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Reflections on the meaning of Christmas                                                 December 2023

The glossary for this and a companion essay, "Standing Up for Children against the Bully “Guide” Behind Authoritarian Parenting with the Helpfulness of Explanation" is posted separately, same date.



Archetypes named by function

Logic-Love. Convention has assigned names to the archetypal roles and relationships theorized here that are silent on their most important attribute: their function. Functions that define “God,” for example, are left to impaired inquiry’s misjudgments, with the result that “God” has become a morass of contradictions – confusing if not meaningless. For clarity and not to be confusing familiar archetypes are defined and renamed here according to their functions.

Ancestral Mind. Thus “God” hasn’t been denied, just renamed with functions clarified as “Logic-Love,” the Relationship within “Mind” that produced its essential attribute: “Self-Awareness.” The “Parents” of their “Child,” “Free Choice,” our “ancestral Mind.” Aided by the “right Guide.” Functions left unclear by convention in terminology like Father, Son, Free Will, and Holy Spirit. And left, moreover, to doctrine – the herd mentality of competing ideologies -- when they belong to the Truth-seeking Free Spirit of Inquiry. To metaphysics that follows wherever Relationship leads, between the individual and the image of the right Guide chosen by the individual.

Opposite. Relationship leads here to “opposite,” a more definitive name for evil, the ego, Satan, the devil, and so forth. With variations “contradiction,” “shadow-reflection,” “reverse mirror-image.” The idea of opposition built into every definition by Logic-Love but Oneness. Itself, without opposite by definition.

Initial caps and quotes

Names with initial caps refer to archetypes of a storyline that belong in the Reality of Self-Awareness. Lower case to the unreality of self-unawareness or unconsciousness. The alternate “reality” that Child-Mind unconscious is dreaming: our life on earth.

Quotes are applied to words-ideas founded on illogic rather than Logic to highlight their questionable validity.

The psychology and metaphysics of a joke 

An alternate “reality” of self-unawareness 

Relationship between individual and the right Guide leads not to a storyline of perfection in Self-Awareness but to a storyline of imperfection in a state of self-unawareness. The state of the Child of Self-Awareness when it lost consciousness and descended into self-delusion. Into a dream of impossibilities brought on by an impossibility: “relationship” with its own shadow-reflection mistaken for a separate “other.” The turning point in the succession of “events,” from the loss of consciousness to self-delusion, that brought about our make-believe substitute “reality.”

An unreality that re-enacts the same events because it’s the only “story” that its author, the lifeless-mindless code of an opposite, “knows.” Re-enactment by a tape recording because that’s what it is, coded opposite turned on and made audible by unconscious Mind so disabled that it can’t distinguish between itself and its shadow-reflection. Between anything and its opposite, including Life and Reality.

A tale of exotica -- archetypes, opposites, and “events” from a distant state of mind, lost to memory and kept from our awareness. That could be ignored if we weren’t the instruments and unwitting subjects of its re-enactment. Play-actors following a script in the Truman TV Show except for Truman, the fool that is self-unawareness, thinking he’s the author of his own story. The mirror-image of ourselves. Re-enacting the story of an unconscious Mind that’s placed itself under the influence of the wrong “guide.” Free to make mischief in the made-up alternate “reality” of self-unawareness.

An alternate “reality” of re-enactments

With Christmas comes reflection on what it means. The birth of Jesus. One personification of the right Guide, offering the vision and wisdom of Logic and Love to every individual. Drawn by respect for Free Choice, the Worth and function of every individual -- our birthright.

What does Christmas have to say about our story, its antecedents, and its authorship, if it’s a re-enactment of Mind gifted with Self-Awareness taken captive by self-unawareness? To become a piece moved about by an unseen “hand” in an unreal board game of impossibilities? Convention leaves much still to be learned, and the wrong “guide’s” nonsense is still being taken seriously.

Opposite is here to stay

But far from being irrelevant the meaning of Christmas is directly on point. With the role modeling of the biblical Jesus and the Jesus of A Course in Miracles that leads out of self-unawareness back to Self-Awareness. To our real identity and function in Creation. With metaphysics that helps minds befuddled by bodies’ senses seek Truth beyond appearances. To distinguish between Reality and unreality and between Guidance from Logic-Love and mis-guidance from shadow-opposite.

The metaphysics of A Course in Miracles explains the example set by Logic-Love through the right Guide for relating to one another. Beginning with managing our “relationship” with the reverse side of our own voice, the “voice” of shadow-opposite. Because opposite that’s built into Logic-Love’s definition of function isn’t going away. A heads-up meant for Truth-seekers like Plato and Einstein as well as for those less talented.

The ”joker” and  its “humor” that’s not funny

The meaning of Christmas comes with humor aware of its Source and its subject: Awareness of Self that would not Be if it took itself too seriously. Creation adventuring into the unknown, dependent on Free Choice in constant need of learning. That sometimes learns by blunders into the unknown or it would not be free. Abundance sharing its infinite sense of humor with its Creations. Innocence playfully at work in its Temenos, the playground and workshop of Creation.

And the joker peddling ridicularity in its shadowland of opposites. Beginning with the absurdity of its ambition to replace the ultimate source of its “victimhood”: not the Child or its Parents but Mind itself. Then it wouldn’t even be an idea since ideas come from Mind. And there would be no words to recognize its triumph since words need ideas to communicate.

Why bring it up? To expose the “thinking” of the wrong “guide” that’s making fools of us. The wrong guide that’s debunked by the meaning of Christmas. A funny guy – the lovable joker. The Pied Piper humorist. But there are other reasons to think about, here and in “Standing Up to the Bully: the Wrong ‘Guide’ Behind Authoritarian Parenting,” a companion essay. Reasons that are not funny. Another take on the “joker” who’s not lovable. 

Opposite’s Once Upon a Time 

The court jester’s choice

“The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle. The chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.” If he didn’t memorize this, Hubert Hawkins (Danny Kaye in “The Court Jester“ 1955) wouldn’t survive the day. Unless it was “the flagon with the dragon that has the brew that is true,” in which case memorizing wouldn’t help.

Hubert’s dilemma -- a metaphor for the choice we face. The pellet with the poison that invaded the human psyche is still “there.” The unreal darkness that Jesus works with us to expose with the light of Logic and Love: explanation that leads to understanding. Understanding that helps us choose between the Guide who’s here to help and the “guide” who’s “here” to do the opposite. To keep us trapped in self-delusion. In unreality.

The origin of opposite in definition and Necessity

When Self Awareness brings into Reality a function that adds to Creation it does so by its function: definition. Definition by Awareness, Logic and Love acting as one, that recognizes its Self. That puts boundaries around what the new function is and what it’s for and determines where the new function fits. So that all the functions that produce Creation perform in harmony as one.

But in doing so definition also puts boundaries around what the new function isn’t and what it’s not for: its opposite. By following an implication of Logic-Love that’s unavoidable: the meaning of what “is” is necessarily defined in part by what “isn’t.”

Not an anomaly of Self-Awareness but an integral part of its origin. Mind the original circumstance that, according to Necessity, the laws of cause and effect, was itself subject to the same Logic of definition. The Relationship between Logic and Love that produced Self-Awareness and then began the process of Creation with its first implication: Possibility. Defined in part by what it isn’t: impossibility. Opposite. There where the sequence of Logic-Love – the story of Creation – began.

Relationship that is Mind governing Reality-Creation with service and support from the bottom up. To enable the spontaneity of Creation with Freedom and Order, two distinct definitions that complete one another and function as one. Governing not arbitrarily above the law for its own sake but under it for the sake of its Creations and their cause.. Under the laws of cause and effect with the Force of Necessity. Necessity that includes definition with opposite.

Eternal Life’s debt to impossibility

Creation’s definition put contradiction with the ideal of its perfection there itself. To our minds, split between opposites, confused and frustrated by contradictions that block progress, the idea of opposite is an intruder, a nuisance that should be expelled. When, in fact, it belongs. Impossibility that tags along with all the possibilities of Creation wherever they go.

A necessary, logical part of their definition. For Creation can’t function without opposite that contradicts its ideal of resolution: eternal rest and peace. That gives Creation a mission of purpose and motivation: to overcome obstacles to reaching its destination.

And the job that Child was created to do: to be the part of Relationship with its Parents that authenticates Worth through the exercise of Free Choice. Through the integrity of judgment that’s free to weigh every possibility including the possibility of impossibilities. Dreamed by Child Mind in a state that Parents Self-Awareness cannot Know by definition without making unreality Real.

There would be nothing more for Relationship to do were it possible for Creation to reach its Ideal of eternal rest and peace. But so long as definition can’t define without opposite, so long as Perfection can’t do without imperfection, it can’t be possible.

Eternal Life’s debt to impossibility. The extensions of Logic’s implications and Love’s relationships that will play out forever like the value of Pi, never to reach a whole number.

