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Discernment: Reflections on 9/11 

Norm offers an unconventional perspective on the destruction of the Twin Towers. He finds the 9/11 Commission Report to be frightfully inadequate. As a Swedenborgian, he cannot accept un-rational explanations for events that have shaped our foreign policy so drastically over the last ten years. -Editor.

"Thought from the eye closes the understanding but thought from the understanding opens the eye" (Divine Love and Wisdom 46).

To speak out and challenge the official findings of the 9/11 Commission Report on the events of September 11th even in a relatively free society is ventured into with some degree of trepidation. Yet openness, and a willingness to express a divergent viewpoint from the norm is essential where truth and its pursuit are fundamental to freedom and democracy.

It was for such political and religious freedom, and the declaration by the Russian government in 1872 that ended the Mennonites' exemption from military service, that my ancestors emigrated from Russia. In due course, leaving the turmoil behind that would ensue later, they left their homeland with Providence leading, soon to be studying and sharing their enthusiasm and affection for the new revelation in the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Their courage and willingness to question the restrictive and dominant thought of their Mennonite religion and culture has formed the basis of my life-long affection for the truths of the New Christian Church. How to apply those truths of the New Revelation is the challenge for each of us.

Pursuit of the truth on the natural and spiritual plane and its application are central for the maintenance of freedom. In her work, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Jewish-German born philosopher Hannah Arendt shares this thought: "Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it. If we turn our backs on evil, our passivity translates into approval. Silence is consent."

Seeking discernment in my study of the horrific events of 9/11, I am convinced along with growing numbers, that the events that changed the world, compromising freedom and so costly in lives, is worthy of independent scientific scrutiny to get at the truth of what actually happened, how it was done, and ultimately by whom.

In our un-regenerate states we can all attest that there have been times when we have let "thought from the eye"--Swedenborg refers to this as thought from appearances--form the basis of our understanding and even pre-mature judgment. Conditioned by repeated TV visuals of collapsing WTC Buildings supported by selected highly charged political commentary, justification for retaliation soon morphed into the protracted war in Afghanistan and other regions, ostensibly to hunt down the perpetrators of the attacks. However, with new forensic evidence emerging referred to below, the grounds on which war has been justified is increasingly suspect. It is surely time that the traumatic events of 9/11 be investigated on the basis of thought from the understanding grounded in rational thought and science.

With a growing body of professionals in their various disciplines of civil engineering, chemistry, physics, including both military and commercial pilots and their analysis of the evidence available from the site of Ground Zero, it is becoming evident that we have yet to approach September 11th from strict empirical science. Rather than thought from appearances, it is time we pressed for a new 9/11 investigation based on the principle of thought from the understanding opening the eye. It is only from this vantage point--an enlightened understanding--that we can hope to get to the truth of what actually happened on 9/11.

There are a number of professional groups and highly respected individuals pressing for a new 9/11 investigation. To name a few these include, with science as their guide: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, 15 min video, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, and individuals such as Dr. Niels Harrit; Civil Engineer Dr. Judy Wood, author of Where Did The Towers Go?; and widely published author and academic David Ray Griffin. All are steadfast in insisting that there be a new and independent inquiry.

It is also to be noted that in a recent May 2011 Sienna Poll of New York City residents, a third of respondents were unaware of the existence and collapse of WTC Building #7, some having become aware only recently. This very strategic stand-alone building, though not impacted by a plane, plummeted to the earth in a mere 6.5 seconds allegedly due to fire ignited by the other towers. Concurrently, in the state of California, an initiative is under way for the 2012 election that would allow voters to indicate whether or not they support a new 9/11 investigation (9/11 Commission Initiative). This September 8th to 11th, Ryerson University of Toronto will be the site of a symposium of professionals, including some of those listed above, who will provide rational arguments based on science that refute the official report of the 9/11 Commission (;

Recently I watched an archived on-line ABC news story that was filmed at Ground Zero just three days after September 11th. The news anchorman reported that the engineers who had designed the 1,362 foot-high towers found it almost impossible to believe that the their great mass of solid structural materials had been reduced to a pile of rubble only one hundred feet high. Where were the substantial slabs of concrete that are always present when modern structures collapse due to forces of earthquakes or controlled demolition? Part of the news segment was an interview with a Dr. Stephen Levin, Director of Environmental Medicine at New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital. He was astonished, in his words, that the bulk of the buildngs had been pulverized into dust!

