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A purpose of my forthcoming book is to question the structure of our “reasoning” – its knowledge-information base and its premises -- by examining it from another perspective, the one implied and given form by A Course in Miracles.

The break we need in our circular reasoning can be accomplished by reflecting on the role of Energy-Force: in defining appearances that our bodies’ senses register; in establishing the properties-attributes that distinguish them and describe how they behave, how they interact to produce the variety of forms they take, the variety of compositions with different functions and uses; that collectively prop up our sense that we belong to a grand movement of causes and effects that must have an intelligible purpose, because they constantly change, and the changes have consequences.

Energy, whether or not it enlivens-animates appearances that mean what we think they mean, still attests to the connection to our Source, whatever or whoever it is, that cannot be broken. Even if it enlivens what mind is only imagining, Energy is still Energy, and even if our thoughts are trapped in self-referential reasoning, the Force that powers our flawed reasoning is still active, is still here.

Breaking through the circular chain of thoughts so infused with Energy and dominated by it can be accomplished by changing one assumption, one premise. This is the premise that the Mind, the Logic that produced the Energy that animates our appearances and now our reflections on what they mean, can only be in a conscious state. That because the appearances Energy makes seem so real for us, seem so consequential, only a mind in a conscious state could possibly cause them.

Have we not ever experienced vivid dreams? Have none of us ever hallucinated? Do not some of us exist in a mental state that’s divorced from “reality?” Is not the record of psychological states replete with bizarre three-act dramas that Freud himself couldn’t unravel?

Another premise that’s ripe for questioning is that Energy itself can only “exist” in one state. In a context, an environment, that clearly includes substances of endless variety, varieties that pit opposites against one another, why is it not possible that the attributes we associate with Energy, for instance, that it can neither be created nor destroyed, are only the attributes that can be “detected” in one state? What if the attributes of Energy serving the Logic, the Thoughts, of Mind in a Conscious state were distinguishable from mind that’s in an unconscious state?

What if Energy that enables the Creation of eternal Life, by joining in its extension and expansion, does just the opposite if it enables an illusion, a dream of death? What if Energy there, in Mind’s Conscious state, in Reality, is living, while here, in mind’s unconscious state, is dying? What is “entropy” telling us if not this?

What is entropy telling us about appearances? About vitality and decay, order and disorder? About how things can transform from energized to inert? Why should Energy not be subject to the same laws of cause and effect that govern everything else in our state of opposites?

What we assume about perspective is another premise that can break through self-referential reasoning. This is the assumption that the “knower” that we connect with the “known,” the mind that interprets appearances, is capable of only one perspective. Certainly if our perspective is confined to bodies consulting one another on our little planet, in our little solar system, in our little galaxy, in our little universe that may be only one of billions of universes, in a moment of time that stretches into infinity, we might draw our conclusions with relative confidence even if appearances on a human scale bear no resemblance to reality on a micro-quanta or a macro-cosmic scale.

But what if we interrupted our conversation with one another to bring in another point of view? One that isn’t bound by the attributes of our existence, by our appearances, that answers to a Reality governed by their opposites?

Just because our bodies’ senses won’t let us sit down and talk to this perspective can’t mean that it’s not there, that it’s not accessible to mind, when, actually, it may be here in a way that we aren’t. Must our little bodies that come and go, and our little planet that comes and goes, lock us into one point of view that can’t possibly admit another, that doesn’t come, declare its singularity, its infallibility, and then disappear?

Must the tortured reasoning that’s led us to a standoff on this question stand in testimony to our irrationality, our fecklessness, forever? Must we really wait for an outside force, a magical “redeemer,” to rescue us from helplessness? Or is it enough for some to lead the good life, La Dolce Vita, to amuse themselves in Rome’s Trevi Fountain while others can’t, and everyone eventually runs out of energy and dies?

Three premises: that Mind can only be in a conscious state; that Energy can only exist in one state; that sensory perception only allows us one perspective, could free us from circular reasoning if we let Logic and Intuition, with the Holy Spirit’s help, reflect on their implications. If we gave ourselves the opportunity to exercise Free Choice: the power to change our minds.

Humanity needs to re-engineer the structure, to re-design the architecture, of its Reasoning so that it works.

Human antics and foibles provide a rich source of material for the Holy Spirit’s sense of humor, none more than what passes for human “reasoning.”
Connections are the genius of Creation.
It’s precisely in the sleeping Child’s bungling of connections, our halting attempts to heal the ego’s disconnections, that we reveal the extent of our unreasoning, our irrationality, our slapstick incompetence.

There’s “reasoning” to support any proposition – democracy, monarchy, fascism, communism, dualism, non-dualism, civilization, anarchy, and so on.
The Child keeps experimenting with reasoning at the collective-community level, building up experience and expertise, a track record of experiments to add to the data base, to add to understanding of the Child’s human mind from observation of human behavior, the results of human thinking.

Always with a view toward isolating flaws in thinking-reasoning that cause wrong-undesired effects.
Namely, conditions that promote and facilitate disorder and conflict.
Conditions that promote and facilitate imbalance among the self-interests that compose the dysfunctional community of humanity.
Conditions that favor the opposites of our values rather than the values themselves
For example, unfairness rather than fairness; harm rather than safety; vulnerability rather than protection-security; deprivation rather than abundance; disempowerment rather than empowerment; taking rather than sharing; contempt rather than respect; oppression, confinement, and dictatorship rather than freedom to think, explore, and invent; rule by the few rather than governance by the many; and so on.

Reasoning flows from its premises.
Premises are only so good as the base of knowledge-information and understanding they’re drawn from.

