the final polish in the process of generating human thought and behavior. In essence, one could think of Facilitator strategy as the secretary of the mind. Just as the job of secretary assumes the existence of an operating business, so Facilitator strategy assumes the existence of a functioning, adult mind.

But, like every other cognitive style, the Facilitator person also begins his human existence playing with childish toys and holding on to truthiness. Unlike other cognitive styles, though, he can use conscious control over the secretarial room of human thought to give the appearance of high culture and erudite learning. His factory floor may be using child labor to churn out cheap trinkets, but his reception lounge is paneled with rich hardwood with the secretary seated at an executive desk surrounded by an art gallery of rare paintings.

Which brings us back to the end of the previous chapter, in which we found the psychologist—and now the educator—telling everyone that there is no need for anyone to grow up, for everyone already is an adult. But, why would the Facilitator person insist upon this form of approach?

First, he is better than anyone else at placing adult wrapping upon childish desire. After all, he lives in the mental room which does the final packaging for human thought. He is naturally talented at telling others what to do while making it appear that they are actually free to choose for themselves. He excels at controlling from the sidelines, acting as the power behind the throne while giving lip service to the figurehead monarch. In plain English, he knows how to act like a child while making it appear and sound as if he is an adult.

One sees this contradiction clearly illustrated by the Montessori method of education. In a Montessori school, no child is forced to learn. Instead, every student ‘advances at his own pace, only when he is ready’. In actual fact, the instructor is still in total control. The iron fist of instructional authority may be clothed in a silk glove, but the ultimate power still lies with the teacher and not with the student. There still is a curriculum, and classroom management still plays a major role.

Second, the Facilitator person is not a black-and-white thinker. Instead, his conscious mind functions in terms of grays, continually adjusting and blending between the various alternatives. He is certain that everyone is fundamentally an adult at heart, for he is conscious in the part of the mind that assumes adult thought. And, if anyone does not act like an adult, then he is convinced that this difference in behavior is only a matter of degree, for he is only capable of thinking consciously in terms of degrees.

Transforming Childish Identity: But, school reality is actually quite different. Step into a primary classroom and you will quickly discover that the only difference between chaos and learning is classroom management. Left to their own devices, children really are little savages, and major effort is devoted in the first years of school to teaching these adorable little beasts how to sit down, be quiet, listen, and learn.

Fast forward a few years to high school, and the balance of power has shifted. No longer do students give automatic respect to their teachers, for they are now teenagers who have ‘grown up’. But, for most high school students, emotional status still rules. The successful teacher must still radiate an aura of status, and must still be able to coax, cajole, and threaten his students into respecting him and following the curriculum.

Even in high school, emotional power ultimately rests with the teacher, for he gives ‘the grade’, with which he can pass or fail the student, combined with ‘the test’, by which he determines what his students will learn. In other words, while the students have grown up, for most of them this development has only occurred superficially. Externally, they may look like they are searching for truth, but for most of them, what still really matters is truthiness. All that has changed for them is the source of emotional truth. Before, parents had the final say. Now what counts is the pronouncement of the high school, and after that the piece of paper dispensed by the university.

So, what is actually happening? In a nutshell, I suggest that we all begin life as semi-mesmerized little savages, in which Perceiver truth is determined by emotional importance, and that somehow, our childish minds have to be transformed into the minds of adults, in which Perceiver thought has the confidence to resist truthiness and to search for truth. Our present school systems may only be partially successful at performing this task, but the end product that emerges at the end of high school is still far more adult than the raw material that entered kindergarten.

Unfortunately, between the mind of the child and the thinking of the adult lies a huge mental chasm, a no-man’s land of deep personal confusion, in which neither truth nor truthiness can provide moral certainty. But, for the typical Facilitator person, the very conceptof a gap is anathema, for without continuity, his conscious mind literally ceases to function. Thus, most Facilitator educators pretend that this gap does not exist.

