The Course isn’t doctrine
The lesson taught by A Course in Miracles is not presented for acceptance by any group. The Course does not insist upon its acceptance without regard to practical considerations. Its intended audience is individuals not groups. Readers are discouraged from forming groups,. As theory it is not only fit for application to practical problems this is its purpose. It is not doctrine or doctrinaire, dogma or dogmatic. To treat it as such, as though it were a commandment or a party line, is not understanding and use but misunderstanding and misuse.
If the Course is to be distinguished from established religion this will explain why. If established religion is to understand why it is incompatible with the free spirit of inquiry and thus has earned the distrust and enmity of science, philosophy, psychology, and other fields this explains why. The Course is not doctrine meddling in anybody’s business, group or individual. It is a sharing of mind and heart from another perspective than our own, that can be put to anyone’s use not only for what it teaches but how it teaches it: by making sense with Logic and Love. By setting an example that Free Wills can choose to follow by making sense. With help from the Logic and Love they can access through their own minds and hearts.
This is not a formula for setting up an ideological mass movement of any kind, religious or otherwise. It is Authority from the Reality of Logic and Love that serve every individual, that could never be or do anything authoritarian. It is gentle loving kindness that could never be or do anything coercive, unloving, or unkind.
Is the Course practical?
If the Course does not aim to assert the supremacy of its wisdom over the consciousness of humanity then how can it be expected to be of practical use to humanity? If only one individual puts its lesson to use and truly Forgives, this will undo the delusion our ancestral Mind has brought upon itself. It will end the dream. “Every vote counts.” The Course isn’t handing Free Will a fish. It’s teaching Free Will how to fish. It’s the ultimate affirmation and empowerment of individual-personal Worth: the Authority of Logic and Love from Reality explaining to individuals, where they’re at inside the dream, that anyone of us has the power to awaken our ancestral Mind from its dream.
Is it possible? What is a dream but a state of mind where anything is possible? If unconsciousness that’s dreaming could make a metauniverse “possible,” where we the projections of a dreaming mind carry its Soul within us, whole and inviolate, animated by the same Force of Energy that animates the universe, then who’s to say that one individual contradicting the lie of guilt that the whole edifice of lies is built upon, can’t bring it all down? Translating theory into practice must involve mind-changing on a scale that’s been role-modeled for us but never yet achieved by us. It must involve self-awareness brought into intimacy with our role model with such passion that they function as one. There is no possibility that a Free Will compromised by any vestige of self-delusion can truly Forgive. But mind changed and functioning as one with its Guide, with the Voice for Logic and Love, can do it. In theory it’s possible.
When the herd transforms itself into One
When will it be possible? When the conditions that enable it are met: circumstances that have enabled every step forward in Creation since the first step was taken by Logic and Love. The indispensable element of every context that defines purpose and meaning: circumstances in the here and now. What is the gift of the Course? The light that it shines on our circumstances so one individual can take it from there and change them if Free Will chooses. If Free Will abandons its infatuation with the voice of its self-delusion and aligns with the Voice for Reality and Truth.
So that one member of the herd that is humanity may break free from the herd and assert the Truth: that “herd” is a lie. That Child-the-many is a delusion That our ancestral Mind is Child-the-One and all it takes to restore sanity is one. All it takes is for “herd” to do what it does best: to follow wherever it’s led. And if circumstances change that have placed the wrong “guide” at its head -- the self-delusion of Child-the-many -- then exposing the lie will place the right Guide at its head. The right Guide that is the herd itself transformed by its own Free Choice back into one. Self-delusion restored to Truth. Wishful thinking giving way to fact. With the guidance but not the coercion of metaphysics going behind appearances to explain with Logic and Love. With Intuition.
The gift of metaphysics that’s role-modeled by the Course
What does this suggest for how individuals can help to bring about the circumstances that will enable Forgiveness? That we look to personality types. That we follow the wisdom of Isabel Myers, who intuited from Carl Jung’s intuition that personality types are dynamic rather than static. That they are subject to direction and discipline by their hosts. Personality types are composed of preferences among functions that can change. Functions divided between bodies, minds, and feelings that, depending on how the individual configures them, determine how individuals judge their situation. That is, how they understand.
Personality types reliant on body-sensing to understand their world judge humanity’s situation to be the opposite of the situation described by the Course. Judge themselves to be members of a herd or tribe. Accessing their personality’s capacity for Intuition could change that with Intuition’s access to Logic and Love. The gift of metaphysics that’s role-modeled by the Course.
The circumstance that needs to change
Circumstances are always idiosyncratic. Because the essence of circumstances that make up context is always unique to the individual. This is what gives them meaning. The circumstances that produced organic matter on earth -- “life” -- are idiosyncratic, unique to the earth and its situation. A tale told by Sean B. Carroll in A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You (Princeton 2020). The circumstances that produced our universe are idiosyncratic, suggesting that other universes exhibit different physics and that the differences imply the existence of a great many universes -- a “metaverse.”
The choice of the individual to remain deluded by the deception or to gain self-awareness comes down to a preference starting with two functions of personality type: between body-sensing and Intuition. Between seeing ourselves as bodies or seeing ourselves as minds. And ending with two other functions: judging and perceiving. Which do we prefer? If we wish to judge our situation differently so that our circumstances will align with the possibility of true Forgiveness, then the way forward is clear: recognize ourselves as minds not bodies and seek the Truth of our situation through mind-Intuition rather than preferring body-sensing.
