The Kingdom of God Is Within Man  is the number one search that brings people to this site. “Van Gogh” and “Thomas Jefferson”  are also high on the list but nothing, according to Google Analytics, is more prominent than the search for  ”The Kingdom Of God is Within Man”.

The above film clip is from The Great Dictator released in 1940. It is from the original motion picture written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin. The only change from the original  is that it has been  remixed  with a different underscore entitled “Time” written by Hans Zimmer  from the motion picture Inception. This new  music brings a dramatic and positive effect to the original  footage. I thought is was worthy of sharing with you.

In this touching performance, Chaplin, quotes from Luke 17:21. In the NIV version,  the verse reads : “Once having been asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied,’ The kingdom of God does not come from your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is’ or “There it is’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.”

Many  call  this Chaplin soliloquy  the greatest movie speech ever made. Chaplin actually says , in  the film, “In the 17th chapter of Saint Luke it is written the Kingdom of God in within man, not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men, in you, you the people have the power!”

At the time of  the movie’s initial  release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin’s comic film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Adolf HitlerBenito Mussolini‘s fascismantisemitism, and the Nazis, whom he excoriates in the film as “machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts”.

The soliloquy endures today in  several mediums and mash-ups.

The Bot and I at MIT

A Him And A He At  MIT

HIM” is backed by capital from the  founders of PayPal, Facebook, and Tesla. Him is known as “Vicarious”.

According to the Vicarious Company,  Vicarious will be a “machine learning software based on the computational principles of the human brain. Our first technology is a visual perception system that interprets the contents of photographs and videos in a manner similar to humans. Powering this technology is a new computational paradigm we call the Recursive Cortical Network.”

Some of Silicon Valley’s most influential billionaires are backing Vicarious which aims to recreate the human neocortex as computer code.  Peter Thiel, from PayPal, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, and Elon Musk from Tesla are all in the creation game.  The young men have thrown $40 million in capital to HIM,  according to the Wall Street Journal. 

The neocortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres and in humans is crucial to the use of the senses as well as activities such as language, motor commands and spatial reasoning.

The  Vicarious Company has already managed to create software that will solve Captcha, the online tests used by many websites to supposedly identify humans from computers. Vicarious  founder Scott Phoenix said that if they are successful, Vicarious will have created “a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn’t need to eat or sleep”.

By the definition from Mirriam-Webster, Vicarious is  experienced or felt by watching, hearing about, or reading about someone else rather than by doing something yourself. Just another giant leap , not for mankind, but for HIM.

"Pieta" of Jesus and Mary Painted by Van Gogh in 1890

“Pieta” of Jesus and Mary Painted by Van Gogh in 1890

When we remove the patina from the modern portrait of Vincent van Gogh, we see a very different character. Van Gogh was bright, erudite, and well-educated. He was not  at all the “mad artist” we have  assumed from  the “myth” of his misunderstood history.

I have been tracking the ideal that van Gogh conceived, characterizing Jesus as the ultimate artist.

In a Letter to Emil Bernard on June 26,1988 van Gogh wrote, “Christ alone, of all the philosophers, magicians, etc., has affirmed eternal life as the most important certainty, the infinity of time, the futility of death, the necessity and purpose of serenity and devotion. He lived serenely, as an artist greater than all other artists, scorning marble and clay and paint, working in the living flesh. In other words, this peerless artist, scarcely conceivable with the blunt instrument of our modern, nervous and obtuse brains, made neither statues nor paintings nor books. He maintained in no uncertain terms that he made…living men, immortals.”

This letter was written a year before van Gogh checked into the asylum in Saint-Remy France. He checked himself in for sleep disorders and fits. The latest information points to chronic sleeplessness due to  a combination of genetic epilepsy and brain damage from absinthe abuse.

The next day, in a subsequent letter , written on June 27, 1988 to Emil , van Gogh wrote, “there is only this kernel, Christ — who, from the point of view of art, seems superior to me — at any rate something other — than Greek, Indian, Egyptian, Persian antiquity, which went so far. Now I say it again — this Christ is more of an artist than the artists — he works in living spirit and flesh, he makes men instead of statues, so….. as a painter I feel good being an ox …. and I admire the bull, the eagle, the man,with a veneration — which — will prevent my being a man of ambition.”

Emil Bernard was a post impressionist painter and a friend of van Gogh’s. He was also a friend with Cezanne,  Gauguin, and Toulouse-Lautrec.

David Kirkpatrick’s book, Breakfast In The Temple, will be published in April, 2013.
Group Portrait of American Male Teenagers, 2013,

Group Portrait of American Male Teenagers, 2013

Jesus’ twelve disciples were probably young, almost all under the age of eighteen and some as young as 15. All were most likely bachelors, but for one.

There is no indicator  in Scripture of a specific age for any disciple. So we look through the lens of historical context as well as  clues derived from Scripture.

In the time of Jesus, a Jewish man received a wife after the age of 18. Peter was the only one known to  have been married. In Matthew 8:14-15,  we learn that Peter had a wife when Jesus healed his mother-in-law. Again, Scripturally, no other disciples’ wives are mentioned.

Education Of That Time

Why are we to assume Jesus’ disciples were so young? The tradition of education of that time indicates it.

Education for the Jewish child concluded at the age of 15.