All the world’s a stage -- Shakespeare

The Jesus of A Course in Miracles takes the idea of unreality and explains the story of how it came to “be.” With Logic-Love’s metaphysics -- looking beyond appearances – to help body-locked humans understand the truth about opposite: what it “is,” what it “does,” and what it implies for the situation we’re in. So we as individuals can better manage our relationship with it. “Relationship” with our shadow-reflection beyond awareness, that will continue to mess with our story until we are aware of it and learn to manage it.

Starting from understanding that it’s not real to awareness of how it messes with our story: by re-enacting events within Free Choice, our unconscious ancestral Mind, that brought it into a neverland of self-unawareness. A succession of errors whose re-enactment accounts for the mutating “normal” of “life” on earth. In the shifting image of its fantasist, the joker: no face or self of its own behind a thousand masks.

With a sinister purpose: while keeping the deception alive in self-deluded minds, replaying its fabricator’s skill at outwitting its host for self-glorification and amusement. And for its ultimate gratification: constant reminders of its supremacy. Our alternate “reality:” a mirror in the hand of a narcissist, reflecting “purity” and “innocence” in its self-image, “perfection” in its works, and “triumph” over its “enemies.” Entertaining impossibilities conjured by a master magician. untroubled by laws of cause and effect that he’s magically suspended. A “god” of two-faced duality – tragedian and comedian – who makes no sense.

The pathetic “pellet with the poison” hiding in the vessel with the pestle

The five senses of self-unawareness

Getting it right can’t be getting rid of opposite. But it can be choosing a better Guide to help our real Self – the one Child – break the cycle of re-enactments. By regaining Self-Awareness and getting rid of self-unawareness. By helping our real Self get back to living its real story unobstructed by impossibilities.

Jesus of A Course in Miracles helps us make the right choice by putting the apparition, our reverse mirror-image reflection, squarely in view. So both mind- and body-centered personality types can understand the abysmal choice for a guide that it presents. With attributes so alien to Logic-Love, Reality, and the laws of cause and effect, that they can’t be taken seriously. That wouldn’t be taken seriously if it weren’t for the confusion caused by appearances. By body-brains’ five senses that deceive self-unawareness into believing that they’re real.

Mind seeks awareness; body blocks it. Bodies crafted by self-unawareness, a shadow attached to its host, share its limitations. Among them an inability to see and feel beyond externals – beyond themselves. One-dimensional impersonal objects that can only “be” what they appear to be. An inability to detect internals that are no part of themselves. Subjects defined not by masks but by three-dimensional personality behind masks. By the feelings, values, psychology, and philosophy of personhood. The attributes of Mind, the shadow’s host.

The five senses of status quo

Therein the divide between individual idealists and tribal-“realists” that’s been frustrating forward movement from the beginning. Disagreement whether appearances are the end of it. “Realists” captive to the body’s five senses say they are. Idealists open to guidance from Mind’s sixth sense say they aren’t.

The former following the dictates of animal brain, an appearance meant to replace Mind, seeking to put the status quo beyond questioning with predetermined answers. Seeking, that is, to evade answers. The latter, following the spontaneous implications of Logic and interconnections of Love, questioning the status quo to find answers. One denying inquiry its free spirit, the other respecting it. Clear evidence of the wrong "guide" using its captives to mess with Free Choice.

The parasite and “friend” who could never be 

The biblical Jesus turned our attention toward what’s right with parables, miracles, and his example. He gave us attributes of the right Guide for us to assemble in whatever image fits our personalities and individual contexts. The Jesus of A Course in Miracles has turned our attention toward what’s wrong. Toward exposing the truth about the wrong “guide,” both the seriousness of its harm and the absurdity of its pretense.

So it would be clear that partnering with it would be partnering with Mr. Hyde, the “friend” who could never be. Who offends with process more than product: With a one-dimensional caricature. A joke that’s on us. A pie in our face.

Exposing the wrong “guide” behind its many guises should give its devotees pause. How so? By revealing that the wrong “guide” is a joker. The playing card impersonator-joker substituting for any card. The trickster-magician joker that conjured a substitute “reality” out of perversions of the Truth, laughable absurdities. And the Joker of the 2019 film, evil incarnate.

By revealing that the wrong “guide” who came second after its host is a parasite. A derivative of its host and dependent on its host. Owing everything to its host that owes everything to Logic and Love, its Parents, and only one aspect of its definition to its shadow-opposite. That’s equivalent to demotion by Logic from Reality to unreality, out of sight and out of conscious Mind. Nothing to boast about.

The punchline in a slapstick comedy

The wrong “guide” is the opposite of what it pretends to be: number one on center stage in the spotlight, star of the show with the only voice to be heard; playwright, producer, and director. It’s not the “superman” idealized by captives like Nietzsche, Rand, and der Fuhrer. Fantasized by everyone drawn to absolute “authority,” our animal brain – mindlessness -- “triumphing” over Mind. Held up as a role model for captives to a nightmare of fear, lured by the specter of “death.”

It’s not the arch-competitor who’s taken over the winner’s circle. Howard Roark, the architect, atop his skyscraper, with Dominique Francon at his feet gazing up at her hero worshipfully. It’s King Kong atop the Empire State Building pounding his chest, with the beauty Ann Darrow terrified at his feet while supposedly drawn to this symbol of primal male power. A portrayal of “supremacy” suitably symbolized in the greatest horror monster film of all time by a fictitious king of beasts, brought to “life” by special effects.

The truth about what’s really in the vessel with the pestle -- the “pellet with the poison” – is that it's an absurdity. The archetypal “action hero” in an imaginary competition boasting of its “triumph.” A self-deluded fool in a one-dimensional adolescent cartoon. The definitive “loser:” a pitiful boob out of his element and over his head. Climaxing his ascent to the top with a spectacular faceplant at the bottom. A terrific punchline in a slapstick comedy.

Inside the Third Reich: the cloud-cuckoo land of opposite 

The threat posed by Mind 

The authoritarian will to rise to “supremacy” in its hierarchical fantasy of “competition” re-enacts a laughable absurdity. Its mindless shadow-opposite’s ambition to rise higher than the highest authority in Reality-Creation. Mind. Opposition to all things Mind. To Self-Awareness, Logic-Love. The anti-intellectual identifying with its animal brain, the beast King Kong, triumphing over learning and growth, competence and maturity. Over other perspectives needed for context, over ideas and imagination needed for creativity. Over every faculty of Mind including Intuition’s sixth sense.

The authoritarian’s exclusive reliance on body-brains’ five senses re-enacting the wrong “guide’s” fear. Its fear of the threat posed by Mind to its will to replace Mind.

“Supremacy in competition:” the will of a predatory beast 

Opposite thrives on competition-combat. Where Logic-Love’s Self-Awareness extends and recognizes itself through Connection -- gifts shared and reciprocated among its family of Reality-Creation, -- opposite finds perverse gratification in disconnection. In discord imposed upon the unrecognizable aliens that it projects -- “others.”

  • Thus Logic-Love recognizes the Self-Worth of Life, Innocence, Inseparability, Beauty, Harmony, Spontaneity, and Free Choice that are given by the Reality of Self-Awareness, Oneness without opposites, Relationship, Perfection, Order-Freedom, and Creation.
  • Opposite is gratified by the worthlessness of death, guilt, separation, disfigurement, discord, conformity, and captivity inflicted by time, damnation, madness, cruelty, contradiction, herd mentality, and dominance.

All handsomely delivered by competition-combat, opposite’s perverse ”substitute” for Creation. The swap of consequence for inconsequence that lured the sucker, self-unawareness, into its adolescent fantasy of “action.” “Winners” and “losers” legitimizing opposite’s “unshakable will” to be number one. The will of a predatory beast: “supremacy.”

The ultimate “affirmation:” Matter over Mind

“Life” on earth is a cornucopia of opposite’s “blessings.” Euphemisms that cast a blanket of pleasantness over its dubious “benefits”:

  • “Winning” that puts the face of “sociability” and “fun” on “competition.” “Dominance” that wishes no one well.
  • “Supremacy in competition” that poses as a visionary “ideal” instead of an adolescent’s fantasy of “action-hero” fulfillment: a nightmare of loss.
  • “Procreation” revered for expanding civilization while threatening it with domination by predatory herd mentality, the club wielded by the authoritarian.
  • Taking heart from the promise of “time” in its cycle of renewal and rebirth, not noticing that it’s not a potted plant or incubator. It’s a universal wastebasket. That never needs to be emptied since there’s nothing of consequence to put in it.
  • Putting “special relationships” on the face of alternate “reality” -- sprucing up a skull with lipstick.