If the architecture-structure of Reasoning Child-humanity has built so far seems to be delivering choices with alarming results – suffering, unhappiness, and threats to our survival -- then the Logic of Reasoning suggests that the first order of business can’t be our usual response.
It can’t be to discredit flawed ideologies, attack their corrupt institutions, and replace them with yet more flawed ideologies and corrupt institutions.

If the human mind is corrupt yet endowed with the power to Reason, our ideologies and institutions will always be flawed until we develop the ability to Reason, by re-examining its information base and premises, and by nailing both.
We won’t get anywhere until we exercise our minds and learn how to Reason.

The first order of business must then be for Reasoning to examine itself.
To question its structure, beginning with its premises and their knowledge-information base.

When Child-humanity acts, when we attempt to move forward, when we put all that we value at risk with the choices we make, are we confident that our choices will be supported by the Logic of who we are, where we are, what brought us here, why we are here, and how we can move forward?

If the premises that support our Reasoning continue to deliver alarming-unsatisfactory results, are we certain that these are the right premises, the best premises, the only premises possible?
Are we certain that the thinking that’s gone into the premises we’ve relied upon is the best we’re capable of?
That the knowledge-information base from our experiments, to date, can’t be expanded and improved upon?

Are we so frightened by our prospects, so immobilized by the fear we project onto our future, that we can only seek comfort by sheltering thoughtlessly in the familiarity of the past?
A past that brought no better than what we fear for the future?
That brought temporary relief for some at the expense of others?
That brought freedom for some and oppression for the rest?
That took as much as it gave?

Are we sure that the perspective we’ve been handed to view ourselves and our predicament is the only one possible?
That the context our embodied minds have constructed for making sense of things is actually doing its job?
Is leading us forward?
Is doing what we’ve asked it to do?
Isn’t fatally compromised by narrow self-interest?

Or is the perspective we’ve inherited showing signs of weakness?
Is the architecture, the structure of our Reasoning, standing firm?
Or are those the cracks, the snaps, the moans that we are now hearing of it giving way?

Is the building we occupy – the architectural marvel that scrapes the sky -- coming down?
Is the dam we built – that engineering marvel for the ages – about to burst?
The volcanic mountain we thought was dormant about to explode?
The earth beneath us that we imagined was solid about to quake?

Or is it a house of cards about to collapse under a whiff of air?

Are we so locked into circular “reasoning” by our cultures, by our careers and personalities, by group-think, that we’ve strapped ourselves into a plane crash unable to move?
What does it take for us to awaken?

The purpose of my book is to reflect upon Child-humanity’s Reasoning, to experiment with an interpretation of humanity’s knowledge base implied by principles and insights taken mainly from A Course In Miracles, to come up with a fresh look at premises that guide our Reasoning.
To examine what these premises imply about human behavior; what light they can shed on causes of our frustration with our lack of progress; and what contribution they can make to better Reasoning about the context of our efforts. about our situation, from a different perspective.
To examine what contribution they can make toward engineering a better structural design for Reasoning that will stand firm, that won’t collapse around us as our current structure may well be doing.

The 20th century took flaws in our Reasoning from the past, a thoroughly misunderstood Reality, gross perversions of the Truth, ignorance and irrationality, bull-headed ideologies, their servile followers and passive victims, and erupted into ruinous global conflicts, a burst of sheer madness, that would have wiped out our species if it could.

“We got through it, so we will get through whatever is threatening our survival today” is a mindless response that is of one piece with the corrupted reasoning, the rationalizing, that perpetrated the conflagration in the first place.
It is the anthem of gratitude, the wishful thinking, the youthful fantasy, from those who happened not to have been its victims and refuse to grow up.

The voices of those who were its victims may beg to differ, and it is those voices we need to hear.
It is to give them a fair hearing that this book is being written.

Survivors of history’s conflagrations will always be voices of false hope, reassuring themselves that “everything will be OK” forever so long as they get away with excluding those who didn’t survive from the conversation.
It is to shift the conversation away from false hope to true Hope that these thoughts are offered.

Reassuring ourselves that “everything will be OK” in the midst of an unfolding calamity is only another instance of circular reasoning that humanity has relied upon since the dawn of civilization: consulting ourselves for answers to questions about the facts of our “existence,” the Truth, that can only come from another perspective.

Instead of asking if matter -- our bodies and their material environment – are real, and relying on our bodies’ senses to assure us that, yes, of course they are real, why don’t we try asking if Mind is real?
Why don’t we try going to Mind for answers that has a different perspective, that clearly isn’t matter?

Instead of tracing matter to its origins and destination – an effort that’s brought us to questions that are beyond “scientific” answers – why don’t we try tracing Thought to its origins and destination?
Why don’t we “resurrect” philosophy that Stephen Hawking famously declared to be “dead” and get serious about finding answers?
Why don't we try Reasoning?

Since the study of matter is leading nowhere and our habitat is becoming uninhabitable, why don’t we rethink the nature of Reality, the relationship between Mind and matter, the attributes of Creation, and the meaning of our circumstances, the value of our gifts, instead of trusting to dumb luck?
Why don’t we use the occasion of our spectacular 20th century eruptions and 21st century horrors – the rise of racist fascism, global warming, vanishing water supplies, vanishing forests, pandemics, collapsing economies, rampant misinformation, gun violence insanity, and so on -- to get serious about our thinking, about our metaphysics?
About the theories we rely upon to understand, predict, and manage events?

Let’s not stop there.
Let’s go back and reexamine the very nature of Being, our origin.
Let’s get serious about ontology, and maybe then we will awaken to the harm we do to our prospects by circular reasoning – by “reasoning” that isn’t Reasoning.

