Lesson 110- Wisdom. the Only Way and Growth of Justice
In my last program, I was tracing the growth of the left lobe in history and comparing it to the same type of growth of left hemispheric dominance in the human child. It shouldn’t surprise us that there is a type of correspondence between the two because, since we are a product of God and His universe, we share in the same principles and laws. Einstein had said that his search for these laws was based on his passion to know the mind of God and for him this was the true basis for all religion. Yet, for most of us, we fail to see the connection.
Very often we have “ears but don’t hear; and eyes but don’t see” because our knowledge remains on the surface because, after hearing a truth, we don’t follow up with the deeper questions. Thus, we read the scriptures and read that Jesus said, “Seek and you will find; knock and it will be open unto you” and we dutifully agree with it. However, that’s the end of it. We don’t bother to ask, “seek what?”… “Find what?” And because we never ask the follow-up questions, we never get the deeper understanding. Proverbs 8, which, like all of the Proverbs, is Wisdom speaking to Mankind, says “I love those who love Me and Those who seek Me diligently, shall find Me.” So obviously it is the seeker of Wisdom that are the true followers of Jesus.
I have developed a test to find the true lovers of Jesus because as one old Protestant hymn say, “Everybody talking about heaven ain’t going there…” and, I might add, “everybody talking about Jesus, doesn’t really know Him.” And, some people who say they don’t know Him, really do. Let me explain.
Having taught in the inner-city for most of my life, I was always impressed by the fervor that many of my young, Black high school students had for Jesus. They talked about Him; sang about Him; and openly praised His name. Then, to my astonishment, I discovered that they didn’t know who He was. One day I asked them, “Does anybody know the real name of Jesus?” They looked at me with a puzzled look on their face. “What do you mean by His real name? His name was Jesus!” “Yes,” I said, “That was His human name but the scriptures say that He has existed for eternity. What was His name before He took on a human form?” Again they looked at me with a puzzled expression. Then I asked them, “Haven’t you ever heard the term Incarnate Wisdom?” Obviously, from the expressions on their faces, they hadn’t. I continued. “Catholic have a prayer called the Rosary that is composed of mysteries that outline the life of Jesus. One of these mysteries is called the ‘Incarnation’ and it refers to the birth of Jesus that marks the time in history when the Word of God, the Wisdom of God, the Logic of God became flesh. In fact, whenever the priest reads John I he is suppose to pause and bow or genuflect when he reaches the words, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” They looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language. Then I said, “Haven’t you ever heard the words in the hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that say “O come Thou Wisdom from on high who orders everything mightly”? Then to my amazement they answered, “O that’s your hymn, not ours!”
Then it dawned on me that the Jesus that they were in love with was the Holy Card Jesus who represented for them “sugar and spice and everything nice.” But they weren’t interested in knowing the real Jesus: the Jesus of mathematics, engineering, science, law, and music. Or the Jesus who is the builder of civilizations, or the source of all knowledge or the Jesus the Light of Logic that, by His presence in the left hemisphere of our brain, has given us the power to escape from the prison of Mental Darkness, that the Old Testament calls Gehenna, into the Kingdom of Mental Light and Understanding. In fact, not only did they not know these dimensions of the real Jesus, they actually were repelled by them. They were more interested in “amusement”, which means any activity that doesn’t require thought, then they were with truth, knowledge, and understanding. Given the choice between a sit-com and a documentary, they would choose the sit-com every time. Given the choice between a sensitive song whose lyrics expressed deep poetic sentiments and a “rap song” that talked of gross misperceptions about life, they would choose the “rap song.”
Now I am not saying that they didn’t have some level of relationship with Jesus or God. Or that they were not on the path to salvation. They were young and immature and still had a long ways to go. However, my experience with them has caused me to devise this test for discovering the true lovers of Jesus.
Now you may agree or disagree with my test and I might be right or I might be wrong but I present it here simply for you to think about. My test is this, “Does this person love Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge? Is this person a seeker of the Truth.” Or, like my students, is he or she in love with the Holy Card Jesus who represents “sugar and spice and everything nice”?
It’s surprising the answers that you get when you apply this test to different persons. I have met members of the laity and the clergy in all religions who have failed this test. And I have met people who don’t belong to my church or any church who have passed it. Einstein, for example.
