Noesis

The Journal of the Mega Society
Number 65
September/October 1991

 

ANGRY MAIL ISSUE (PROBABLY THE FIRST OF SEVERAL)

 EDITORIAL

Rick Rosner
5139 Balboa Blvd. #303
Encino, CA  91316-3430
(818) 986-9177

THE MERGER

My intention wasn't to tick people off, but was rather to achieve a consensus among Jeff Ward, Chris Cole, Ron Hoeflin and myself concerning the merger of the Mega and the Noetic Societies. From the angry mail contained in this issue, you will see that some of the provisions for a merged society were ill-founded.

I hope a merged society can be resistant to splintering and can attract and maintain an active, enthusiastic membership.  With these goals in mind, here's a new set of provisions:

1.  The Mega and Noetic Societies ARE merged.  This is the one definite aspect of the current situation.

2.  The new society shall be called the Mega Society.  Our journal shall be called Noesis.

3.  All past and current members of either society are welcome as members in the new organization.  No requalification required.  I apologize profusely.  

4.  All future adult candidates will be admitted on the basis of qualifying scores on IQ-type tests taken as adults.  Tests which are acceptable for qualification of future members include those by Ron Hoeflin and Kevin Langdon with sufficiently high ceilings.  Other tests may be submitted for consideration.  (Exactly who would consider them is another open question.)  Factors affecting the acceptability of a test would probably include the test's normability and the number of people who have taken the test.

5.  Letters or articles over 2500 words will be split into 2500-word chunks to run in consecutive issues of Noesis.  I think it would be helpful to readers if contributors of letters and articles over 1000 words would preface such submissions with one- or two-sentence abstracts.

6.  Statements that I judge likely to cause the Mega Society to splinter out of rancor may be edited.  (Yes, I am a hypocrite.) [I wrote this weeks ago, and since then I've become less sure that censoring letters in which one member is harsh about another is a good idea.  However, I have left out small chunks of two letters.  You-- members, subscribers, and the writers of those letters--will have to let me know if this is unacceptable.]

Please continue to let me and the rest of the members know what you think.  Please also send material on other subjects.

0000000000000000000000000000000000000

IQ-RELATED MALAISE?
by Rosner

Going through school as a nerd, I was often told by friends and teachers, "You'd be better off if you didn't think all the time." I've never found it possible to stop myself from thinking obsessively, and I wonder if this causes physical stress.

At the risk of grossing you out, let me list some of the physiological complaints I have which I suspect might be associated with my habits of thinking.

1.  Hair loss in excess of what I'd lose for all the other reasons people lose hair.  (Are academicians called eggheads because they generally have less hair?)  Actually, I'm not doing so bad hairwise.  I just have to avoid intense illumination, as do vampires.

2.  Self-inflicted irritation when tired.  When I become sleepy, I habitually attempt to maintain alertness by attacking myself, biting my nails, searching for ingrown hairs and dandruff,  etc.  Yuck.

3.  Stress-related physical glitches, including chest tightness and enlarged lymph nodes in neck.  Lowered pain tolerance and sensitivity to cold when agitated.

4.  Periods of spaciness and absent-mindedness following sessions of sustained concentration.

Do y'all have any physiological conditions you associate with excessive use of your brains?  Or do you find that mental exercise leads to physical health and that I'm a hypochondriac?  Share your thoughts with us.  (Just don't hurt yourself doing it.)

0000000000000000000000000000000000000

Chris Cole said to remind you how and when to renew subscriptions, but since I've been so unprompt in bringing these issues to you, I'll save that for next issue.

TWO LETTERS FROM CHRIS HARDING

9/12/1991

Dear Rick Rosner:

Thank you for Noesis No. 61 which I've read.

I recall having come across a book called Man-Child by David Jonas & Doris Klein published by the Scientific Book Club in 1972 and originally published in 1970 by Davidor Ltd. in of all places a flea market sale and paying 40 cents for it since they thought no one would ever have wanted to read it which turned out to be one of the best reads I ever had ! which says something similar to your piece.  That was in 1973 I believe.  If I recall correctly their position was that man is the product of regressive evolution as an overcompensation for physical weaknesses caused in an early ape-like ancestor by virus disease.  The thought may have occurred to them for that was the period of rampant 'flue viruses like the world had not seen for half a century.