What our bodies' senses produce is a series of appearances that time erases.
What physics produces is journeys that start from any arbitrary coordinates in our universe and finish at the same place -- no “place.”
What our finite material “reality” is telling us is what Einstein’s relativity discovered, that spacetime is curved, that it’s circular, the source of Newton’s gravity, the force that produces black holes where the laws of science are suspended.

What it’s telling us is that it makes no sense, that it’s pointless.
That reasoning that’s dictated by our bodies and their material environment can only be circular, a perversion of the Logic that governs infinite Reality.
A Reality where infinite Oneness has Real Causes and Real Effects; where Creation has Real Purpose and Real Meaning; where there is Real Value, Real Stakes and Real Worth; where there is Real Substance distinguished by Real Attributes; where there is Real Being in timelessness, that time cannot erase.

And the Child that we are has Real Worth, a role in Creation more important than we could ever imagine.
That centers on Free Choice, the E=MC2 of Creation.
The marriage between Mother Love-Freedom-Creativity and Father Mind-Logic-Reason.
Our Parents and their Gift of Purpose: Mother-Free and Father-Choice.
Their Gift of Happiness that could not be without Purpose.
The Gift of Free Choice: the province of Love, the province of Reason.

Stay with me -- we're just getting started.

John Wild's book, Introduction to Realistic Philosophy (Harper and Row 1948) (RP) has made a contribution to my thinking and thus to my forthcoming book, for which I am very grateful. However, as I hope these reflections will show, it makes a better case for my book than it does for his. [See "My Forthcoming Book" and "On Circular Reasoning" posted to this website 4/25/20] We agree on the need for "realistic" philosophy, but we disagree on the fundamental question of what's real. What's real for him is matter; what's real for me is Mind.

My understanding of what’s going on with us and our world is that the Child we are, our spiritual ancestor, was stripped of the knowledge base he depended on for free choice when he lost consciousness. He lost much else, besides, but here, in this world, his focus has been on rebuilding his knowledge base. Without it he is operating in the dark, and getting out of the dark, returning to the light of consciousness by exercising free choice, is what he must accomplish.

This provides the context for my understanding of RP, its contribution to this broader purpose. Its specific contribution is to the pursuit of knowledge through experimental and theoretical science, which has, until recently, relied exclusively upon sensory perception, because RP does provide an argument to support it, if inadvertently. Its argument, not coincidentally, joins with body-centered Church dogma which, through Thomas Aquinas, gave cover to science when other faiths did not.

“Inadvertently” because science seems to play hardly any part in RP. Einstein isn’t registered in its name index even though general relativity upended Newtonian concepts of absolute space and absolute time. This dealt a momentous blow to certainties about material reality that one theoretical physicist, Rovelli, has likened to “the stuff that dreams are made of.”

RP makes no mention of Einstein’s theory in its discussion of time, a significant omission which suggests that undermining dark-age enemies of science played little or no part in its motivation. RP’s declaration that “Time is to be sharply distinguished from spatial extension;” that it’s “a mental measure with a foundation in extra-mental reality,” [p. 347], that we experience a “now” that’s more definable than Einstein’s “present” that’s neither future nor past, [pp. 375-376] are at odds with the science of its day.

The injustice that RP seems intent upon righting is “idealistic philosophy,” the synthesis of “empiricism” and “rationalism” propagated by Immanuel Kant. Its exact offense was positing reality in the eye of the beholder, a subjectivist take on reality that made a bystander of the body and its senses. But where idealistic philosophy rates a rebuttal, “spiritualism which reduces the physical to the mental” [p. 400], is dismissed with nothing more than it’s “far removed from the common insight of mankind.” [p. 395]

Had RP hypothesized the existence of a spiritual reality its reasoning would, I think, have yielded an opposite result. This is because its own take on reality treats as extrinsic any material object outside the body that senses it. Thus, it can claim “objectivity;” it becomes a common-sense “objectivist” philosophy; and “facts” are its exclusive domain. Since this assumption is intertwined with our everyday perceptions and feelings, it rings true.

But were a spiritual entity given a voice, the logic behind it would quickly be revealed for the fallacy that it is. Bodies integral to a system of material appearances are logically unqualified to pass judgment on their own system’s reality, i.e. on themselves. To grant them this status – to include the knower in the known -- is to grant rationality to circular, self-referential reasoning, which is irrational. Of even greater concern to RP, it would substitute subjectivity for objectivity, the ultimate violation of its logic.

In the event, RP is at pains to keep this from happening. Not only is spiritual reality not allowed to challenge “the realistic analysis of hylomorphic substance,” [p. 400], RP doesn’t allow Plato, its co-founder, to interpret the meaning of his Allegory of the Cave in his own words. These are the words RP uses: “perfection,” “sound social order,” “social justice,” “jointly ordered, cooperative community,” “just community,” “unjust community,” “bad society.” “good society.” [pp. 173-174]

How can the primary issue with captives of deception imprisoned in a cave be about justice and not about appearances and reality? About truth? Here are Plato’s own words:

“[O]nce seen, [the form of the good] is inferred to be responsible for whatever is right and valuable in anything, producing in the visible region light and the source of life, and being in the intelligible region itself controlling source of truth and intelligence. . . . When the mind’s eye is fixed on objects illuminated by truth and reality, it understands and knows them.” [Quoted in Wapnick pp. 298-299, my emphasis added]

“[O]ur true lover of knowledge naturally strives for reality” is a statement attributed to Plato in an earlier passage about Plato’s philosopher-kings, “the truly wise,” in Wapnick’s words, “who. . . no longer value the appearance of the Good but the Good itself; the reality illuminated by the truth and not the shadows.” [Wapnick p. 300. Wapnick’s and my emphasis added] Socrates, killed by Athenians, was the model for the freed prisoner “because he tried to awaken in them the truth of the difference between appearance and reality.” [Wapnick p. 298, my emphasis added]

If they relied on its interpretation alone, RP’s readers would not only miss the gist of Plato’s allegory, they would be mis-led. They would be victims of an intellectual cover-up that presents itself as beholden to the highest ideals of reason, common sense, and objectivity. Manipulation of facts is a predatory manipulation of people who depend on facts to make informed choices, a betrayal of their trust, and a sign of disrespect that would make fools of them.

