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We speak different languages

Across the divide minds and hearts receptive to love and wisdom join together to honor their source with gifts and remembrance and to wish for another year of grace. To be there with light when the darkness chooses to come to the light. Nice opening, David. What?! Who said that? Your long-suffering readers. Darn! I thought I got rid of them. What’s this business about “being there with light?” Try to make sense for a change. 

I’ll try, but fair warning. Humanity is hard-wired to recognize one reality, the world of physical objects, space, and time we’re familiar with. It’s the default world of every field of inquiry – science, philosophy, psychology, and theology. It limits the language of discourse to concepts and terminology that are permissible within this paradigm. I speak a different language that isn’t permissible, and there is no Rosetta Stone to help my readers translate. My language is the language of a different paradigm. What paradigm? 

My reality is the Reality of Mind. Of Logic-Love. Yours is the reality of sensory perception – the body and whatever its senses detect. Even if it’s dark matter or dark energy that, so far, can’t be detected. Your reality in my paradigm, my worldview, is an alternate reality that came about because of events in my Reality of Mind that preceded it. My language confuses because it postulates not only two realities, one preceding and causing the other, but one that’s real and the other isn’t. No one who’s been following my website posts has so far shown any inclination to understand, let alone embrace, this theory. Then why do you persist?

Because E=MC2 brought humanity a long way toward clarity about our universe. And if physics can bring complexity into clear focus metaphysics can do the same with its complexity. If I’m not making sense it’s because the picture I’m describing, the story I’m telling and the concepts and language I’m using to tell it, aren’t coming into focus. It’s all coming into focus for me. But translating it for readers who resist parting with a familiar paradigm takes time. Especially when they still fervently believe, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, that it serves them well. Einstein had a receptive audience for his elegant equation. I don’t.

To further complicate matters my website isn’t intended to attract a crowd or start a movement. You’re in no hurry to make sense? There’s no point in being in a hurry, but there is purpose in what I’m doing so I am motivated. I’m only hopeful that minds aware of our situation will find my search for understanding helpful in their search. Individuals, not groups. You’re right. A worldview that isn’t limited to one world and wants me to believe that mine is made up – that’s mind-boggling. Where’s the waste basket! But you are cleared to carry on.

The Self that we are and are not

Being there with the light means Understanding. Understanding what?  How to let go of the divide. All this nonsense that separates us. Imagining that we’re the many instead of one. That there’s authority in groups that can’t be questioned. That there’s meaning and excitement in an alternate reality that’s actually the opposite. A made-up world that resists understanding because it’s afraid of being exposed. OK. That’s the What. How be there with the light?

Replace self-delusion with self-awareness. Recognize the Self that we really are so that when we project it onto “others,” we’re not projecting something we don’t like because it’s unfamiliar. Unrecognizable because it’s alien. A concoction of differences in appearance, personality, and psychology so forbidding that we dare not come close. We need to see ourselves in “others.” And it has to begin with seeing the right self. The one Self beloved of its Parents in Creation, Logic and Love. Who in Reality is Love and Innocence, Creativity and Free Will. Even though, in its unconscious state, the Child imagines itself to be otherwise. Then what? Then there won’t be any need to project. Why? When fear and guilt are gone, there won’t be anything to get rid of. Projection, the idea that a thought can leave its source, is an impossibility. It never happened in Reality, which means our alternate reality didn’t happen either. All that will end is an illusion – the nutty idea of projection. Who is this wrong self that’s cluttering up our minds?

It's a fun house mirror-image of an object that can’t see or hear, think or feel. A clown that’s funny if you can laugh at yourself and you have a taste for irony. The Joker. A reflection that’s a shadow, defined by a code derived from its host. A parasite that claims all of our attributes only in reverse. In the dark, perverse and sinister. Hiding behind an appearance that it’s an “other” when it’s just us, the Child deluding itself. How did the Child delude itself? 

The roots of our self-delusion

Driven by desperation and paranoia, fear, confusion, and guilt, into wishful thinking, the Child deluded itself into dreaming that there can be another home, a substitute reality where it can escape, even if it’s into conflict and mortality, from the Home of creativity and eternity where it now fears punishment for an unforgivable sin: its loss of consciousness. The mortifying sin of separation from its Parents, their Reality and their gifts of Creation. Escape from the Home that in Reality it can never leave because it’s the only Home there is. The Child did something horribly wrong? So we must be bad too? 

The loss of consciousness was a consequence of the circumstances surrounding its arrival in Creation. In its context the loss of consciousness aligned with Logic-Love’s laws of Necessity. It was unintended, yet it couldn’t have been an accident or a mistake. It has always been assumed from unreality’s perspective to be a violation, a flaw or deficiency that accounts for the darkness. For humanity’s egregious behavior. But it was not. The Child did nothing wrong for which the Child and humanity deserve punishment. Nor did the Child's Parents. Believing otherwise is buying into the self-delusion. It’s perpetuating it and perpetuating evil along with it.

However, in its desperation to escape from the consequences of what it mistook for a blunder the Child certainly made a mistake. Not an act with intent to do wrong, a sin that took away its Innocence, but an act brought about by the tumultuous change in its circumstances. The Child, being Free Will, is nevertheless accountable for its mistake and it does have to correct it. Of its own Free Will and not with the intervention of a "savior."

Its mind unconscious and groping in the darkness, imagining that it was hearing a strange voice, the voice of its own shadow-reflection that it mistook for an other, it imagined that it projected its real Self onto its own reflection, a coded opposite that it mistook for a savior. The same mistake we make when we mistake authoritarian rulers, religious and political, for saviors. The “savior” projected itself along with its captive host into an alternate reality. Automatically, mechanically, because its cause was a lifeless viral code. An event that registers with us as the “Big Bang.” And all of it the inevitable consequence of Energy in service to Mind, activating a dream defined by the code. 