In the 1950's Alfred Bester wrote two science fiction works that were to become classics of the genre--the second originally called Tiger Tiger and later published as The Stars My Destination which had the interesting quote part of which ran:  "but the classics and romantics were blind to the cold facts of evolution, that progress stems from the clashing merger of antagonistic extremes born out of the marriage of pinnacle freaks."  Yet his freaks were the regressive products of Man-Child curiously enough which suggests that many minds have contrived (as you have) a similarity of convergence.

I look forward to a merger of the Noetic and Mega Societies which may be in harmony with the above reflections.

Sincerely,

Chris. Harding

c/o P.O. Box 5271 Mail Centre North Rockhampton Queensland, 4702 AUSTRALIA

10/14/91

 

Dear Rick Rosner:

The alleged proposal set forth on the front of Noesis Number 64 shows some animals to be more equal than others.

All those who have passed a Hoeflin test shall be given sanctuary no matter how any renorming may shift their scores.  On the other hand all others must risk themselves.  These people were Mega Society members--they did not ask to become Noetic Society members.  By some process of legerdemain the Noetic Society appears to have taken a legal name reputation position right etc. for its own use without regard to the dignity status or rights of members of the Mega Society.  How very odd.

If such a proposal were put to share holds in any company it would be rejected out of hand.  The matter would further be referred to the Security and Exchange Commission.  I've seen some rorts in my time but this one takes the cake.

Now you see it, now you don't!  Certain people were Mega members now they are going to be subscribers.  The shifty who set this one up knows full well that old Mega members will wind up on their asses--any retesting leads to a heap of burnt out regression to the mean products.

Let's try it the other way around.  All those who have passed Hoeflin test may try a standard IQ test available from any reputable psychologist.  If they can't pass such a test they may remain subscribers.  Let's call it the Noetic Society.  This could be fun after all.  Standard tests are after all proven tests, aren't they. We stand to gain certainty here, don't we.

Actually that situation is likely to remain preferable.  Guide lines are in the process of being drawn up by the International Test Commission which will be binding on national psychological societies and written into the laws of member states.  I can't put a time frame on it, but some time in the near future tests produced by amateurs aren't going to be legal tender, which is going to mean unless your PhD is in Psychometrics you'll be required to make a nasty court appearance.

Stranger still is the thought that the Noetic Society wanted new blood but now proceeds in an orgy of bloodletting.

I get the distinct impression there are some false motives being flung around and it looks like a lot of scat to me.  Pardon me for saying so but I think it's the attraction of the name.  Odder still since it occurs to me that Mega this and Mega that these days would have reduced the word to a bumbling banality that could be done without.  Every dummy has heard the word and knows what it means by now.  It takes a little more to know Noesis etc.  I would have thought a high IQ society was in the business of giving signals to the people it was seeking rather than swamp the selection agency.  Megarian too always was an unfortunate name wasn't it.

Sincerely,

Chevalier Baron Dr. Christopher Philip Harding, SFPE. DPhE. F.I.B.A. A.A.A.B.I. MCC. PhD. Kt. MSS. SRFP. M.P. (Member of the International Test Commission since 1986) (I am to put it mildly of illustrious descent.  My biography appears in the 2nd edition of The First Five Hundred--the most prestigious Biographical Who's Who ever published--only 500 people throughout the world have ever been listed of the 250,000 who have appeared in various national and international Who's Who references over the last 60 years of a world population of 5,300,000,000.)

TWO LETTERS FROM RON HOEFLIN

9/3/1991

Dear Rick:

The current Mega Society has an elaborate constitution, which I believe calls for the election (or reelection) of officers every year.  I wonder if this constitution will remain in effect if the Mega and Noetic Societies amalgamate.  I think annual elections tend to take up a lot of space in the journal, lead to factional strife, and ought to be avoided.  I think the constitution ought to be eliminated or drastically simplified, with elections, if any, to be held only every few years, not every year.