The basis of RP’s logic is that if a thing appears real to body’s senses then it must be real. There’s no possibility that anything internal or external to our minds can be real that isn’t detectable by the body’s senses, an assumption about the place of the body in all of Creation that is breathtakingly ego-centric.

If I were to interview one of the shackled prisoners who occupied Plato’s Cave about what he was observing, I would expect a near-perfect articulation of Realistic Philosophy, a viewpoint that’s firmly committed to the logic of the Cave and oblivious to anything outside it. I would expect something on the order of, “What I observe in these flickering shadows is real because it appears real.”

The point of Plato’s allegory is to suggest that appearances may deceive, and, indeed, when an occupant frees himself to discover the reality outside, he confirms it. Plato’s philosopher king, modeled on the prisoner liberated from the deception of appearances, is possessed of an awareness supported by reasoning derived not from ignorance and misapprehension but from knowledge and truth. Elevating his subjects’ minds out of ignorance and misapprehension into the light of knowledge and truth – liberating them from appearances through reason and virtue, – was the inspiration for the philosopher king’s rule and for Plato’s Academy.

On the strength of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave alone I disagree with RP's claim that Plato "co-founded” its school of thought. [p. 379]

In another instance of selective truth-telling, RP begs off anything to do with “theology.” But it can’t resist noting that it accords with body-centered Church dogma and in so doing takes sides in theological controversy:

"Genuine Christianity. . . has much more in common with authentic materialistic thought. . . than with that extremely widespread spiritualism, , , which tries to deny matter and other basic facts of life. How surprised most of our contemporaries would be if they could discover the fact that Christianity, , , is actually a hardheaded campaign for the conquest of ourselves and the world we inhabit, , , , [F]or nothing is of more decisive importance for a people and its civilization than its religion, and how this is understood." [pp. 234-235]

Though gratuitous, RP’s acceptance of added cultural legitimacy from Western civilization’s most influential religious institution would be acceptable were it not for the fact that it’s also disingenuous. “Hardheaded” Church dogma contains an obvious contradiction which RP fails to mention: miracles. Miracles whose purpose was to demonstrate that our world, our material universe, our “laws” of science, our bodies and their senses, are illusory.

The author of miracles inspired Gnostic Christianity that was unpersuaded by Church dogma and was forcibly suppressed as a result. He has restated his message in A Course in Miracles, a unique system of thought and practical guidance based not on unquestioned faith but on tightly-reasoned philosophy and psychology. Its affirmation of Jesus’ miracles and their purpose was not available at the time RP was published, but the elephant was certainly in the room. How could this aspect of Church dogma not have drawn RP’s attention?

The answer must be that RP would have been obliged to confront a central article of Church followers’ faith and thus potentially offend many in its audience. The Church would be obliged to weigh in, and “the common insight of mankind” would be common no more. It would have been better had RP given spiritualism a hypothetical voice – the voice, say, of authority, reason, and compassion from Conscious Mind, like A Course in Miracles -- not only to correct philosophical subjectivity in its argument for sensory perception but also to practice the Platonic virtue of honesty.

Acknowledging that there were competing versions of Christianity; that “genuine Christianity” – Church dogma – achieved dominance only by force; and miracles that were part of dogma and opposing theologies flatly contradict RP, would be honest.

RP: I’m sorry, dear reader, but Realistic Philosophy says your revered miracles could not have happened. You’ll have to try another religion.
Believer: Yeah, well how about trying another philosophy?

Reliance on sensory perception is being questioned among theorists, I suspect, in many fields, and so it’s highly unlikely that RP could be put out there today with a straight face. Its author will have read books by Becker and Rovelli on quantum physics, a field whose discoveries are so bizarre that physicists protective of their careers steer clear of it. The search for quantum gravity -- the synthesis of general relativity / cosmology with quantum mechanics -- shreds “the common insight of mankind.” Neuroscience going back to the 19th century has questioned RP’s notion that consciousness resides in the brain. A material world that has become strange, incomprehensible, disorderly, and threatening can no longer anchor our sense of place and familiarity.

But why rely on RP’s argument to refute it when sensory perception can do better? Let it run its own course with cosmic reality and it will self-destruct.

The “potency” that RP depends upon for many of its conclusions is Energy. The Energy that powers our universe originated with Logic that powers Creation. The Big Bang was a release of energy from Reality-Consciousness – from the irrational thought of splitting up the oneness of Being -- that initially empowered our material, illogical universe. It is an imagined break with the real Logic-Energy of Creation, a disconnection, not a connection. Which implies that it is not a real-living current that can maintain its force but an illusory-dying current. It’s the flip side of real Energy -- flip side like everything else in our universe, the opposite of what’s real. Which explains why our illogical, illusory universe is in a state of entropy, destined to decay, tending toward disorder, and becoming inert.

This means that all the forms of energy – nuclear strong and weak, electromagnetic, and gravity – will gradually weaken until matter will no longer be produced by energy and its components will no longer hold together, from the quanta level on up. When the energy that’s locked up in matter dissipates, bodies will be long gone and nothing will be left that’s detectable by their senses. The Achilles Heel of RP is its reliance on "potency," i.e. energy, that eventually will abandon it. So, all that's really needed to put it to rest is time-lapse photography and a lot of time on our hands.

