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Christianity Biblical Christianity—derived from a diagram
Part 3

Table of Contents

Salvation versus the Mind

Plato versus Augustine

Christianity versus the Church 

Copyright © 2010, Lorin Friesen


Salvation versus the Mind

I am not quite sure how to start this chapter. Normally, I would begin with some story or illustration, but this topic is rather delicate. How do you introduce the topic of personal salvation without sounding either too religious or not religious enough? And so, I finally decided that we would start off with some simplified theory. As usual in this book, I will leave out as many technical details as possible in order to pare down my explanation to the essential points.

The ultimate goal of personal growth and development is to reach mental wholeness. This concept was introduced back in the first chapter when we defined moral goodness as that which causes more of the mind to work together.

Of all the possible internal struggles, the conflict between Teacher and Mercy emotions is probably the greatest and the hardest to resolve. As we have stated innumerable times, Teacher feelings come from universality, whereas Mercy emotions are rooted in specifics. And, because a mental image of God emerges when universal Teacher theory touches personal Mercy identity, this emotional conflict also defines one of the core themes of religion—working out the relationship between man and God.

If you look at the diagram, you will see that I have used dashed boxes to indicate Teacher and Mercy modes. How can one get from one to the other? The obvious solution is to go directly through the Exhorter. That describes the method of Buddhism. Simply jam universal and specific together by saying that ‘All is One’ and ‘I am God’.

But, what is the mental price of pursuing such a solution? In order for Buddhist meditation to work, both Perceiver and Server thought have to be shut down. Using the language of the diagram, if you go directly from one dashed mode to the other, you will have to disable the modes that are within the solid box.

So what exactly does this solid box do? What does it produce? It fashions mental bricks of cause and effect. Perceiver thinking works with objects, facts and meanings; Server strategy deals with time, sequences, and actions; and Contributor strategy takes each Perceiver memory and matches it up with a corresponding memory within Server thought.[1]

And, it is precisely these mental bricks of cause and effect—bricks that combine Perceiver and Server confidence—that provide the key for reconciling Teacher and Mercy emotions: If you want to build a universal Teacher theory, you have to build using Perceiver facts that include a Server sense of sequence; if you want to have emotional Mercy goals and be able to reach them, then you need to combine Perceiver walls with Server bridges.[2]

Indirect Path: I call this the indirect path, because it ties Mercy and Teacher together by taking an indirect path through Perceiver, Contributor, and Server. While the direct path describes the path of Buddhism, I suggest that the indirect path is related to Christianity.

But if that is the case, then why doesn’t the Bible just come out and say this? Why does it use such religious language?[3] Actually, these concepts are there, we just tend to skip over them. For example, the idea of having ‘law in your heart’ figures quite prominently throughout the Bible. ‘Law’, obviously, refers to Perceiver rules of conscience, whereas the ‘heart’ appears to indicate Mercy identity with all of its personal feelings. Thus, having ‘law in your heart’ means using Perceiver truth to guide Mercy feelings.

Righteousness is another common Biblical theme. In essence, it describes actions that line up with the character of God. According to the Bible, the righteous person actually plays a role in enabling the power of God. This is often interpreted in mystical terms, but if you look at the diagram of mental symmetry it makes perfect sense. We know that a mental image of God is based in universal Teacher understanding. We also know that physical action involves Server thought. Righteousness simply brings these two together.

Notice the underlying symmetry between the right and left sides of the diagram: In associative right hemisphere thought, Perceiver truth gives stability to Mercy feelings; in analytical left hemisphere processing, Server actions bring stability to Teacher understanding. Or, using theological language, my actions of righteousness enable God.

As for Contributor strategy being the cosmic connector that ties everything together and the mediator who reconciles God and man, I suggest taking a look at the Christian Bible and analyzing the cognitive style of Jesus. He continually referred to Contributor concepts such as profit, loss, cost, benefit, reward, and the bottom line. And like the typical Contributor person, much of his teaching was in the cryptic form of parables and analogies. Christian theology clearly teaches that Jesus is the bridge between God and man, and also describes him as the one who ‘holds all things together’.

But, isn’t it somewhat presumptuous to try to fit the central figure of Christianity into a psychological system of cognitive styles? Not if that list of cognitive styles originally came from the Bible. As I mentioned briefly before, the seven types of people were first mentioned in a list of ‘spiritual gifts’ contained within the twelfth chapter of the Biblical book of Romans.

In other words, all of these concepts appear to be contained within the Bible—if one treats it as a textbook and not as a Holy Book. However, we also know that treating the Bible as a textbook is only possible if its content can be summarized by a general Teacher theory. So, let us continue with our look at theory.

I have suggested that bridging Teacher and Mercy thought is possible if one used mental bricks of personal cause and effect. This would be a fairly simple process, except for one major problem. Both Teacher and Mercy thought have been programmed by using ashortcut.

Teacher Words: The Teacher shortcut is fairly easy to describe. In a word, it is words. How did Teacher strategy gain its general understanding? By using words to describe universal concepts. How does Christianity teach doctrine to its believers? Through the words of a Holy Book. How does a school teach students? Primarily through the words of a textbook combined with the words of the school teacher.

But, while words can describe reality, they are not the same as reality. While words can tell Teacher strategy about a universal theory, this theory only becomes truly universal as it is observed and applied in real life.

Dealing with this shortcut is not a simple process, but that comes later. For now all we need to know is that any help that comes from Teacher strategy is going to be limited to the realm of words and theories. In religious terms, this means that knowledge about God the Universal Being will come primarily from the words of a Holy Book, talking to God will involve verbal prayer, and God will speak to ‘me’ mainly through the internal voice of conscience.

On the Mercy side, the shortcut is personal feelings. Strong Mercy feelings have been used to create defining experiences within Mercy thought and to mesmerize Perceiver strategy with a false sense of knowing.

Thus, the real problem that we are facing is not bringing Teacher and Mercy thought together, but rather integrating a universal Teacher theory that is rooted in words with a personal identity that is based in feelings. In order to do that, I suggest that you have to follow the method of Christianity.

Notice that I said method this time and not content. So far, we have focused mainly upon the message of Christianity, and have suggested that the method needs to change. Now I would like to provide an explanation for the method.

That is why I titled this chapter ‘Salvation versus the Mind’. If a method of personal salvation is to succeed, then it will have to maneuver its way around the various mental roadblocks that result from taking these two shortcuts to program the mind. 

Mercy Feelings: Let us turn our attention now to the Mercy shortcut. Suppose that you want to explain a complicated theory to an elementary student. How will you do it? First, you will explain the concepts using childish language. Second, you will make sure that these concepts enable the child to grow up so that he can eventually understand the theory as an adult. Exactly the same two principles, I suggest, apply to the method of Christianity.

First, there is the childish language. A child thinks in terms of people and personal feelings. Therefore, abstract concepts must be described using people and personal feelings: Children, I want to tell you a story about two animals. Mr. Rabbit was very fast, but he was also very lazy. Mr. Turtle was slow but he never quit. One day, the two animals decided to have a race. Who do you think won this race, Mr. Rabbit or Mr. Hare?

Second, even though the content may sound childish, it should still contain enough substance to enable the child to become an adult. In fact, ideally speaking, the content should focus upon the process of growing up and turning into an adult. For instance, as I passed by the First Grade teacher and her students at the school where I used to teach, I would often hear say something like, “Students, if you want to be an elementary student, you must learn to be quiet and to follow instructions. So, when I tell you how to behave, I am preparing you for next year.” 

Threshold of Uncertainty: So, how is childish identity transformed? As we have learned, childish knowing uses truthiness; it uses strong Mercy feelings to mesmerize Perceiver thought. Why is 2 + 2 = 4? Because, the teacher says so. Why must I not run across the street? Because, my parents tell me not to. Why does Jesus love me? Because, the Bible tells me so.

Adult knowing, in contrast, uses Perceiver thought to look for facts that do not change, and connections of cause and effect that are repeated. Why is 2 + 2 = 4? Because, all solid objects can be numbered and counted. Why must I not run across the street? Because, I might get hit by a car and cars are much bigger and harder than human bodies. Why does Jesus love me? Because Jesus uses Contributor strategy to bring wholeness to my mind.

As I mentioned earlier, these two ways of knowing are separated by a threshold of uncertainty. With childish knowing, Perceiver thought is asleep; with adult knowing it is awake. In between these two states lies the confusion of being half awake. Perceiver strategy is neither sufficiently asleep to believe blindly, nor is it sufficiently awake to investigate intelligently. Instead, it is confused, flustered and uncertain.