The work that we have to do

Strange as it may seem, our experience of disorder fits within the larger context of Order. Everything is as it should be. Not to say that Creation is a chaotic mess but only that it’s not the dreamy la-la land that we imagine it to be. Neither the loss of consciousness nor the animation of a dream coded by illogic was the consequence of accident or malign intent. The Innocence of the Child remained intact throughout. But it was the consequence of Creation that requires that Free Choice learn from trial-and-error experience. That the Worth of anything in Creation be affirmed by reciprocation and earned. What does all this mean? 

It means that the Child has work to do and so do we: reversing its mistake and learning from it from within the dream. Regaining consciousness by working with the agent of Logic-Love, an emissary that’s part of the dream, to get right what must be right before the Child can take on its role in Creation. This requires gaining maturity and competence, the lack of which defines Child-the-many in our alternate reality. Our world of recycling violence, irrationality, and rank incompetence. All of it another story for another time. A narrative that could have been written by philosophy, psychology, and theology. Where does science come in? 

Physics is questioning its faith in sensory perception

Science knows enough to trace matter back to Energy, but it refuses to trace Energy back to where it comes from. Back to Mind. Because every field of inquiry understands that parting with the body is parting with the supposed gold standard for determining what’s real. Is venturing into Mind that can’t be detected with the body’s senses and supposedly can’t determine what’s real. They’ve got it in reverse. When he took Plato’s philosophy in a different direction, away from theorizing into the practice of science, from the exploration of Mind toward the exploration of matter, Aristotle at least acknowledged that Mind is real. A view that science today doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge, as though it weren’t true or isn’t important. Science thinks that parting with our alternate reality, supposedly something that can be understood – spacetime-matter – is engaging with something that can’t – Mind. Even though physics is so flummoxed by the universe . . . or is it the metaverse? Definitely the metaverse if you write for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. . . that it’s begun to wonder if it’s an illusion. Really?

Really. Lead article, February issue of Scientific American. Adam Becker. Hawking’s “quest for knowledge” and the quests for Einstein’s unified field theory and quantum gravity aren’t reprising the heady days of general relativity. They’re breathing new life into the metaphysics of Parmenides, who intuited with Logic, before Plato, that our alternate reality is an illusion. Really? Really. Lead article, February issue of Scientific American, cites Parmenides. Adam Becker, its author, is the author of What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics (Basic Books 2018).

The question posed by Becker’s article is, “Does spacetime emerge from a  more fundamental reality?” That would be the Reality I've been writing about where the Story of the Child took place. I showed the article to a committed “realist.” Was he upset? Shocked? Evasive, with a memorable show of mental acrobatics. He flew right past the question into a safety net of irrelevancies he wove from the rest of the article. As though falling into the net was the act the audience paid to see. Scratch one flattop. Yeah. But at least his artful diversionary tactics made a show of reflection. Becker is exceptional. A realist yet serious about getting at the truth despite his bias. Other “realists” cling to their bias.

I also showed the article to four students at Caltech, the citadel of “realism,” thinking they would at least be curious. But they weren’t? I tried engaging one of them in email correspondence. Didn’t get a rise out of anyone. I thought maybe theorists on the faculty would be challenging them to entertain different perspectives, but there was no sign of it. You were expecting free thinkers and got budding careerists. I got automatons marching in lockstep toward the glitzy rewards of a Caltech degree. The new generation has already committed their careers to the current paradigm. If Thomas Kuhn’s structure of scientific revolution is going to deliver another earthquake it will take the next generation. Meantime, I won’t expect science’s hallowed institutions, like Caltech, to emulate Becker’s courage and intellectual integrity anytime soon.

After all, who’s willing to take on change so radical there’s nothing in the history of science to compare it with? Who with a career and wants to raise a family. Who imagines that our made-up world is an invention and it’s who we are. Who’s willing to part with playing god in the world we made up, even if its rewards and pleasures come with pain and then go? Are you? For thinkers, theorists, and writers, mind provides plenty of excitement without distractions. How’s that?

Where the thought process of Logic-Love can lead us

By letting Mind take us to where science and the body’s senses fear to tread. To Logic-Love that explains what we need to understand. Like a stream filling a dry streambed, each hole one at a time at its own pace, in logical sequence. The image of wisdom from The Chinese Book of Changes, Hexagram 4, “Youthful Folly.” If we get impatient and try to control it, it won’t happen. Like the sweet bird of Love it comes and goes of its own accord. Not controlling us and not being controlled are its strictest rules, for in their essence both Logic and Love are Free Spirits. As are we, their offspring. Not the many captive to our alternate reality but their one Child, Free Choice, in Reality. Whose Free Will must be respected and preserved. We have to get out of the way. Reciprocate by just taking it in, putting the pieces together. Because that’s what Logic-Love does: fitting its implications and the connections of Love together in perfect harmony. So where’s the explanation? 

The answers we need, when we open our minds and hearts to them, come from the fitting together, the harmony, of Logic-Love. Once we let Logic-Love’s agent that’s in our minds guide us to who and where we are, we can begin to use our Free Will to choose with reason how to deal with it. With the values we were given before the Child lost consciousness. Where to go with it. And that would be? To recognize the rational Mind and innocent Love that we are, the Home that Logic-Love has provided for us. To stop trying to escape by projecting ourselves onto our own shadow-opposite and letting it, a delusion, project its unreal image onto imagined “others” in a made-up world.

We forgive when all projection and its acts of magic end. When self-awareness brings our awareness back to the Home we never left. One Self, Mind and Love, pure and Innocent. In a state of awakening where opposites can’t be detected and projecting thoughts from their source – an impossibility – could never make sense. All well and good for you. But it sounds like you’re writing me, your long-suffering reader, out of the script.

Heaven is other people

To love an other is to recognize that they aren’t an “other.” “Soul-mates” belong to one Soul.  I don’t know if that’s how my granddaughters and I love one another but that’s how it feels. Friendship. Friends certain that something connects them that can be trusted. That’s safe and can’t be broken. We are “others” to one another and yet we aren’t. I’m a philosophical idealist. Do I describe a relationship that’s unique to idealists or one that is not? We can’t presume to know what Logic-Love is up to. There’s no way of telling.