Readers at this site will recognize a principle stated in the Writings that "man is to act in freedom according to reason." Holding that thought in mind, Dr. Judy Wood, Ph.D. (Civil Engineering) questions the official explanation basing her reasons on the established laws of physics and science. From her engineering discipline she rejects the theory that the towers collapsed due to fire. The reported collapse times of eight and ten seconds of the Twin Towers and pulverization of tons of structural concrete into massive pyrochlastic clouds of dust--supposedly attributable to fire and the forces of gravity--challenges the rational mind. Dr. Wood in her scholarly text eight and a half years in the writing, puts her professional career on the line in challenging the 9/11 Commission theory. It is compelling reading for anyone interested in further study.

It has been argued that it was the heat from the kerosene jet fuel that melted steel columns that triggered the ensuing tower collapse. Is this a credible theory? Outside the compression chambers of a jet engine, kerosene can only achieve temperatures of around 575 F. Steel melts at around 2,750 F and office fires burn at about 1,200 F. Inexplicably, recovery crews reported molten steel in the basements of the towers weeks later. What was the source of this heat? Dr. Wood addresses this puzzling question in her book which is beyond the scope of this article.

Dr. Niels Harrit, head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Copenhagen, along with his team of nine researchers found samples of un-reacted, high temperature nano-thermite in analyzed dust samples from Ground Zero. Dr. Harrit refers to their discovery of nano-thermite as the loaded gun for ruling out even more conclusively that any of the WTC buildings collapsed due to structural failure caused by fire.

The events of 9/11 have triggered a most destructive war, with immeasurable cost in the lives of both civilian and military personnel, and a frenzied escalation of hostilities towards those of Arabic culture. It is also linked to the growing prejudice in some Christian circles against those of Muslim faith. I am hopeful that more people of New Church persuasion will have the courage to critically examine the scientific evidence available about this elephant in the living room. On September 11th we were given a rationale for seemingly endless carnage, war, and suspicion based on fraudulent science if the people mentioned above are correct in their analysis.

I understand the scope of possible implications involved with re-investigating the events of 9/11. And I am aware of how challenging and uncomfortable these ideas are for people to consider. But I believe strongly in the value of truth, and think it is well worth our effort to pursue it, in all the uncomfortable places we may find it.

Thought from the understanding is an essential place to start in this search for the truth which is fundamental to freedom, not only spiritual but natural as well.

Additional Sources

Scholars for 911 Truth

Patriots Question 911

Norm Dyck

Norm is a life long member of the New Church, Convention and currently General Church. He attended college in Bryn Athyn from 1959-60. He is a former teacher and farmer. Norm is active in sharing New Church teachings that can have a positive influence for personal reformation, as well as global peace, justice and environmental sustainability. Now retired, Norm lives in Grande Prairie, Alberta where he actively participate in his local New Church circle and finds enjoyment growing food on their acreage with his wife Marg for local consumption.

Reader Comments (10)

Interesting, but you leave me wondering what it is you think did happen.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSue


I think this is an unconventional reading of the teaching about thought from the eye and thought from the understanding. Usually people take this to advocate that we try to look from a spiritual perspective at the natural world rather than merely from our natural eyes. In contrast you seem to be reading the quotation in the context of taking a full and careful view of all natural facts and evidence before committing to a explanation for certain natural world events. This second approach seems very valid for forensic study but not necessarily linked to "thought from the understanding."

There is a lot that interests and challenges me about your article. I understand Sue's curiosity about your theory about the events on 9/11, but for the purposes of this article I am very glad that you simply stuck to the goal of presenting the challenges and evidence unexplained by the official report or story about 9/11.

I think the key thing I take away from reading this piece is that "Pursuit of the truth on the natural and spiritual plane and its application are central for the maintenance of freedom." This rings true for me and prompts me to keep an open and careful mind.