The trouble with humanity’s “feeling”
Brain matter that registers and processes relations between physical objects, the body and its physical environment, is distinct from mind producing thoughts, from feeling producing empathy. The personality type extravert-sensing-feeling-perceptive (ESFP) can be a suitable stand-in for humanity when generalizing about personality type and its role in mind-changing. It’s all in for body vs. mind. It registers and processes all things physical, i.e. appearances on the surface. Anything beneath the surface escapes its notice. It isn’t felt and doesn’t register. Another’s physical pain registers but if it’s emotional pain that body-sensing can’t detect it makes no impression.
The ’F’ for feeling in the ESFP syndrome isn’t what “feeling” would normally imply -- empathy and compassion. A point where my interpretation and Isabel’s may diverge because my understanding goes beyond the scope of Gifts Differing. As I see it Intuition-Logic and Love-feeling guide thinking-reasoning toward judgment-understanding, much like organic entitles in constant motion acting upon one another. Body-sensing navigates spacetime-matter to keep bodies safe. But when body-sensing teams up with the perceptive function that’s opposite to judging, it can connect with specialness. With body-brains’ animal herd-will that interferes with thinking-reasoning instead of guiding it.
The trouble with humanity’s “specialness”
Specialness denies that either thinking or the direction and discipline of judging is needed. What’s needed is itself: one supreme authority without opposition. The impossibility of Freedom without Order. The bogus ideal of “liberty” without limits that fuels political polarization. The ESFP who takes the lure chooses in effect to elevate body-specialness to authoritarian supremacy to the exclusion of introspection, reflection, thinking, feeling, and judgment -- every function of mind needed for understanding and compassion. At great cost to itself in impaired vision and feeling, psychotic denial of reality, separation from valued relationships, lack of self-guidance and self-discipline, and stifled learning, growth, and creativity. “Lord” Vader in lordly isolation on his throne. The apotheosis of humanity's animal brain, the "triumph of the will."
Those of us who recoil from this behavior do so for self-preservation because, without feeling, ESFPs can’t understand. And if they tread on us there’s a good chance they’ll do it again. Not feeling the cost of their missteps and not understanding how it happened, they’ll assign responsibility to us for protesting and carry on unaccountably. And if we stand up for justice we will be smeared. They are not safe to be around. Many of us have had run-ins with ESFPs so we know the type. But if we haven’t noticed the Former Guy, an ESFP, is making sure that we do.
A way to facilitate personality type change
Personality types are supposed to protect us, like the body’s immune system, with failsafe mechanisms against wrongdoing. But this requires that the working parts of personalities function in harmony. In our separated world they don’t. Without feeling which derives from Love we can’t know the difference between right-doing and wrong-doing. Feeling is the wall between right and wrong and in some personality types it’s missing. The result is serial offenders like the Former Guy whose “reality” is the one-dimensional world of entertainment, populated by figures deprived of feelings and the values that go along with them. A “reality” of chaos that aspires to its apotheosis: authoritarian supremacy.
One possible remedy is for ESFPs exercising Free Will to shift their preferences from body-sensing that validates self-identity as body toward mind-intuiting that validates self-identity as mind. I can’t vouch for its effectiveness from personal experience but that may change.
Lunacy on an epic scale
Why is it important?
Because physical appearances and humanity’s body-identifying, body-sensing mindset deluded by spacetime-matter are enormously harmful. A mindset that deprives itself of sensitivity to circumstances beneath appearances deprives itself of feeling essential to compassion, loving kindness, and understanding. The damage isn’t limited to relationship friction or even the communal wreckage that one noisy demagogue can cause. It’s a curse that’s built into the human condition -- historic and universal.
How fundamentally nuts is this? Take another look at circumstances. Circumstances are with us always. They provide meaning from the bottom up: the essential element of the construct that would collapse if it were not grounded. The essential element of presence of mind, the first line of defense against misperception and misjudgment. Against mistake.
Detachment from circumstances commenced our ancestral Mind’s loss of Consciousness. Defined its situation while it deluded itself into recognizing its own shadow-reflection, its own opposite, as an “other.” Surrendered its independent sovereign judgment -- Free Will -- to the delusion so that a substitute will, another “parent,” would find and attach it to better circumstances. The opposite of where it had been so that it would be safe.
So that this couldn’t happen again because now it rules. Alone from the top down instead of sharing governance from the bottom up, grounded in circumstances that might change and rob it of Consciousness again. Rules from the top down where it can never again be blindsided by change because now it is the logic that defines both: its circumstances and change too. Where detachment from circumstances that define Reality from the ground up, rather than attachment, is now the order of the day.
And what is the order of the day? Psychosis. Unreality detached from sanity that can make sense of its circumstances. Recognized by itself not as a sign of madness but as the emblem of cool. Detached from awareness that knows who and where it is -- the very definition of a fool. Finding safety, the why and how of it, in wishful thinking that buries its head in the sand. All of it a magician’s act that accomplishes the impossible with one simple trick: making circumstances disappear. The act of a mind unconscious and delusional: getting rid of the foundation of all of Reality-Creation -- its circumstances. The act of a fool captive to authoritarian supremacy.
This is why it’s important.