If in truth we’re all one Self then there’s no “you” and no “we.” Our conversation isn’t with an “other.” It’s with the agent of Logic-Love that’s in our dreaming mind, whose voice can sometimes be heard above the racket of distractions, reminding us who we are and how we came to seem not who we are. How we got here. Calling us Home. This is “Forgiveness?”

No way can I “forgive” with my dreaming-projecting mind. With my brain’s amygdala and hippocampus, its limbic system adulterating every act with a hint or blast of animal-herd rivalry. With the raw, unevolved fear, rage, lust, and blind will of a beast to dominate. The agent of Logic-Love and I must be so close that when the time comes we’re acting as one. I can’t be listening to the voice of shadow-delusion and Logic-Love at the same time. I can only be hearing one voice, and when that happens I’ve reclaimed my Free Will. No longer captive to the dream. The self-delusion. The alternate reality. No more “you.” No more “we.” No more isolated, separated “I” either. Just the real one Self. The Self who has Free Choice because it is Free Choice, its indispensable role in Creation.  Borne of Free Spirits. Good. It wouldn’t be fair if you were still around and I wasn’t.

None of this happens by coercion. Nothing happens that’s not by our wanting it, choosing it, and willing it. Without reservation. If we feel we must cling to our alternate reality for any reason – sentimental attachment, fear of the unknown, whatever – then Logic-Love will let us be. “Free will” is one part free, one part will. Seeking and accepting guidance isn’t giving up our will. We have to be ready and willing to let go and not look back. Not look back at the flaming crucifix beneath skies inflamed with the fires of hell, no matter how seductive the lure of victimhood once was. Is this how we escape from Plato’s Cave? 

Plato’s Cave still needs an answer

The darkness of Plato’s Cave is occupants who’ve tricked themselves into believing they are their captor, their master. Who imagine that the Cave is their invention, and so they are proud of it, identify with it, cling to it. The Cave is one organic, objectified image of captivity and illusion – a Truman TV Show -- that can only be liberated when it chooses to bring its darkness – itself -- to the light. With Free Will that can never be surrendered but can be denied by a mind deluding itself. By the fool that is self-delusion.

Entering the Cave from outside, bearing light that contradicts the will of its occupants to make it real, won’t make its occupants ready. This was the narrative posed by Plato. It will only subject the light to the distortions of the darkness and extinguish it. The bearer will fare no better, for the will that he’s contradicted is a hornet’s nest. We in our alternate reality are the darkness. We are the Cave. Idealists search for the light. In their fanatical resistance to contradiction “realists” are the hornet’s nest.

The philosophical question posed by the allegory of Plato’s Cave isn’t how to free others from their chains by penetrating illusion with truth. How to clear others’ minds of deception. It’s how to clear our own minds. How to undo the chains of delusion that we’ve clamped on our own necks that keep us from turning toward the light. From recognizing the truth. The truth that we are Free Choice. The Child’s mistake was a mistake made by Free Choice even if unconsciousness removed conscious intent. It wasn’t made by a beast with no control over its own destiny. And so the Child can correct its mistake. The philosophical answer is we can choose to undo the chains of delusion ourselves.

The authorities in Athens who enraged Plato with their injustice, the execution of his mentor Socrates, were the minds he sought to enlighten. Theirs was the injustice he sought to explain. To understand so that philosophy, his gift, his talent, could correct it. But because he never fully sided with Parmenides, because he couldn’t part with the deceptions of sensory perception, the body, he never approached his task fully through Mind. Couldn’t let the agent of Logic-Love guide his philosophy to its logical conclusion because in the cosmos he thought he sensed the divine.

Plato’s reasoning that elevated Mind to the highest state of virtue went as far as it could go without recognizing its parity and bonding with Love. Logic would have taken it all the way had it opened his mind to the illusion of all matter. But the body, as it always does, got in the way. Plato’s Cave was handed down to us, a question still seeking an answer. Its occupants in their darkness – us – still unrelieved by the light. Is there hope? Are we making progress?

The ”better way” that is A Course in Miracles

Science, philosophy, psychology, and theology all resist the enlightenment of Logic-Love and cling to body-Cave with the tenacity of madness. Because that’s the state of our mind ruled by body-sensing “realists.” The agent of Logic-Love can take many forms. The agent known as Jesus brought light to the darkness, perhaps bidden by the Israelites’ yearning for a “messiah.” Looking for a savior who would deliver them from the yokes of all their oppressors. A paladin in the mold of their mythical King David who would champion their cause, not change their minds.

Jesus set about releasing them from oppression far worse than Caesar’s, the kind that comes from within. Changing minds with parables and miracles was what he sought. A mission that inevitably attracted opposition from without. From authorities jealous of his appeal, fearful of being deposed. Aphrodite jealous of Psyche’s beauty, fearful of humiliation by a mere human. Cave occupants defending their turf. Projection in the form of a cross attempted to crush Christ-Innocence under the weight of its own guilt. But though it failed and the Truth of Innocence lives on, the form it took was perverted into institutions and agendas opposed to its intent. Shards from the violence done to his cause survived to make existence less uncomfortable for some, inspiring hope and idealism in others. But in the end the Cave, its occupants, and their delusion remained intact.

Jesus has since brought light to the darkness, not incarnate but through an expression of Logic-Love: A Course in Miracles. Bidden by two clinical psychologists not seeking a messiah. Not seeking a savior but yearning for “a better way” to navigate through fractious working relationships. They got it, and the sharing of it through the Course opened a better way to other individuals, like me, who need it. And who, in turn, share what they make of it in gratitude. So they may truly have it and you may, too, if you’re interested. The metaphysics of my website and its experiments with application. Its elaborations on the lessons of the Course that go beyond its scope, for the Course doesn’t explain why the Child lost consciousness. Its focus is on the Child’s mistake afterward that led to our alternate reality. All of it an attempt at solving “real-world” problems because this is what the Course is for. New Age is for feel good, not for solving problems.