While it supports the physical sciences RP can also be appropriated by a less enlightened pursuit. This would be “objectivism,” the personal credo of Ayn Rand and her libertarian followers who noisily denied the legitimacy of any interest beyond individual self-interest. They suffered the handicap of narcissists unable to see beyond themselves, to accept the presence of a larger, communal self-interest, that makes governance in the public interest, for fairness, justice, peace, and civilization possible.

Objectivism makes a close match with the thinking behind “conservatism” that masks its will toward unopposed power, the license for its followers to do whatever they want behind the flag of “freedom:” their freedom to take away your freedom. It’s a prescription for fascist dictatorship which frees the dictator to take himself and his captive audience to the bottom of a sea of contradictions and “appearances.”

The reasoning that supports RP is that of a human mind corrupted by irrationality – the ego and its purpose to deceive. RP’s reasoning is flawed because its knowledge base is both unintentionally and intentionally mischaracterized and omits critical material that has since come to light. RP’s reasoning is flawed because it has been invaded by the ubiquitous manipulations of power relations – by self-interest in our state of competition and conflict. And RP’s reasoning is flawed because it intentionally compromises with the truth, not the minor infraction of everyday discourse but a betrayal of Philosophy’s Hippocratic Oath.

The reasoning that supports Jesus’ A Course in Miracles is reasoning from Conscious Mind, the spiritual perspective that could have corrected RP’s flawed reasoning had it been given the hypothetical hearing that the logic of philosophy, science, and fairness demanded. ACIM’s knowledge base lies beyond human access, but it invites the reader to dismantle the logic of its guidance with reason. After over thirty years of reflection, this reader so far cannot. The ubiquitous manipulations of self-interest are beneath it, but this is not to say that it lacks self-interest when all Creation is composed of self-interest. The difference lies in the logic, the definition, of “Self” that is Reality, that is Truth. Guidance from ACIM that cannot compromise with the Truth, by definition, that cannot betray itself, leads to the Truth about ourselves, our Worth and our Purpose, that cannot be compromised.

The search for scientific “knowledge” was supposed to end successfully before it reached the end of useful experimentation. But quantum physics-gravity requires that inquiry extend beyond physical experiments into philosophy, which takes us back to Plato’s unfinished business, the philosophic system that he never fully developed. It takes us back to the unified theory of everything that Einstein never finished.

A Course in Miracles accomplishes what Plato, Einstein, and experimental science have failed to do: construct a coherent thought system that isn’t shot through with contradictions and irrationality. It accomplishes this through uncompromising non-dualism, the proposition that between Mind and matter only Mind can be real.

It must have been in the backs of the minds of those who have clung to sensory perception –the learning disciplines, the professions, politics, the arts, communications, religion -- that it’s the first and last line of defense for civilization. They must have feared what populist politics, pop culture, the internet, and social media have wrought, a breakdown of consensus around reality, truth, morality, and the institutions – the “establishment” -- charged with maintaining it. Fears around replacing a paradigm as ingrained in the human mind as sensory perception are not to be taken lightly. The stability it has provided cannot be taken for granted.

This could have been the larger purpose of RP’s case against “idealism” and “spiritualism,” philosophies it considers subjective and irrational and, therefore, unrealistic, a threat not only to the reign of sensory perception but also to common sense, learning, and civilization. It takes its place among the Child’s evolving experiments with regaining its knowledge base for informed choice, a flawed product of the insights, the threats, the irrationality, and the politics of its time, but a worthy cause, nonetheless. It deserves respect.

Works cited:
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)
Adam Becker, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics (Basic Books 2018)
Carlo Rovelli, Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity (Riverhead Books 2017)
A Course in Miracles (Foundation for Inner Peace 1975)

Dave Harrison
May 5, 2020

Freedom and spontaneity imply no limits on doing whatever we want. Absolutes of all our gifts-values imply having it all without limits. This violates the logic of Reality because we live in a state of opposites, a condition where logic says being or having it all without limits is impossible. Defying this truth can have painful consequences. The way we go about using our gifts requires discipline.

Spontaneity that’s allowed to cross this line will insist that the only permissible approach to feeding the body is to gratify-indulge its senses for our wants-pleasure (excess). It will overrule an approach that recognizes and respects limits (moderation) in order to care for its needs-health. Spontaneity will do this because its purpose is happiness-fun that we experience from living uninhibited in the moment. It will do this especially when it is an idea raised to the level of an ideal -- when it’s part of a value system linked to a feeling that’s compelling because it’s become an absolute, because it’s idealized.

Weight management requires spontaneity management. It requires discipline that respects the logic-limits imposed by mind-reason and Reality. Evidence that spontaneity has been allowed to rule beyond reason is arrival of the opposite of pleasure-fun: disabling abuse and pain. Our bodies are saying they need less pleasure-gratification from spontaneity and more health-nourishment from caring-discipline. They need less free-spirited happiness-feeling and more disciplined reasoning-thinking.

Excess weight is concrete evidence of an imbalance between body-feeling-spontaneity and mind-thinking-order within a sensing-feeling-perception (spontaneity) personality type. The conversion of feeling-pleasure into its feeling-pain opposite is the body’s signal that it’s time to correct the imbalance. It’s a necessary stage in personal growth that focuses on the role of youthful passions in obstructing maturity.