However, we are not dealing here with being confused about normal facts such as knowing that 2 + 2 = 4, knowing if the moon is made out of green cheese, or even knowing if what my father told me about politics is true. Instead, we are dealing with the very facts ofpersonal existence: Who am I? What defines me? What holds me together?

When those facts go through the threshold of confusion, then ‘me’ itself falls apart inside. Mentally speaking, I die. Does ‘me’ come back to life? Yes, if Perceiver thought gains enough confidence to put ‘me’ back together again. When that happens, the end result is a totally different personal identity—one that is held together by Perceiver facts instead of being continually driven to attack Perceiver truth.

So how different is ‘totally different’? Well, a childish ‘me’ worships idols; an adult identity runs away from them. A childish identity tries continually to get a good self-image; an adult ‘me’ is far more concerned about an accurate self-image. A childish ‘me’ is irrational and avoids logic; an adult ‘me’ is rational and embraces logic. A childish ‘me’ prefers to live on credit; an adult ‘me’ likes to pay up front with solid cash. A childish ‘me’ dreams of winning the lottery; an adult ‘me’ works hard to get a good job. A childish ‘me’ seeks the approval of people; an adult ‘me’ tries to do a good job. A childish ‘me’ feels that it is the center of the universe; an adult ‘me’ accepts its place within the universe. A childish ‘me’ feels that it is the Universal God; an adult ‘me’ is capable of forming a mental image of a Universal God. A childish ‘me’ loves to worship God and emotionally identify with him; an adult ‘me’ tries to learn about God and become more like him in character. A childish ‘me’ is emotionally attracted to the direct path of Buddhism; an adult ‘me’ is capable of following the indirect path of Christianity. 

Personal Rebirth: I think that we get the picture. While the explanation may be long-winded, the conclusion is rather simple: If you want to tie ‘me’ and God together, you have to use mental bricks of personal cause and effect. And what is the most fundamental brick of cause and effect? If you die to childish identity, then you will come back to life as an adult. If—then; cause and effect.

In fact, no other mental brick will do. If the child is to become an adult, then childish identity must die and be replaced by adult identity. And because of the Perceiver threshold of confusion, this can only happen if childish identity falls apart, goes through a period of confusion, and is then put back together to form adult identity.

And that process has to be stated in language that even a child could understand, which means talking about people and personal feelings: Now listen carefully, children. I want to tell you a story about a very important person who lived long ago. He died, but he didn’t stay dead. Instead, he came back to life again. The name of this person is Mr. Salvation, because he showed us how we can be saved from our childish identity. We need to follow the example of this person. If we die to being little children, then like Mr. Salvation, we too will come back to life as adults inside.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Christian theology, I should point out the name ‘Jesus’ actually means ‘salvation’, and in the Bible story, the angel told Mary to call her son Jesus, because ‘he would save his people from their sins’. So, ‘Mr. Salvation’ may sound corny to Western ears, but it is theologically correct.

Unfortunately, even though we should be at the end of the chapter by now, we are still not at the end of the story. That is because some clever little child is certain to put up her little hand and say, “But, my pet rabbit died the other day and it didn’t come back to life. And, last Christmas, my old granny died and they put her to sleep in a fancy box and dug a hole in the ground and put the box in the ground and piled dirt on top of the hole and Aunty June was crying and Uncle Fred had a horrible cold and was coughing and she is still sleeping there. Why, teacher?”

Help from a Teacher Theory: The key lies in adding Teacher emotion to the overall equation. You see, there is nothing special about falling apart inside. People are continually encountering situations which cause childish identity to fall apart. In fact, that is one of the fundamental flaws of childish identity, it is fragile and unstable and tends to fall apart.

Putting a shattered identity back together again, now that is something special. If childish identity is to fall apart and then be reassembled in adult form, then I suggest that Teacher strategy is going to have to help in two distinct ways:

First, Mercy identity is going to need emotional support from Teacher thought. For a childish person, learning the truth about ‘me’ is quite traumatic. Imagine being drunk for years and then waking up one morning stone sober and realizing how stupid you were and how dumb you acted. It would be emotionally devastating. That is what it feels like when I accept the truth about my childish identity.

However, if I understand what is happening, if I comprehend the process that I am going through, then the positive Teacher feeling of understanding allows me to bear the Mercy pain of personal honesty.

For instance, imagine going to the dentist and having some strange man walk up to you, tell you to lie in a chair and open your mouth, and then have him start poking, drilling and grinding away at your teeth. You don’t know who the man is, what he is doing, how long it will take, or even if you will emerge intact from the process.

Now suppose, instead, that this strange man walks up to you, introduces himself as Dr. Chu, asks you to sit down, and then tells you, “We took an X-ray of your mouth. You have a cavity in one of your top right molars. I will have to fill it. There will be a few minutes of drilling and discomfort, but it will be over fairly quickly and then your mouth will be as good as new.” The dental procedure you have to endure may be exactly the same, but your feelings will be totally different, because you now understand what is happening to your teeth.

But, simply understanding all about myself is not enough. That is the problem with philosophy. It may give me the Teacher pleasure of understanding childish identity, but it does not give me the kick in the pants that is needed to change childish identity. It makes me feel good about who I am, but it gives me no information about who I could be.

Instead, if ‘me’ is to stop being a child and start being an adult, then that is the process to which Teacher strategy must add emotional pleasure; that is the mental brick of personal cause and effect which Teacher strategy must emotionally assist Mercy thought in carrying out.

But, what gives emotional pleasure to Teacher thought? Teacher generality. Thus, Teacher strategy will only give emotional support to the mental brick of ‘dying and coming back to life’ if this mental brick is more universal than other bricks. And, because we took the mental shortcut of using words to build general Teacher understanding, this means giving emotional signficance to the name that is used to label this process.

Second, Mercy identity is going to need specific content from Teacher strategy. Remember that a mental brick of personal cause and effect can only bring ‘me’ and my image of God together if this brick is constructed using both Perceiver and Server confidence. But, childish identity is incapable of producing either. Instead, it continually uses emotional pressure to attack facts and twist actions. Since Mercy strategy is incapable of producing the required mental brick, then it is going to have to come from Teacher thought, and start off as an aspect of universal Teacher understanding.

Teacher Help as a Mercy Story: Now let us turn to the elementary student and describe all of this using the childish language of people and feelings. Before we do, though, remember what happens to the various elements that we have discussed when people and personal feelings are added: Add personal feelings to a universal Teacher theory and you end up with an image of God; add personal emotion to a universal theory formed out of words and you end up with a Holy Book that is written by God; add personal feelings to a specific aspect of this universal verbal Theory and you end up with the name of a person. Describe the nature of this specific aspect and you end up with the character of that person.

Now listen carefully as I tell you the story:

Long, long ago, there existed a very important man whom we will call Mr. Salvation. This man was not born like you and I. Instead, he originally lived together with God. But, even though he was with God, he come down to earth to live a human life just like you and I. However, unlike you and I, little children, he never broke any rules but always obeyed God. The sad thing is that he eventually died. But, he didn’t stay dead like your pet rabbit and your old grandmother. Instead, God brought him back to life because he originally come from God and because he had always obeyed God and never broken any of his rules. This person who was dead and has come back to life now lives again with God. And, because this person was willing to live a perfect human life, die and come back to life again, God said that the name of this person is more important than any other name.

You see, little children, God isn’t happy with us. That is because we are continually breaking the rules, by doing things like lying and cheating, and pretending about ourselves. If we want to be a friend of God, then the only way is to call on the name of Mr. Salvation and follow in our hearts his example of dying and coming back to life. If we accept the plan of Mr. Salvation and follow it, then God will be happy with us and will help us to turn into adults.

How many of you children would like to ask Mr. Salvation into your hearts?

Yes, I know. That is exactly what the Bible says. But, the theory of mental symmetry also demands precisely the same story. Work it out. It all fits—every single phrase.

Notice however that the version that I told did not come from the Bible. Instead, it was derived theoretically from a model of the mind. Yes, it is true that the Bible said it first and it is also true that I have studied the Bible. But, please believe me when I tell you that I did not try to twist the theory in order to fit the Bible. Rather, I followed the theory of mental symmetry wherever it led and it ended up bringing me back to the Bible.

But that too is contained within the Biblical story. If Jesus came from God, and if a mental image of God comes from a universal Teacher theory, then it must be possible to generate the story of Jesus from a universal Teacher theory—which is what we just finished doing.[4]

In other words, once again it appears that the Bible really is a textbook and not just a Holy Book. It is taught as a Holy Book using Mercy importance because that is the method that must be used when feelings are used as a shortcut to program Mercy strategy and wordsare used as a shortcut to program Teacher thought.