The Course is not “New Age.” When New Age holds that the universe and bodies were created by God, it teaches the opposite of the Course. “Prosperity consciousness” and its overriding emphasis on people’s positive experiences are New Age markers that conflict with the Course’s focus on our feelings of guilt. Where the Course makes clear that God is our Source, New Age promotes the idea that we are God.

In my attempts to apply its metaphysics I’ve found that the Course doesn’t require the terminology of religion, faith, mysticism, or even “spirituality.” As “realists” would have it these are giveaways for superficiality when in fact nothing is given away because the terms don’t apply. What “realists” miss in their own silliness is the simplicity and eloquence of common sense. Facts and Logic that have no need of the deceptions of bodily apparitions to establish their depth.

Soul is Spirit. Essence, Beauty, Purity, Innocence. But Mind doesn’t need “spirit” to get across that it’s not body. “God” who functions as His Child’s Parents, Logic and Love combined, who governs under the law, compassionately and subjectively with Love and Wisdom from the bottom up rather than ruling arbitrarily, objectively, and cruelly from the top down, has more relevance as “Parents.” Because He has both masculine and feminine aspects essential to Creativity, and I am not satisfied with “God the Father” and all the masculine attributes of the domineering, Old Testament authority that it implies.

Necessity belongs to the laws of cause and effect that apply to Everything, including God. If you can’t live without a dominating authority then be satisfied with Necessity, the laws that flow from Logic-Love but are not controlled by it. You will not find your patriarchal authority in the gentle loving kindness of our Parents. Father Logic and Mother Love, inseparable. Nor will you find it in Necessity. But you will find Necessity! The laws are what they are and they can’t be violated. The one Child’s being out of alignment with Necessity, needing to learn how to align, is what brought us, Child the many, to this moment in illusory time. This break with the Now and eternity. With sanity.

Our alternate reality is a joke

The state of our mind is the “collective unconscious” intuited by Carl Jung. So long as any individual can truly forgive, that would break the spell. It would restore us to Reality and our one Self’s role in Creation. That’s our audience. My audience. “You” could be that individual if “I” am not. The single torpedo. All it takes to destroy the Death Star, the intricate web of facades, the trickster’s illusions, the Joker’s perversions of the Truth that make up our alternate reality. Our unreality, one Big Lie. Big to us but literally nothing to Logic-Love, our Parents. One Big Joke on us.

Unraveling and exposing the lie is why I think, read, and write. It’s my cause. It’s why the excitements of Mind are my entertainments. The Joker’s jokes can amuse once their perversity is exposed, the foolish mischief that plays havoc with the truth. They’re funny? They are. Its version of Freedom is “liberty.” Liberty is Freedom without Order, an absurdity. Imagine traffic without regulations so travelers can navigate streets and highways without having to obey the rules of the road. Imagine busy intersections without stop lights or stop signs. Ghostbusters demons driving New York cabs. That’s the Joker’s idea of Freedom. What about Order without Freedom? 

Another joke that’s funny if you can overlook wholesale suffering, “I love order!” was the parting sentiment of Stalin’s security chief, Lavrentiy Beria, before he was executed by Stalin’s successors. Order in Reality is creations and Creators – subjects -- fitting together in a happy dance choreographed from the bottom up by Logic and Love. A celebration of Creation and Life. Of individual sovereignty, Free Will, and harmony. It's the farthest thing from coercion.

The Joker’s version is absurdities: regimented assemblies of uniformed bodies and faces – objects -- forced into grotesque images of mindless obedience to arbitrary authority. Truman TV performances by persons gutted of personality, individuals gutted of individuality, wills stripped of their voice. Displays of homogenized sameness paid to follow the script. To abide by the rules and project contentment or be written out of the script. Not to exist. Or never mind pretense and just do it Lavrentiy’s way: terror. A pistol to the head. All to one end: to maintain phony order required by phony authority so that nobody catches on to the truth. That it’s all a delusion. A joke.

Perversions of the Truth like this are the building blocks of our alternate reality, the low-hanging fruit of a tree groaning under the weight of them. They’re everywhere, laughing at us, making fun of us. “Liberty” is authoritarians’ idea of arbitrary rule above the law so we can get rid of democracy under the law. That’s not funny. No, nor is an entire universe that science takes seriously that’s also a joke. The handiwork of a Dr. Frankenstein with a mad idea.

The Child in dire straits made a mistake that must be corrected. Because even though no harm has been done to Reality the Child can’t emerge from unconsciousness, prepare for its role in Creation, and get back to work until what’s done is undone. Yet the seriousness of its task doesn’t belie the nature of the mistake. Mistaking your own shadow-reflection for someone else is dumb. Then deluding yourself into thinking you are the other and being taken in by your own deceptions, your own magic tricks, is beyond dumb. It’s the very definition of a fool. To begin to understand that the alternate reality we inhabit is the work of a fool, to understand that this is why it defies understanding and seems so perverse, is to begin to understand the fools that we are. To have a good laugh on ourselves. But then shed the role of the fool, let go of the self-deception, the Joker. Undo the mistake, stop wasting time on pointless distractions, and get to work.

I’m not alone in my attitude. I share the amusement of another who encourages us to laugh at ourselves and the absurdity we have wrought. Jesus, the author of A Course in Miracles, our guide, our comforter, who can’t help being the amused audience of our self-delusion. We the court jester paid to make royalty laugh. We the fool are at least succeeding in this.

We get in our own way

The simple yet wondrous revelations of Logic-Love surprise and delight me. That explain simply and beautifully what science and all the rest struggle to explain. Their frustrations with Ghostbuster demons who refuse to behave: particles that can’t make up their minds whether they’re particles or waves. That can’t even exist unless they interconnect. And when they do, they’re “non-local:” interacting across distances as though time and space don’t exist. Richard Feynman’s bizarre “sum of histories” has a logical explanation, but don’t expect his illogical profession to provide it. Who said “illogical?” Albert Einstein in 1952. Who said anything about physics’ circular reasoning, its inherent lack of objectivity? The Nobel laureate physicist-philosopher Erwin Schroedinger.