I also wonder if you and Jeff Ward are in full agreement about the membership status of current Mega members in any future amalgamation of the two societies.  I think Jeff probably wants them to remain full members and my tests would be required only for future applicants.  I'm certain Kevin Langdon opposes any "demotion" of members once they've been accepted, as current Mega members have been, not to mention his objecting to the sole use of my own tests for future membership admissions.  I'm personally not too concerned with whether current Mega members retain full membership status or not in a future society . . . . [Ron Hoeflin says some more stuff about Kevin Langdon which I've edited out.  In the next issue, Kevin Langdon says some stuff about Ron Hoeflin which I've also edited out.]

So the amalgamation of the Mega and Noetic Societies would be fine with me only if it does not lead to excessive politicization and only if Langdon's efforts to undermine the group from within are obstructed.

Sincerely,

Ron Hoeflin

10/11/1991

I received issues 62, 63, and 64 of Noesis today.  In issue 64, page 3, there is an error in problem 24 or Trial Test 3.  The analogy should not read

sin x : -cos x :: e : ? but instead

sin x : -cos x :: ex : ?

Sincerely,

Ron Hoeflin

[Sorry.  Due to the publication setup, exponents get lost.  Ed.]

A LETTER FROM M.C. PRICE

54 Union Road Northolt Middlesex UB5 6UE United Kingdom

Dear Rick,

I thought I'd write, even though I don't have a great deal to say, seeing as the Mega/Noetic Society suffers from the malaise of all high-IQ societies--lack of contributions.

Re the editorial of Noesis #64.  I think that Mega is definitely the snappier and more widely-known of the alternatives as a name for the merged Mega and Noetic societies.  As a newcomer I suggest that you retain the Noesis journal name, just for continuity, assuming that the journal's format is based more on the old Noesis rather than the Megarian (which I haven't seen yet).

Re Steve Sweeney's Mobius letter (Noesis #64).  I had problems with the "uniform curvature" phrase.  I wouldn't say that this was "clearly what Ron Hoeflin had in mind."  It is only clear if you also have the wording of the question from the trail Test "A" to compare it with. Until I saw the alternative wording (which was after I sent off my first answers) I had two answers prepared, depending on whether "uniform curvature" referred to the mobius strips' helicities (answer: 8) or to the circularity of the whole strip (answer: 12).  I think that both of Chris Langan's objections to the wording ("perpendicular to what?" and torus radial variation) can be met by requiring the answer to be unambiguous--all interpretations that yield ambiguous answers can be rejected on the assumption that any ambiguities would have been rejected by the Trial Test screening process.  Although, of course, this logic is violated (in my opinion) by the "uniform curvature" phrase, which is ambiguous.

Re second attempts on Hoeflin tests.  I have to declare an interest here and say that I failed on my first attempt at the Titan Test, scoring 41 (2 verbals and 5 non-verbals wrong).  Getting the score report back, once I'd got over the shock, stimulated me to correct for the torus ambiguity (see above), sort out the last 2 verbals, correct 2 transcription errors (leaving one answer blank and displacing the next--really stupid!) and (doing a general check) spot an error in the second tiles answer.  The two cones and cylinder question still beat me (and still does).  I see no reason why a second attempt should be less acceptable than the first, except for the case of multiple-choice questions.  For an untimed test retries only become unfair when entrants use the retry process to screen out errors by elimination, rather than by thought.

Re Hoeflin's qualifier to Feynman's warning of the perils of visualizing quantum event.  Without having seen the context (I haven't received Noesis 61 yet) I would be inclined to guess that Feynman's warning still stands.  Reducing the temperature of an electron won't dampen down its quantum behaviour, which is its unvisualizable aspect. Chemistry and all everyday occurrences are based on electron interactions and therefore matter, at any temperature, become quantised at small enough scales (i.e. atomic scales).

 

M.C. Price

P.S.  I love the new verbal analogies!  Thanks Ron.

VERBAL ANALOGIES FROM P.A. POMFRIT

Dear Rick,

As promised, you will find enclosed 25 verbal analogies for publication in Noesis (if you feel they are of sufficient difficulty!).

Obviously, don't publish them when Dr. Hoeflin has any of his trial tests (ULTRA) in the newsletter.

