Helen Schucman in Kenneth Wapnick’s telling
There’s strong evidence, besides ACIM, that Jesus isn’t a savior spoon-feeding us all the answers. An authoritarian determined to bend imperfection to Perfection by a dominating will.
The superlative mind and scholarship of Kenneth Wapnick, a PhD psychotherapist, were unerring in their interpretation of the Course, an astounding match for the unerring Logic of Jesus. But in his love of his subject and its scribe I believe that Kenneth’s biography of Helen Schucman may have erred. Absence from Felicity (Foundation for A Course in Miracles 1991) gave an account of Helen’s life that, toward the end, recorded not commitment but reluctance. Not passion but doubt. After years in everyday correspondence with Jesus, doing faithfully as she was asked, Helen ended their relationship not with intimacy but with distance. Her biographer was one of the small group of intimates who brought the Course to light. Much to his credit he could have finessed Helen’s distance but he didn’t. He stayed true to his conscience and his human subject, allowing readers to reach their own judgment. In spite of evidence to the contrary his judgment concluded that, at the very end, Helen resolved her conflict. Found sanctuary in the embrace of her Guide and the Course. Chose the high priestess of her imagination, the Voice of the Holy Spirit. Peace in Jesus and the Course. She became, at last, a true believer.
Another Helen Schucman
The end that a sympathetic biographer may have wanted but not necessarily what happened. Helen was an authoritarian “realist” drawn to the patriarchal Roman Catholic Church. This was, I believe, her personality type that determined whose truth she put on her throne and whose voice she heard. The “authority” that Helen thought she recognized in the teacher of the Course was a patriarch. Who belonged to her body-centered world and could deliver body-centered miracles if he chose to. Not supportively from the bottom up but arbitrarily from the top down. An Absolute answerable to nothing and no one. This was a misperception. This was not Logic and Love who cannot be above the Necessity of their own Laws of Cause and Effect, or else Order would become chaos, lawfulness lawlessness, governance dictatorship.
Despite all that Jesus taught, of Logic and Love who cannot be implicated in this body-centered world, Helen remained firmly anchored to her personality type. Clung to her misperception, her expectation for a savior who could bring light to darkness instead of letting darkness choose to come to the light. Who could choose for her. Helen didn’t abandon Jesus. She wandered away, an authoritarian waiting to be told how to think, how to behave. Not wanting to choose. Unable to choose. A victim of pancreatic cancer whose all-powerful Patriarch had failed her by denying her healing, the Miracle she imagined she had earned. Despite all that Jesus taught, she still got it wrong.
Helen anchored the family of intimates who produced the book. She showed little if any inclination or aptitude for marketing it. An object of respect, it was also a “pile of crap” when she didn’t want to seem taken in by it. The authoritarian “realist” views differences of any kind -- perspective or opinion -- as a contest of wills for supremacy. Can’t conceive of a “higher power” unless it’s “almighty god,” a cardboard cutout armored action hero championing the Israelites and smiting their enemies.
The mind of an authoritarian “realist” can’t be accessed to share different perspectives and ideas beyond the superficiality of groups. They have their own throne and it’s occupied by their own authorship: the grotesque mask of the Joker, a self-delusion. Their own lifeless, mindless, loveless, soulless dark side that’s nothing more than the code that defines their opposite. Not what they are but what they aren’t. An authoritarian arbitrary ruler above the law, a parasite that answers to a code derived from its host. The essence of weakness posing as strength. That has no rules of its own but is literally hell-bent to reject the Laws-Necessity of its host. To preserve an illusion: the unquestioned dominance of its authorship. A thought so insane, so perverse, that it can never be taken seriously. A joke.
Kenneth’s choice: Freudian analytics vs Jungian intuition
Just as Helen showed little inclination or aptitude for marketing the Course Kenneth showed little inclination or aptitude for running with intuition to explore its implications beyond its scope. To reflect on the Child’s loss of consciousness, its conditions and consequences. On its implications for the self-delusion of unreality that followed it. For the experience its projections call “life” in this strange world of spacetime-matter, of contradiction and conflict, impossibility and perversity, jubilance and defeat, hilarity and misery.
The analytics of Freud, his insistence that the “bad thing” that deforms the human psyche is ultimately the doing of bodies rather than minds, blocked his awareness of root causes. Awareness that can only come through intuition whose function has no explanation from the body’s senses and, therefore, no legitimacy in the body-idolizing minds of authoritarian “realists.” In the minds of those responsible for the dominant paradigms of science, philosophy, psychology, and theology, all of which rest on flawed, self-referential reasoning. On illogic.
Kenneth’s own personality and its turn of mind joined enthusiastically with the hardened analytics of Freud. He mastered the analytics of the Course’s Logic to become the teacher whose voice is almost indistinguishable from that of its author. But in so doing he cut himself off from the potential of Jung’s intuition to explore the implications of the Course beyond its scope. He contented himself with understanding what is without being motivated to examine what else might be. He missed the significance of Jung’s insights into the personality of Psyche and so missed the impact of Helen’s personality on her relationship with, and ultimate response to, the author of the Course. To Jesus and the nature of his Authority.
Which Helen served Jesus’ purpose better?