Imagine the irony of particles that interconnect everywhere but can’t explain how or why to minds that also interconnect everywhere but can’t explain because they aren’t even aware of it. Because they’re trapped in their bodies, enabled by their bodies’ senses to sense appearances but blocked by the same senses from understanding what lies behind appearances. Therefore, they must refuse to explain in order to maintain the validity of their bodies’ senses. Of all they think they “know” and understand about who they are. Bodies and brains are getting in the way.

Like the occupants of Plato’s Cave who identify with their illusory environment, minds trapped in their bodies and mistaken for brains must oppose explanation to preserve a compromised “existence.” And, therefore, they must oppose understanding. Preserving misunderstanding – our illusory environment – is, for physics that would survive by its own rules, an existential necessity. Depriving both matter and mind of voices and themselves ears with which to hear the meaning of what the eyes see. Minds that approach the study of matter in such a strange way observe interesting things and there the story must end. No wonder we’re stuck!

Science that opposes understanding aligns not with Logic-Love’s laws of cause and effect but with the laws of chaos. And so, lost in the mysteries of quantum gravity, it calls for help from philosophy. From a source deceived by the same “realism” that can only throw it a rope without a life-preserver. Both following the Joker’s playbook: seek but do not find. Quest for “knowledge” that’s misperception. “Understand” by misunderstanding. A dog chasing its own tail. 

The rule of the herd

Physics isn’t destined to combine its four forces into one Force, unified field theory, or combine gravity-relativity with quantum mechanics. Certainly not with the Force of Star Wars that levitates X-wing fighters out of swamps. If there’s hope in the behavior of groups there’s little evidence of it. Individuals aren’t managing our planet. Institutions do that and are supposed to preserve governance, too. The kind that gives everyone a voice from the bottom up, and we can see where that’s headed. The lessons of WWII should have lasted at least through its survivors’ lifetimes but they seem to have been forgotten. Institutions are groups; groups are one-the-many, and that takes us, like never being in the Now, into uncharted territory. Into the dream land of unconsciousness, alternate realities, and chaos.

Groups are vestiges of the herd, and the herd is its own pasture. The pasture of the bull. The beast that wills its dominance over intruders and reserves the specialness of victimhood for itself. The dominant beast borne of a shadow deprived of self, a parasite dependent on its host. A pathetic victim ridden with jealousies and resentments, clothed in the “innocence” of helplessness. Harboring anger toward the perpetrators of the injustice. Anger at its core toward its host – everyone and anyone, unrelenting and undifferentiated. What is the bull in the pasture but anger itself? License to eliminate all opposition.

Authoritarian dictatorships and world wars haven’t made us ready as a species -- as a group. And now the prospect of losing our habitat, mother earth, isn’t making us ready either. Instead of saving it authoritarians, with the herd’s perverse appeal to weakness that craves derived strength, are taking all of us, strong and weak, in the opposite direction. The individual is our best hope?

The level at which the choice must be made

Our only hope. How much more experience do we need with groups before we understand that entrusting them with our readiness is a mistake? The herd can only “lead” itself, like stampeding buffaloes, over a cliff. The herd can only recognize its own and repel intruders with blind instinct. It has no vision and therefore no sense of direction. Its only “guidance” is its will to seize authority and dominate. Its much overblown “triumph of the will,” a sick joke. Think Berlin April 1945. Let the herd make babies and keep the grass cut. But do not let it lead.

Our only hope is the voice of the agent of Logic-Love that’s part of every individual’s dreaming mind. But only certain personality types in certain contexts – intuitives, “idealists” -- seem interested in hearing it. Or were interested in hearing it. Lesley Chamberlain, the author of Rilke: The Last Inward Man [Pushkin 2022], believes that some “will always be attracted to the mystical and the metaphysical,” but “the age of inwardness, the flowering of cultures in the West that were individualistic and reflective, has passed.” [Review by John Banville, NYRB 11/03/22, p. 2]  Your epitaph? 

The epitaph of an age, but to the individual it makes no difference. “’Age” and “culture” = group. Whether “inwardness” rises in the “West” or anywhere else is appearance without consequence, neither cause nor effect. I don’t lament the passing of an appearance nor do I work toward the revival of an appearance. If there is a creative force at work it lies within the individual. Within you and me. We will go away in due time but for the moment we are “here.” This is all that matters. 

Catholic saints, notably, have begged in extremis for a visual. “Give me a sign, oh Lord.” Such was their craving some claimed to have gotten it. But visions in the darkness of unconsciousness are an impossibility. Hallucinations that would implicate Truth in the fabrication of a lie. They’re “signs” that can’t be credited beyond the trickster’s illusions, the talents of the body’s senses to deceive. The darkness of unconsciousness negates light but not sound when the sound is the Child’s own voice, imagined from its own shadow-reflection. When the sound is the voice of the emissary sent by the Child's Parents to guide it Home.

Individuals not seduced by bodies into sizing up everything through eyes that can’t see and ears that can’t hear detect the voice from Logic-Love through minds’ intuition. Through insight that’s not controlled but spontaneous. Thus respecting our Free Will. Not having its way with us through blandishments one minute and bullying the next. The agent of Logic-Love doesn’t waste its time with groups, and that includes the “movements” of philosophy and religion that divert our attention. For all their razzmatazz mythologizing none has explained how the Mind of the Child lost consciousness, that’s dreaming our alternate reality. [Kenneth Wapnick, Love Does Not Condemn: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles (Foundation for A Course in Miracles 1989)] Because, being of groups, their intent was to distract, not to explain. To steer explanation away from the Truth, not toward it.