In other words, true education begins with blind faith and endsby graduating from blind faith. It starts with the student emotionally respecting his teacher and blindly accepting whatever he says. It finishes with the teacher acknowledging that the student no longer has to obey him or submit to him. It starts with truthiness and ends with truth.

As every school teacher knows, this sort of instructing always feels like a balancing of opposites, because that is exactly what it is—an attempt to continually straddle a chasm of intellectual uncertainty, with one foot planted on the side of mesmerized Perceiver thought and other on the side of careful Perceiver questioning.

I should point out that graduating from blind faith is totally different than dropping out of blind faith. The graduate holds on to the content while going beyond the method. He remembers what his teachers have taught him, while graduating from the attitude of the submissive student. In contrast, the dropout rejects the content while remaining locked within the attitude. Thus, in most cases, the dropout simply exchanges one emotional master for another, often submitting to the domination of his peers instead of his elders. For, remember that truthiness is inherently unstable. Therefore, it only takes a few defining experiences for a teenage gang leader to impose his will upon a new set of school dropout followers. 

Impoliteness: I have mentioned that the ‘educated’ Facilitator person tends to look down on blind faith and truthiness. That is because he lives in the part of the mind which is the most adult and which requires adult thought to function properly. However, there is a deeper, more gut reason why the Facilitator person despises blind faith.

In a word, blind faith is impolite. The Facilitator person hates to have anything ‘stuffed down his throat,’ just as a secretary gets miffed whenever a visitor does an end-run around her and goes directly to the president of the company. All messages pass through her, thank you very much. Procedure must be followed; protocol must be observed.

But, the Facilitator person, like every other human individual that ever existed, also began his life immersed in childish thinking and truthiness. It is only as he grows up inside that he realizes—retroactively—that what he acquired as a child was ‘pushed down his gullet’. How ill-mannered; how utterly rude. Imagine, taking advantage of a helpless little child like that and treating him so impolitely. That is wrong. It should be stopped. I will stop it. I will take control of education and make sure that every child is treated like an adult from now on and that nobody stuffs nothing down no one’s throat. And so, he enters the field of education with a mission: Everyone Must be Treated as an Adult.

Of course, blind faith is always easier to recognize in others than in myself. What others deride as blind faith, I probably uphold as education. Thus, there are also many Facilitator persons who are content to work within blind faith—as long as it is the consensus of their society. And as long as the consensus of society remains sufficiently solid, this blind faith will be viewed by Facilitator persons as education. But, if the status quo ever shifts, then watch out. It only takes a few Facilitator persons who decide retroactively that ‘they were part of a cult’ to take charge of education and make sure that nobody is ever treated as a child again. In fact, looking back at the 20th century, it only did take a few Facilitator educators to turn Western education totally upside down, replacing blind faith—as they saw it, with education—also as they viewed it.  

Graduating from Blind Faith: The Facilitator educator tends to make the mistake of assuming that every child is already an adult, and that there is no need for anyone to graduate because everyone already is a graduate. Blind faith, by its very nature, makes precisely the opposite mistake, by creating an environment from which it is impossible to graduate.

The reason for this is both simple and profound. If truthiness comes from some important person, then Perceiver thought will only stay in its mesmerized state of intellectual worship as long as that emotional source remains far more important than me. If I ever begin to think that I am someone, then emotional pressure upon Perceiver thought will lessen, Perceiver thought in my mind will begin to wake up, and I will start to doubt my truth. But, blind faith cannot tolerate doubt, for doubt leads to apostasy. Thus, blind faith isalways accompanied by self-denial.

If you want an example, just look at the typical teenager. As a child, he assumed that his parents, along with other authority figures, knew everything. As a teenager, he doubts anything that comes from the mouth of his father or mother and is convinced that all adults know nothing. What changed? Truth? No. His parents? No. Rather, it was the emotional status of the teenager that changed. He used to be a nobody. Now he is someone. Perceiver thought in his mind was mesmerized. Now, it is half awake—and confused.