All bound up in opposite’s perversion of Creation’s Ideal, resolution by peaceful reconciliation, with its “unshakable will” to possess absolute power without opposition. To at last attain “supremacy.” By triumphing over its “enemy” in the mother of all battles. In the breathtaking grandeur of mortal combat: “resolution” by mutual destruction. “Affirmation” of the organic world of body-brains in its material universe of physical objects. By violence, the defining attribute of “universe” whether one or many.

The projection of a split Mind: ”war” that can never be 

That proclaims the “strength” of animal will and welcomes risking all in the boldness and fire of “action.” In the mythology of gods waging wars of “blood and soil,” “the lost cause,” “the triumph of the will.”  While dismissing Mind. Real Authority that knows nothing of such rubbish.

Mind the Parents Logic-Love, not their Child. Free Choice, the extension of Mind Logic-Love that can lose consciousness and dream, while Mind that is Self-Awareness by definition cannot. That can only Be in Reality and function as Source and Governance of Reality-Creation. The Authority of Logic-Love, service and support, that governs under the laws of cause and effect with the Force of Necessity. That found a place for contradiction in the Mind of its Child should Free Choice choose in error and lose consciousness. Should it then be enticed by its shadow-opposite, mistaken for an ”other,” into an unreal dream: its shadowland of opposites.

In picking a fight with Mind Self-Awareness, opposite isn’t picking on someone its own size. It’s self-unawareness blundering into an asymmetrical matchup. “Thinking” typical of the wrong “guide,” but it needn’t worry. Combat between Reality and unreality could only “happen” in a dream. In the dualistic hallucinations of split minds: holding two contradictory thoughts at the same time. In the alternate “reality” of split minds projecting.

The "ideal” of ending

Opposite aims for fulfillment not in the Ideal of Resolution and Peace but in its opposite: the “ideal” of ending Reality-Creation by supremacy in war. The code of impossibility – shadow-opposite -- has invented a fictitious world to “inhabit” by copying and projecting its host’s world in reverse. What its other self-unaware inhabitants must be aware of – us -- is the mythology cooked up by its “author” to glorify and legitimize it. The myth of Mind-Reality’s equal, matter-unreality, defeating it in mortal combat to attain “supremacy.” Opposite’s perversion of context that speaks for meaning and purpose -- absurdity. The ideal not of Resolution and Peace or even “winning,” but ending.

Authoritarians identify with the predatory animal will, lodged in body-brains’ amygdala, to dominate with brute force. Thinking that it’s directed toward the absolutes of power and freedom that they crave. But they’re wrong. The ultimate “ideal” of the beast atop the Empire State building is the ending of all “power” and “freedom.” Of everything including Mind. Insanity that would contradict Truth, that Relationship between Parents Logic-Love and their Child Free Choice, that wills Creation in a state of Self-Awareness in the eternal Now, can’t end.

Authoritarian minds captive to nonsense

“Endings” belong to time, an illusion, not to timelessness. “Time,” that once seemed to make sense before physics and philosophy learned better, took a serious hit with General Relativity where it’s no longer absolute. And an even more serious hit with the calculations of quantum mechanics, where it no longer exists.

Opposite’s “ideal” of ending Mind by any means is an absurdity that can’t be taken seriously, except in the land of shadow-opposites where anything is possible. Where our animal brain hasn’t evolved since our ancestor animal became human animal; we are still animals. Where impossibility routinely triumphs over possibility with nothing more than wishful thinking -- “alternate facts.” Where authoritarian minds captive to opposite’s nonsense can prolong self-unawareness and perpetuate misery. By endlessly re-enacting the “triumph” of shadow-opposite over its host, our ancestral Mind, that never happened.

Comparing the costs of unworkable with the benefits of workable 

When hearts connect but minds can’t

Communication consists of sharing -- connection that’s a function of Logic-Love. Alternate “reality” is a defense against Logic-Love and Reality-Creation that obstructs communication. Body-sensing personality types captive to matter rather than aligned with Mind will the misuse of Mind to turn it against itself and away from sharing. To convert introspection, intuition, thinking-feeling, and judgment into their opposites: extraversion, body-sensing, instinctive action, and specialness without limits.

When sharing-communication is needed between opposite personality types it can be impossible. Where the point of extraversion, body-sensing, instinctive action, and specialness without discipline isn’t to spice “life” with variety but to prevent sharing-communication. To block Mind-awareness and Logic-judgment required by the shared purpose of community and loving friendship. Hearts can connect with unconditional Love but Mind is still required for friendship.

Self deprived of personhood

The ultimate “target “of shadow-opposite, were self-unawareness able to choose a target, is ideas. The function of Mind. So to understand body-centered personality types, begin with the attributes of body-brain and exclude the attributes of Mind. And discover what’s lost in the process: substance. The substance of personality and character. The substance of Reality-Creation:

  • creativity, imagination, intuition, and insight.
  • Logic-Love, originality, individuality, and Self-Awareness.
  • Reasoning, inner moral compass, values.
  • Feeling-sensitivity, and depth.

This is what opposition to Mind takes away from body-centered personality types  What’s left is one-dimensional facades like the bodies they identify with. Appearances. Superficiality. Deprivation.

The cost of “relationship” that doesn’t work 

Relationship that’s a fact of life requires management, not denial. A point that the biblical Jesus tried to get across with his parables, miracles, and example. Logic-Love manages its “relationship” with contradiction by putting it in the only place where it could fit. In unreality, the opposite of Reality. Where Mind-conscious “relating” to an opposite that by definition doesn’t exist, that fits within a state of Mind that’s unconscious, is an impossibility. The state of Mind that’s their Child, Free Choice, capable of losing consciousness that Self-Awareness, its Parents Logic-Love, cannot lose.

Where “relationship” is managed by letting insights from mind-intuition – our sixth sense – be our Guide. By not letting the five senses of body-brains deceive us with appearances into re-enacting Child-Mind’s error. Unreality can be “made real” but only within Mind unconscious and unaware of itself, as our alternate “reality” attests. Knowing nothing when being known would make it real.

The benefit of Relationship that does work

Alternate “reality” that’s a dream state of opposites, contradictions, impossibilities. A temporal shadowland of opposites with magical beginnings and endings. Apparitions that “live” and “die” within a universe that’s an apparition, the reverse mirror-image of the unconscious Child-Mind dreaming it. The handiwork of self-unawareness beholden to Self-Awareness for its “existence:” definition that depends on opposite to define. The implication of Self-Awareness that is self-unawareness.

That will be undone by the benefit of workability when the will of Logic-Love is heard through the voice of the right Guide. When it’s welcomed by Free Choice to share its will and guide its audience to Understanding: the One Child. Whole and intact in the Soul of every individual. Innocence accessible through the sixth sense of Mind. Love inseparable from Logic, responding to the Call for Love. 

Choosing the Guide who makes sense

Two Minds thinking and feeling as one 

The biblical Jesus disappeared into the wilderness for 40 days and nights before beginning his ministry.  A metaphor for the change of mind caricatured by opposite’s fantasy of “supremacy,” the victory of body-brain matter over Mind in mortal combat. A metaphor of detachment, where mind could think in the stillness of solitude, freed from everyday distractions. Where the Mind of Jesus accomplished in fact what opposite could only make up in fiction: the ability to think Real thoughts. And thus the ability to perform the supernatural acts in our world that opposite could only make up in its cartoon world.

Miracles unbound by the “laws” of physics, biology, and all the other disciplines still at work, trying to define spacetime-matter. Not leaping over tall buildings -- acrobatic body-feats to gratify adolescent “supremacy.” But the miracle of thinking Real thoughts in an unreal world. Attained not by rampant harmfulness -- conquest in mortal combat -- but by the gentle loving kindness of helpfulness. Mind entrusted to the Guide, the Helper, being welcomed into the mind of. Free Choice, seeking help of its own accord, without reservation from the seeker’s shadow-opposite.

Harmfulness replaced by Helpfulness

Because with two minds thinking and feeling as one, joined by Logic and Love in one purpose, there can be no sign of contradiction. Body-brain functioning as “one” with its shadow-opposite, a perversion of Parent-Child functioning as one, has been replaced. Fear and guilt replaced by Love and Innocence. Darkness replaced by the light of Self-Awareness. Contradiction’s harmfulness replaced by the helpfulness of Free Choice in Creation. Its opposite left behind in its shadowland of opposites, self-unawareness.


Appendix 1 

Reflections on the denial of sixth sense 

Five body-senses aren’t enough 

The difference between your state of mind and our Source’s is a difference in awareness. Our Source’s is the Relationship between Logic and Love that enabled and empowered Self-Awareness. Mind that implies the idea of opposites but can’t be aware of it without making it real. Yours is self-unawareness that can’t tell the difference. Not while you occupy a shadowland of opposites, of impossibilities where anything goes. Where delusional occupants imagine that they can ignore the laws of cause and effect and decide for themselves what’s real. 