Does this mean that the stories in the Bible are merely allegories with no basis in real life? No. However, this ‘no’ is not motivated by Mercy feelings of holiness and religious fervor. Instead, I have a Teacher reason for saying ‘no’. Remember that Teacher strategy hates exceptions to the rule. It wants its theories to apply universally—without exception. If the stories of the Bible did not also occur physically, then that would be an exception to the rule. Universality demands that principles be true physically, metaphysically, spiritually, secularly, childishly, adult-ly, and ever-other-which-way-ly.

One more comparison before we finish this discussion. Let me restate the salvation message of Jesus using the language of walls and bridges. The gap between childish and adult identity is the ultimate wall. Childish identity with its idolatry and truthiness is incapable of building a bridge to cross this barrier. The solution is for Teacher understanding to reach down and lay a bridge across this chasm. In religious language, the path may be impassable, but God can provide a way across.

This happens all the time in our modern world of science and technology. We reach some physical dead end and then assume that investing time and money into research will enable us to come up with a solution to our problem. And amazingly, this usually works. The Teacher understanding that is gained through research reaches down from its erudite heights and provides us with a new way of crossing the chasm. If this process works so well in the objective, then why shouldn’t it also be effective when applied to personal identity and the subjective?

Why do we not apply this process to the subjective? Because we treat the Bible as a Holy Book and not as a textbook.

Wow. That took me a long time to write, and probably took you a long time to read. Let us pause for a review. We began by restating the discovery that we had made in the previous chapter: If you program the mind using mental bricks of personal cause and effect, then the same construction material can be used both to build a universal understanding within Teacher thought as well as reach desirable goals within Mercy strategy. We then took a look at the diagram of mental symmetry and realized that this was an indirect way of integrating Mercy and Teacher thought. I then suggested that this indirect path described the essence of Christianity.

We then asked ourselves a religious question. If Perceiver and Server confidence are so necessary for bringing Teacher and Mercy thought together, then why is this not mentioned more clearly in the Bible? I then suggested that it is. On the one hand, the Bible refers to ‘having law in your heart’, which means using Perceiver rules to guide Mercy feelings. On the other hand, the Bible also describes the quality of ‘righteousness’, which refers to Server actions that support and are guided by a Teacher understanding of God.

As for the concept that Contributor strategy glues together the mental bricks of cause and effect which are needed to reconcile universal Teacher understanding with personal Mercy identity, I suggest that Jesusfulfills this role. The Bible says he holds everything together, that he is the mediator who brings peace between God and man, and if you look at his behavior as described in the Gospel accounts, it matches up with the behavior of the Contributor person.

We then turned from theory to practice and realized that a fundamental problem stands in the way of pursuing our plan of personal salvation. Both Teacher and Mercy strategy have been programmed using a shortcut. With Teacher strategy, the shortcut is words; with Mercy strategy it is childish feelings. Thus, any potential plan of salvation will be limited to words and will have to use the childish language of people and personal feelings.

We then looked more closely at the process of growing up and we saw that childish identity is separated from adult identity by a threshold of uncertainty. When facts become uncertain, then that is not too great a problem. However, when the facts that define ‘me’ dissolve, then ‘me’ itself falls apart—and that is a problem.

If personal identity is to survive the process of rebirth, then it will need emotional help from Teacher strategy as well as assistance with content.

First, if Teacher thought understands the process of personal rebirth, then this positive Teacher emotion can help to offset some of the Mercy pain of falling apart. But, Teacher emotions come from generality—the more universal a concept, the greater the associated Teacher emotion. Therefore, Teacher thought can only help ‘me’ emotionally if the process of personal rebirth is a universal concept.

Second, Teacher strategy also has to act as the ultimate source for the process of personal rebirth. If one wants to reconcile Teacher and Mercy thought, then one must use a Contributor ‘brick’ of rational cause and effect. But, childish identity is incapable of thinking in terms of rational cause and effect. Therefore, this Contributor ‘brick’ will have to be provided by Teacher strategy as an aspect of universal Teacher understanding.

If we describe this all in personal terms, using the language of the child, we end up recreating the story of Jesus, as told in the Bible. But, we derived this story using a general Teacher theory. However, if Jesus ‘comes from God’, and an image of God comes from a universal Teacher theory, then it must be possible to derive this story of Jesus from a universal Teacher theory.

Using the same logic, if the story of Jesus comes from a Universal Teacher theory, then this story must be true physically and mentally and allegorically and theoretically. Only then could it claim to be universal.

A lot of new concepts were introduced in this chapter:

•        God and ‘me’: Interaction between Teacher understanding and Mercy identity.

•        Direct Path: Joining ‘me’ and God through the meditation of Buddhism.

•        Indirect Path: Joining ‘me’ and God through Perceiver, Contributor and Server.

•        Law in Your Heart: Mercy identity that submits to Perceiver conscience.

•        Righteousness: Server actions that are consistent with a Teacher theory of God. 

•        Jesus: A person in the Bible with the cognitive style of Contributor.

•        Cognitive Styles: A list of seven thinking types from the Biblical book of Romans.

•        Mercy shortcut: Using Mercy idolatry to program the mind with defining experiences.

•        Teacher shortcut: Using words to program Teacher strategy with general theories.

•        Christianity: The Indirect Path, modified by the Mercy and Teacher shortcuts.

•        Dying to Self: How ‘me’ feels when facts about ‘me’ enter threshold of uncertainty.

•        Coming from God: Something starting as an aspect of Universal Teacher understanding.

•        Resurrected by God: When Teacher understanding makes it possible to reintegrate ‘me’.

•        Personal Rebirth: Childish identity fragmenting; Confusion; Adult identity integrating.

•        Personal Rebirth: The most fundamental Contributor brick of personal cause and effect.

•        Jesus: The ‘brick’ of Personal Rebirth viewed by Mercy thought as an imaginary person.

Questions to think about:

1)    Do you tend to follow the direct path to God or the indirect path?

2)    Did your view of cognitive styles change when you learned it came from the Bible? Why?

3)    Have you ever had childish identity fall apart and be reassembled as adult identity?

4)    What role did understanding play in this process?

5)    The Bible says that Jesus’ name is ‘above every other name’. What does this mean?

6)    What does the response to the previous question say about your view of the Bible?


Analyze the two children’s stories about Jesus that are contained within this chapter. What mental step does each phrase describe? 

Plato versus Augustine

2400 years ago, Plato, the Greek philosopher, came up with the idea of forms. Think, for example, of a chair. The average person has seen thousand of different types of chairs in his life. But, when he thinks of the idea of ‘chair’, he doesn’t visualize any specific chair. Instead, what comes to mind is a sort of idealized mental image of ‘chair’, an internal picture that epitomizes the concept of ‘chairness’.

Forms: Plato referred to these visual archetypes as forms. Our mind is filled with visual memories of chairs. But, behind all of these memories, lies the invisible, imaginary, form of a chair. This contrast between objects and forms is inherent within English grammar. When I talk about ‘the chair’, I am referring to some specific chair. But, when I say ‘chair’, without a definite article, I am referring to the form of a chair—to chairs in general.

So how would one use the language of mental symmetry to describe the forms of Plato? Plato himself gives us the answer when he says that forms are the only true kind of knowledge. Truth and knowing, we have learned, come from Perceiver thought. So far, this book has focused upon the mental stability that Perceiver knowing provides, along with the Teacher understanding that can be constructed by using solid Perceiver bricks.

Let us now look at this process through Mercy eyes. From the viewpoint of Mercy strategy, all of this internal stabilizing and understanding occurs subconsciously, under the surface. That is because Mercy strategy cannot see the rest of the mind. What Mercy strategy doesnotice, however, is the results of subconscious processing. As we already know, when Teacher thought comes up with a general understanding that touches ‘me’, Mercy thought sees this as an image of God. And, when Perceiver strategy organizes Mercy memories into stable categories, Mercy thought sees this as forms.

Let me say this one more time. What happens when Perceiver strategy decides that a group of Mercy images belong together? These images will blend together within Mercy thought to create a new image, which represents the Perceiver category. This new Mercy image is a form.

For example, suppose that Perceiver strategy decides that all padded surfaces with straight backs and four legs belong to category of ‘chair’? Mercy strategy will then see memories of chairs blending together to create the form of a chair.