Best Wishes,

Pete [P. A.--Arthur (by the way) after my late father--Pomfrit]

VERBAL ANALOGIES

Send answers and two dollars (cash) to cover expenses to:

P.A. Pomfrit
22, Moat Hall Ave.
Peel Green
Eccles
Manchester
M3O 7LR
England

There is no time limit.  I will send all participants a copy of my "PAP" test.  (Published in "Gift of Fire" some years ago).

1.  NATURAL : ARTIFICIAL :: ANKYLOSIS : ?
2.  CHOKING ON FOOD, etc. : HEIMLICH :: ADJUSTING MIDDLE EAR PRESSURE : ?
3.  LYING ON OATH : PERJURY :: INFLUENCING A JURY : ?
4.  RECTANGLE : ELLIPSE :: MERCATOR : ?
5.  CLOSED : CLEISTOGAMY :: OPEN : ?
6.  FO'C'SLE : SYNCOPE :: TH'ARMY : ?
7.  FILMS : OSCAR :: MYSTERY NOVELS : ?
8.  QUANTITATIVE DATA : STATISTICS :: HUMAN SETTLEMENTS : ?
9.  7 : 19 :: SEPTIMAL : ?
10. 3 TO 2 : SESQUILATERAL :: 7 TO 5 : ?
11. SICILY : JAPAN :: MAFIA : ?
12. CELEBRITIES : SYCOPHANTIC :: ANCESTORS : ?
13. 95 : 98 :: VENITE : ?
14. MINCES : EYES :: PORKIES : ?
15. POSTAGE STAMPS : PHILATILIST :: MATCHBOX LABELS : ?
16. MALE : FEMALE :: ARRENOTOKY : ?
17. TAILOR : DYER :: SARTORIAL : ?
18. HERMES : BACCHUS :: CADUCEUS : ?
19. 2823 : 5331 :: ELEPHANT : ?
20. CENTRE OF GRAVITY : BARYCENTRIC :: ROTARY MOTION : ?
21. CALIFORNIA : EUREKA :: NEW YORK : ?
22. MARRIAGE : DIGAMY :: COMING OF CHRIST : ?
23. 6 : 5 :: PARR : ?
24. GROUP : INDIVIDUAL :: PHYLOGENESIS : ?
25. 12 : 11 :: EPSOM : ?

[You are being modest by asking if these are of sufficient difficulty. Offhand, I know the answers to two of these!  Ed.]

A LETTER FROM CHRIS LANGAN

10/21/1991

Dear Rick:

Thanks for the great job you did of proofreading and printing Jojo Einstein.  It seems to have been retyped; if you were the typist, I appreciate it.

[Any retyping was done by the computer and/or Chris Cole.  Ed.]

You ask for comments on the renaming of the journal.  I like Noesis.  It's meaningful and euphonic, things which neither "The Mega Society Journal" nor "The Megarian" have going for them (the latter sounds like the name of an alumni newsletter or collegiate frat-rag). Moreover, the Mega Society has up to now had no use for this group or anyone in it, and therefore should count itself fortunate to carry on its name at the expense of ours.  This is supposedly justified by its greater age and notoriety.  By similar reasoning, the combined journal should bear the name under which the most interesting material has been published.  The sporadic contributions of Mega Society members notwithstanding, their need for "revitalization" implies that their journal probably compares to Noesis neither in that respect nor in terms of circulation.  "The Mega Society" we may now be, but fair's fair.

Noesis 64 contains mention of something called "the classic two-envelope problem."  Some time ago I resolved a related paradox on the nature of (physical-level, sub-Newcomb) mathematical expectation. since the two-envelope problem is merely a special case of that paradox, either Jojo Einstein or I could dispatch it with minimal effort.  I'll go ahead and do it up while awaiting your (politically-informed) response.  If current high-quality work continues to appear in the journal, then only time can separate it from glory.

I hope you and the Mrs. enjoyed your trip.  You'd certainly be enjoying it now; this is prime foliage season over most of the state, when ski lifts in the Catskills and Adirondacks droop under the weight of tourists, cameras, and six-packs.

Regards,

Chris L.