I'll wager that the majority of people in US still accept the official 9/11 Commission report. Not only this, but I expect that almost all of them have not read that report, nor the report by NIST. (Myself included). Its not that I have any real grounds for accepting the official position and rejecting the various criticisms of that position. It is simply much more inconvenient to do that research and questioning. It takes time and effort, I am unqualified in numerous areas to properly do that research and this is just the beginning of the inconvenience. If I did find that the official report was suspect there would be serious and deadly implications to be considered.

So I realize that I don't know the truth about the situation and that it is tons more convenient for me to just accept the conventional or official story on the matter.

But, truth is not always convenient or pretty and I do believe that pursuing the truth fearlessly is fundamental to freedom - so I am not holding up my complacency as some great ideal.

I know that I cannot engage with every divergent perspective presented to me. I don't have the time or capacity and thus I must live with the conventional, unexamined story in most areas of my life. But when should I pursue a matter more fully? What are the criteria to use to decide whether it is worth the inconvenience to look further into a matter that some people allege doesn't smell right?

I dunno.


August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Conspiracy theories are always interesting, sometimes brilliant but almost never true.

I appreciate the fact that you have merely questioned the central truth of the official 9/11 storyline without offering an alternate explanation. I have heard some bizarre explanations of the collapse of the twin towers such as a joint US-Israeli demolition. I have also heard it told that al-Qaeda is a front for the Israeli Mossad or for the CIA. While I do not accept these conspiracy theories, I admit that some of them are ingenious even if they violate Occam's razor (check it out in Wikipedia). As far as I am concerned, I accept the official explanation that this was done by Jihadists linked to al-Qaeda. However, we do not fully understand the science of how the Twin Towers collapsed. There are probably flaws in the official version of what happened, even if it is correct in its broad outline.


August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Noah

Sue, you responded, " Interesting but you leave me wondering what it is you think did happen."

More empirical evidence is being brought forward for analysis by experts free of coercion in order that "thought from the understanding" might form the basis for a new 9/11 investigation, independent of any hypothesis or pre-judgment.

That is how any crime scene should be treated. That is how the group of 1400 Architects and Engineers are approaching their public venues being VERY careful not to jump to any pre-mature conclusions. What I can share, and I encourage you to do your own research, is that the group Architects and Engineers are suspect of the official NIST report.

It is for this reason that hearings are being held in various locations around the world as you will see if you click on some of the references that Rev Brian Smith has conveniently provided throughout my article on Discernment: Reflections on 9/11.

regards Norm Dyck

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorm

Thank you for this article, because in many ways it raises some very deep issues. Of course there will always be voices ranting about conspiracies, but the New Church must rise above these since it has a unique warrant. New Church ministers in the 19th century interpreted the command to the Israelites to plunder the Egyptians as developing the means to distinguish between good science and bad science. In an age which has politicised knowledge of every kind, we should be wary of official views on events, for ours is an age in which we become convinced of different perspectives by little more than advertising and marketing. Needless to say, Swedenborg says that knowledge should be held tacitly – that is to say, that we should not be convinced by what may be little more than clever argument – after all, corroboration is an easy matter these days. When we think of the subsequent events to 9/11, is it not the case that cameras have appeared on virtually every shopping mall, street and building, that security issues have made us all potential terrorists until we can prove otherwise. And yet behind this, we find a long list of falsities that were repeatedly denied in high places –whether it was Nixon or Clinton, or the lie concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Could there be no more ironic a statement than that given by Bush exhorting the public in the face of terror to keep shopping.
In Great Britain, Tony Blair, the prime minster, argued the case for invasion on the usual grounds on TV, yet in an unguarded moment, declared that he did not want to be remembered as the prime minister of appeasement. No weapons were found, and it seems that the only justification for invasion for him, leading to the deaths of many loyal soldiers, was his own self image. Is this not an echo of Herod who did not want to behead John the Baptist but ‘out of regard for his guests’ etc.
You are quite right to quote Hannah Arendt on the question of apathy. Swedenborg was the only thinker in his day who questioned the inertia principle, for in the Heiroglyphic Key, he wrote that inertia was sluggishness and lethargy, and that there was nothing in the heavens that corresponded to it.
I could point at a whole number of issues that draw my attention, but the matter that alarms me here is that the New Church generally seems to have forgotten its own teachings from ‘Words for the New Church’ which invites us into the real world and to get our hands dirty and plunder the Egyptians. The factual world is the footstool of heaven, and the Lord’s prayer extols us to see the Lord’s will done here as it is in heaven. This will not happen if we find the disease of complacency spreading in our own ranks.
I looked up your reference to the Mennonites, and it is clear that you come from a line whose immediate forebears experienced persecutions that must still be an active part of your own memory. Thank you for this article. I may not have any solutions, but at least you have managed to wake me from my own lethargy.