Form of the Good: According to Plato, each object, quality or trait has a form. However, Plato also believed that behind all of these individual forms lay an ultimate form which he called the Form of the Good. According to him, this was the true source of knowledge; the form that made all other forms intelligible.

Plato could not decide whether the form of the good described knowledge or pleasure. My guess is that he was confusing Perceiver truth with Teacher theory. By continuing to use Perceiver thought to look for forms, he ended up building a general Teacher theory which brought him emotional pleasure. Plato himself never defined the form of the good. Instead, he compared it to the sun, which gives light to everything else.

Plato’s concept of forms had a huge influence upon Western thought. In the Korean and Japanese languages, for instance, there is no grammatical distinction between a specific chair and the concept of a chair. Thus, learning when to use ‘a’ and ‘the’ is a major problem for Koreans and Japanese who are studying English.

Limitation of Forms: The medieval alchemists were clearly motivated by Plato’s concept of forms, for they believed that all substances were constructed out of a combination of Platonic forms, such as wetness and hardness, and their goal was to change one material into another by going beyond surface appearance in order to manipulate the underlying forms.

Thus, we see that the forms of Plato were both a success and a failure. By giving birth to Perceiver thought, they made logic and rational thinking possible. But, by remaining locked within Perceiver objects and not going further to include Server sequence, they led to the dead end of alchemy instead of the breakthrough of science.

Why didn’t Greek philosophers go beyond Perceiver facts to Server actions? One primary reason is that a Greek thinker was not supposed to act. In the Greek mind, doing was for slaves, whereas thinking was for philosophers. But, if thinking does not include doing, if Perceiver facts do not include Server sequences, then there can be no science, only categorization. And that is what Aristotle, the pupil of Plato, spent much of his life doing. He collected plants and animals from all over the known world, classifying them, dissecting them, and analyzing them.  

Augustine: Let us turn our attention now to Augustine. By the beginning of the 5th Century AD, the western half of the Roman Civilization was on its last legs. Barbarians and upstart emperors vied for control of the empire, with barbarians attacking from without and would-be emperors fighting from within. In 410 AD, the unthinkable happened. Rome itself, the Eternal City, was sacked by the Visigoths. The Roman worldview was shattered, for they were convinced that Rome would never fall. That is why they called it the EternalCity.

It was this shocking event which prompted Augustine to write The City of God. In this magnum opus of 22 books, Augustine contrasts the earthly city of Man with the heavenly city of God. Lust-driven Rome, with its worship of idols and waging of war, epitomized the earthly city of man. The city of God, on the other hand, was an invisible realm of peace whose citizens rose above their carnal desires and worshipped and obeyed the one true God.

Even though the city of man appears to be the one that is more solid and lasting, the devastating events of Augustine’s day demonstrated that the ‘eternal city’ of Rome was not eternal. Instead, Augustine believed that it was the invisible city of God which was truly eternal, and that eventually its reign of peace would rule supreme.

One sees clearly in Augustine the influence of Plato and his forms. In both cases, a stark contrast is being made between visible objects and invisible forms. Physical objects may appear real, but they are only the mere shadows of invisible forms; real objects may seem solid, but they are passing away, while it is the form that remains eternal.

At first glance, this may sound rather similar to the Buddhist assertion that the world is merely illusion, however I suggest that there are significant differences. Buddhism views the physical world as illusion, whereas Augustine sees it as ephemeral. Buddhism says that salvation lies in eliminating desire, with Augustine one loves the Platonic form that lies behind the physical shadow. Buddhism shuts down Perceiver thought, whereas the forms of Plato enable it. Buddhism replaces the physical world of matter with the formless voidof Nirvana; Augustine says that the earthly city of man will eventually give way to the heavenly city of God.

Plato versus Augustine: If we compare the thinking of Plato with that of Augustine, I suggest that we find the same two distinctions that we noticed earlier when comparing science with Christianity:

On the one hand, Augustine goes beyond Plato by adding personal feeling. Plato was suspicious of personal feelings, and thought that they belonged to the physical realm of transient matter. The forms of Plato deal with knowledge and are not based upon feelings. In terms of MBTI®, Plato believed that a division exists between Thinking and Feeling, and he was determined to follow Thinking and not Feeling. The same approach is taken by science today, which also attempts to remain objective.

Compare this with the attitude of Augustine. Like Plato, he also believed that both visible and invisible exist, and that invisible truth is more solid and more permanent than visible reality. However, while Plato used his forms to construct a system of knowledge, Augustine used forms to build an invisible city, an eternal civilization in which people could live. In simple terms, Plato built a structure; Augustine built a home. Similarly, while Plato’s forms lead to knowledge and understanding, Augustine personalized his Teacher understanding and called it God.

On the other hand, when it comes to the use of Perceiver thought, I suggest that Augustine is the one who lags behind. I say this because Augustine appears to confuse serving God with denying self. In his words: “two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.” In addition, Augustine spoke rather strongly against physical pleasure and hedonism, and was convinced that it was incompatible with loving God.

When such pervasive self-denial accompanies truth, this tells us that we are dealing with Holy Books and blind faith.

In other words, Plato used Perceiver thought, but limited its application to areas where Mercy feelings did not rule; Augustine applied Perceiver truth to the subjective, but much of his truth came from emotional respect for Holy Books and holy men.

Both of these points are significant. Therefore, we will take the rest of this chapter to examine the first one, and then deal with the second point in the next chapter.

Divine Spirit: Does anyone recall our initial discussion about an image of God? I suggest that we made two assumptionsconcerning the nature of God. Everything else that we have concluded about God has been derived from the diagram of mental symmetry. First, we assumed that God is big—very big. That brought us to the conclusion that an image of God is related to Teacher order, because Teacher strategy is the part of the mind that looks for bigness; it is the mental module that searches for universalorder. We also assumed that God is personal. An understanding of universal Teacher order by itself is not enough to create a mental image of God. Instead, it is when this universality touches me that an image of God emerges.

Now we find Augustine talking about something big and personal within Mercy thought—a city. Yes, I know. Compared to the entire universe, a city is rather miniscule, but to the Greek and Roman minds, the city stood for civilization. It represented the personal world within which they lived. Today’s Western civilization is much larger. Instead of being limited to a few cities, it covers most of the planet. Augustine’s city of God is also more personal than Plato’s Form of the Good, for it is an environment within which ‘me’ and others can live.

Put big and personal together, and you end up with an image of God. However, this image of God is being produced by Mercy strategy and not by Teacher thought. The name that we give to this mental image is spirit. In essence, a spirit is a sort of invisible person, a Platonic form that lives.

The Mercy person tends to be spiritually sensitive. If you read the biographies of Mercy persons, you often find that they have some sort of sixth sense that allows them to ‘look’ at the hidden person that lies behind the physical body.

Notice the progression from form to spirit to divine spirit. A form is a finite, imaginary image within Mercy thought. A spirit is a form with personal feelings, but it is still finite. A divine spirit is a universal, imaginary image within Mercy thought.

There is no direct way of forming a mental image of a divine spirit. That is because humans live within a world of Mercy specifics, and so we ‘cannot see the forest for the trees.’ Because we are so blinded by the finite creatures of ‘you’, ‘me’ and him’, it is difficult for us to get a sense of ‘us’.

This means that a mental concept of divine spirit forms indirectly, as something else ties individual Mercy experiences together and allows them to be viewed as an integrated whole.

Natural Divine Spirit: Think, for instance, of the native within the jungle. He is surrounded by living creatures; he lives within an environment that is full of interacting, personal life. The city dweller may have a dog or cat in the house, and get excited when he sees the occasional bear or wild cat, but the jungle dweller is surrounded by savage animals, and most of his physical needs are provided by the creatures around him. 

The native living in his grass hut does not have an integrated, rational understanding of his environment. As a result, he does not have a well-developed mental image of God. But, he does possess a deep sense of divine spirit.

The typical civilized city dweller is actually not much different. He also lacks a unified Teacher understanding, because the ‘concrete jungle’ that surrounds him is far too complicated for him to grasp intellectually. But, if he interacts personally with this ‘jungle’, it provides for all of his personal needs. Thus, like the jungle native, he too views his environment in spiritual terms. However, his divine spirit is of artificial construction, a zeitgeist that integrates the loves and desires of his man-made surroundings.

In both of these cases, the structure that takes specific Mercy personal experiences and ties them together is being provided externally: There is the natural living environment of the jungle, and there is the man-made environment of the city.