Maintaining the authority of the herd is what matters to jerry-built movements. “Realists” whose loyalty is now and forevermore to the alternate reality that is their invention. The herd. And judgment that would be independent, that would be free, wants nothing to do with it. Groups don’t choose. As Machiavelli informed us they have their own “morality.” Instinct to impose their will. To dominate their rivals. Individuals can choose. Because they can employ Free Will guided by Logic, Reason, and the character and values of Love and feeling, to choose. To decide with morality for the right, Plato’s Good. With the Force and discipline, the compassion and Judgment, of Understanding.

If the darkness must choose to bring itself to the light, if the agent of Logic-Love must respect our Free Will because that is our role, the Child’s indispensable role, in Creation, then this is the level at which the choice must be made. To what? To Forgive? To awaken? To not make unreality real? To let darkness choose to bring itself to the light? 

A lesson in psychology from A Course in Miracles 

All of that, But first: to get out of the way, As Jesus says in the Course, empty our minds of everything. Everything?? Yes, including the Course. Why? So long as any trace of the Joker and its jokes, the self-delusion, remain in the Child’s mind the agent of Logic-Love won’t be truly welcome -- the agent whose perspective can recognize the Child’s one Self, the Soul Innocent and perfect as it was Created. The invitation can’t come from a split mind, from ambiguity and ambivalence, when the change is from adulteration to perfection. The switch from the Joker self-delusion’s voice to hearing the agent’s voice must be complete. No corner cutting! No short cuts! Otherwise we’re back to the wrong voice. Free Choice will continue to be compromised and nothing will change. This sounds like no philosophy or religion I’ve ever heard of.

A Course in Miracles doesn’t purport to be anything more than a response to a plea for a “better way” from two clinical psychologists equipped with theoretical tools for mastering disagreeability yet struggling to apply them. Their plea was a voice from a profession that had taken aim at what was wrong with the human psyche – the “bad thing” addressed by Sigmund Freud – and was giving up. Andrew Scull’s Desperate Remedies: Psychiatry’s Turbulent Quest to Cure Mental Illness (Belknap Press Harvard 2022) explains how they got there, through decades of dashed hopes for miracle cure after cure, including Freudian psychoanalysis and genetics. What’s different about the Course? Why do you persist?

The Course is psychology that centers on the source of the bad thing: not the body-brain but Soul-Mind. The Soul or Psyche of the Being whose story in Reality accounts for all our miseries -- the Reality that preceded and caused our alternate reality. Freud, a “realist” to the core, gave us a vocabulary for analysis but insisted that the source is physiological. Jung disagreed and added a dimension not limited to the body – the “spiritual” dimension. Between them they created an opportunity to communicate insights from the Course that take us back to the deepest recesses of our childhood memories. Like Freud? Into repressed sexuality? 

Beyond the childhood of bodies into the childhood of Mind. Into what I’ve been calling “The Story of the Child.” The story that takes place not in our alternate reality but in Reality. The Course examines the psychodynamics of the Child’s mistake to explain for us the source of our pain and to help us understand how, as Jesus puts it, to “correct error.” To free ourselves from pain by freeing ourselves of the self-delusion by the Child that’s causing it. Not to get rid of the fact of repressed sexuality but to get rid of the idea of it, an illusion. Freud and Jung gave us the vocabulary for making sense of our circumstances. Jesus took their vocabulary, applied it to the plea from the two psychologists, and made sense of it. Would this be the “second coming” of Christ? 

To fill empty minds with Logic and Love

The Course makes its case with the vocabulary of Christianity as well as Freudian-Jungian psychology. “Christ” as a familiar symbol of Innocence plays a central part if only because Innocence plays a central part. This was a language familiar to Helen Schucman, the psychologist who was Jesus’ scribe when he channeled the Course. Although a Jew she was a “realist” personality type drawn to the authoritarian imagery and ritual of Roman Catholicism. If you’re thinking Christianity is my language it isn’t. My mother and her mother saw to it that I was imbued with Protestant Christian values. But the language I’m trying to learn is the language of the agent of Logic-Love, which belongs to no church, no religion.

Just as Jesus departs from body-centered psychology he departs from the body-centered rituals and dogma of organized religion to focus on the individual. To focus on the Free Will of Mind and independent Judgment. I’ve found no references to “Christianity” and “church” in the Course. No exhortations to go forth and revive or reform Gnosticism or any other form of Christianity. To found a new philosophy or religion or to compete with those that already exist. And no declarations that the Course is the only form that its lessons can take. That it's a “Bible” or the so-called “second coming.”  To view it as such would be to miss the point. And the point is?

As I understand it, three points. The first is we need to get it right before attempting to do what’s right and do it right. Before trying any longer to get rid of the bad thing through psychology, chemicals, or any other means. And we can’t do it without inviting the agent of Logic-Love into our minds and hearts and listening to its voice. Which means dumping the voice of the bad thing. And that means getting rid of the idea that the body and its senses are the arbiter of all things with purpose and meaning. All things real. Because they aren’t. They’re the opposite.

Its second point is “uncompromising non-dualism.” Getting it right is understanding and accepting that the alternate reality our bodies’ senses insist is real is unreal. There can be only one Reality and it’s the Reality of Logic-Love. The Reality of Mind that has Purpose and Meaning, its own story to tell. The story of Creation, where the Child with its Free Choice is needed once it gains the self-awareness and competence that the exercise of Free Choice requires.

Its third point is to follow the Course’s unique combination of Logic-Love to apply its metaphysics to our everyday lives. The Course isn’t an excuse for ignoring circumstances so we can engage in yet more delusional thinking. It’s a call to listen to what’s coming from within and all around us and to take in what it means with patience and compassion. In the comprehensiveness of its context, the poetic perfection of its Logic, its system – its interconnectedness – it provides a portal, a vantage point. A vantage point into what?