When I meet people and the conversation turns to deeper topics, I can sense immediately whether they are “truth seekers” and “lovers of Wisdom” by the way that they respond. If they are not, their eyes glaze over, their attention wanders, they have no questions or insights to add, and they will either find a reason to end the conversation or change the subject. And when I sense this, I respect where they are, and realize that it is pointless to push on beyond their level of interest. Then I oblige them by either changing the topic or ending the conversation.
On the other hand, there are those who light up immediately and you can feel a hunger in them to know and understand. Sometimes these are the people who leave the Church because they say that they “aren’t being fed.” What they mean is that they have a hunger for “Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding” and, unfortunately, the homilist at their church keeps repeating old, worn-out, religious cliché about love and truth, and goodness that, although they might be true, are lifeless without a growing and deeper insight into how they should be applied to life. These people sometimes end up in another church where the homilist is mining the scriptures for ever deeper meanings or relevant applications or they stop attending church altogether. It’s just as the ancient Hebrews said, “the flesh eats bread but the spirit eats Wisdom.” And, Wisdom, as I have pointed out in previous programs, was often called “The Bread of Life” a term that Jesus used to referred to Himself. So if we love Jesus, we have to love Wisdom, and if we love Wisdom then we are seekers of the Truth that is able to set us free from Gehenna, the Kingdom of Mental Darkness into which we were born. Proverbs 8 ends by saying,
“So now, O children, listen to me; instruction and wisdom do not reject! Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways. Happy the man watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts; For he who finds Me finds life, and wins favor from the Lord; But he who misses me harms himself; all who hate me love death.”
Another translation puts it this way:
“Listen to my counsel- Oh don’t refuse it – and be wise. Happy the man who is so anxious to be with Me that he watches daily for Me at My gates, or waits for Me outside My home! For whoever finds Me finds life and wins approval from the Lord. But the one who misses Me has injured himself irreparably. Those who refuse Me show that they love death.” And Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life and have it fully.” And, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And St. Ireaneas said, “The glory of God is Man fully alive!”
Thus, the life of a wise person is one of constant questioning and reflection on the basic truths of life and the universe. If we never ask the questions, we will never get the answers. In other words, if we don’t seek we won’t find; and if we don’t knock then the door will never be opened. I suspect that when we finally meet the Lord, we will discover that there were many more things that He wanted to reveal and give to us but we never asked the right question. Could we ever imagine on the human level a lover who didn’t want to know a beloved on a deeper level? And, yet, in defiance of this obvious truth, we claim to love Jesus and, at the same time, reject the pursuit of Wisdom.
The ancient Greeks once observed that love and knowledge are intimately related. They said that you can’t really love what you don’t know and the deeper the knowledge, the deeper the love. Thus, the surface attraction that we sometimes feel for people we have just met, did not for them qualify as love because it wasn’t based on knowledge. If they are right, then true love grows with the increasing knowledge one has of the other person. In fact, the word “intimacy” implies a deeper understanding of another. Once one understands that the love of Jesus is the love of Wisdom, then a lot of the teachings of the Church that are misunderstood, suddenly become clear.
For example, there is a raging argument taking place today over the Church’s statement that Jesus is the only way to salvation. To say that there is only one way, offends our super-tolerant world that prefers the Hindu position that there are many ways and many truths. But in truth, there is only one way out of Gehenna, the Kingdom of Mental Darkness, and that is the Truth, as revealed by Divine Wisdom. Of course, if there is no such thing as objective, universal truth, as some relativists claim, there is no way out. But this can’t be true because the statement itself is based on the assumption that it is an objective, universal truth. Like those who claim “there are no absolutes!” it is a statement that contradicts itself.
So whether we are Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, or nothing at all, only Divine Wisdom, whom we Christians call Jesus, can save us. And that is what these programs are about.
Recently, while attending a monthly“ Men’s Meeting”, one of the men, whom I love and respect, said, “Philosophy won’t save us! Only Jesus will!” It got me to thinking because I think that this is an attitude that is shared by many good Christians. And, if they mean by philosophy some of the theories proposed by current thinkers, I would have to agree with them. Atheistic existentialism or nihilism won’t save us. Nor will hedonism or Marx’s Scientific Pragmatism. These represent the worldly wisdom that St. Paul warned were incapable of saving us. They are particular philosophies that are often based on faulty premises. However, St. Paul spoke of another type of Wisdom based on different premises that could lead us to salvation. Thus, we have to distinguish between the two types of wisdom. However, philosophy itself is defined as the “pursuit of Wisdom” and, thus to pursue Wisdom is to pursue Jesus.