Today, a new and more universal image of natural divine spirit appears to be emerging, called Gaia. Gaia represents biological life in all of its aspects, from the native living in the jungle, to the apartment dweller in the city, to the industrially bred chickens crowded in their tiny cages, to the ancient cedars of the Pacific rain forest, to the tiny worms isolated in a remote Antarctic pool.  All is seen as one interconnected, interdependent ecosystem.

But, worship of Gaia is also strong on bonding emotionally with nature and weak on universal understanding. It prefers hugging trees and gazing at crystals to studying scientific theory and learning industrial practice. And, the structure is definitely being provided externally by the physical planet.

Spirit of God: It is also possible for internal structure to bring unity to Mercy thought. This happens when a person gains an integrated Teacher theory and starts to view his world through the lens of his Teacher understanding. The world may not have changed, but he now sees it in a totally different light. Where before he only saw isolated events, he now sees general patterns and universal principles.

Hopefully, this book is beginning to have this sort of effect. At first glance, it may appear that I keep jumping from one topic to another. But, am I jumping, or is there really only one topic? We live in a world of specialization, in which knowledge and experience are compartmentalized. A unified theory, such as the theory of mental symmetry, makes it possible to bring unity to these various Mercy fragments.

An internally formed divine spirit could also be called a ‘Spirit of God’. That is because it can only form as a byproduct of an image of God, after an image of God has been mentally constructed. Saying this more clearly, what is bringing unity to the fragmented world of Mercy experiences? An integrated Teacher understanding. What turns this Mercy unity into spirit? The personal element. What do you get when you add the personal element to an integrated Teacher understanding? An image of God.

We can also conclude that the spirit of God is a spirit of truth. This is because a mental image of divine spirit forms as specific personal Mercy experiences become interrelated. And what mental strategy is responsible for building internal connections between Mercy experiences? Perceiver thought—the part of the mind that works with facts and truth.

Natural Spirit and Childish Identity: Childish identity is instinctively drawn to the concept of natural spirit. On the one hand, childish identity lacks internal content, and thus needs the stability that an external structure can provide. On the other hand, it is driven byfeelings, and worships the latest heroes and follows the latest fads. Natural spirit satisfies both of needs by combining external structure with emotional involvement.

Think, for instance, of the jungle dweller. Those of us who are surrounded by fridges and supermarkets can plan our meals. The jungle native, in contrast, eats when he has food. When he kills a wild beast, then he and his friends will feed until the meat is gone. If he catches nothing, then he will go hungry. What gives structure to his personal existence? The external cycles of nature: sowing and harvest, the patterns of migration; the movement of the planets. 

Similarly, what gives structure to the life of the typical modern ‘native’ living in his concrete jungle? The external cycles of a living city: work, holidays, football season, weekends. Held together personally by this external structure, the modern native floats through life, getting enthused about his newest product, falling in love with his latest girl friend, cheering on his favorite football team, getting immersed in current entertainment, and being caught up in the hottest trends.

One can see now why Augustine was driven to write the City of God, in which he contrasts the earthly city of man with the heavenly city of God. He is actually comparing two opposing spirits. Externally, the natural spirit of the Roman civilization was crumbling before his very eyes, while internally, his thinking about God was causing another spirit to form. As his understanding grew, he started to view his Mercy environment in the light of this new Teacher understanding. Eventually he concluded that these two spirits, represented by two different cities, have been struggling with each other throughout human history.

Let us summarize what we have just learned about specifics, universals, Mercy and Teacher thought: Left to itself, raw Mercy thought is like mental mud, driven by feelings to flow here and there. If the external environment provides for human needs in a structured way, then flowing with these surroundings will lead to a feeling for natural divine spirit. 

Perceiver facts turn this mud into solid material by organizing experiences into categories of ‘same’ and ‘different’. This mental organization fragments Mercy thought, destroying the feeling of natural divine spirit. But, these solid Perceiver bricks also lay the foundation for a general Teacher understanding, which turns into an image of God as personal feelings are added. A mental image of God will then bring internal order to Mercy experiences, leading to the internal image of a spirit of God that is based in Perceiver truth. 

Those who know Christian theology will realize that all of the concepts that we have just discussed are contained within the Bible. We will finish this chapter by pointing out a theological conclusion which the reader may not have noticed.

The Trinity: We have just come up with a logical explanation for the Holy Trinity.  According to Christian doctrine, the One God is a triune being composed of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. If we use Contributor bricks of personal cause and effect to integrate the mind, then the theory of mental symmetry predicts that exactly this type of mental image of God will emerge.

So how can an image of God be both three and one? The answer is that the same mental content is being approached in three different ways. Teacher strategy sees the Contributor bricks as construction material for a universal theory, Mercy thought see these bricks as guides for reaching and enjoying lasting personal pleasure, and Contributor thought is the strategy that actually builds and optimizes the bricks that hold everything together.

Christianity also teaches that the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. It was also the aspect of God which we discussed last. Why? Because, Contributor and Teacher strategies lay the mental foundation that is needed to replace the natural divine spirit with a Spirit of God. Without God and Jesus, it is not possible to conceive of the Holy Spirit.

And, all of this information about the Christian Trinity was derived using only the diagram of mental symmetry. If that isn’t theologically mind blowing, then I don’t know what is.

This same trinity appears in cognitive styles. If you examine the behavior of the Teacher, Mercy  and Contributor persons, you find that they are the only three that are naturally able to concentrate: The Teacher person can focus so strongly on an intellectual problem that he is literally able to give himself a mental breakdown; the Mercy person can fixate so much upon his current goal that he bashes into obstacles on his way from point A to point B; while the Contributor person can concentrate on his plan to the extent of disregarding anything else as meaningless and without value.

The other four cognitive styles do not have this ability. Instead, their minds are continually wandering here and there. If they want to concentrate on something, then they have to enlist the help of subconscious Teacher, Mercy, or Contributor thought.[5] Upon that note, we will finish this chapter.

Let us review: We started with Plato and his idea of forms. A form is an internal image that emerges when Perceiver thought organizes Mercy experiences into solid categories. According to Plato, the ultimate form is the ‘form of the good’, which gives meaning to all other forms. This we would interpret as Plato’s Teacher theory of forms, which both gave him Teacher pleasure and provided the basis for his Perceiver knowledge.

Plato’s forms were a major advance over the Mercy idolatry of his day, because they signified the emergence of independent Perceiver thought. However, because these Perceiver facts did not include Server sequence, they led to the intellectual dead end of medieval alchemy.

Like Plato, Augustine also thought that there was an invisible world of forms that was more solid and eternal than the visible realm of physical objects. But, while Plato saw forms as objective bricks of knowledge that could be used to build understanding, Augustine used these bricks to build an eternal home for personal identity.

When we first talked about God, we assumed that God is big and that he is personal. This led us to conclude that a mental image of God forms when universal Teacher understanding touches personal identity. Using the same logic, a mental image of divine spirit forms when personal feelings are added to Mercy universality.

Again, we see how adding personal feeling to objective knowledge transforms it: Adding personal feeling to universal Teacher understanding creates an image of God; adding personal emotions to cause and effect forms conscience; adding personal feelings to forms creates spirit; adding personal emotions to an interconnected network of forms creates divine spirit.

As humans, we live in a world filled with specific Mercy objects and finite people. This fragments Mercy thought. These mental fragments will only come together to form a concept of universal spirit if something outside of Mercy strategy provides a social network within which everything and everyone can inter-relate.

One option is for the external environment to unify Mercy thought. This happens to the jungle native who continually interacts with the wildlife that surrounds him. It also occurs with the modern ‘native’ of the concrete jungle, who continually interacts with the wild life that surrounds him.

Today, we are realizing that the entire planet is an ecosystem of interconnected life. This has created the mental concept of Gaia, the divine spirit of Earth.

It is also possible to use internal structure to bring unity to Mercy thought. This happens when a universal Teacher understanding helps Mercy strategy to make sense of its personal surroundings. Because this spirit is the byproduct of a universal Teacher theory that touches me, it is a spirit of God. Similarly, because Perceiver truth is needed to build universal Teacher understanding, a spirit of God is also a spirit of Truth.

These two divine spirits naturally oppose one another. When Perceiver thought is asleep, personal identity is free to identify emotionally with its personal environment, leading to a belief in natural divine spirit. A spirit of God, in contrast, is constructed out of the forms of Plato, which will only be constructed when Perceiver thought is awake.

Finally, we realized that we have come up with a rational explanation for the Christian Trinity, consisting of God the Father in Teacher strategy, God the Son in Contributor mode, and God the Holy Spirit in Mercy thought. How can one God also be three separate individuals? By taking the same content and interpreting it in three different ways.