In the state of confusion you describe, mind-centered personality types are drawn to you for Guidance while body-centered types are drawn to your opposite. You respect Free Choice and help with awareness when you’re asked. Your opposite turns two-sided relationship into one-sided addiction. Into blind submission to the will of a predator to own, possess, control, dominate, and eventually eliminate competitors. Tribal-“realists” dependent on their bodies’ five senses dismiss the notion of a sixth sense that they can’t detect. And so they block awareness of me. 

The north-going Zax meets the south-going Zax

The wrong choice they affirm is troublesome for a second reason. Affirmation was part of the function that defined Free Choice in Reality – affirmation and reciprocation of Life-Worth, the cause of Creation. Whether personality types split into mind- or body-centered or choose one or another guide, their function is still part of their core identity, and it’s still to affirm. Both sides affirming means both sides equally certain that they’re right.


Appendix 2 

Illumination by the spirit of Christmas 

Not a creature was stirring 

Edna, can’t this nitwit just wave hello and let us be? Now Elio, don’t be mean. I’m sure he means well. And he’s right. There’s more to the holidays than waving hello. Any more of this and I’m getting a restraining order. Can’t we at least wave back? No! He’ll think we want more! Well, I’m sending a card anyway. ‘Tis the season to be jolly and you’re not being jolly. Santa doesn’t reward old grouches with bags of toys.

Have it your way. But don’t be surprised if I don’t leave out milk and cookies. And don’t you be surprised if you don’t find any toys in your stocking. Edna! You wouldn’t! 

‘Tis the season for a refund 

And don’t be surprised if you don’t get your birthday treat. What treat? A day at Dave and Buster’s where you can show off your amazing skills. Yes! Watch me toss a ball. And spin a big roulette wheel -- I’m really good at that. And make cute thingies out of Play-Doh. Nobody does it better. I can’t wait to win a suitcase full of little yellow tickets. Why? So I can exchange them for a tiny piece of colored plastic that has no use and will break before I get home.

You’re right, Edna. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Waving hello isn’t enough. Hand me the nitwit’s letter. Happy Holidays, Elio! Happy Holidays, Edna!

Tao reveals itself differently to each individual, according to his own nature. The man of deeds, for whom kindness and the love of his fellow man are supreme, discovers the tao of cosmic events and calls it supreme kindness -- ‘God is love.’ The contemplative man, for whom calm wisdom is supreme, discovers the tao of the universe and calls it supreme wisdom. The common people live from day to day, continually borne and nourished by tao, but they know nothing of it; they see only what meets the eye. For the way of the superior man, who sees not only things but the tao of things, is rare. The tao of the universe is indeed kindness and wisdom; but essentially tao is also beyond kindness and wisdom. . . . [T]his life-giving activity [growth], to which all things owe their existence, is something purely spontaneous. . . . [T]ao is omnipresent; everything that exists, exists in and through it. [The I Ching or Book of Changes, Bollingen Series XIX (Princeton University Press 1950, pp. 298-299]


Trust and Relationship begin with Fact

Jesus informs us in A Course in Miracles that we have the choice when to learn its lesson but not whether, as though it could not possibly change or be changed. As though it were cast in concrete, and yet he also informs us that it is not a “bible.” He cautions us not to treat it as the holy Word of God, absolute Truth with which to condemn and reject all who fail to accept it. Why not if he means what he says: we’re screwed if we don’t comply? All that is in the Course, that focuses on the darkness within the human Psyche, the pain and anguish of guilt, is explanation meant for us to understand just how badly screwed we already are.

Though they concentrate on why the Course cannot be a bible the reflections that follow cannot imply that its lesson can be ignored. Why? Because the laws of cause and effect emanate from circumstances. That in their constellations change but in their individual parts may not change. For these are the stuff with which the purpose and meaning of their compositions, their contexts, is revealed. This is where the Force of Necessity comes from, not their explanation or interpretation but from fact.

The works of Logic and Love in Relationship with their Child, Free Choice, that make up Creation, are part of evolution but not the facts of Reality they’re based on. The Force of Logic and Love depends upon it, for this is the immutable Rule of Law that applies to Logic and Love as to everything else. That gives them their legitimacy. That enables and empowers Trust essential to all Relationships in Reality. Fact.

Uncompromising Fact that can’t be ignored

It is fact that cannot be ignored in the lesson of the Course that takes away choice. The fact that Kenneth Wapnick, its teacher, refers to as its “uncompromising non-dualism.” Uncompromising because the human condition is defined by its unreality. Because it derives its state from the condition of our ancestral Mind, the Child: its unconsciousness. If the state of Child-Mind is defined by its unconsciousness, that cannot be part of Reality defined by Consciousness, that cannot evolve, then we, projections in its dream, are also in a state of unconsciousness. In a state of unreality.

There cannot be dual realities. Only one can be Real. Though Jesus has promised never to leave us “comfortless” he can’t do it by denying fact. The denial of fact is the stock-in-trade of the Child’s self-delusion, the magician that is the error we, projections of Free Choice, must freely choose to correct. Detectable by no more obvious attribute than its dexterity with untruth, the sleight of hand of illusion, the lies of deception. “Making it up as it goes along.”

Form that must change, content that cannot change

How we approach our task, how we apply the lesson, will vary from individual to individual. And so it compounds error to treat the Course that was addressed to two individuals, two personalities, in their time and place, as holy writ for us in our personalities, our time and place. It won’t fit. And if the task of governance is to fit in harmony it will be a violation of Logic and Love who govern in harmony.

The form of the lesson must change even if its content can’t. Our alternate “reality” is unreal. Fact.

The Course is an act of Logic and Love

The business end of Mind in Reality is its two main components Logic and Love, whose function is to source everything necessary for the Worth of Creation. Everything under the law: the laws of cause and effect that stand for the values of Logic and Love, wisdom and compassion. Maintained in place by the Authority of the Interconnectedness of Soul that is Innocence without opposites and by the Authority of Truth that is Necessity empowered by Energy -- Force under the direction of benevolence, the Logic and Love of governance. Of Mind.

A Course in Miracles is an act of Mind, one part Logic, the other part Love. Each part a set of functions designed to help the unconscious Child to regain Consciousness through its projections. Through the minds and hearts of the occupants of an alternate “reality” when doing so doesn’t interfere with Free Choice.

Minds and hearts corrupted by the code that defines the Child’s opposite, its shadow. Impossibility that is unreality. The unreal code that is the opposite of Logic and Love, wisdom and compassion. The opposite of Mind, a reversion to unthinking will and emotion, instinct and action that distinguish uncivil animal from civil animal. From human. That conjure within Mind unconscious the uniquely human animal. A horror of insanity composed of impossibilities: absolute authority, absolute freedom, and absolute truth. The same impossibilities that lured unconscious Child into its dream of an alternate “reality” and now lure it toward self-destruction. The “triumph of the will” that is the Child’s shadow-code, a magician. Self-delusion.

The force of the tribe

The act of Mind that is A Course in Miracles gains traction toward the Child’s awakening from self-delusion through equal emphasis on its two main parts: Logic and Love. Emphasis that necessarily contends in unreality with resistance and opposition to both. With an authoritarian mindset deluded by absolutes into specialness: thought and feeling concentrated on itself. The shadow authoritarian ideal: self without opposites, a perversion of the Innocence of Psyche-Soul without opposites.

The pull of specialness in unreality interferes with the Course’s application by shifting its emphasis in two ways: from Logic to Love and from Love that is feeling that shares to its opposite, feeling that monopolizes. From feeling-inclusive to feeling-exclusive. Feeling that is Worth to feeling that is worthlessness.

The force behind specialness that works its will is the force of the tribe, the human version of animal-herd. The invention of the human authoritarian mindset that degenerates into mob psychology: a herd of enraged humans feeling and acting by mindless instinct as one. The force that interferes is sociability. The pretense of “oneness” enforced by the rules of going along to get along. Present in every human tribal activity, for it is the main function of brain distinct from Mind.

For the Love of Truth and Honesty

Brain whose self-identity is tribe. Whose task is tribal dominance by act of predatory animal will domesticated by sociability. Pretense that is likability, niceness, and pleasantness, that is until the inevitable conflict and civility gives way to uncivility. To the discipline not of sociability but to the law of the jungle. Kill or be killed.

Emphasis that tilts toward Love and away from Logic in the work of the Course does so in service to neither but to pretense. To the agenda of resistance and opposition to keep humanity in line through the iron will of tribe. The Love of the Course is not and never was likability and pleasantness to disarm and distract. It is and always has been caring for the values, the Truth and Honesty of Logic and Love. To enable and empower the sovereignty and Worth of individuality that is Free Choice, not will that is captive to predatory tribal instinct.