For those  bright (or wealthy) enough, higher education consisted of studying under a local rabbi. If they  didn’t find a rabbi that accepted them as a student (much like a college entrance application), then they entered the workforce by their mid teens. In most cases, they apprenticed under their fathers and worked for the prosperity of the family.

Most of the disciples were already apprenticing  at their trades as in the case of disciples, James and John.

A Rabbi At The Age of 30

Historically, a rabbi of that time would begin to take on students at the age of 30. It was at the age of 30 that Jesus, we believe,  began his public ministry.  This also fits in with the rabbinical traditions of the time.

Why was Jesus considered outlandish by the status quo? He was not a rabbi who taught  in the synagogue. He taught by the seashore and from the mountaintop. He was anti-religious. His message was radical. Jesus’ idea of loving everyone, occurred to no one.  Culture was about hate and aggression. Also, Jesus stated  that He  was the Son of God. He claimed that the only way to God was through him. (John 14:6)

The Way

Of course, this posse of  young Jewish guys were not known as “Christians”. Most probably, they were simply students of the Rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. As far as we can ascertain from the book of Acts, the  early Jesus movement was known as “The Way”  (Acts 9:2; Acts 24:14) .The name “Christianity” did not occur until Antioch, several years after Jesus’ resurrection. (Acts 11:27)

Unlike the cinematic  portrayals  of the past  and even in the latest TV miniseries, The Bible airing now , the disciples were  probably not middle-aged men. Not only is it against the historical times but flies in the face of Scripture. The only one who might have been older, other than Peter,  was Matthew. He had a profession as a tax collector.

Here are a few youth indicators from Scripture”:

The use of the term “little ones”

In Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21, and John 13:33, Jesus calls his disciples little children, “little ones”. This would be a bit insulting if they were men, no matter how radical or gentle the rabbi!

James and John

These guys were brothers. They had a pushy mom named Salome who wanted to arrange where they would sit with Jesus at the table. Salome’s  pushiness wouldn’t make sense if  the brothers were grown men.(Matthew 20:20-24). Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder”as they were probably either loud or bold, characteristics in youth.

Only Peter Is Known to Have been Paid the Temple Tax

In Exodus 30:14-15, Jewish law states that every male over the age of 20 is to pay a half-shekel as a census offering when they visit the temple of God. In Matthew 17:24-27, Jesus instructs Peter to “fish up” this tax. And to find a four-drachma in the mouth of the fish he catches; enough to pay the tax for two men, himself and Jesus. Jesus requests this only for Peter and for Jesus. You could conclude that the others were underage and did not need to pay.

“Young Guns”

Teenagers have always been a key component in movie attendance.  Today, the physical movie theatre is still a principal destination for teenagers: largely because they can meet friends there, date, hang, etc. While a movie executive in the 80s and 90s, I was  always looking for ways to make stories “younger”. An ensemble film, Young Guns, featured  a retelling of “Billy the Kid” with a very youthful cast. It   had been hugely popular when it was released in 1988.  Indeed, we may have had a “Young Guns”  cast with the disciples. It was always there.

A youthful discipleship doesn’t  change the  Truth of  the Gospel.

It simply adds a  different tonality to its music.

dream_on_Living_in_The_metaverse

Want to dream better? More completely? Want to remember your dreams?  Try Dream:ON , a new app  available for the IOS system on iPhone. Dream:On sounds like a character out of a Philip K. Dick science fiction novel. However, I saw the app demonstrated  on Doctor Oz so it must be real:-)!  You can install the app for free through this portal on iTunes by clicking here.

How It Works:

Once your mind moves into REM sleep, the  Dream:On App goes to work. It softly plays a soundscape that induces dreaming. The soundscape continues playing throughout your REM cycle, apparently aligning your unconscious state with the conscious. This allows you to be able to remember the dreams.  It also is programmed to return to play before you awaken. There is a built-in alarm with a snooze component   that has a menu of preferences (bells, songbirds, etc.)

Soundscapes

Inside the Dream:ON App, there is a series of soundscapes to which one can choose. The default preferences are “Peaceful Garden” and “Into the City”. If you click on the default scapes, the app will take you to twenty other soundscapes  which you can program. There is text description for all of them.

Having read many of the app reviews on-line, it may take a few days for you to start recalling your dreams, but hang in there, it  generally  has been effective in the majority of reviewers after a few days. I am not clear as to why that is.

Benefits

For myself, I have found an increase in  mental alertness, a general sense of well-being, and a deeper creative wellspring while writing.  I have been using it  for only  one week .  Those who know me  know I am a student of  Carl Jung. I believe that learning and discovering yourself  in  your dreams can bring you to psychic health.

Functionality Drawbacks

There are several downsides to the Dream: On App:

  1. There is  no preview  for the soundscapes
  2. You must sleep next to your iPhone
  3. Your iPhone must remain plugged into an electrical outlet during the course of sleeping. The app drains the battery.

Caution in the Brave New World

The funky aspect of the app is that it includes “haunted” soundscapes. Really, who wants nightmares?

That said, I would use your own discernment  before electing to try it. Please read the one star reviews to determine whether or not you want this is right for you.  In other words, go into Dream:On with eyes open.

For myself, I give it a thumbs up based on a one week history.

Travels In Transmedia