The creative sanctuary that makes spontaneity and freedom possible has boundaries that protect as well as confine. The onset of body abuse-pain says the time has come for the Illusion of spontaneity without limits to cease its irrational rebellion against confinement. It’s time to recognize and appreciate the protection of boundaries. Accepting limits on our gifts, respecting the mind-logic that put them there, bringing thought to our choices as well as feeling, keeps us within our boundaries and safe from opposites.

Strenuous exercise while carrying serious excess weight beyond our youth is physical abuse. Straining muscles-tendons-joints-nerves to “burn calories” can wait until after healthy weight is restored by light exercise (walking) and by managed diet. Risking permanent damage and chronic pain is not rational. If burning calories by intermittent strenuous exercise was once rationalized to permit bouts of undisciplined excess – the joys of youthful spontaneity, -- those days are over. Undisciplined excess is over.

Attempting weight loss while preserving the ideal of youthful spontaneity is unworkable. Our bodies carry us forward inexorably. Clinging to youthful spontaneity is pointless. Resistance to parting with youthful fun that imagined it could do whatever it wanted, without consequences, is pointless. It reflects not the exhilaration of life but morbid fear of the loss of life.

Too late, we declare, “I’m going to beat this.” What clinging to an idealized spontaneity translates into is, “’I’m an exception; I won’t have to part with my youth.” It translates into “I insist on being who I’ve always been: a loving-lovable, happy-go-lucky, live-in-the-moment, carpe-diem guy.”

The pain, the loss of resiliency, that accompanies aging requires adjustments not only in how we live but who we are. The old identity delivered a cornucopia of benefits for family, community, and profession. It wants to prevail beyond its time because it was hugely successful. But time requires identities better suited to changing circumstances when our bodies can no longer support the fantasies of youth.

Willpower – psychic energy -- that’s needed to remove excess weight, restore health, and avoid pain is now directed toward preserving an idealized self-identity that can never grow old. The feeling that’s getting in the way of doing what circumstances call for isn’t just spontaneous pleasure, fun, and happiness. It’s fear of separation from a self that served its purpose and belongs in the past.

Being overweight may actually reinforce the illusion that it’s not necessary to let go of the past, because it’s become a part of the self-identity that experienced the fruits of spontaneity: gratification, indulgence, fulfillment, camaraderie, contentment, and pleasantness. This may explain why obesity has been so well tolerated. The onset of chronic pain could be a wake-up call that forces a more realistic calculation, an awakening to costs that now outweigh the benefits.

All these considerations lead toward a new paradigm, a new definition of self and the world the self occupies. They lead toward acceptance of what mind-thought-logic can contribute to the life of a mature person, along with feeling, in achieving a kind of happiness that’s better suited to circumstances: happiness with limits and discipline, happiness that may never deliver super-bowl euphoria but it can let our bodies live in contentment without pain.

If our youthful objective was achieving pleasure, our objective beyond youth becomes preventing debilitating pain. The balance is tipped toward realistic thinking-logic-discipline and away from when idealized experience-feeling dominated. It’s tipped from needing constant contrived action toward the calmness and serenity of thankfulness for life-being, from the joys of sensation (indulging the body) to the joys of thinking and awareness (indulging the mind). And always connecting.

Why do selves who idealize spontaneity falter in their efforts to manage weight on their own? Why do they need to borrow someone else’s self-discipline to succeed and lapse when it’s gone?

The sensing-feeling-perception personality type who idealizes spontaneity has purposely deprived himself of the function of self that’s essential to management – mind-logic-order-discipline, i.e. deliberation. This is done to allow instinct to open him to unlimited possibilities to feel and express the joy of living (joie de vivre), creativity, happiness, fun, pleasure, and gratification in the moment.

In pursuit of an ideal of fulfillment that’s rooted in gratification of the body’s senses, the deliberative self that normally imposes limits is discarded in favor of impulse whose only guide is the “moment.” The void this leaves in self-management reveals itself when obesity calls upon willpower, an essential attribute of self, that’s been turned over to its opposite, the “moment.”

Precisely what’s been sacrificed to achieve the ideal of spontaneity is self-discipline. No wonder the perception-spontaneity type can’t manage weight on his own!

The personality type intuition-thinking-judging experiences satisfaction and contentment from continuous learning and growth. Yes, without super-bowl rapture but also without debilitating pain. This can’t be a role model for an opposite personality type. Or can it? If needs and aspirations come together as we age, maybe it can.

Children will have recourse to their immediate ancestors’ examples to guide their own choices – their parents and their grandparents. They deserve to experience their own youthful spontaneity. They deserve the gift of role modeling that lets them express the joys of life without being conditioned to believe that their gifts come with no limits, that discipline isn’t necessary, and that excess has no consequences. What will be the legacy, the imprint, of an overextended youth troubled by its consequences and preoccupied with its preservation? What can it offer to guide its children’s choices if it struggles with its own?

The role modeling that guides children toward happiness can’t come from other children. It can only come from parents and grandparents who put their own childhoods behind them, who take their responsibilities seriously, have their acts together, and pay attention to role modeling. It can only come from grownups.

His god is a lie that does not exist
That hangs over no man’s land like a flare in the night

That casts the dream in the shadows of its evil
Willing us to kill, willing us to die.

I rush across no man’s land to meet his god
Who wishes me dead, there in his trench

The enemy who begs to be killed with a hug
And I pray to my god who wishes him dead

Let me do this
Let us go.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Explanation

Students of the modern Gnostic version of Christianity taught by Jesus in A Course in Miracles learn that our minds are corrupted by irrational beliefs that place us in a hellish world where we project our guilt onto others to regain our lost innocence. It is within this no man’s land of condemnation and endless deadly conflict, that’s depicted in this poem, that the Christian message of forgiveness – “love thine enemy” – must be absorbed and put to use.