BOOK REVIEW
Chris Cole

Masquerade by Kit Williams, Jonathan Cape, London, 1979

Masquerade The Complete Book with the Answer Explained by Kit Williams, Jonathan Cape, London, 1982

The Quest for the Golden Hare by Bamber Gascoigne, Jonathan Cape, London, 1983

Noesis readers may be familiar with the spate of treasure hunt books that have been published in recent years.  I believe the seminal work in this fad was the beautifully illustrated children's book-cum-treasure map Masquerade by Kit Williams.  This book contains fifteen very detailed one- or two-page paintings rendered in the fantastic style typical of a high quality children's book, together with a dreamy story containing characters such as Jack Hare, Tara Tree-tops and the Lady Moon.  Most of the very lifelike people in the paintings are actual friends of Mr. Williams.

This book set off a frenzy of solving activity unequalled by any subsequent book, even though its imitators offered much higher prizes, culminating in the $500,000 of the book Treasure with puzzle by Paul Hoffman (a.k.a. Dr. Crypton -- does anyone know what happened to this prize?)  This relative lack of interest may be due to the market being crowded or the poor intrinsic quality of the subsequent entries.  Or perhaps people just got tired of treasure hunts.

The solution to Masquerade is simplicity itself, and is fully in keeping with the nature of the book: namely, a picture book.  First of all, the text has nothing to do with it; the pictures alone contain the answer.  Secondly, the answer is literally pointed to by the pictures. Each picture is bordered by letters, which is a dead giveaway since the letters have no reason for being there if they are not part of the puzzle.  By drawing a line from the eyes of the various creatures in the pictures, through their longest fingers, biggest toes, etc., and extending to the bordering letters, this message is found:

CATHERINES LONG FINGER OVER SHADOWS EARTH BURIED YELLOW AMULET MIDDAY POINTS THE HOUR IN LIGHT OF EQUINOX LOOK YOU.

The first letter from each page spells:

CLOSE BY AMPTHILL

This method of solution is hinted to on the title page with the rhyme:

To solve the hidden riddle, you must use your eyes, And find the hare in every picture that may point you to the prize.

Armed with this information, it is a simple matter to discover that there is a statue of Catherine of Aragon in a public park near the city of Ampthill.  By doing a little amateur astronomy, the exact spot pointed to by the statue's long finger can be determined without waiting for the equinox.  Beneath this spot was the treasure, a golden hare.  The book also contains a number of confirming clues.

Quest chronicles some of the amazingly far-fetched approaches taken by Masqueraders.  Mr. Gascoigne, a respected author on the arts, accompanied Mr. Williams the night he buried the treasure.  He also read the tens of thousands of letters received by Mr. Williams.   The hare was found three years after the book was published by a shadowy figure with pseudonym Ken Thomas.  Mr. "Thomas"  found the hare by researching Mr. Williams' life, going to places that he had lived, and doing a lot of digging with the occasional help of some of the confirming clues.  Two British physicists did finally solve the puzzle with the help of a hint published by Mr. Williams in the Sunday Times, but they were a little too late.

After the announcement that the hare was unearthed, many fanatical Masqueraders tried to prove that their approaches could lead to the correct solution.  For example, someone discovered that the word "thill" means a fleck of paint (according to some obscure dictionary), and he thought he saw an inexplicable fleck of paint in each painting.  He also thought he saw the word "amp" hidden in each painting.  For example, in one picture a girl is floating in the air above houses.  And a volt (vault) over an ohm (home) is an amp.

Mr. Gascoigne summarizes his observations thus:

Tens of thousands of letters from Masqueraders have convinced me that the human mind has an equal capacity for pattern-matching and self-deception.  While some addicts were busy cooking the riddle, others were more single-mindedly continuing their own pursuit of the hare quite regardless of the news that it had been found.  Their own theories had come to seem so convincing that no exterior evidence could refute them. These most determined of Masqueraders may grudgingly have accepted that a hare of some sort was dug up at Ampthill, but they believed there would be another hare, or a better solution, awaiting them at their favourite spot.  Kit would expect them to continue undismayed by the much publicised diversion at Ampthill and would be looking forward to the day when he would greet them as the real discoverers of the real puzzle of Masquerade.  Optimistic expeditions were still setting out, with shovels and maps, throughout the summer of 1982.