Vale to Caesar and captivity

Into understanding. Understanding what? Understanding anything and everything the Child needs to understand in order to let go of illusion. To empty its mind and welcome its Parents’ agent, the voice of Logic-Love, into its thoughts. To reclaim the individual’s voice, power, and morality from its captivity to groups, to Child-the-many, the Joker who is us. So that we can Forgive. So that we can awaken and return Home. If “rendering unto Caesar” has become an intolerable burden, then let go of Caesar. Be done with him once and for all and wake up! So, you would question the ways of the master after all. That does it. I’m outta here! 

And I’m outta here. I can’t take any more either.

Happy birthday, Jesus! And happy Holidays to you, hapless reader. I hope this hasn’t been too trying. Don’t worry. I’ll manage somehow. Merry Christmas to you, David, and to your lovely granddaughters! 

When codes of conduct conflict

When middle school principals urge their graduates to know themselves and be true to themselves, what they mean is their graduates will be joining lots of groups. And when they do, groups will sometimes pressure them to put what’s important to groups ahead of what individuals know in their minds and hearts is right. And being true to themselves means being true to what they know is right. That’s not always easy. In lives dominated by groups it takes concentration, character, and effort to stand up for what’s right. To keep personal integrity and self-respect intact.

What groups need to succeed and survive isn’t always compatible with what individuals need to love one another without competition and conflict. Groups need power and wealth to compete. They’ll fight for domination if they have to, even the ones who seem the nicest. And they’ll treat us like captive soldiers if they can get away with it. Being “good” doesn’t come first with groups if they have to do what’s necessary to survive. If they have to do what’s bad.

An Italian diplomat and historian named Niccolo Machiavelli wrote that the moral code that applies to individuals can’t apply to groups. The advice he gave political leaders was very different from what they were being told by the Church, but it applied to all groups. He was just stating the obvious, yet it caused a sensation. That was in the 16th century, and it still upsets people today. Middle school principals are warning their graduates not to get caught up in groups’ “Machiavellian” behavior when it conflicts with their moral code.

The taste of inferiority

High school does its job by testing our character so we come out of it more experienced with group pressure. So we’re more aware of what’s required to resist it when we know it’s pulling us in the wrong direction. When we’re pressured to “fit in,” to “go along to get along,” to be one of the “crowd.”

Middle school graduates with the right stuff won’t let themselves be compromised. But while they’re going all out with the excitement of high school, while they’re getting involved and having fun, they shouldn’t take their strength – their individuality – for granted.

For some adolescents pressure to be more like “others” can be dangerous. It can make them feel so bad about themselves they don’t even want to be themselves. They just want to disappear. That’s how it was for me at boarding school. I had nightmares about it over thirty-five years later. It even tasted bad. I never want to go through that again. Some of my classmates had the same experience and told me later. If high schools had cemeteries, their tombstones would all be marked “Self-Esteem.”

The test of performance builds confidence

If this happens to you, you can try to win the respect you crave from others and risk your health. Or you can take a different tack: look to yourself for self-respect. And learn that self-respect is a daily test of character that’s never done. Being true to yourself means taking nothing for granted. You may be confident that you’ve already learned self-respect, but confidence is just the beginning. Only performance, through high school and the world beyond, every day, lets us know for sure.

High school is a foretaste of the pressures you’ll be exposed to out in the world. Groups that provide us with the essentials and pleasures of a good life – jobs, causes, belonging, entertainments – can exact a high price in return. Many individuals just as confident as you have had to make serious compromises. To stay true to themselves many have had to say No to their groups and had to do without their benefits. You may have to face the same situation someday. I have, many times.

How your individuality and high moral code handle group pressure in high school could determine whether it’s easier or harder later. It’s good practice, good training. Take it on with enthusiasm because it’s all for your benefit and you’re getting off on the right foot. Because while you’re demonstrating confidence, you’ll also be building it.

1

Rick’s clientele

Refugees in Rick’s Café Americain are noted for having been driven from their fascist homelands because of their minds. Because they’re independent thinkers who can’t be intimidated into mindless conformance, into group-think. Can’t be parted from their individuality, their sovereign rights as citizens to use their judgment to call out injustices and other wrongs that inflict suffering. That offend shared responsibility to the community, to everyone’s future.

They flee oppression with their different languages, dress, and customs, because they have a conscience. Because they refuse to sacrifice their conscience, their values, their individual worth, to the demands of an authority that tolerates nothing but obedience. That achieves conformance by crushing those who refuse to surrender their minds, their free will, their autonomy and individuality, to the group. That insists on possessing its subjects’ consciences and subjecting them to total control so that they may never question its authority. May never question the rightness or wrongness of its rule. May never use their consciences to question at all.

Escape from “paradise”

To ask Why, because independent thinking that asks Why might awaken its subjects to the Reality of their captivity. To the Truth that their “paradise” of forced conformance is based on a lie: that it’s for their benefit when it’s not. When its real purpose is only to preserve the authority of their oppressor. To preserve the appearance of its legitimacy, its façade of unreality.

The refugees in Rick’s Café are non-conformists not to make trouble, not to disrupt peace in the family. They’re non-conformists to stand up against the façade of peace that’s maintained by possession and coercion. By dominance, disempowerment, cruelty, and invalidation instead of sharing, empowerment, fairness, kindness, and affirmation. To stand up for the values that enable real peace, real harmony. Upheld by the free will of its subjects from the bottom up instead of forced upon them from the top down.

For love of Democracy, for love of Diversity

For all their differences the refugees in Rick’s Café are alike in one respect: they are all democrats. They gather together in Rick’s sanctuary in harmony because the values they share are shared freely, not dictated to them by Rick or by anyone else. They are individuals free to display their differences as we are in a free society, in a democracy.To display their individuality, their eccentricities, their special talents, because that’s the point: to enrich their society with diversity. With contributions from every source, every member with anything to offer no matter how unconventional.

The scene is set in the film’s opening shot as the camera pans from the pianist singing “Knock on Wood” to every table. Where individuals from different countries, different cultures, different perspectives, speaking different languages, are engaged in animated conversation. Opening themselves to an intimacy of thinking, feeling, and judgment that would be unimaginable back home. Sharing lives, sharing thoughts, debating philosophy and ideals.