Saying this more succinctly, there is no way to graduate from blind faith. Instead, in the school of blind faith, the graduate and the dropout are one and the same. That is because the messenger and his message are inexorably linked. He who leaves the messenger will also inevitably reject his message.

Let us review. We started with the assumption that blind faith and education are poles apart, and that education is far superior to blind faith. We then saw that, under the hood, they are actually quite similar vehicles. Even though education claims to be the upscale model, many of its functioning parts have simply been taken intact from the model of blind faith and relabeled.

Instead, blind faith and education form two steps in a three step process of personal growth. Blind faith, with its emphasis on memorization, respect, and obedience, is the first step. Education, with its focus upon critical thinking and self-education, is the third step. Between these two lies the second step of traversing a huge internal gap, in which Perceiver thought must somehow make the transition from being asleep to being fully awake.

Education, with its champion of the Facilitator educator, attempts to live completely within the third stage, ignoring the fact that any previous stages exist. Blind faith, in contrast, locks its adherents into the first stage of education. And who is the champion of blind faith? Often, the Perceiver person. For while he may talk about truth and critical thinking, it is generally he who defines exactly what is and is not acceptable truth. If you look at history, you see that the Perceiver person makes a great ‘prophet of God’. I can tell you from personal experience that it took years of deep internal struggle to push me beyond this first stage, and after decades of personal growth, I am still tempted to open my big mouth and blast others with ‘the truth’.

This chapter has focused mainly upon school and education. That was deliberate, because, as we have learned, it is easier to approach a topic rationally when dealing with less emotional issues. However, I suggest that exactly the same principles apply to any type of religion or system of blind faith. And, while I may think that I am pursuing education, others who observe from a different viewpoint are often equally convinced that I am propagating blind faith.

So what distinguishes ‘good’ blind faith from ‘bad’ blind faith? If all education begins with blind faith, then whose blind faith should be taught? Mine or yours? I suggest that we are back to the question of hardware versus software. ‘Good’ blind faith is ultimately based in hardware; it is rooted in reality. The teacher can point elsewhere and say, “See, that is how the world works. You don’t have to believe me. Check it out for yourself.” ‘Bad’ blind faith, in contrast, is limited to software. It comes, not from reality, but rather from wishful thinking.

It is the presence of this ‘outside world’ that makes it possible for the student to graduate. He can leave his teacher and enter the real world because his teacher taught him about the real world. For ‘bad’ blind faith, however, there is no real world to enter, no place to graduate to. And so, its ex-students are forced to mill around the doors of their alma mater, unable to re-enter the school because they no longer respect their former teachers, yet also unable to leave the campus because no corresponding external world exists.

That is why it is so significant that the theory of mental symmetry claims to be based in mental hardware. The more that I observe people, the more I am convinced that this theory really does describe the real world of human thought. This makes it possible for me, the Perceiver prophet, to get off my high horse and to allow reality to teach others. That is why I believe that, ultimately, truth will prevail.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

·         Primary Education: All education begins with blind faith and truthiness.

·         Facilitator mode: Both assumes and requires a functioning, adult mind.

·         Facilitator thought: Blends and adjusts; cannot handle gaps or discontinuities.

·         Graduation: Successfully crossing the ‘gap’ separating blind faith from critical thinking.

·         Dropping Out: Replacing blind faith in teachers with blind faith in peers.

·         Facilitator Educator: Driven by his childhood to remove blind faith from education.

·         Self-denial: The attitude accompanying blind faith which makes graduation impossible.

Questions to think about:

1)    Think of something that you learned as a child which you later questioned as an adult.

2)    How did the threshold of uncertainty affect you during your teenage years?

3)    Are you presently facing some sort of gap or discontinuity?

4)    Have you ever rejected information because it was presented to you in the wrong way?


Review the meanings for facts, experiences, truthiness, truth, blind faith, defining experiences, emotion, confidence and childish identity. Describe in your own words exactly what is happening in Mercy and Perceiver thought with each of these terms. 