Concepts introduced in this chapter:

•        Form: An imaginary Mercy image formed by a Perceiver category. Described by Plato.

•        Form of the Good: Plato’s general Teacher theory of working with forms.

•        Alchemy: Using forms to analyze the natural world.

•        City of God: Plato’s Form of the Good applied to personal identity.

•        Divine Spirit: An integrated Mercy network of Platonic forms.

•        Natural Divine Spirit: An integrated Mercy network held together by external structure.

•        Spirit of God: An integrated Mercy network held together by Teacher understanding.

•        Spiritual Conflict: Spirit of God + City of God versus Natural Divine Spirit + City of man.

•        Trinity: Teacher universality + Mercy universality + Contributor salvation applied to ‘me’.

Questions to think about:

1)    How would you define the ‘City of God’? Would you like it there? What would you do?

2)    Do you just talk about your universal concepts or do you apply them in practice? How?

3)    Where do you sense the ‘presence’ of Natural Divine Spirit? Why?

4)    Where do you sense the ‘presence’ of the Spirit of God? Why?

5)    What is the relationship between these two spirits in your mind?

6)    What is your view of the Christian Trinity? Why?


The next time you go to work and/or church, analyze the ‘spiritual’ atmosphere. What holds everything together, internal structure or external organization? Observe what effect this has upon the people around you.

Christianity versus the Church

The priest, clothed richly in cassock, surplice, and tippet, marches slowly down the nave of the cathedral, making his way to the apse. Behind him, incense wafts from the thurible being swung slowly by the thurifer. The priest unlatches the gate in the rail separating the nave from the chancel and steps through, making his way to the altar with its crucifix and candlesticks…

Sorry. I don’t know how to continue. I had to look up most of these terms and I am probably not putting them together quite right. However, I think that you get the picture. The question we would like to discuss is this: How did Christianity with its message of personal rebirth turn into priests and cathedrals and chancels and altars and thuribles?

Let us pose this question in more general terms. That is because my goal is not to pick on any specific brand of church but rather to look at long term trends. Therefore, we will focus on branches of the church which have been around for several hundred years.

What one notices is a number of contradictions: Christianity is supposed to encourage internal personal transformation, and yet one sees church being transformed into a massive, external organization. The church is supposed to teachuniversal truth, and yet this message is conveyed using specialized terms and exotic rituals. It teaches a message of personal salvation, and yet tells everyone that they must suffer for God. Its mission is to develop critical thinking and yet it becomes known for its conservative adherence to old ways of thought. It is meant to bring believers closer to God, and yet it erects barriers separating clergy from laity, and religious from secular. Even the church building itself is separated into nave and chancel, with a barrier separating the worshipper from the altar. As for the priest, he may swear a vow of personal poverty, and yet he is surrounded by wealth. He may take an oath of celibacy, and yet everyone calls him Father.


I suggest that all of these religious artifacts are byproducts of treating the Bible as a Holy Book. A few decades ago, Marshall McLuhan stated, ‘The medium is the message’. When the Bible is treated as a Holy Book, then it appears that the medium does become the message, regardless of what the message itself actually says.

Holiness: What makes a Holy Book special? The fact that it is holy. Holiness implies two things: First, something that is holy is much more important than ‘me’. This leads to our familiar nemesis of religious self-denial, which we have already discussed in great detail.

The second factor is brought out by the meaning of the word itself. Holy means separate or distinct. Something that is holy is separate from normal objects; it is kept distinct from normal existence. We learned the reason for this in our chapter on walls and bridges. If you want emotional contrast, if you want some Mercy experiences to have stronger emotions than other experiences, then you must separate these experiences with walls.Without walls, all experiences end up feeling the same, just as a landscape of mud eventually turns into a flat plain.

A Holy Book requires a huge emotional contrast between ‘me’ and the emotional source of the book. The book must be everything; I must be nothing. This can only happen if a huge wall is erected between me and the Holy Book. That wall is holiness; holiness means building a wall.

When Perceiver thought is functioning, then Perceiver confidence can be used to build internal walls. But, we are dealing here with a mindset of blind faith in which Mercy feelings have mesmerized Perceiver thought.

Walls: The only solution is to use external walls to separate holy from secular. That is why a church building contains a nave and a chancel, with a rail or rood screen separating the two. The nave is ‘common’; the chancel is ‘holy’. In the Catholic Church, this wall was institutionalized in 1215 in order to separate the Blessed Sacrament from the common parishioners. A similar principle applies to the church as a whole: The church building is holy; surrounding land is secular. In the 16th century, the Council of Trent decreed that a holy mass can only be performed at a consecrated altar in a consecrated or blessed church.

What happens when something common crosses the wall and touches something holy? Well, what happens when you pile a lot of mud behind a thick wall and then make a hole in the wall? The mud flows through the hole and the pile disappears. Exactly the same thing happens mentally. Breaching the barrier that separates holy from profane dissipates the strong feelings that are needed to keep Perceiver thought mesmerized, thereby removing the sense of holiness.

The result is blasphemy. Blasphemy can occur in minor forms, such as tossing a Bible carelessly onto a pile of secular novels. Placing a crucifix within a jar of urine is a much stronger form of blasphemy, because it associates holiness with something horrible that comes from ‘me’. Obviously, this would ruin any emotional respect for the holy object. Before, seeing a crucifix would remind Mercy strategy of stately churches and holy altars. Now it would trigger the stench and stain of going to the toilet.  

Flavors of Idolatry: So, what is the difference between holiness and idolatry? Basically, nothing. What I regard as holy, others will see as worship of idols. In both cases, Perceiver thought is being mesmerized by strong Mercy feelings. However, if the right idols are worshipped in the right way, then the result can be personal growth.

For instance, suppose that I erect a huge golden statue for everyone to worship. This will not promote mental growth, because it reinforces the childish method of basing truth in important people. On the other hand, if I hide the holy item within a building and forbid normal people from looking at it, then worshippers will have to use their minds to imagine their object of worship. Using the language of Plato, this will force them to worship the form of the idol, instead of the idol itself. That will promote mental development.

Teacher idolatry is also far more conducive to mental growth than Mercy idolatry. Mercy idolatry uses Mercy feelings to exalt an object, person, or experience within Mercy strategy, whereas Teacher idolatry uses Mercy feelings to lift up a specific set of words inTeacher thought.

A Holy Book is the prime example of Teacher idolatry. Books contain Teacher words with Perceiver meanings. Studying a book, whether it is holy or not, will develop Perceiver thought. That is because studying means looking at the meaning behind the words—and it takes Perceiver processing to work out meaning. When a book is holy, then this logical thinking will be limited to the periphery of the holy message.

For instance, Christian scholars may turn to archeology for information concerning the historical stories in the Bible, because here Perceiver thought is awake, mental categories exist, and no external walls of holiness are required. However, when it comes to core doctrines such as the Trinity or the plan of salvation, then blind faith in the Holy Book will take precedence over rational analysis.

For example, I remember several years ago giving a weekend seminar at a church about my research. I put together a seminar notebook and attempted for several hours to explain concepts such as conscience and personal rebirth. Several days after, I received a letter from one of the ladies in the audience seriously questioning whether or not I was a Christian. You see, I had made the fatal mistake of going too far on the road from Holy Book to textbook. Treating ‘spiritual gifts’ as cognitive styles was fine; analyzing conscience and personal rebirth was not. Incidentally, that was the last church seminar that I gave for several years.  

In general, I suggest that one can rate a religion by the height of its external walls. If Perceiver thought is growing and gaining in strength, then internal facts will remove the need for external barriers. However, if the external barriers are extensive and profound, then one can conclude that Mercy idolatry rules supreme.

For instance, suppose that a religion imposes the death sentence for minor instances of blasphemy. This makes it impossible for anyone even to have the opportunity of building internal walls. Suppose that this religion says that the words of its Holy Book must be learned by rote and that they cannot be translated into other languages. This stops Perceiver thought from analyzing the meaning behind the words. Suppose also that this religion ignores completely the concept of sin and internal rebirth and instead tells its followers to do certain actions and visit certain places. Finally, suppose that this religion prevents its followers from ever being ‘tempted by the flesh’ by covering the objects of temptation with external walls of fabric. What could one conclude about such a religion?

What makes this truly bizarre is that we in the ‘enlightened’ West are responding to this religion in the same way. Instead of using Perceiver logic to educate its followers, we are sending in armies to kill those who violate our sense of holiness, and imprisoning behind walls anyone who dares to treat us as blasphemers. What can one conclude about our religion?