Some people have suggested that my programs are too intellectual for the average listener and they might be right. To be truthful, I have never been concerned with whether anybody was listening because I am not doing these programs for any “audience rating.” It’s nice to know that some people are listening and are benefiting from what I am saying, but, in truth, I would do these programs even if I knew that no one was listening. I have been gifted by God with certain insights and I have an obligation to Him to share them with as many persons as are willing to listen. My obligation is to “put it out” and it’s their obligation “to take it in.” I am a sower of seeds who may never see the harvest. But that is not my concern. Somewhere, at sometime, someone will understand what I am saying and will correct my mistakes, add to my insights, and take it to the next higher level. I am like a runner in a relay race who has received the baton from those who went before me and I must run lap the best that I can, and leave it to those who come after me to finish the race.
Thus, when Dom asked me to do these programs five years ago, I really didn’t want to do them because, first, they were going to be expensive since I would have to pay for the airtime each month and, second, because I knew that I would have to write them out if I wanted to be sure to cover everything that I needed to cover. And I would rather talk than write. Yet, for years my students and those who understood what I was teaching kept telling me that I should write it down. Therefore, I took Dom’s invitation as a directive from God to force me to discipline myself into writing the concepts and ideas that had worked so well for me for over forty years in the classroom.
I knew that whatever I was teaching was of great benefit to my students because the course, which was an elective, became one of the most popular classes in the school and, year after year, students returned to tell me and others that my class proved to be the most helpful to them both in college and in life. Within the past two weeks, I have met two former grown students who were visiting my school in a professional capacity. They told me that they still remembered what I taught and it had helped them immensely in dealing with life. The first I taught in 1976 and the other in 1984, yet both of them declared that they still have my notes. One of them declared that I saved her life and when I asked her how that could be, she said that when she entered the University of Pennsylvania many of the students were dabbling in New Age occultic practices and they tried to involve her. She refused, she said, because she remembered what I had taught her about the dangers of leaving the rational world to enter the realm of arational mysticism.
I am telling you this not to indicate what a great teacher I am but rather to say that this material, of which I am only an instrument being used by God, is unbelievably effective in dealing with young people today and I fear that unless we wake up and speak to them in ways that prepare them for the assaults on their beliefs, we are going to lose them.
The Holy Card Jesus was sufficient for our ancestors who lived in a simpler world in which most people accepted the Gospel and the teaching of the Church on faith alone. But today, when nearly everybody finishes high school, and many go on to college, faith is being challenged on every side by “reason.” And, if one can’t give a reason for one’s faith, it is taken as an admission that there isn’t any and, therefore, it is a “mindless faith” that only naïve, uneducated people could accept.
This might be acceptable if there were no reasons unlying our faith but the opposite is true. The Church says that we can know God through “faith and reason” and has a wealth of Wisdom based on the philosophical insights and speculations of the great Christian thinkers throughout history. And that is why it is important for us to see the Cosmic Jesus and the important role that He plays in the laws of the universe and the advancement of human civilization.
He is Divine Logos that is the source of human logic and therefore is responsible for all the benefits that we have received through science and technology. Once we realize this then it becomes clear that there is no conflict between religion and science or faith and reason because when the atheistic leaders of the French Revolution worshipped a statue in the form of Human Reason, they were unknowingly worshipping the Divine Logos that is the gift from God that separates us from the animal kingdom. When the Secular Humanist say, “There is no God to save Mankind; Mankind, through the use of reason, must save itself”, we have no problem with using reason to address the problems of Mankind, but we do reject the assumption that this ability to reason is of our own making rather than, as the Church teaches, a gift from God that allows us to be made in His own image and likeness. Our problem with the world does not lie with the use of reason or logic. Instead it lies with the premises of the world that spring from our selfish animal nature. Reason or logic cannot be blamed for taking us where our premises lead because that is what it is designed to do. It will always cause us to “reap what we sow.” If we present reason or logic with the right premises, it will always take us to the right conclusions.