Teacher Emotion versus Mercy Emotion

Working out Teacher emotion took some research, and I still remember the process by which it occurred, even though it happened back in the late 1980s. We were just starting to discover the relationship between cognitive style and brain region. We knew about the Mercy person and Mercy feelings of pain and pleasure. Everyone does. Mention feelings to them and they think ‘pain and pleasure. Pain feels bad; pleasure feels good.’

We then learned that there is a little almond shaped region in the brain, buried in the depths of the temporal lobe, called the amygdala (that’s Latin for almond), which is responsible for generating the mental sensation of emotion. Again, that was nothing new. Every neurologist knows that.

But then I made the mental leap, one which neurologists should have made years ago, and which, as far as I can tell, they still have not made even today. As every knows, the brain contains not one amygdala, but rather two. One in each hemisphere. There is a left amygdala in the left temporal lobe, as well as a right amygdala in the right temporal lobe. We had discovered solid evidence linking the function of the right temporal lobe with the behavior of the Mercy person, so the right amygdala was obviously responsible for generating Mercy feelings.

But what was the left amygdala doing, located within the left temporal lobe, a region which, way back in the 1860s, Carl Wernicke had already discovered was connected with words and speech. Obviously, the Teacher person was related in some way to emotions, because he was the one who lived in an internal world of words. And, as we examined the behavior of the Teacher person further, it slowly became clear.[1]

Teacher Emotion: Theory produces emotion. It feels good when words fit together to generate an overall understanding. It feels bad when a theory falls apart. After all, there has to be something to motivate the mathematician and the theoretician in their eternal quests for dry understanding. Everyone else thinks that they are devoid of feeling because they lack Mercy emotions. But, nothing could be further from the truth. Teacher thought actually feels deeply—about theory. Read the biography of Einstein, for instance, and you discover the feelings of agony and ecstasy that he experienced on the tortured road to constructing his understanding of modern physics. That was definitely emotion.

But, this is no ordinary feeling. Instead, it is bizarre, even alien. When seeing someone else stub his toe, for instance, the Teacher person may laugh instead of sympathize. That is because he is not experiencing Mercy feelings of empathy, but rather Teacher feelings of understanding. He understands why the incident occurred, and this understanding makes him feel good. Similarly, put him in a social situation in which everyone else is talking about some serious subject and he often has that idiotic grin on his face. Well, idiotic according to other, more ‘normal’, humans. He is smiling because he is thinking about some general theory, and that makes him feel happy.

However, there is also a deeper reason for this cognitive disconnect. There is, in fact, no way of internally distinguishing Mercy feelings from Teacher emotions. Both emotions feel the same, and the emotions that we feel are actually the sum of what Teacher and Mercy thought are generating. But, Teacher thought needs Teacher feelings to think. They tell him when ideas fit and when they do not. Mercy emotions warp this thinking process. If you compare theory building to constructing a structure out of a pile of stones, then Mercy feelings distort the size of the stones. They make big stones feel small and small stones feel large. Large, foundational building blocks may appear insignificant, while small pebbles may be emotionally inflated into fundamental cornerstones. In other words, when Mercy feelings intrude, then they fool Teacher thought. They can make a twisted structure appear smooth, or can distort a building that really is straight. If you want an example, think of Sigmund Freud and his theoretical emphasis upon bedwetting. Because he had personal problems with this issue, it became an aspect of his theory on human personality.

Thus, it is easy for the Teacher person to view Mercy feelings as ‘the enemy of rational thought’. And, when truthiness and other forms of childish thinking rule, then we shall see in a moment that Mercy feelings really are the enemy of rational thought. That explains why the Teacher person tries to avoid Mercy emotions; that is why he often remains aloof from social situations. Not only do Mercy feelings confuse him, but they generate random emotional noise that deceives his mental grasp of pure, intellectual theory.

This also explains the whole concept of university and its ‘ivory castles’. While it appears that only a small minority of the human population has the cognitive style of Teacher, everyone uses Teacher thought to come up with theory and build understanding, for Teacher strategy is the mental module that theorizes. Therefore, humans protect theory building by separating it from the Mercy feelings of normal human life.