 

A LETTER AND ARTICLE BY ROBERT DICK

10/9/1991

To the Editor:

I am writing as the Ombudsman of the old Mega society concerning the terms of the proposed merger of the Mega and Noetic Societies.  I have had a complaint.

First, I agree that the Hoeflin tests are like no "other" intelligence tests.  That is because intelligence is an aptitude, but the Hoeflin tests are at least in part achievement tests.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Disciplined thinking is a desirable achievement and should be most helpful to contributors to the journal, and to readers of it.

On the other hand, I feel it my duty to protect the rights of those who may yet fail to requalify on Hoeflin tests.  therefore I propose the following two points:

1)      That requalification tests be administered and scored at no charge.

2)      That failing to requalify never at any time be the subject of publicity without the written consent of the person involved.  This includes being dropped from published membership lists.  Of course, such lists may be labelled "Members and contributing subscribers."

If these two points are accepted I have no objections to the merger:  indeed, I welcome it.

Very truly,

Robert Dick, Ombudsman

THE BEST ANALOGIES EVER

by Robert Dick
13 Speer Street
Somerville NJ  08876
(908) 722-6949

"Heaven and Earth will pass away.  My words will never pass away."

--Jesus of Nazareth

I have heard it said, I forget where, that a sign of high intelligence is the ability to reason by analogies.  Therefore I would like to present to a highly intelligent readership what might be called The Gospel Analogies Test.  This is a little harder than a conventional intelligence test, because a conventional test is all signal and no noise.  The Gospels are, I believe, far from being entirely The Gospel Truth.  They are rather a mixture of good and bad, wheat and tares.

These analogies are not just of the form of "this : that :: these : ?"  They are mostly of the form the Kingdom of Heaven is like . . . .  For example, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant in search of pearls.  When he has found a pearl of great price he sells all that he has and uses the money to buy it.  I.e.

A searching merchant : pearl of great price :: the Kingdom of Heaven : (potentially) YOU! 

Jesus was very unsentimental.  He said harsh things like "To him who has, more will be given.  From him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."  His message in a nutshell was not love, no, that he defined as the message of the Old Testament.  No, his message was "Enter into the joy of your father!"

Let me tell you about joy, the joy we can share with God.  I have put more effort into writing what I call the joy list than into any intelligence test, and it felt like the same sort of effort, except as I say that most intelligence tests have no noise.  I read in Psychology Today that the method of the highly intelligent is to spend more time encoding information than do the less intelligent, and then less time in applying the coded information to solve problems.

Where can we find Jesus' most fundamental statement?  In his opening words of Matthew's Sermon on the Mount.  This so-called sermon is a rapid-fire discourse of deep ideas, the complete opposite of conventional sermons, which are expositions on a single theme.

I am talking about the Beatitudes.  For years I considered them sentimental mush, but when I went to encode them like a highly intelligent person should do I was startled at their beauty and power. Let me present to you my finished product, and then discuss it for a while.

Joy

They who
live small
honor their father
feel sorry
get new joy
forgive
renew the world
try hard to do right
grow new strength
give help
get new help
aim for just one thing
see the One newly
give joy
are like a new
child of the One
do right even though
they get hurt for it
honor their father.

It has been said that the Psalms are poetry with rhymes of ideas.  This list is like a mandala of ideas, deeply interconnected and all pointing toward a wordless core.  Again, this list is like a recursive computer program, a recursive if-then list, an operating system.  Bear in mind that this is an ultimate high-level statement. It defines all the joys we can share with God.  For example, those who try hard to give help grow new strength.  Those who help give joy get new help.  They who give trying-hard-to-do-right are like a new child of the One.

You see, religion isn't really about stories about things that are unknowable.  To Jesus the only important thing is doing joy.  The Gospel says of the Pharisees "They have their reward already."  Far from taking this as a put-down, I say joy is its own justification and reward.  These joys are, so to speak, like the axioms, the first principles of Jesus' system.

For example, I claim the conventional picture of heaven isn't as joyful as it might be.  There is no poverty in spirit, no mourning, no persecution for righteousness' sake there.  Thus at least three of the eight fundamental joys are missing.