Logic and Love, equal and inseparable

Sociability is at cross-purposes with the Course. Its discipline of tribal integrity gets in our way anytime that niceness, agreeability, and pleasantness -- mockeries of Love -- are allowed to devalue or displace the Truth and Honesty of Logic. We serve Truth and Honesty by serving the cause of Logic equally with Love. The cause of wisdom equally with compassion. The state role-modeled by Jesus through the Course: the authority of gentle loving kindness. Authority that is the Logic of Love and the Love of Logic.

If to make the Course an absolute of anything is to kill it, to make it sociability of any kind will also kill it. If it is not “tribe” it cannot be “social.” It is an act of Mind, not brain. Mind that is in equal measure Logic and Love, equal and inseparable.

Mind and possibility at the beginning

The laws of cause and effect speak for the state of Mind that adheres at any point in evolution. In the sequence of the implications of Logic and the connections of Love in their response to circumstances that change in turn in response to the implications of Logic and the connections of Love. An interactive process mirrored in the evolution of English common law, the basis for American jurisprudence. A reciprocal process of questioning established precedent as well as its application to new issues in new contexts defined by changing circumstances. If there is no stopping change then there can be no stopping reconsideration both of the application of established precedent and the law that it’s based on.

The laws of cause and effect spoken for in the Course were not there at the beginning. What was there at the beginning was circumstance implied by Logic: Mind and possibility charged with its definition, the functions of Logic and Love, to respond to possibility with an act of Creation. With thought and feeling, ideas, reasoning, and values. An act that could not have been preceded by an opposite. By an impossibility, for opposite by implication of Logic -- by definition -- cannot precede the source of its contradiction.

The work in progress that is Reality and Creation

The laws of cause and effect spoken for by the Course are Necessity to that point in the evolution of Creation. Of the open-ended forward movement of Logic and Love that is implied by eternity, the eternal Now. The laws of cause and effect that are the Necessity of Truth, the Truth that supports the lesson of the Course, cannot be a “bible” because it cannot be absolute. In the movement of Logic and Love in their eternal dance of interaction with circumstance nothing can be absolute. Nothing can stand unquestioned when nothing can stop the process. When nothing can stop Creation driven by change that is question. If anything is “absolute” it is eternal question that implies the impossibility of absolute, the eternal answer that is and shall always remain a work in progress. The Course is no exception -- a work in progress integral to the process Creation and the structure of Reality that are a work in progress.

Marketing its lies to an unconscious and disempowered Child as the absolute truth is the mode of its shadow code of impossibilities. Not its Parents, Logic and Love, but a predator. The illusionist that lured it into captivity and keeps it there with its illusions: absolute authority. absolute freedom, and absolute truth. With arbitrary rule backed by the authority of law that’s status quo beyond change because it’s beyond questioning: a “Holy Bible.” A self-deluded fool’s perversion of governance that enables and empowers Creation with support from the bottom up that’s under the law. Law that necessarily expands with experience and Knowledge. With the ever-broadening context that is evolution -- Reality and Creation.

The dynamics of function 

To focus on what A Course in Miracles does is to focus on its function. Function is an attribute of Logic-Love’s definition of Reality-Creation and every part of it. An attribute whose essence is Energy, the dynamic of Force. The Force of Soul that Interconnects and of  the Authority of Necessity, the laws of cause and effect that cannot change. That define Reality and guide Logic-Love’s benevolent governance of Creation from the bottom up. Every part either has a use or it can’t exist. This applies to Mind-Consciousness and to Psyche-Soul both, the Interconnecting Force of Everything. Every part has agency under the law.

This applies to every cause including institutions dedicated to disseminating the Course and the work of its teacher. The work of doing is the work of Energy, the agent of doing for all of Reality-Creation. The dynamic of Force that gives cause its effect, the sequence of Logic-Love its forward movement. Always dynamic, always in motion because circumstances are always in motion, always changing. The Course is part of a dynamic process of growth and evolution within an alternate “reality” whose function is to guide it. To help Free Choice manage it, use it, and adapt to it dynamically.

The provocation that is honesty

The lesson of the Course is delivered authoritatively but always with gentle loving kindness. We’re given soft pillows when we board the plane, an assurance of service with wisdom and compassion. But the flight isn’t meant to lull us to sleep. Far from it. In an alternate “reality” that is dishonesty and untruth a perspective that speaks honestly for Truth is provocation. There’s bound to be turbulence. Turbulence with a purpose: not sleep but awakening. To get us off our butts and moving.

Jesus’ honesty when he walked among us showed how provocative Truth can be. The Course is sheer provocation capable of stirring the occupants of Plato’s Cave into a hornet’s nest of opposition. Into crucifying the messenger, because that’s what the crucifixion was meant to accomplish: the permanent end of messenger and message. The permanent end of fear that the Truth will ever again be told.

The comfort of gentle loving kindness, wisdom and compassion abates fear so that it won’t block accessibility. But it’s not a substitute for the lesson, nor is it meant to distract from the lesson. It only affirms its Source, the Logic-Love of Reality and its Peace. Because Logic-Love could not make its presence known otherwise.

Yet it’s provocation and a call to respond to it. A call from Logic-Love not to swoon in the ecstasy of “spirituality” but to act. Its meaning isn’t the pillow. It’s the journey out of untruth into Truth. Out of the nonsense of two realities into the sense of one Reality. The journey of provocation and turbulence that is Honesty.

The face behind the mask of pleasantness

The opposite is described in the Course as the “ego’s thought system.” It does offer substitutions and distractions. It has a thousand faces, none more sinister or familiar than likability. The devil that visited Ivan Karamazov in Dostoevsky’s novel was affable, conversational. The “god” of Jerry Martin’s God: An Autobiography is casual, erudite and entertaining, a regular guy you’d want to have a beer with. The “god” of Mari Perron’s apocryphal A Course of Love is a cheerleader for anything goes. Every one your best friend and every one a phony. Pleasantness whose purpose isn’t receptivity to Truth. It’s to hide the Truth.

Two perspectives, two functions

In applying the metaphysics of the Course to explain our alternate “reality” Kenneth Wapnick and I take off in different directions. No difference in our loyalty to the metaphysics of the Course but significant difference in what we do with it. A difference in function:

  • He taught what the Course says in its context: the specifics of two clinical psychologists at a medical-academic institution in mid-twentieth century Manhattan -- their personalities, psychologies, and relationships. I intuit what the Course may imply for specifics beyond its original context. Not on my own but in relationship with an agent of Soul, guided by Logic and Love.
  • Ken helped to interpret and communicate the Logic-Love of the Course within its scope: error committed after the Child (Father’s Son) lost consciousness. I am applying it to explore its implications for issues beyond its scope. To explain the Child’s loss of consciousness and what this implies for regaining it.
  • Ken brought his unique perspective, individuality and creativity to his task. I bring a different perspective, individuality and creativity to mine.
  • We respond to two different needs: his to clarify the lesson of the Course, mine to extend it. His to explain its metaphysics, mine to expand its metaphysics. His to focus on what the Course is, mine on what it can do.

“Absence of felicity,” absence of partiality

My differences with Ken show in our takes on two topics: Helen Schucman’s apparent ambivalence about the Course and the significance of Carl Jung’s intuition about personality type. Helen was the main scribe of A Course in Miracles which was channeled by Jesus. She was assisted by Bill Thetford, a professional colleague, in a support role. In essence, they took dictation and from it produced a manuscript suitable for publication. Neither sought nor was given editorial license to modify the lesson. Neither sought a role in teaching it.

In his biography of Helen, Absence of Felicity, Ken struggled with her reluctance to involve herself in the Course’s cause beyond recording it. Being her friend and admirer and a teacher of the Course, Ken might have been moved by personal bias that even though she held back it was not for lack of conviction. For lack of love and respect for its Author, for whom she had just completed an intensely intimate labor of love.

Had Helen not maintained neutrality skeptics could have cited this as evidence of her authorship just as any court observer would cry foul if the stenographer took sides in litigation. There were enough skeptics as it was, hard-core “realists” blocked by their bodies’ five senses from having anything to do with a sixth. A common occurrence that accounts for history’s split between two schools of thought: idealism and realism.

Helen’s gift back to the Course

The viability of the Course depends upon its source from another perspective, one that’s not tainted by human ambiguity. Its author needs to be an agent of spiritual Psyche or Soul, the agent of Logic and Love that interconnects everything including our alternate “reality.” Otherwise it won’t know what it’s talking about. How can any source talk to the occupants of one “reality” about events in another without convincing evidence of connection to both? If it can’t speak legitimately for Reality and Truth how can it make sense?