The cruelty of an unchanging status quo

The title of the film Casablanca's original story was Everybody Comes to Rick’s. Because Rick’s welcomes everybody. Everybody, that is, with a conscience who thinks for themselves. Everybody who has the character and the courage to stand up for what’s right, for personal responsibility, kindness, and justice. The very same reasons why they’re not welcome back home.

For them, it’s an honor not to be welcome back home. A source of pride that they’ve stood up for their conscience and attracted notice. That they prefer exile to the comforts of home where free spirits with a conscience don’t belong. Where change is not welcome that would challenge the thoughtlessness, the cruelty, of an unchanging status quo. Proud that they don’t rely on affirmation by group conformance but by their own native worth, their own individual creativity, their own free spirit of love and inquiry.

Allons enfants de la Patrie!

Who comes to Rick’s? The children of Democracy. Those who love Democracy and the spirits of those who’ve fought and died for Democracy. In the context of its time, "Everybody Comes to Rick’s" was right: Everybody united in opposition to fascism comes to Rick’s. There was nobody else then, not in America.

Today, there is somebody else in America. They’ve chosen another place to go: Plato’s Cave. We will visit them in their Cave, but another time. Rick has just given his musicians permission to play La Marseillaise. A momentous change of mind that will put Victor and Ilsa on the last plane to Lisbon and end Rick’s tale with a beautiful friendship. I don’t want to miss it.

Must Horton really hear every Who?

One of philosophy’s recurring preoccupations is the pull of thought in opposite directions: toward the individual and toward humanity. Is there any point, any validity, to changing minds on a mass scale? Or is it only worthwhile to focus on one mind at a time?

If the latter, how can the unconscious-dreaming Child – humanity – ever regain Consciousness if Horton the elephant must hear every Who? Is sharing the Holy Spirit with others meant to create movements and save humanity? Or is it really only to bring comfort to those who share our space? Is it more humane to create global juggernauts of idealism or just to be there for a friend?

The Nag Hammadi library begs Karen King’s question, What Is Gnosticism? But Valentinus and the other Gnostic Christian teachers did have one distinction: they were not a church. They were a school that taught individuals. They left the conversion of the “flock” to the Church, and that is where the story is picked up by Jesus in A Course in Miracles. The Course speaks to its readers, one at a time, where they’re at. It’s Christianity, but it’s not a church. Its focus is decidedly on individuals.

If some minds and hearts align with the Course’s message and others don’t, how can its message have any effect on the Child? If it doesn’t require every mind falling in line, what definitive choice, what specific confluence of conditions or issues, will trigger the awakening? After all the skating around and passing back and forth, after all the bumping and shoving, what will finally make the puck go into the net?

The choice: whether to crush individual Worth or affirm it

The Child’s progress toward awakening can’t be visualized or measured as though humanity is acting in concert toward any objective when the ego’s laws of chaos and ego-corrupted minds ensure that the opposite is true. There can be no orchestrated mass-group / societal movement toward a common purpose in a snake pit of clashing personalities, conflicting contexts, “realities” and “truths.” Where possession, control, dominance, and competition – crushing individual Worth -- rule social-group behavior instead of sharing, empowerment, and affirmation of individual Worth.

Think of the guy blocking a line of tanks at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The focus must be on individual minds choosing the correct Guide and removing the ego’s lies, the barriers to an awareness of Love’s presence. The barriers to perceptions of Reality and Truth that align with the protection of Logic, the Laws of cause and effect, and affirm the Worth-Innocence of the individual. The focus must be on individual minds sharing their Guides and perceptions they’ve been led to in service to healing and Innocence-awakening.

Respect for Free Will means respect for the individual

Attempting to impose behavior conformance en masse from the top down is the ego’s soul-crushing approach. Vulnerable minds stripped of Free Will and sovereignty yield to meet their material needs and whatever else mindless red army ant movements force upon them. The Holy Spirit’s mission is to work through the Child’s projected body-selves to help him change his mind from the bottom up, not leaving anyone out, not skipping any steps. The individual approach from the ground up is a lesson in thoroughness and character taught in the I Ching’s hexagram 4, Youthful Folly.

Focusing on individuals ensures respect for their circumstances, the unique contexts that frame the choices their Free Wills must work with. Respect for Free Will implies respect for individuals, their contexts, and choices. It’s because individual minds are derived from one Child unconscious mind and interconnected, because separation is neither real in Reality nor in unreality, that one mind at a time is an illusion. In the realm of mind not bound by matter the reality is every mind is one mind.

Whether and how individuals converting their contexts from separation, delusion, and unreality to healing, awakening, and reality help to restore the Child’s Consciousness must be left to the psychology of the Child’s mind that made up the dream when it projected guilt. To the specific confluence of conditions that triggers the awakening, a spontaneous act of Innocence, the Child’s Psyche. It must be left to the Child's freely chosen Innocence to reverse the imagined projection, to bring the imagined thought back to its Source of his own Free Will, and end the dream. With help from his Parents, readmitting and welcoming his real Self, the Innocence of a Child, his Soul, back to Consciousness, back to Reality.

The context where there is Meaning and relevance

Whether the change requires the participation of all or most of humanity or only a few is meaningless and therefore irrelevant. Whether participation is engineered from the ground up, spontaneously, or orchestrated from the top down, is equally irrelevant:

if “humanity” is a projection of Child’s unconscious mind
if more or less of an illusion makes a difference: zero times 1 or a million is still zero.

What matters is each individual mind’s connection with the Child through the Holy Spirit. Through our own Intuition and what each mind chooses to do with the connection:

looking to our own responsibilities.
trusting in the power, kindness, and protection of the Holy Spirit – the Gift of Logic -- to put our choice to good use.

The Course says that if only one person truly Forgave it would upend the ego’s entire edifice of lies and end the dream. All it would take to trigger the awakening is one individual. The only context where there is meaning and relevance. The only context that matters.