We, like the Secular Humanist, want every child to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise” and fully support the use of human intelligence to advance medical knowledge and technology. However, we reject the premise that “there are humans and sub-humans and that sub-humans have no rights that humans need to respect.” This, of course, was the premise of the Dred Scott Decision that declared slaves to be property that had no legal standing in our courts and also of the Holocaust in which millions of people were declared by the Nazis to be sub-humans whose very existence diminished and threatened the Master Race and that the Final Solution was to exterminate them. As a result, both groups, the slaves and the victims of the Holocaust, were seen as disposable beings whose only value was in the benefit they could serve for those above them. Slaves could be bred, worked, sold, beaten, and killed in the service of their masters. The victims of the Holocaust could be imprisoned, beaten, starved, worked, and experimented on for the benefit of the Master Race and when they had outlived their usefulness, they could be disposed of in the ovens of Auschwich.
Seen in this light it is amazing to me that any person of Jewish or Afro-American extraction could support abortion, euthanasia, or the use and creation of human embryos for stem cell research since they are all based on the premises that “there are humans and sub-humans and sub-humans have no rights that humans need to respect.” Instead, we argue that the correct premise should be, “All Men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among which are “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Yet, the popular press paints us as being the unreasonable ones and Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice on the Supreme Court who used this very premise when he was fighting for civil rights as an attorney for the NAACP, challenged a pro-life lawyer who was arguing before the court, to prove that the unborn child was a human being. Such is the blindness of the human heart when its own pleasure and convenience gets in the way of moral principles.
So as Catholics and Christians we should not be afraid of reason or logic, since it is our belief that they flow from the Godhead and by sharing in them, we share in the very nature of God. In fact, it is our belief that Jesus, the Logos of God, is the source of all organization in the universe: from the organization of simple atoms into complex compounds, and single cells into complex organisms, and simple, primitive societies into complex civilizations. We also believe that He is the source of all science and technology and that human history is the story of His growing influence in human affairs through the development of language, the creation of agriculture and herding, the establishment of permanent settlements, the creation of governments and law, the division of labor into specialize functions, the discovery of writing, and then mathematics. But this is not the end of the list of things that we owe to the presence of the Divine Logos in our minds. Let’s listen again to Proverbs 8 to hear what Wisdom, Itself, claims to be its role in human affairs: Wisdom says:
“ I Wisdom, dwell with experience, and judicious knowledge… Pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth I hate. By me kings reign and lawgivers establish justice;… On the way of duty I walk, along the path of justice…”
It appears that Wisdom, the Divine Logos, is the source of government, law, and, especially justice. In fact, government and law were created for the sole purpose of establishing justice. In my last program I define government as a social institution created by the left lobe of the brain for the purpose of making, judging, and enforcing laws, that were necessary for social order and justice. And, if, according to logic, a thing is good or bad according to how well it serves the purpose for which it was created, then a good government is the one the fits the criteria set up in the definition. To the extent that it fails to meet the criteria, it fails as a government. It’s all logical. Thus, for example, if it makes good laws but fails to enforce them, or it enforces them unfairly, it fails as a government.
And, in the beginning, most governments failed because those in charge couldn’t shake the premises inherited from the animal world that “might makes right” and the “strong had a right to dominate the weak.” Thus, most governments in the ancient world had one set of laws for the rich and powerful and another set for the poor and powerless, The idea of “equal protection before the law” was not very popular. It wasn’t until later, that the development of the left lobe demanded that logic required equal treatment for everyone regardless of his rank. The reason is that logic operates according to what is known as a syllogism that is based on a major and minor premise that leads to a logical conclusion. For example if our major premise says:
Major Premise: All rapists should be castrated
And our minor premise states:
Minor Premise: The king’s son is a rapist
Then the only possible logical conclusion that can be drawn is:
Conclusion: The king’s son should be castrated.
Or if you want something with a more personal connection consider that the Minor Premise is:
Minor Premise: My son is a rapist
And you’ll get a sense of the conflict and dilemma that exists between your right lobe, that operates on feelings and the personal level, and the left lobe that operates according to logic and the facts. We all want justice for the other guy but mercy for ourselves and those we love. Yet, logic says that justice requires that the law be applied equally.