We can undo the deception in principle by reasoning, with ACIM, that we did not sin in Reality when we lost conscious connection with our Source. Reinforcing this message is the point of my forthcoming book. But in this world of separate bodies meant to absorb and inflict punishment, reason doesn’t stand much chance against the passions of fear and hatred.

Though it’s unreal, our no man’s land is a place “where the unreal has been made real.” It is within this hellish environment that overwhelms our sensibilities, our pitiful attempts at reasoning, with its ear-splitting clamor for deception and passion, that I have tried to imagine the only way to put a stop to it. Instead of savaging my “enemy” in his trench, I need only to give him a loving hug. “The hug” would then represent the precise moment when the deception is undone, and its illusory vision of hell is removed from my mind.

It will do this not by my killing the person but by killing what makes the person in my mind my “enemy.” My enemy begs to be “killed” with a hug because only then, with a gesture of Love, will innocence be restored to the image of him that exists within my mind. Only then can the innocent person that he really is be spared from the projection of my own imagined guilt, from my condemnation, and my savage attack.

What the poem tries to convey is an honest humility, if not total despair, in the presence of a simple request that asks the impossible, that I love my “enemy” at precisely the point when my external circumstances and the passions they invoke overwhelm my humanity. I acknowledge its impossibility because I have no pretensions, at this stage of my training, of being a role model for forgiveness under any such circumstances.

Should I ever encounter my enemy in his trench, for real, of this I am certain: giving him a hug instead of making him pay for his infuriating offenses, his inflammatory provocations, will have to be a pure act of Grace. It will occur because another Mind – the Child’s right mind – has gently moved my corrupted mind out of the way. And only then if I have truly asked for it. It will do this if it has finally trained my corrupted mind to reject the deception of guilt and to affirm the Truth of Innocence. Otherwise, my clear expectation is that I would kill the bastard.

Praying to the darkness – to “my god who wishes him dead.” – to allow the hug to happen. is an admission that my mind is not ruled by reason in this world. It’s ruled by madness or I would not be so desperate for help that it would occur to me to ask an executioner practiced in cruelty -- the god of war -- for help with an act of compassion.

But “The Hug” is not the hopeless capitulation that it may seem. My training continues. The Holy Spirit speaks for the Truth, and, in time, the deception will lose its force. “Where the Trouble Lies” notes that energy, the force that keeps the illusion of material reality in place, is dying out. The illusion is in a state of entropy, coming apart. Our bodies will find a better use, and our passions, too.

What put my “enemy” there was hating him in the first place, before he committed any offense. What put him there was fear and hatred in my own mind that needs to revert back to its natural state of Love – back to Reality. The restoration of Reality, with our Free Will doing its part, is inevitable. Reason will prevail. The innocent Child that we really are will prevail. I am sure of it. My “enemy” will get his hug.

There is yet another meaning to the poem that’s implied by its military setting: conflict between opposing armies whose combatants have surrendered their individual sovereignty, and thus free choice, to a group, presumably to their respective countries. The “barriers to an awareness of Love’s presence” ACIM speaks of are many, and this is one of them: signing onto groups – employers, professions, organized causes, faiths, etc. -- that then superimpose their imperatives for survival onto our freely-chosen personal morality.

The “Sophie’s Choice” that The Hug presents is between loyalty to the ethics of individual free choice or to the amoral dictates of our group masters. In praying to the god of war – to Caesar – for permission to hug my “enemy,” I am asking, in effect, for manumission: for release from subservience to his army so that I may exercise free will and reclaim my integrity, my spirituality. I seek freedom from the curse of humanity: serving two masters, doing what’s right while “following orders” – an impossibility. We don't often have the option of separating from organizations that feed us, that trap us in situations where our only choice is some form of death no matter what we decide. If there remains a tone of discouragement, of hopelessness to "The Hug," this would account for it.

One last burst of energy while my leaves are turning
An opening in the act of closing

Made possible by entropy
The letting go of all that held me together

My fate in the fate of a universe
That lets us all open up as we close

As it closes

Obliged no more to maintain appearances
Obliged no more to pretend

When what was true all along opens up
And leads us along, children that we are

Our tiny hands held in the warmth of a hand
That knows no guile

That wonders no less than we what it’s all about
But, somehow, knows where the trouble lies.

Asking our bodies to tell us if they’re real is self-referential, circular reasoning. Of course, they will tell us -- sensory perception will tell us -- that they’re real.  

Circular reasoning that’s allowed to support belief in material reality comes with a major cost. It corrupts the human mind, already split into opposing thought systems, one good-oneness, the other evil-separation, with yet another split into opposing realities, one body-matter, the other mind-spirit. A mind tasked with reasoning that’s burdened with contradictory thoughts can’t work very well, and if we want a good explanation why our world seems ungovernable, this would suffice. Something has to give.

Only one of these sets of competing truths can be true, good-mind or evil-matter. The human mind has been trying to do its job with both, and it isn’t working. Our choices are sometimes rational but too often they aren’t, with tragic consequences. We live, today, in “interesting times” that should be a surprise when two world wars, a cold war, and the onset of global mass extinction should have taught us the error of our ways. But we seem to have learned nothing. The mind-set of a political cult that entrusts its fortunes to a concatenation of lies, deceptions, and contradictions advertises our plight: we are failing, and failing badly. We aren’t thinking.

Understanding that we must choose between competing realities can’t be the end of the world if it’s the beginning of Reason. Accepting that between the two competing realities our sensory world of matter must be unreal can’t be the end of sanity if it ends insanity. It can’t be the end of light if it leads us out of the darkness. It can’t be the end of innocence if it ends our addiction to guilt. It can’t be the end of good if it disempowers evil. The forces arrayed against the good can only lose their strength if our belief in their reality – the logic of their argument – is withdrawn. The deceptions that clog our thinking with contradictions, confusion, and ambivalence, can only give way to the truth if we take away their premise. They aren’t real. And the idea that they should be taken seriously, that we should simply adapt to them the way we adapt to our insane politics and every other calamity, is a joke.