My encoding of the Beatitudes is like a reformulation of Maxwell's equations in electromagnetics.  These equations explain almost everything about electromagnetic fields, and they come in two versions.  One is the integral form, the big picture.  The other is the differential form, action on a very small scale.  Both forms are equivalent.  I believe I have taken Jesus' integral equations and put them in differential form.

Note the pattern that my joy list has only words of one and two syllables.  That is deliberate.  As one professor put it, "Mathematical French is kindergarten French."  As one linguist explained, Chinese seems to some people like baby talk.  But actually it is the most mature language on earth.  I put the Beatitudes into baby talk to get at their pure essence.  I wish somebody, anybody, would appreciate that.

The Encoding:

1)      Blessed are the poor in spirit, for their's is the kingdom of heaven.  Spirit is like breath.  One might say the small of breath, the small of life.  Hence they who live small.  For one thing, small livers consume fewer resources.  For another, they are like our Father, who holds himself back to allow a space for not-God to flourish.  The first petition of the Lord's prayer is Hallowed be Thy name.  Honored be our Father.  Only living small is like a small father, not a Father.  Hence the lower case.

2)      Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Mourning is sorrow, being comforted is growing in joy.  True, mourners are at a low ebb of joy, and being comforted only raises them slightly.  But gaining in joy is joyful, regardless of the amount. Note here, as in all the middle-six Beatitudes the future tense comes in.  I represent that by the word "new," allowing me to put each statement in a kind of timeless condition.

3)      Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.  this came to me in a flash after weeks of meditating.  The meek deserve to own the Earth because they stop endless cycles of revenge and counter-revenge that could eventually kill everybody.  Hence, they who forgive renew the world.  Here is my prophecy of when the world will end:  when it runs out of meekness and forgiveness.

4)      Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Here we have the image of food and drink, which make the starving stronger.  This must be a common experience in dire poverty.  today, though, many people are wealthier than ever before.  It is exercise that makes them stronger.  But true strength comes from right exercise, which may or may not be the strengthening of physical muscles, for example.  Hence they who try hard to do right grow new strength.  This is my answer to those who say all have sinned and come short of the glory of God:  Trying hard to do right, even if you fall short is blessed.  That is, it is God-blessed, not condemned.

5)      Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  When someone is in dire need of mercy he doesn't yell "Mercy!"  No, he yells "Help!"  Hence my interpretation.  My version also, I think, brings out the universality of this saying.

6)      Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  This is actually almost a direct quote from a Psalm.  It's as though our hearts are windows.  If clean, we can look through them to god within us.  Again, Jews are the original Unitarians.  God is One.  Being pure in heart means something like being a monomaniac.  Or again, blessed are the simple-hearted (But NOT the simple-minded!).  At first I threw in the word "new" by saying see the new One.  But that is not consistent with Jewish thought.

7)      Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.  Not "they are," but "they shall be called."  The "are like."  For a long time I considered this mush, because of all the frauds who quote it urging unilateral disarmament in the face of evil.  But what does a new child do?  Give joy.  this is my answer to the Buddhists and Hindus who say that merging everything in Nirvana is the only real joy.  On the contrary, our Origin and Destination sending out new beings is joyful, very joyful.

8)      Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  I think it was Isaac Asimov who wrote in his Bible commentary that the last consequence is the same as the first because of a lack of new ideas.  On the contrary, they are the same like the clasp on a necklace.  We begin and end with blessings that happen in the present.  Being poor or hurt can be terminal!  the poor and hurt can't wait for the future.  I am influenced here by the Jewish saying that religious martyrs suffer "for the sanctification of God's name."  Another reason for "honor thy father."  Again, when a medal is awarded the hero is complimented for reflecting honor on his organization and country.

9)      There is a ninth Beatitude, but I consider it a corollary to the eighth.

There you have it.  This is the highest item in my three-part personal Constitution.  Send me a SASE for a photocopy of the whole thing.

How dare I reformulate the words of the Son of God?  A cat may look at a king.  I do it because I have to.  It is the only way I can formulate what is most important in my life.

And now "friends," are you my friends?  Who is my brother and sister and mother?  They who hear the word of God and do it.  To be joyful you must do joy.  I hold this truth to be self-evident.