Types of Teacher Emotion: Teacher feeling is not just restricted to the esoteric realm of physics, mathematics, words, equations, and universities. It is also present within any bureaucracy or large organization. Why does the government clerk feel good about filling out Form 144.3B and sending it off to department 12? Because, he is fulfilling his small part in maintaining the overall Teacher structure of his organization—and that feels good. He is functioning as an insignificant and yet necessary cog in the well-oiled machine.

Even here, Teacher and Mercy feelings generally remain quite distinct. When the immigration official stops you at the border, for instance, he cares not one iota for your personal Mercy feelings or for any of the Mercy trauma that his decisions might trigger. Instead, all that matters to him is the Teacher emotion of following the correct procedure. In his own way, he is just as insensitive to Mercy feelings as the intellectual theoretician hiding out in his ‘castle in the air’, or the Teacher person with his silly grin in the midst of human trauma.

But, we are still dealing here with words. The bureaucrat has his written forms to fill out; the immigration official has his verbal procedures to follow. Teacher feeling is actually far more pervasive. In general, I suggest that Teacher feelings are produced whenever there is order within complexity, whenever many items come together to form a unified structure. This can be produced nonverbally, which is what happens with musical rhythm, in which many different sounds combine to form a repetitive structure.

Teacher feelings are also produced, for instance, when there is coordinated activity, such as synchronized swimming or skating, or aerobatic flying, such as the Blue Angels in the United States, or the Snowbirds in Canada. Military parades, with their matching uniforms and rhythmic marching, also give feelings of Teacher pleasure. The Nuremberg Rallies of Nazi Germany were designed to generate intense Teacher emotions, but nothing compares with the Teacher feelings generated by North Korea’s mass games, in which over 100,000 performers combine their efforts to put on a display of flawless Teacher structure in Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium.

Before we continue, I would like to point out two significant factors. First, we see again how Teacher feelings have nothing to do with Mercy emotions, and how something that generates Teacher pleasure may even feel repugnant to Mercy thought. The Nazis, for instance, are reviled as inhuman monsters that ran roughshod over the Mercy sensitivities of their victims. Likewise, military power may feel good to Teacher strategy, but the death and destruction that accompanies war is definitely not pleasant for Mercy thought. The airplane pilot encased within his multi-million dollar flying contraption may feel ‘one with the machine’ and may sense Teacher feelings of joy when his bombs successfully detach themselves from his airplane and detonate precisely upon the intended targets below, but for the victims on the ground, there is only Mercy suffering.

Second, Teacher feelings can act as a substitute for Mercy emotions. Even today, as I write this material, there are people in North Korea who are starving to death because they lack food. It is hard to consider Mercy agony that is more intense. And yet, this is the country which holds the Guinness World Record for Mass Group Performance. In other words, circuses really can, to a certain extent, provide a substitute for bread. Teacher pleasure can help a person to forget about Mercy pain.

Let us return to our analysis of Teacher emotion. So far we have only described situations in which many distinct items come together to produce Teacher feelings of order and structure. Teacher pleasure is also generated when the various elements of a single item form themselves in a way that is smooth or graceful. A curved line, for instance, feels good to Teacher strategy, because it takes many separate line segments and integrates them into a single sweeping outline. Such a curve could be the lines of elegant calligraphy, the silhouette of a mountain range on the horizon, the lines of an automobile, or the curves of the female form. Good Teacher feelings are also produced when movement occurs smoothly over time. We call such action graceful, or elegant.

Finally, I suggest that power is another example of Teacher emotion. When I sit in a muscle car powered by a Chevy big block 427 cubic inch V8 engine, put the ‘pedal to the metal’, and feel the rumble of the engine and hear the squeal of the tires as 400 horses—along with a few layers of rubber—are being transferred to the asphalt below, there is definitely emotion. The small movement of my foot is guiding the coordinated action of numerous well-oiled, synchronized parts. Power can also apply to people. In this case, a single decree from the leader influences the combined efforts of thousands of underlings.