The Course owes its legitimacy and acceptance as much to its Author as to its lesson. Limiting Helen’s role to that of impartial stenographer ensured that the voice of spiritual Psyche would come through in the clear, unmolested by the human psyche. Protecting the integrity of its Author may have been Helen’s last and most sensitive act of service to the Course:

Misled by body-sensing “realism”

Ken’s unfinished work about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung may have reflected something of the person behind the professional: a subconscious preference for Freud’s “realism” and indifference bordering on aversion to Jung’s intuition about personality types. Though he observed that Jung hadn’t gone far enough Ken showed no interest to that point in Jung’s signal achievement. In particular in the critical difference between body-sensing and intuition that telegraphed the difference between Jung and Freud.

That telegraphed, as well, the aspect of Helen’s personality that suited her to her role of detachment in the story of the Course. An aspect that Ken’s brand of psychotherapy seems to have overlooked. Though Helen had experienced psychic episodes they hadn’t revealed a gift for insight or the soul of an intuitive behind the exterior of a realist. If they had it seems likely that she would have been all in for the Course. What gave her pause was the same patriarchal body-sensing that prevented teacher Freud from understanding pupil Jung. For who would balk at non-dualism, the point of “miracles” in A Course in Miracles, that our “reality” sensed by the body is unreal? That it’s so illogical it can’t be taken seriously. Who else but a body-sensing “realist?”

A taste of Heaven

Jung’s intuition tells us that personalities that define our individuality necessarily define us by what we do as much as by who we are. By our function in the evolution of context through changing circumstances. As true here as it is in Reality; nothing can exist without its part in some form of activity, whether purposeful or pointless. The role given to Helen was the business end of her personality that defined who she was to be by what she was to do in its context. The integrity of her role as scribe depended not on her going beyond its limits but on her staying within.

Helen’s willingness to devote a significant portion of her life to scribing the Course expressed core human values: satisfying work suited to the worker; meaningful work for a respected authority; support for individuality, talent, and creativity; personality and task performing as one; striving attuned to Free Will instead of smothering it. None of these brought to life to the same extent, if at all, by the regular job that frustrated her. Her talents weren’t flowering into soulful poetry on the job but they were when she was moonlighting with Jesus. The boss who never insisted that she take the job. She could tell him to shove it any time she wanted.

The act of Creation in Reality is Interconnection that’s joyful as well as effortless. Striving toward the affirmation and reciprocation of Worth. An act of benevolence defined by the governance of Logic-Love, given Life by the Force of Soul. That celebrates the Creativity of every one of its parts and every contribution shaped by its unique context. Who wouldn’t give up a part of their day to experience this? Jesus didn’t offer Helen a job; he gave her a taste of Heaven and she loved it. When Jesus taught that we are perfect just as God created us, Helen felt the Truth in it. It must have felt like an affirmation of Worth like no other.


How did Helen’s personality fare in her work environment at Columbia Presbyterian? Exactly as a court stenographer might, who had no voice in the proceeding, if asked to speak with the voice of a litigant. Out of her element. Lost. Unsure what to say but sure she doesn’t want to be humiliated for saying it. In self-defense Helen might have taken on the hardness of certainty without to hide the softness of uncertainty within. The personality of an authoritarian realist could have been so unyielding, so demanding, that she was virtually impossible to work with. A misfit. Toxic.

If Heaven is the functions of self-awareness fitting together in harmony then our opposite “reality” must be the functions of un-self-awareness that collide in friction. Because to be un-self-aware is to be unaware of self’s individuality and function. “Success” in this life is more often than not a series of fortunate events that connect personality and function we’re unaware of with situations we’re unaware of. Everything spontaneous, beyond awareness.

Our personalities should help guide us to where our individuality and its talents belong, but if we lack self-awareness, if we undervalue Jung’s personality types, it won’t happen. In the event, it’s the agent of Soul from Logic-Love -- the tao -- that guides us when we allow it, unseen.

The “success” of one life is but a mirror image of the series of unplanned accidents and mistakes that accounts for all of life on our planet. Not to know what we’re doing is quite in step with the nature of our alternate “reality,” and Helen was in step. Demanding that the personality of a scribe take positions, whose job description is the opposite, would have made her at least hard to work with if not toxic. Her work space would have been toxic if she wasn’t alone. As it was it was so toxic that it put out the Call for Love -- for the “better way” -- that gave us A Course in Miracles.

The authenticity of the Course and its Author

Contrast the friction of misfits at work with Helen’s remarkable fit with Jesus. Their compatibility further evidence that the Jesus of the Course is authentic. That he’s an agent of Soul connected to Logic and Love, the same functions of Mind in Reality that fit all functions together in harmony. Further evidence that Jesus knew what he was doing when it was through Helen’s mind, through her personality and its function -- scribe, -- that he channeled the Course. Probable choice because of her function, improbable on the face of it because of her personality.

The Course’s authenticity is undermined anytime skeptics can mischaracterize its scribe as one of them. She wasn’t one of them. The impartiality of a scribe is just that: impartiality. Skepticism is taking sides, and Helen could not do that. Though she was obliged to signal impartiality it’s clear that she never meant it to detract from the Course or its Author. It wasn’t a stance, thumbs up or thumbs down. A state that concerned her biographer, who sought to correct it with an interpretation of thumbs up. But Ken needn’t have been concerned. The ornery scribe took care of the skeptics on her own.

Intuition’s gift of personality type

I cite Ken’s esteem for Helen and for Freud not as an indication of questionable scholarship. He was as respectful of scholarship as he was of their achievements. His grasp of the Logic of the Course was as uncompromising as its non-dualism -- reliably disciplined and on the mark. Articulate and professional. His passion for his cause and contributions almost as impressive as the Course itself. The same unerring judgment that offered Helen her job was clearly at work when it offered Ken his.

I cite it instead as an instance of a more general tendency of human illogic to overlook personality type and function in its understanding of our alternate “reality.” Of the human condition, and so to guide Free Choice in choosing how to address it. How to discern purpose and meaning correctly so that we progress beyond it instead of being stuck inside Plato’s Cave.

I cite it, too, as an instance of how original thinking with intuition can work productively with the Course when the Course itself doesn’t cover all the bases. Though he dives into the human Psyche to an unprecedented depth Jesus leaves it to us to explore its breadth. Breadth that could have included personality type to explain projection and the obstacles we face in reversing it, but it didn’t. The point being we can figure it out for ourselves. If Jesus had laid it all out for us would we still have Free Choice?

Jung and Myers-Briggs shared the gift of Mind -- the sixth sense that is intuition -- with their theory of personality type. With illumination that can make the occupants of the Cave aware that its darkness isn’t their only choice. They aren’t prisoners and neither are we. None of us is a victim except by our own hand. We aren’t truly stuck anywhere except by our own choice, delusion that we’ve inflicted on ourselves. 

Body-sensing’s corruption of personality type

“Science” has done the opposite with its “five factor” theory of personality type. With the five senses of the body insanely fearful of what Mind’s sixth sense will reveal about them: that they don’t serve the light. That they and their captive science are instruments of the dark. Keeping us inside the Cave. Aided and abetted by Freud, adamant that Psyche is confined to body just as science is adamant that Consciousness is confined to brain.

Where does such nonsense come from? Not from the Logic of Jung’s and Myers-Briggs’ intuition that makes sense. It can only come from illogic that doesn’t make sense. From the master of the Cave. From delusion, and what’s called for is voice to speak for something better. Full-throated support for understanding personality type and function with intuition, not for overlooking it.

Klaatu barada nikto!

Jung and his successors, Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, were guided by the same source and produced results that were equally insightful. Not flawless but equally useful if only analysts and theorists like Ken were aware of it.

A foundation dedicated to Ken’s work won’t critique it. Yet I share my critique to make a point, that acknowledging the Course’s part in a living, ongoing reflection on the questions of life’s purpose and meaning would add to its relevance, not detract from it. Would expand the reach of Ken’s extraordinary contribution, not impede it.

No one can absorb every detail, every nuance, of what Jesus and Ken had to say through the Course. But anyone with Mind and its sixth sense, along with the uniqueness of their personalities, is qualified to reflect on its implications. Is qualified to apply its lesson from one set of circumstances -- the personalities, lives, and work of two clinical psychologists in twentieth century Manhattan -- to another.

Policies and principles given voice in one moment are meant not to be enshrined as though time had stopped, but to be applied. Applied to other moments because time hasn’t stopped. The world of the Course and Ken’s teaching is not The Day the Earth Stood Still. We are not Patricia Neal needing Michael Rennie’s robot Gort to protect us inside his flying saucer. It’s the Cambrian era: change and diversity so powerful that nothing can stop it.

Infinity in motion

The Course is more than the comfort of sanctuary. It’s the engine of Mind and intuition that enable and empower adaptation to change. Function that asks to be recognized and put to use. To overlook it is to miss not only the Truth of what it is but the Truth of what it’s for.