It appears then that the right lobe is the source of mercy and vengeance because its motto is “forgive your friends and punish your enemies.” This problem, of course, is still with us today when policemen wink at a friend or relative who goes through a red-light and grabs a member of a despised minority group who crossed on a yellow light. It is the rare policeman who is willing to give his mother a traffic citation and it is the rare parent who can admit that his or her child is guilty of a crime. In the Watts Riots in California they had video pictures of a young man beating a truck driver with a brick and he later confessed to it. But his mother, when interviewed and shown the video and informed of his confession, swore that the man in the picture was not her son.
As Proverbs 8 says, “Wisdom comes through experience” and experience has taught us that if you want justice based on objective facts, then you have to exclude the right lobe that operates according to personal feelings. Thus, the Statue of Justice is portrayed as a women with a blindfold, holding a balancing scale in one hand and a sword in the other. She is blindfolded to keep her from recognizing any of contestants, thereby eliminating the danger that her personal feeling might influence her decision. The balancing scales symbolize the weighing of the evidence, and the sword symbolized her responsibility to inflict a punishment. Thus, we expect judges to excuse themselves from any case in which they have a personal interests. We don’t trust the human heart to do the right thing when feelings are involved.
The same problem arises in government. Plato said that the thing that ruined every government no matter how logically it was thought out and structured was the practice of nepotism whereby the rulers put their relatives into important positions rather than the most qualified people. His solution, as we shall see in a future talk, was to take every child away from its parents and have them raised by the state, thereby preventing anyone from knowing his relatives. The left lobe’s logical solution to this problem of nepotism was the Civil Service Exam, which instead of names, had numbers to prevent the markers from knowing the name of the applicant.
Another advancement by the left lobe in the area of justice was the “rules of evidence.” Before they were created, the human race was inclined to make important decisions through right lobed alogical methods. For example, Greek and Roman generals in the ancient world often depended on seers who, through the reading of the guts of slain animals, sought to predict the outcome of a battle. During the Middle Ages, issues were often settle through alogical means such as “trial by combat” or “trial by ordeal.” For example, in the movie Ivanhoe, the fate of the Jewess who was about to be burned at the stake as a witch was to be determined by whether Ivanhoe or her accuser won in a jousting bout. Another way used to determine whether a woman was a witch was to bound the accused hand and foot and throw her into the river. If she floated she was guilty; if she sank, she was innocent. Thank God and the left lobe for inventing the “rules of evidence” in which logical facts and cross examination, rather than alogical methods, are used to determine innocence or guilt.
Even today we can see examples of the right lobe’s use of alogical methods to determine issues of facts. For example, when I was teaching at one inner-city school the girls used to write the name of their boyfriends on the board underneath of their own. Then they would cross out the letters that matched in each name. Then they would use the remaining letters to indicate whether the relationship was based on “love, hatred, marriage, or friendship.” If it came to the wrong conclusion, they often went back and rewrote one of the names in a different forms in order to get the desired results. Of course, this was “kid’s stuff” similar to using the petals of flowers to find out whether “She loves me! or She loves me not!”
However, there are adults who use these methods in a more serious way. There was a psychic hotline advertised on TV that earned over a billion dollars before it was shut down for fraud. People would call in and pay an outrageous fee per minute to have these so-called psychics tell them how to run their lives. It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic. In India, devout Hindus use all types of alogical methods to make important decisions involving their lives. For example, if a young Hindu wants to find a marriage partner, he or she looks in the classified section of the paper for someone whose birth date forms an astrological connection to their own. Then they go to a seer who plans the entire wedding according to an astrological chart. They are told, minute-by-minute, where they should be standing and what they should be doing. To violate the seer’s instruction would result in some type of cosmic calamity in their lives.
It was the growth of the left lobe in human affairs that moved the human race away from these alogical methods and began to emphasize the freedom of choice based on observable facts. It is only in those areas of the world that are still trapped in the past, that they continue to survive. However, in recent years we have seen an increase of these methods in the West through a growing interest in Eastern thought and the New Age Movement. This should concern us especially when it appears that their greatest impact has been on college students, actors and actresses, and intellectuals. To move in this direction is to move away for the Logos within us back towards the arational right lobe.
Well, I see that my time is almost up. In closing I would like to remind my listeners that, from a Christian point of view, all these advances towards civilization that I have mentioned are the result of the gift of logic in our left lobes and this gift is the Logos that John I speaks of that is the light found in every person. Do I hear a “Thank you, Jesus?”