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkarl


I appreciate, that you appreciate, I am not offering an alternate explanation to the events of 9/11.

First to your point regards Occam's razor . I am familiar with this 14th Century Logician's concept which boils down to "one should not increase beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything." I am also aware that this Franciscan Monk, William of Occam, believed that empirical evidence was necessary. He argued for empiricism not against it.
What I think you are offering in reference to Occam's razor is that we be content with the Official 9/11 report and all will be well.

For all of us life is much more complex than it was in the 14th Century. Terrorism by all sides, and indeed warfare, can now be carried out remotely by electronic means. In that reality it is vital for the sake of world peace that we and our governments operate from the highest standards avoiding at all costs, the temptation to 'shoot first and ask questions later'. The Hells would have us do so! But their end game is different than the Lord's and what ours should be.

Having done an incredible amount of reading on the topic of 9/11 over the last 2 years I am gladdened that there is a group like Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, over 1400 of them who have signed onto the mandate of the organization with the sole purpose of bringing scientific evidence to the fore and demanding a new 9/11 investigation because in their opinion; not mine, I am not an engineer; that established scientific and engineering standards do not support collapse of the towers by fire, and in particular, building #7. It is time that the truth be it's own witness, we have had enough war based on what is looking more and more like incredible deception.

I would encourage all the readers of this site to do their own study by going to the sites that Rev. Brian Smith has provided. Freedom is precious and we have a duty to protect it with the truth for the sake of the innocent and vulnerable. It is a precious teaching that the Lord has left with us through his servant Emanuel Swedenborg, that "Thought from the eye closes the understanding but thought from the understanding opens the eye" DLW #46. We must apply that principle.

Norm Dyck

August 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorm


To be clear, the NCP team adds links (where possible) to the material referenced by authors in their articles. The adding of links is our standard practice and not the special work of Brian Smith.


August 29, 2011 | Registered CommenterNew Church Perspective


A clarification. You said: "What I think you are offering in reference to Occam's razor is that we be content with the Official 9/11 report and all will be well."

That is not what I meant. We need to go beyond the official report and understand further what happened regarding the science of the collapse, and the political forces that caused it.

What I meant that the official report is right in its broad outline. The collapse was triggered by Jihadi pilots that flew planes into those buildings. This is the simplest (and correct) interpretation per Occam's razor. Any other interpretation that involves the Israelis, the Red Chinese, the Russians or even an US agency is too complex to be true. Politicians are wily, but not that smart.

We do need to refine the details.


September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoger Noah


Your point , " The collapse was triggered by Jihadi pilots that flew planes into those buildings" a scientifically satisfactory explanation is immediately suspect when confronted with the fact that no aircraft hit the 47 floor Building #7.

First off, the suspect fires , reported about 2:10 PM, that the Official report says were largely responsible for the collapse of building #7 were reported to have gone out about 3:50 PM. Then inexplicably the building collapses at 5:20 PM. The collapse is eerily similar to what experts expect in controlled demolitions. The building collapses in its own footprints is just under 7 seconds, no structural resistance. How does one account for the uniform heating of essentially all vertical steel columns from the heat of office fires that would bring about this symmetrical collapse. That defies all reason. As representatives of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, like Richard Gage bring to our attention, that this elapse time for collapse is virtually identical to the time it would take a bowling ball when dropped from the roof of that building to reach the ground from the same height! Ask a physics teacher plugging in these values. Does it add up? No structural resistance offered by floors below? That does not even satisfy a lay person let alone structural engineers who design buildings to withstand office fires!