Teacher Emotion versus Mercy Emotion: We have seen that Teacher emotions are radically different than Mercy feelings and that it is common for one to disregard or even despise the other. In the first chapter of the book, I described moral good as that which causes more of the mind to work together, and moral evil as that which uses one part of the mind at the expense of another. In previous chapters we saw the moral evil of Mercy defining experiences running roughshod over the rest of the mind. Here, we see the evil of Teacher strategy separating itself from the personal feelings of Mercy humanity.

Is it desirable for pleasant Mercy feelings to coexist with good Teacher feelings? Yes. Obviously, double pleasure would feel twice as good as single pleasure, and we will see later that one of the major goals of religion is to get these two disparate emotional centers to cooperate.

However, I would like to suggest one common example of the mental pleasure that is produced when Mercy and Teacher feelings do come together. That is the example of woman. She is beautiful, combining the Teacher elements of curves, grace, and elegance. But, she is also sensitive, embodying the Mercy attributes of love, empathy, innocence, and personal care. A significant portion of human history has been devoted to the pursuit of this emotional ideal, as well as the struggle of keeping this ideal intact when it does come into contact with reality. As the ancient Greek saying goes, the face of Helen of Troy was able to launch a thousand ships.

Is it inevitable that these two methods of feeling collide with one another? I hope not, because that would make mental wholeness impossible to achieve. However, I do suggest that reconciling Teacher and Mercy thought is extremely difficult, and that for the childish mind, it truly is impossible.

The reason for this is actually quite simple and it explains why, as the old saying goes, ‘woman is fickle’. No. Don’t blame me for the quote. Giuseppe Verdi was the one who first wrote the aria La donne è mobile, or in English ‘woman is fickle’. However, I suggest that we are looking at the same underlying mental mechanism. Teacher strategy loves structure, and hates exceptions to the rule. Pointing out a counterexample to a Teacher person is liking walking up to a wall of carefully hung pictures and deliberately making one crooked, or interrupting a serious and detailed explanation with some random comment. It infuriates Teacher thought. When Teacher strategy finds a hole in its theory or an exception to the rule, it is emotionally driven to fill the hole and remove the exception.

Having said that, let us turn our attention to Mercy thought. Unlike Teacher strategy, Mercy mode thrives on personal exception. Mercy thought is primarily concerned about me, and not about him or her. What matters more than anything else is how feel. Thus, as far as Teacher strategy is concerned, raw Mercy thought is pure distilled fickleness.

The way around this dilemma is to make sure that I, you, he, she, and them are all treated in a similar manner. Hence, the golden rule of ‘loving your neighbor as yourself’. Loving your neighbor makes Mercy strategy happy, while loving your neighbor as yourself generates the overall consistency and structure that leads to Teacher pleasure. Thus, the golden rule is really a guide for reconciling Mercy and Teacher emotions.

And what enforces this short, two-letter word? Perceiver thought, because Perceiver strategy is the part of the mind that looks for similarities between isolated Mercy experiences. It is the mental mode that concludes that I, you, he, she, and them are all related. However, if Perceiver thought is to compare one act of love with another, then it must have sufficient confidence to do so while surrounded by the emotional pressure of love. And, reaching that level of Perceiver confidence requires a lot of successful mental stress-testing.

With truthiness, though, the individual, emotional Mercy experience defines Perceiver truth. Not only does truthiness base its entire mindset upon my own, personal, gut feeling, but it then insists, with a straight face, that my isolated stomach rumblings actually define absolute and eternal truth. Until the next emotional meal, that is, when truthiness insists with equal fervor that its new stomach contents are the basis for ultimate meaning. Do you see why woman, or rather why raw, emotional, divorced from logic, purely intuitive thought is fickle? It has no stable foundation. Instead, it is like the waves of the sea, driven with every wind of doctrine. Add some underlying stability, and feelings are wonderful. Remove the stability, though, and the emotional result can only be described as fickle.