Jesus’ choice of an authoritarian “realist” to scribe the Course worked to perfection if its only object was dictation taken accurately, without protest, over a period of years, and the publication of a book. If it was meant to demonstrate the power of “almighty god” to restore muddled unconsciousness to an enlightened state of consciousness, to convert authoritarian “realist” skepticism to intuitive idealistic conviction, it failed. Clearly, this was not the object. If anything, I believe the object was the opposite: to demonstrate the inability of any “power” to deny the Child and its projections their birthright: their capacity to choose freely for themselves without interference. To be of their own mind and not the mind of anyone or anything else, not even the Mind of their Parents in Reality.
Why otherwise are the agents of the Child’s Parents, manifestations of the Holy Spirit, so deferential to our own judgment? So careful not to interfere, or appear to interfere, with Free Choice?
All the inhabitants of Creation are defined by their roles. By their contributions to shared purpose whose definitions fit them together in logical harmony at the same time that they confer individuality. That mark them as Creations empowered to function independently of their Creators, to affirm the Worth of Creation freely without compromising their individuality. In the Reality of Order with Freedom, Freedom with Order, that defines Creation. In the harmony of the definitions and relationships of Logic and Love that govern Creativity and all its Creations. Not with dominance from the top down but with benevolence and support from the bottom up.
The right of Free Will that Helen stood up for: to get it wrong
The role that Helen performed to perfection wasn’t to be the convert. It was to be the insistence of the Child on choosing for itself, even if it erred. To be clear: the Course and Necessity don’t give our ancestral Mind or any of its imaginary projections a pass. Its lesson must be learned. Whether sooner or later in the illusion of time is up to us. Learning and growth in unreality may have been ordained by the laws of cause and effect that govern Reality-Creation. Unconsciousness that put the Child and its projections in this dream world, a trainer where learning by trial and error has no real consequences, may have been a Necessity. But neither Logic-Love nor the Necessity of their laws of cause and effect could have ordained that their Child’s training to maturity and competence would take forever. Still, that said, we have the right to be wrong. To refuse to acquire the competence the Child needs to perform its role in Creation as long as we like. To remain self-deluded in Plato’s Cave indefinitely. In the illusion of time long or short is meaningless. Unlike the eternity of timelessness, the illusion of time, like all illusions, has a beginning and it will surely have an end. The Child’s sojourn in the unreality of time had a beginning and it will have an end.
ACIM's author and his scribe proved it: the right to get it wrong. The prerogative of Choice without which it could not be Free. And even with Jesus in Helen’s mind dictating clarity from Logic and Love, she took her place on the podium and stuck her fist in the air. Proclaimed her sovereignty in an all-too human act of defiance and folly. The human spirit defending its “rights” against correction at the same time that it makes a fool of itself. Confederates defending their “rights” even if they’re defending the indefensible -- slavery. The right to choose wrong or even not to choose at all if “realists” must have their authoritarian “savior” to choose for them. Had Helen done otherwise, after being under Jesus’ influence for years, she might well have proclaimed untruth instead of Truth: the willful dominance of an imposter. The illusion of an alternate “reality” ruled by a replacement authorship. She proved her right to Free Choice. And in doing so left no doubt that Jesus is the author, and authority, he appears to be.
Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Helen!
Kenneth wanted Helen to join the fold. Ever faithful to the Logic of ACIM that’s where he believed she belonged. The case he made that she did join the fold bore his signature gifts for reason and compassion. But to this observer it was wishful thinking. I’m glad that she kept her distance. Kenneth and I both love and admire her. We both have reasons for identifying with her, but they’re not the same. One reason I can celebrate for Helen’s obstinance is the legitimacy it confers on what otherwise might seem my own presumption. My adherence to the Logic-Love of the Course while expanding on it. While taking the lessons it taught beyond their scope to explore the realm of intuition that physicists, theologists, and other authoritarian “realists” have declared beyond exploring. Creating the appearance, to some, of apostasy. The appearance that I’m going up against the Course when, in fact, I’m going forward with it. I am no less an acolyte of Jesus for risking the appearance of disagreement if that is where Intuition guided by Jesus takes me,
Maybe we’re supposed to figure out the Child’s loss of consciousness ourselves. Maybe we’re supposed to explore realms of intuition “beyond exploring.” Do you think? If authoritarian “realists” oppose it then idealists like me should probably pursue it. Venturing into the unknowable with the help of emissaries from Logic and Love, our Parents. Through Intuition that functions whether we use its insights or not.
“Blasphemy” was the curse of the Church’s Inquisition that thought nothing of burning innocents at the stake. There’s nothing of this in the Course. Nothing of “heresy,” though it’s clear about Necessity. The Author of the Course doesn’t accompany its students on their trek at one altitude only to abandon them at others. There are no barriers in unreality to Logic-Love from Intuition that connects with Reality. How can the perversities of a dream limit what’s real? What’s true? There are no barriers to purpose that fits our context: if we choose freely to regain the Self-Awareness that we are and the function that we do.
I’m going wherever I’m led. By the marvel that is the human mind, corrupted and compromised by delusion yet connected by Intuition and Free Choice to its Source. Together, we go where one individual mind chooses to go. One step at a time. Inspired by the example of Jesus and A Course in Miracles. Inspired by its scribe. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Helen!