Those are just a couple of discrepancies that the rational mind is confronted with. That is why there is a growing body, now reported around 1500 of Architects and Engineers from around the world as well as military and commercial pilots , witnesses and survivors and family members of the deceased victims of the towers that are pressing for a independent unbiased investigation examining all evidence.

Roger, it takes some time but surely the truth in this matter should be important as it triggered a prolonged war and the death of thousands, military and civilian, and to what end?

Was the war launched on Afghanistan for legitimate reasons? That remains a very moral question that I would think New Church people would be courageous enough to ask.

There are linked references throughout the article that corroborate what I have based my article on.

regards Norm

September 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNorm

Several indiividuals in the New Church have cited Occam's Razor as if that in itself should seal off further questioning of the tragic events of September 11th. Let us consider Christopher Hitchens's apt definition of Occam's Razor: "When two explanations are offered, one must discard the one that explains the least, or explains nothing at all, or raises more questions than it answers." According to the criteria posed by Occam's Razor, I believe the Authorized Conspiracy Theory regarding September 11th should be discarded sooner than another explanation that works from the premise that 9/11 was an inside job. Allow me to adduce several examples supporting this hypothesis:

The Authorized Conspiracy Theory does not begin to explain how nineteen men armed only with boxcutters could gain entry into the locked cockpits of four commercial airlines on the same day and foil the entire military-surveillance complex of the United States before striking their targets. How is it that not one pilot activated the two-second hijack code to aviation authorities? The inside job explanation allows for the possibility that no such scenario actually took place. Where is the actual evidence for hijacking? As to what really happened instead, and how it happened, the jury is still out--principally because it has yet to be given a real opportunity to sit.

The Authorized Conspiracy Theory cannot explain why World Trade Centre Building Seven collapsed in under seven seconds when it had not been struck by an airplane. This would mark the first time in history that a steel-framed high rise has ever collpased due to fire. What would allow for such a precedent? Survivors of all three buildings reported hearing sequenced explosions. When the pulverized dust of the World Trade Centre was subjected to microscopic analysis, traces of the high-tech explosive nanothermite were discovered. How does the Authorized Conspiracy Theory account for these scientific anomalies? In contrast, the inside job explanation accomodates abundant eyewitness testimony and emprical evidence suggesting that the World Trade Centre was brought down not by fire, but by controlled demoliition.

The Authorized Conspiracy Theory does little to explain why four commercial planes travelling far off-course were not intercepted by faster-than-sound Air Force jets that exist for just that purpose. Explanation is particularly lacking for Flight 77, which was allowed to wander for an hour before purportedly striking the Pentagon. More baffling still is how the aforementioned plane was able to enter the most protected airspace in the world. The inside job explanation would suggest that no fighter jets were scrambled over Washington or anywhere else because the Air Force was restrained by a secret "stand-down" order issued at higher levels.

The Authorized Conspiracy Theory cannot explain the alleged crash of Flight 77 at the Pentagon. Why was so little wreckage found at the crash site? What became of the virtually indestructible landing wheels and six-ton titanium-steel metal engines? Why did the Pentagon take years before it issued five nebulous photos of the impact when it must possess surveillance footage that could easily dispel suspicion? The inside job explanation allows for the possiblilty of something altogether different from a passenger plane hitting the Pentagon, which is what empircal and forensic evidence suggests.

The Authorized Conspiracy Theory does not explain the initial refusal of the Bush administration to hold a commission of inquiry into the events of September 11th when such inquiries are common practice after major scandals or disasters. The commission that materialized more than one year later was severely underfunded, constrained by time, and pointedly limited in scope. Government non-cooperation was epitomized in the grudging appearance of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, who agreed to testify only on condition that they testify together, behind closed doors, not on record, or even under oath! Does any one else marvel at such paranoid pre-conditions? The inside job explanation posits that these two men did indeed have something to hide, thus expaining their virtual contempt of court.

Further examples can be adduced, but let these suffice for now. Empirical and forensic evidence available upon request.

Rather than supporting it, Occam's Razor cuts the Authorized Conspiracy Theory down to size. It's time to consider the simpler explanation.

September 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Brooks Deaton
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