We can’t do as Jesus has asked without staying in step with change. Without aligning ourselves with the Logic and Love of Creation. With work that can never be done because the implications of Logic and the connections of Love -- Relationships that hold the Interconnectedness of Soul together as One -- aren’t temporal. They’re infinite. Eternal. Eternally in motion. If this is the Truth of Reality and Creation, then it must be the Truth of the Course and the use we make of it. To bring us to the light of self-awareness and the end of the darkness of our Cave.

The example set by Jesus

What did Jesus mean when he admonished teachers and students not to treat the Course as a “bible?” That to do so would thwart its use, just as the intended use of Jesus’ parables and miracles long ago, in a different context, was thwarted by captivity to authoritarian hierarchy and canon. By “Bible” that distracted minds detached from Reality with the false promise of absolute Truth. Just as the Child unconscious had been misled by the two-headed lie of absolute Authority and absolute Freedom. All of it a con.

Jesus didn’t respond to Helen’s and Bill’s Call for Love with the absolute Truth. With an external deus ex machina that, once imposed on their situations, would solve all problems in perpetuity. He responded with example. He role-modeled how to address their problems without telling anyone what to do. How to explain context -- individual and humanity -- with Logic combined with Love that leads to understanding. So that reasoning can address purpose and meaning grounded in facts instead of magical thinking. So that it will be guided by perception and judgment instead of misperception and misjudgment. All of it grounded in Reality and Necessity -- the laws of cause and effect  that take the mystery out of miracles.

The call for original thinking that provokes

Above all, he set an example for the use of Logic, Love, and Free Will to expose the lie that is our alternate “reality.” Courageously and honestly, for this is anything but a convenient truth. Unless we follow his example with explanation that leads to Understanding, based on Logic and Love, that's shared with wisdom and compassion, it will be taken by others as provocation. As attack that warrants response in kind: unthinking, unreasoning retaliation.

If we allow the Course to be treated as absolute unquestioned anything we kill it. It’s not a “bible” because its very purpose is to question and be questioned. To empower the implications  of Logic that is forever asking Why. To enshrine the Course in absolute Truth is to deprive it of its power. To do the work of insanity, the Child's shadow-code. Parsing its metaphysics and sharing lives is useful but so too is application that puts it to work. So too is original thinking that’s provocative or it’s not doing its job. A view that’s legitimate and even critical but under-represented. Why? Because it's provocative. 

Choose again

Application of its metaphysics is what makes the Course unique. Text, Workbook, and Manual. A point made eloquently through the work of its teacher, Kenneth Wapnick. Then can the Course and its teacher be honored as inspiration and guidance for their use? For their application by their students to changing contexts that require fresh understanding? Through the same independent judgment, the same sixth sense guided by Logic and Love, that Jesus affirmed when he closed with Choose again?

Institutions dedicated to the Course and its teacher’s work in their time might also help to reflect on what’s to be said through the same Logic and Love, the same sixth sense, in our time. To reflect and apply the Course as a living document in the spirit of Jesus, whose work is not done. Is this feasible? It’s worth asking.

The pheasant in its nest

The pheasant needs flight to adapt to the world around it. It can’t stay in its nest. Every institution needs to reflect on its mission to stay viable. When the Miracle Distribution Center, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, and the Foundation for Inner Peace reflect again, what considerations arise from the example of Jesus? What suggestions might be offered by the provocation of Honesty and Truth and the dynamic of Love? By the eternal Why of Logic?

Thank you. Keep up the good work, and God bless!

Hey Dad -- Look what I made! 

The Joker’s perversion of affirmation and reciprocation is entertaining its host with perversions of Truth. Jokes meant to cause laughter. Where the Child Free Choice takes part in the Creation of Life and Worth, Order and Freedom, through its Relationship with its Parents, Logic bonded with Love; through the Interconnectedness, Oneness, and Innocence of Psyche-Soul; through the reciprocation of Worth -- the gifts, values, and talents given by its Parents -- that consummates connection and earns recognition from Consciousness, the ultimate affirmation from its Parents, the self-delusion of the unconscious Child, its misidentity with its own shadow-reflection, its dark side, the mask of the Joker, expects affirmation and recognition, validation and praise, from unconsciousness for its part in the perversion of creation. For its comic book Truman TV Show fabricating appearances from mirror-image opposites. From perversions of Truth that compose its host’s Reality-Creation in consciousness.

The humorist expects praise and gratitude for its production and direction of the ultimate in entertainment: a one-dimensional facsimile of Reality-Creation, the only achievement its stolen talents are capable of. Expects an Academy award for generating laughs with its talent for pretense and perversity. With the antics of cartoon characters, psychotic replicas of itself. Obedient to a script that’s pleasant and peaceful, harmonious and sociable. Except, that is, when it’s hostile and intimidating, insensitive and cruel, psychopathic, and lethal.

Someone’s warped idea of “creative writing.” Top-down authority deceiving and forcing its replications into a made-up alternate reality. A joke lacking self-awareness and therefore a deception. That deceives itself as well as its captive audience. Because it’s a perversion, itself. An opposite of its host Love, Mind, and Self-Awareness. It can’t be aware of its deception, its perversion. The captor is entirely captive to its own delusion, not a free spirit. The opposite of Free Choice.

The munificence of delusion

So, the humorist is not amused when its foolishness is exposed, the fantasy of affirmation and empowerment that is its opposite. The emperor strutting his royal garments, wearing no clothes. Laughing gas takes offense. Its deception is dishonest because of its purpose: to take captive rather than to connect through Love and support. Through sharing and affirmation, liberation and empowerment.

The occupants of Plato’s Cave, deluded into identifying with their Cave master, imagining that they are the Cave master, are entirely unsympathetic to attempts to part them from their self-delusion. They are the self-delusion. And they must have recognition of top-down authority that wrote, produced, and directed the cartoon show. Their “voice” demanding reciprocation for the “gift” of the Cave master’s deceptions and perversions, will always override competing voices with narratives that contradict their contradiction. That deny their denial. For they must control the narrative. They cannot listen to competition from other voices, hear direction from other “authorities.”

They resent their host’s not praising their invention, their ingenious substitute for Creation. Resent their host for not showing due respect for an alternate reality devoid of Creativity, so it invents illusion instead. Unreality -- the Joker-world of humanity -- is an invention of a delusion that’s a perversion of Reality and Truth. For which the humorist, the Joker, expects validation. Expects genuflection from a truly grateful offspring for its munificence.

The thoroughness of the self-deception

Our unconscious ancestral mind that I call the Child had the task of fabricating a reverse mirror-image facsimile of Reality-Creation. To produce on short notice an alternate “reality” for its escape from an unsafe environment. An environment that it deluded itself into imagining was threatened by angry Parents seeking vengeance for its offense: the loss of consciousness that released the Child from their Relationship. That abandoned its Parents and their Reality, their Creation. That caused the ultimate offense to the Oneness of Reality-Creation: separation.

The Child responded to the challenge by reversing and perverting every attribute and process of Creation -- gifts-values, talents, sharing, affirmation, empowerment, reciprocation, freedom, and order, and more. Every attribute of Reality-Creation: the being and doing, the self and function of Reality, the Relationship Parents-Child, Life-Growth / Free Choice. Everything a reverse-perversion of Reality-Creation. The resulting illusion the substitute-alternative to real achievement, to the Creation of Life, of Worth: fabrication, invention, appearances, death. Plato’s Cave. The universe of spacetime-matter described in Brian Greene’s book, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Alfred A. Knopf 2020). The universe of entropy that defies meaning. Worthlessness.

Let’s do it!

For this “achievement” laughing gas is seriously proud and expects validation. Academy awards that the occupants of Plato’s Cave have been giving it since the beginning of time. Themselves, for making fools of themselves. A mind that in unconscious delirium imagines itself all Creation, its own Creator. Served by Energy that will animate all manner of magic tricks if directed by Mind to do so when it’s just dreaming.

Know what? I can do that! And so can you. People just like us make careers out of scripting fantasies for the entertainment industry. Spiritual descendants of Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows, talented in the art of absurdity. Of hilarity. Until he woke up, Pete Hamill made a comic book cartoon of his everyday life and even trained to become a professional cartoonist. It’s all there in A Drinking Life (Little, Brown 1994). We can compete to see whose imagination comes up with the most outlandish comic book absurdity. Real achievement. John Belushi. Animal House.

Let’s do it!

Those were the days 

I briefly took up the drinking life in Boston. It was around the time I abandoned youth for good in my twenties and surrendered to the inevitable and adulthood in my thirties. A guy I connected with through work bought the next round at Jake Wirth’s on Stuart Street. Dawson’s Ale. Which required reciprocation. And more reciprocation. Until by the time I breathed fresh air again, I’d been magically reunited with a sepia-colored past and was hooked. This went on for a couple more years, through more bars in Boston and then abroad, from one end of Europe to the other. Until work separated us and I moved on.