Let us continue with our main topic. Remember that we have come up with two basic principles: First, a Holy Book requires a huge emotional contrast between ‘me’ and the author of the book. The result is religious self-denial. Second, maintaining this large emotional contrast requires the erection of great walls. This leads to a separation between holy and secular.

What is Holy? That brings us to our next question? What gets placed on each side of the wall separating holy from secular? Obviously, the Holy Book belongs on the holy side of the fence. In Christianity, the cross is also regarded as holy because it represents the core doctrine of personal death and resurrection.

But, a book is an object that occupies a specific location. And, a book is read at specific times. If the holiness of the Holy Book is to survive intact, then these locations and times must also be regarded as holy, with a wall placed around them in order to separate them from normal locations and normal times.

And who shall read the Holy Book? Books do not read themselves. They must be read by people. Here is where the second level of holiness emerges. Some individuals will feel so drawn to the message of the Holy Book that they will decide to live a life of full-time religious self-denial.

What will they deny themselves from? Obviously, anything that makes ‘me’ feel good, such as physical comfort, marriage, jobs, and pleasant surroundings. That explains the vow of poverty and the life of celibacy. Both are motivated by religious self-denial—keeping ‘me’ nothing in order to ensure that the Holy Book means everything.

But what can such a person deny himself to? Initially, nothing. And so, the first Christian monks headed off into the desert and lived in caves in order to study the Holy Book, think about God and pray to God. However, slowly but surely, those who deny themselves to serve God will find themselves occupying the shrines which house the Holy Books. And, they will be the ones who read the Holy Book and who explain it to the common people. Now you have clergy, monasteries, churches, and church services. 

Notice that it is the common people who are doing this associating. The holy men may be trying to deny self in order to serve God, but the common folk will view them in an entirely different light. As far as they are concerned, a holy man lives on the holy side of the wall, and only a holy man is holy enough to interact directly with the holy words of the Holy Book.

The common people now have a focus for their religious adoration. They may not be able to deny themselves fully, but they can give sacrificially to those who do. They may not be able to read or study the Holy Book themselves, but they can give honor to those who do. Slowly but certainly, the church as a whole will become wealthy and acquire social status.

That explains why the poor priest lives in a rich church. He took a vow of personal poverty and joined the church in order to serve God through self-denial, while his congregation gave to the church in order to demonstrate their religious self-denial. 

Add a few hundred years, and the Christian message of internal rebirth transmogrifies into a huge, rich, powerful organization.

All of this religious super-structure is simply the result of treating the Bible as a Holy Book. It has absolutely nothing to do with what the Bible itself says. Thus, all religions with Holy Books tend to breed monasteries, monks, worship services, and wealthy organizations. In every case, the medium becomes the message.

Given the right circumstances, monks, monasteries, and self-denial can have a major positive impact upon their society. One thinks, for instance, of the Benedictine order of monks, began in 529 at Monte Cassino. These monks may have practiced physical labor as an aspect of personal self-denial, but they reintroduced private farms to the Italian peninsula. The small Roman farmer had been driven out of business during the second century B.C. when foreign slaves were brought in and slave plantations were set up to replace all of the Roman laborers killed by Hannibal and his elephants. The example shown by the Benedictine monks revitalized western agriculture and made farming once again a worthy occupation. 

Christianity and Holiness: Now let us add the core message of Christianity. It says that man is born in sin and is incapable of saving himself. However, God sent an intermediary who made it possible for man to die to his childish identity and to be internally reborn as an adult.

How much of this Christian message survives the medium of church? The initial stages will survive, but not the final step. Remember that making the mental transition from childhood to adulthood goes through three stages: First, childish identity dies; second, there is personal confusion; third, adult identity comes to life.

Religious self-denial loves the first stage and will encourage it strongly. That is because dying to a childish identity which opposes God embodies the very essence of religious self-denial. As for the second stage of personal confusion, religious self-denial also considers this to be admirable, for is not personal confusion a sure sign that ‘me’ really is nothing and incapable of doing anything.

It is the third stage of adult identity coming to life that the medium of a Holy Book cannot digest. And yet, personal rebirth is an essential part of the Christian message of personal salvation. And so, this personal salvation will be continually postponed, either to the far distant future or to beyond the physical grave: “When the believer dies, he goes to heaven to be with God and to live in a realm of perpetual personal paradise.” Notice that an attitude of religious self-denial makes it impossible for the true believer to experience this heaven here and now in the physical body. Instead, it must always remain ‘pie in the sky’ to be experienced ‘bye and bye’.

Let me say this again. If someone believes in the Bible as a Holy Book, logic tells us that he is mentally incapable of experiencing the resurrection life of Jesus. Yes, the Bible actually says that. Turn to the fourth chapter of Revelation and what do you see? Everyone is mesmerized before the ‘throne of God’ in an attitude of endless worship and religious self-denial. Keep reading these vignettes and you see ‘the lamb’ showing up and gradually waking up these passive worshippers from their religious stupor. Finally, by the end of the book, all of the temples disappear and are replaced by a holy city, and this is the form of heaven that descends to earth. 

Christians and Holiness: Now let us follow the path described in the book of Revelation and add some individuals who have truly experienced personal transformation, who know how to approach the Bible as a textbook, and who are able to formulate healthy personal goals and reach these goals.

As before, the common man will assign them to the holy side of the wall, associate them with God, give them personal status, and try to show their devotion to God by donating wealth to them. Is there any validity to all of this adulation? Does it have any redeeming features?

Surprisingly, yes.

That is because true holiness has nothing to do with idolatry. Instead, it has a far deeper, adult meaning. By definition, a holy person or a saint is someone who is sacred or ‘separated unto God’. But, we have learned that only the adult mind—one that uses a combination of Perceiver and Server confidence—is capable of forming a mental image of a universal God and reconciling his mental image of God with his personal identity.

And, the childish mind is separated from this adult way of thinking by the huge wall of the threshold of uncertainty, a wall that can only be crossed by ‘calling on God’ and ‘dying to self’. Thus, one can conclude that the person who has gone through personal rebirth really is a saint. He is separated to the universal Teacher understanding of God and he is separated from the world of childish identity that surrounds him.

And what will such a saint do with the praise and money that he receives from those who live on the ‘secular’ side of the wall? He will set up a school in order to educate those around him so that they stop treating the Bible as a Holy Book and starting learning from it as a textbook. This will make it possible for them to follow the final step of personal rebirth and become internally reborn as adults.

We have now come up with two complementary forms of education: school and university. School uses holy books and Mercy importance to start a child on the process of personal transformation. By the end of school, the student should have learned how to use Perceiver thought to come up with rational Teacher understanding. University uses textbooks and Teacher understanding to finish the process of personal transformation. Both are needed. The primary student needs Mercy status and holy books. Nothing else will motivate him to learn. But, the secondary student needs Teacher understanding and textbooks. Nothing else will permit him to graduate.

That explains why most old Western universities started out as Christian seminaries. To some extent, this two stage process of education does occur. Likewise, if we examine the lives of the Christian saints, many of them really do deserve that title.

Church Failure: This transition from Holy Book to textbook—from church to school, or from school to university—will be stillborn if the external church organization becomes too big and too wealthy. When this happens, people will join the church no longer to practice religious self-denial, but rather to be honored by others and to live a comfortable life. Obviously, such an attitude contradicts the Christian message of dying to childish identity.

Notice the inherent contradiction. Why are people joining the church organization? Because, they want to pursue personal pleasure. Why are people giving to the church? Because, they want to practice self-denial by donating resources to those who are in full-time service to God. Thus, those who are in the church can only gain personal wealth by telling their followers to give up their personal wealth. In order to practice selfishness, church leaders must preach self-denial.

Eventually, the medium of organizational church will degrade the message of Christian salvation to such an extent that Christian believers will become disgusted by the corruption and hypocrisy and leave.

This is what happened during the Protestant reformation. One of the main reasons that Martin Luther left the Catholic Church is because it was selling indulgences in order to raise money for building the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome. In other words, the core Christian message of bringing reconciliation between me and God had become reduced to making a financial contribution to a building fund. The medium had swallowed up the message; the physical needs of the external organization had co-opted the process of internal change. 

The transition from Holy Book to textbook will also fail if religious scholars have an inadequate Teacher understanding of the Holy Book. This theoretical inadequacy will always occur with core religious doctrines, because these are the ones which are most associated with God and holiness and where the greatest Perceiver confidence is required. When, this happens, peripheral Christian matters will be approached logically as a hard science, while core Christian doctrines will be taught either as a soft science—with religious experts and schools of thought, or as blind faith—with truths learned by rote from a Holy Book.