For Teacher strategy, this describes insanity. It is like having your entire universe shift around you whenever you sit down to take a meal, for mentally speaking, that describes exactly what is happening. Each new defining Mercy experience literally remakes Teacher reality, and for Teacher thought, this generates feelings of emotional trauma. And, if you don’t believe that one emotional event can lead to an entire paradigm shift, simply think back to 9/11.

It is time for us to review. We started with a little neuropsychological reminiscing, in which I suggested that because the brain has two emotional processors, one in the right and the other in the left hemisphere, so there should also exist a right and a left hemisphere way of generating emotions, corresponding to Mercy and Teacher thought. Mercy feeling, as we all instinctively know, is related to personal pain and pleasure. Teacher emotion, in contrast, is generated whenever the mind encounters order within complexity, when many items fit together to form a unified whole.

We then attempted to get a grasp of this strange beast known as ‘Teacher emotion’. We found it alive and well on the university campus, as well as thriving within bureaucracies, large corporations, and government agencies. We then noticed that it also exists in many other, more commonly encountered forms, such as musical rhythm, synchronized movement, organized marching, and aerobatic displays. Finally, we saw that any form of smoothness, elegance or power also triggers feelings of positive Teacher emotion.

We then uncovered some some flies in the emotional ointment. First, Teacher thought tends to isolate itself from Mercy feelings. That is because, just as Mercy thought finds Teacher emotion alien, so Teacher strategy tends to regard Mercy feeling as bizarre. Second, we saw that Teacher feeling can actually act as a substitute for Mercy emotions, and make it possible for humans to divorce themselves totally from the normal world of human feelings.

We then asked ourselves if it was possible for these two disparate types of emotion to get together and came face to face with the femme fatale of human history: woman. She both demonstrates the attractiveness of combining Teacher and Mercy feelings along with the difficulty of keeping them together.

Finally, we asked ourselves why there is such a struggle between these two feelings and discovered that we already knew one of the answers. On the one hand, Teacher strategy requires structure and abhors individual exception. On the other hand, Mercy thought is often nothing more than a living, breathing, personal exception.

If Perceiver thought is able to use truth to build connections between individual Mercy experiences, then it is possible to use the golden rule to bridge Mercy desire with Teacher order. However, this will only occur if Perceiver thought has enough confidence to handle the Mercy feelings that are present in Mercy love. However, if truthiness rules, with its inherent instability, and its insistence that personal Mercy feelings define universal absolutes, then emotional reconciliation is impossible. For Teacher thought to embrace such a mindset would be pure insanity and agony.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

·         Amygdala: There are two emotional processors in the brain, one in each hemisphere.

·         Teacher Emotion: Feels good when items fit together, feels bad when order falls apart.

·         Emotionally Inappropriateness: Teacher pleasure existing amidst Mercy pain.

·         Emotional Warping: Teacher understanding that is twisted by Mercy emotions.

·         Emotional Objectivity: Teacher understanding avoiding Mercy feelings to ‘stay objective’.

·         Non-verbal Teacher emotion: coordination, power, smoothness, grace, elegance, beauty.

·         Emotional Conflict: Teacher theory hates exceptions; Mercy identity wants exceptions.

Questions to think about:

1)    Think of a time when understanding brought you deep joy.

2)    Think of another time when a lack of understanding made you feel bad.

3)    How do you feel when immersed in a bureaucracy? How do others feel?

4)    Do you enjoy studying mathematics? Why? Why not?


Memorize the differences between Mercy and Teacher emotions. Look at some things that are beautiful. Try to emphasize Teacher emotions by focusing on lines, curves, order and structure. Then, try to focus on Mercy feelings by examining color, texture, experiences and people.

[1]  While we are talking about brain processors, I suggest that the right hippocampus generates Perceiver thought while the left hippocampus is the Server ‘CPU’.