The legacy of my venture into “Those Were the Days” was a continuing fondness for my newfound friend, beer, that I indulged mostly on weekends for another forty years. If the physical abuse Pete Hamill described hadn’t been a barrier, and my need for solitude, the impulse was certainly there to go all out. Mind-altering that I won’t go near today attracted me then. It took me into worlds of larger-than-life consequence, the causes and transformations that I missed from my WWII childhood. The companionship of beer was the companionship of meaning, and I was in no hurry to part with it.

The fourteen years since have validated Hamill’s experience, that the sound and fury of drink, entertaining as it was, was performance. An imitation of life rather than the real thing. Having thoughts and feelings clean and clear, untinted by alcohol, makes life way more interesting. Opens explorations of felt experience, of authenticity, that actually lead somewhere instead of trapping me in the theatrics of self-regard. Hamill found that he could get better kicks from not drinking. Make better connections with people who mattered, and that’s how it was with me. June 24, 2009, was my last Bohemia. A chunk of life came and went. It was what it was, and I never looked back. 

It’s not about redemption

A reader who hasn’t already read Pete Hamill’s A Drinking Life, or heard about it or its author, will judge it by its title. I did, which is why I took so long to read it. Working class Brooklyn Irish guy raised Catholic gets into booze. Drops out of high school. Takes the kind of job where guys spend their lives so they can retire with a pension. Lives a life of grinding despair. Never enough money, nagging relationships, failing health. Dead-end career, unemployment, crushing hangovers. Guilt, remorse. Spiraling out of control until he’s hit bottom. And then redemption. Salvation, AA. Surrendering to a higher power. Jesus. Priests. Absolution. Weekly confession. And so on. And now the author wants to save us.

This is not A Drinking Life. Hamill was raised Catholic and went to a primary school called Holy Name. But belief in God played no part in his story. In the drinking or non-drinking part or the moment that separated them. He was indoctrinated with religion and never bought any of it. An altar boy at one time, he was as alienated as one could get from the Church, its representations -- teachers as well as teachings -- and remained immune to its influence through every turn in his story. He rejected its promise of redemption but, more than that, the idea of redemption itself. His life story was never anything but his own responsibility.

A Drinking Life isn’t about redemption of any kind. Its author most certainly changed his mind and his life, and he’s found reasons to talk about it if we care to listen. But we’re not being preyed upon. We can make of it whatever we want. Because that’s all there is to it. The telling of the story. A guy looking at who and where we are from who and where he is, telling it straight. No bullshit. A writer and a drinker with a life-long talent for bullshitting himself and others. Practicing a newfound talent for telling the truth. For being honest instead of play-acting. And since he’s experienced, a talented writer with a life-long habit of reading, a passion for creativity, sociability, and variety, his story is edifying as well as entertaining. Worth telling, and it’s told well.

The cartoonist and his cartoon

Nevertheless, a guy drinking soda at a bar, talking about himself, making no effort to entertain, should be a total bore. If we go by the laughs this book gave me -- two -- from an author renowned for humor in his convivial world of hijinks, you’d think he was a bore. But I couldn’t put the book down. Preconception was dead wrong.

That is, for me. I only flirted with a drinking life. Bending elbows in Boston’s bars with one drinking buddy a couple of years and then it was over. I eluded the bubble. But it could be right for a beer enthusiast who hasn’t arrived at Hamill’s moment and isn’t likely to. The moment when there was yet another occasion for embracing the drinking life and Hamill backed off. He saw himself play-acting -- “performing,” to use his word. He looked at his drink, realized why it was there, why he was there, and realized he didn’t want either. Didn’t want the drink but, more important, the life that it stood for. The life and the performing persona that went with it. Didn’t want the theatrical fiction he’d made up to be part of it. To be part of bullshit instead of a world where real people look after one another, listen to one another. Take care of business and get things done. Where they aren’t cartoon characters off on flights of fancy, engaged in an eternal contest for conquest, supremacy, and glory.

Because that’s the life he’d led. The life of an adolescent Brooklyn street fighter so taken with comic book mythology -- machismo idols, supernatural powers, and magic tricks -- that he made it his life’s work to bring it to life. To make it real for him. Where he, the comic book action hero come to life, could rule the streets unopposed. His calling was creative writing and journalism, the career that eventually put him on the map. Yet early on, all his efforts were devoted to becoming a cartoonist. So that he could indulge his passion for comic books, his obsession with fantasy. So that he could transition from consuming alternate realities of action heroes, villains, legends of Olympian combat, and mythical forces, to producing them.

Another direction

It was his dream. And he had fun. Good times with the bad, non-stop action either way. Brawls won and lost, made no difference. One put a bullet so close to his head he could hear it, but it was OK so long as he could go on picking fights. Constant change, constantly on the go. If uprooting to exotic places on an impulse, all-night parties, limitless access to booze and sex, getting teeth knocked out, and being thrown in jail far from home makes for an interesting life, Hamill led an interesting life.

Until, in his 38th year, his story took a different turn. His vision changed. A new awareness took hold and the dream faded. He had joined the writing fraternity, become a respected source of insight into current affairs as well as a storyteller and poet. Serious stuff. His expanding world forced an expanding awareness. The adolescent cartoonist couldn’t remain inside a cartoon and ignore reality, no matter how charming he was. He had to take note and get it right. He had to think and reflect. To align his stance, his brand, with what actually mattered. To judge consciously with discretion and not subconsciously with animal instinct. To put his talents of mind to work in a new way. To grow up. To survive.

Hamill got close with Shirley MacLaine, an experienced Hollywood-Broadway actress who was serious about play-acting and knew a lot about it. A professional instead of a barroom bullshitter, who introduced him to the difference between being and performing. Made him aware that the difference between being who you really are and performing someone else is what makes the performance authentic. You can persuade others that you’re another character if you’re grounded in your own character. In your baseline self where the mind, heart, and soul that animates your fictional character originate. If you’ve figured out your own story, the reality of it, not the mythology.

With knowing yourself comes a critical awareness: the separation between adolescent dreaming and grownup living; between pretending to be about something and actually being about something; between mind-altering at a bar, escaping into an alternate reality and bullshitting, versus being real in the here and now and being honest. Between “being there” in every sense instead of not being there. To belong before your audience you must learn to be who you appear to be.

The actress held up a mirror and Hamill looked into it. That’s all it took. To recognize what the image in the mirror was and what it wasn’t. To see that it wasn’t him. Wasn’t who he actually wanted to be as opposed to a comic book fiction. The invention of an adolescent mind caring more for supremacy on the streets, for being Captain Brooklyn, than for being there. For being present and accounted for. For those who depended on him: employers, wife, children, younger siblings, aging parents. All it took to retire Captain Brooklyn was a whiff of his arch enemy: Captain Self-Awareness. All it took was to uncover himself and another life. Where the real fun is. 

The gift of honesty

My infatuation with beer began at age 30, eight years before the age when Hamill ended his. Its lingering for over forty years was what it was. I’m not weighed down with regrets. But with hindsight I can imagine that, without its distortions, I might have seen more possibilities and made better use of them than I did. The mind is a wonderful thing. Its capacity to produce and amaze is almost limitless. I can’t believe that imbibing spirits that kill brain cells is doing it any good. If you believe otherwise you’re kidding yourself. It’s the beer talking.

An over-aged beer enthusiast still wedded to the drinking life may have no trouble rationalizing why he doesn’t need to read Hamill’s book. Preconceptions always suffice. For passing by the nondescript guy at the bar drinking soda, quietly being honest about himself instead of putting on a performance. Instead of emoting, play-acting, entertaining. Preconceptions suffice for choosing company all too willing to feed self-delusion, the myth of endless, carefree youth. The contrived excitement of endless games. The denial of limits and difficulties, the end of anything self-gratifying. Unpleasantness and inconvenient truth whatever it is. He may go on soaking up the atmospherics of conviviality as always, the sports bar bonhomie, the camaraderie. Look down at his drink and go on celebrating his good fortune. The daydream that’s propped up eternal youth before and will go on propping it up forever. Long live adolescence!

But if you’re the drinker and are done with evasions, with substitutes for Love and want the real thing. If you’re open to trying something different you might find pleasure and satisfaction in hearing Hamill out. Hearing what a once-dedicated adolescent has to say and the way he says it. How he gave up being a one-dimensional “Brooklyn mug” to become a living, three-dimensional human being. How he climbed down off the screen and joined the audience. A person with blemishes and vulnerabilities instead of an armored Marvel comics freak. How he transitioned from immaturity to maturity. Without redemption. Without salvation. By looking into a mirror and being honest with himself.

A Drinking Life -- that’s all it is: honesty. This could be your turning point. This could be your moment. When the fun begins. The unadulterated originality and creativity that were once your birthright until they were imagined away. In a bargain with whom? With yourself. This could be when Life begins.

Happy Birthday!