That, I suggest, describes the situation in which Western Christendom finds itself today. The periphery of the Christian message is understood and taught rationally, but no unified Teacher theory exists to explain central doctrines such as the Trinity, salvation, conscience, and dying to self.

This combination, I suggest, has produced the separation between objective and subjective which we see today. When it comes to working with things and objects and natural processes, the message of Christianity has taught Western civilization how to think and act rationally as adults. But, when dealing with the core of personal feeling and religious devotion, Holy Book mentality and childish identity still dominate.

Let me explain. Modern science emerged in the West during the time of the renaissance and the reformation, as thinkers examined the natural world for principles of cause and effect. Why did they approach the world this way? Because, Christianity had taught them that the natural world had been created by a rational God who spoke to man through conscience. Therefore, when they studied their natural environment, they looked for Perceiver truths of cause and effect and searched for universal Teacher order.

And what happened to core doctrines such as personal identity, conscience, God, and personal salvation? Instead of being analyzed rationally, the attitude of religious self-denial simply found a new master. Like the teenage gang member, it dropped out of school and submitted to its peers.

Before, the church claimed to represent God. Now, the state does. What defines our personal identity today? Our citizenship to a state. What is supposed to program our consciences? The laws of the state. What tries to provide universal structure and order for our personal lives? The state. Who do we look to to save us when we have personal problems? The state. And who are we supposed to serve in an attitude of personal self-denial? The state.

And our new master of the state has undergone exactly the same kind of corruption that the church experienced earlier on. Initially, the government worker was a public servant, who denied himself in order to serve his country. But, as the state grew in wealth and power, people began to seek out government employment because of the personal benefits of working for the state.

What these new government leaders wanted was not public service but rather personal wealth and prestige. But, in order to satisfy their selfish urges, they had to preach self-denial to their citizens. Repeatedly, citizens have been called to give their lives for the state in order to increase the wealth and prestige of its leaders.

Is the attitude of Nationalism universal? No. But, it is still the dominant mindset in much of the world, it has driven human history since the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, and it took the horrors of two World Wars before the Western world was finally willing to start questioning the connection between God and country. 

And, now that the pre-eminence of the state is beginning to wane, the corporation is trying to take its place as the new voice of God.

The solution, of course, is to stop treating the Bible as a Holy Book and to start approaching it as a textbook.

 Before you start counting how many times I have said that, let us quickly start our review. We began by looking at the numerous rituals of the established Christian church and asked ourselves what any of this has to do with the Christian message personal salvation.

I then suggested that all of this is a byproduct of treating the Bible as a Holy Book. That brought us to the dictionary definition of the word holy, which means ‘separate’ or ‘distinct’. A book will only be regarded as holy if it is far more important than I am. Maintaining such a huge emotional contrast between ‘me’ and the holy book requires massive walls. These walls can either be provided internally using Perceiver thought or externally with physical walls and physical barriers.

When the wall that separates sacred from profane breaks down, the result is blasphemy. That is because the strong feelings associated with the sacred will ‘leak’ through the hole in the barrier and dissipate. 

Mentally speaking, holiness and idolatry are very closely related, for every idol needs to be protected by a wall of holiness. However, it is possible for idolatry to encourage mental growth. If an idol is hidden, this forces worshippers to worship the form of the idol, which requires the development of Perceiver thought.

Teacher idolatry also encourages mental development, especially when holy words are written down in a book. That is because Perceiver strategy is needed to work out the meanings of words and passages. Perceiver thought will always develop first on the peripheryof a holy message, and then gradually gain the confidence to analyze its more holy aspects.

In general, a religion can be rated by the height of its external walls. If its idolatry encourages the development of Perceiver thought, then external walls are not needed. However, if the idolatry shuts down Perceiver strategy, then the external barriers will be extensive and the punishment for blasphemy will be severe.

Idolatry goes through three stages. These three stages occur with any religion, regardless of what it teaches, because they are a byproduct of holiness. First, everything that is associated with a holy item will also be regarded as holy. This leads to holy shrines, holy times, and holy teachers.

Second, individuals who feel especially strongly about the idol will decide to live a life of full-time religious self-denial. They will abandon anything that gives status to ‘me’ or produces personal pleasure. Thus, they will take vows of poverty and celibacy.

Third, the common folk will regard these self-denying devotees as holy and give them wealth and status. The second stage made the monks poor as individuals. The third stage makes them rich as a group.

When the Christian message of personal rebirth is placed within the context of a Holy Book, the first stage of dying to childish identity will remain intact, as will the second stage of experiencing personal confusion. However, the final stage of adult identity coming to life will be postponed to the unreachable future.

Someone who denies himself for God may be regarded as holy, but it is the person with an adult identity who actually is holy. That is because only the adult mind is capable of forming a valid image of God and being friends with that image of God. And adult identity is separated from childish identity by the threshold of confusion.

Those who have reached this stage will want to help others to emerge into adulthood as well. Thus, they will set up ‘graduate schools’ in which the Holy Book is treated as a textbook and Mercy status is replaced by Teacher understanding.

If the external organization of the church becomes too rich, then people will join the clergy in order to experience a wealthy lifestyle, and not to pursue the path of personal death and resurrection. Eventually, the discrepancy between what the church teaches and what it practices will be so great that believers will leave the church in disgust.

If the Teacher understanding of the church is inadequate, then only partial graduation from the school of Christianity will be possible. It takes Perceiver confidence to be able to handle emotional pressure. Therefore, the periphery of the Holy message will always be analyzed first, because this is where the Mercy feelings are the weakest.

When this combination arises, believers will graduate from Christianity in objective areas while rebelling from it in more emotional regions. This is the path that Western civilization has taken. In the objective, the development of Perceiver truth and Teacher understanding gave birth to modern science, while in the subjective, believers rebelled from the Christian church and submitted to the secular state. The end result has been centuries of bloody National conflict, as national leaders have demanded self-denial from their citizens, co-opted this self-denial to further their personal goals and used technology to come up with more efficient ways of killing their neighbors.

This chapter also introduced a number of new concepts:

•        Christian Religion: The external structure that became attached to the Christian message.

•        Holiness: The wall of separation needed to protect the strong emotions of a Holy Item.

•        Blasphemy: Breaching the wall of holiness in order to dissipate religious awe and fervor.

•        Theology: Studying a Holy Book to find Perceiver meaning and Teacher understanding.

•        Clergy: People who pursue religious self-denial in order to exalt Holy Words.

•        Churches: Shrines to holiness built by common people in pursuit of religious self-denial.

•        Church Corruption: When people join Christianity to gain church wealth and power.

•        Holy Book Christianity: A salvation plan that preaches death and postpones resurrection.

•        True Saint: A person with an adult personal identity and a Universal image of God.

•        Incomplete Theology: Using rational theory with only the periphery of a Holy Book.

•        Partial Holy Book Graduation: Leads to Objective Science combined with Nationalism.

Questions to think about:

1)    What holy items or events do you protect by keeping them separate from normal life?

2)    What do you think about people who deny themselves in order to serve God?

3)    Has your view of Christianity been warped by the concept of religious self-denial? How?

4)    What do you think of Nationalism? Should someone deny himself to serve his country?


Write down all the words or phrases associated with church, country, or company that carry with them the concept of personal self-denial. For example, ‘The customer is always right’. What do these words mean today? How would you change these concepts?

[1] Contributor thought is actually quite complicated and took a long time to work out. However, if I include any of these details here, I am sure that I will lose my audience. 

[2] The more clever reader may notice that I seem to be somewhat vague in the choice of words that I use to describe Server thought, referring to action, sequence, time, movement, and even sentences and words. That is because there is actually a major mental conflict buried within this verbal ambiguity, which I am attempting to gloss over for now in the interests of simplicity. We will examine this in a later chapter.

[3] The Christian New Testament was not written in the religious language of the day. Instead, it borrowed terms from commerce, daily life, and the military. However, two millennia of treating it as a Holy Book have made the words sound religious to modern ears.

[4] If that last paragraph didn’t make sense, please read it again until its significance hits you. It’s one of those freaky, computer programming, recursive things. Let me explain. As I was editing the chapter about using theory to derive the story of Jesus, I suddenly realized that the theory said that I must use theory to derive the story of Jesus.

[5] Similarly, the physical brain appears to have three Acetylcholine circuits which provide the function of mental concentration, one in the basal ganglia related to Contributor thought, and the other two in the substantia innominata related to Mercy and Teacher thought.