Understanding that our bodies and the material world that they inhabit are part of an illusion, a dream meant to deceive, can’t cause more confusion if it explains it. Our confusion, our endless mistakes, owe their existence to nothing more than a misperception: that two contradictory states are real, and logic will prevail in a split mind, already beset with fear, that holds contradictory thoughts. It won’t. It never has and it never will. The wars between conflicting ideologies will never end until we find a way to end the war between conflicting realities in our minds – until we get clarity on what’s Reason and what’s not and learn to make the right choice. Circular reasoning that’s allowed to support belief in material reality is not the right choice.

David Clark Harrison

www.davidclarkharrison.com

April 18, 2020

Five words express thoughts and feelings that I believe are among the most important to humanity. Four of these are Love, Reason, Intuition, and Worth.

What I want to share on my website, with you, is what I try to share in all my personal relationships, especially with children. It is a truth that stands up to the deception that says that I am my body, my body is insignificant littleness, and my destiny is to die and disappear into nothingness. I believe the truth is the opposite: Worth that is not only a thought but also a feeling, that I not only have worth from its Source, I am Worth. I am not my body.

My true Worth is a gift that can never be taken away because it is who I am. I cannot help but share it with children because we are all children of the same Source, because who we are is also what we do, sharing our Worth that is shared with us by our Source, by Worth itself.

Love, Reason, and Intuition that lead us to our Worth lead us to the fifth word: Happiness. Everything we have is who we are: Worth that leads us to Happiness if we will let it, if we choose every day to follow it. For it must be chosen of our own free will.

What I try to share with children, with all my brothers and sisters, is the abundance given to me, my Worth, and the choice Love, Reason, and Intuition would have me make, every day, to follow where it leads us all, to peace, truth, and sanity – to Happiness.

The ultimate purpose of my writing is to share Worth from its Source. It’s to share the truth about the Child we are, whose Worth, whose Happiness, was hidden from us by an event that our ego-corrupted minds have misrepresented and covered over with guilt. The truth that we separate ourselves from is Mind that is Innocent -- the Child’s and ours.

Little rational thought has been given to what caused the Child to lose consciousness before he supposedly lost his innocence and dreamed up this world. The purpose of the very modest contribution I hope to make, to metaphysics and ontology, is to help remedy this. With guidance from Love, Reason, Intuition, and Worth, these thoughts might help to undo a truly awful deception, the root cause of human suffering: the belief that we are our bodies that live, suffer, and die, and within our bodies lies guilt.

My purpose is to be of service in the Child’s awakening to the truth – to our Worth and where it leads, to Happiness.

Asking our bodies to tell us if they’re real is self-referential, circular reasoning. Of course, they will tell us -- sensory perception will tell us -- that they’re real. This isn’t rational; it’s irrational. We must go to an objective source to tell us if they’re real. And until we settle on who or what that source may be, we must suspend judgment on whether our bodies and their material environment are real. We must rely on Reason and Intuition. We must try to be rational without rationalizing.

Let sensory perception do what it’s designed for -- helping us to procreate, achieve some measure of comfort and satisfaction, avoid pain, and survive. It can play a support role, but it cannot lead us into matters of truth and reality that are the province of Mind. Sensing and rationalizing lead us nowhere in philosophy – metaphysics and ontology -- where the only possible guides are Logic, Reason, and Intuition.

Instead of asking matter, our bodies, to tell us if Mind is real, let us ask our Mind to tell us if matter is real.

That so much of civilization is based on this absurd premise, that our bodies and their material environment are real just because they say they’re real, is sheer madness. It is a mental wall that imprisons us in endless conflict, suffering, confusion, frustration, and deception, that undermines and sabotages every effort toward true progress instead of ever more sophisticated technology and half-baked, conflicting ideologies.

Circular reasoning on what’s real has been unquestioned, even propagated for centuries, by science, because without it physics, neuroscience, and other disciplines couldn’t exist. “Shut up and calculate!” has become the mantra of physics now that quantum mechanics has upset Plato’s and Einstein’s perfect order of the universe. Circular reasoning, with few exceptions, has been unquestioned by philosophy going back to antiquity, because without it, academies and careers that require students and patrons couldn’t exist.

If we are going to stick with circular reasoning because any other kind of reasoning is beyond us, or because letting go of sensory perception is too big of a paradigm shift, let us at least be honest about it. This is chaos.

Intelligence complicit in its own deception, warped by self-interest, won’t lead us anywhere but back to the choice where our story began. It began with letting ourselves be led by Love, Reason, Intuition, and Worth to peace, truth, and sanity -- to Happiness. Whatever our circumstances, I believe we all want to make the right choice.

I write to help us look into the story of the Child – our story, – honestly and with Reason instead of guilt, because this is where the journey begins. This is where thinking begins. I find it quite interesting, consequential, and relevant. I hope you will agree.

Watch this space!

David Clark Harrison

www.DavidClarkHarrison.com

April 17, 2020

The Halftime Show

Converts all to the religion of fun
To its church: bars, booze, fun food, and fellowship
Pray for redemption for their home team
While raising hell.

Bring their children up in the faith: the theology of football
Its canon, liturgy, ecclesiastical vestments, symbols, and rituals.
Casting their lot in the weekly football pool:
Seeking salvation, fearing damnation.

Every Sunday, the Eucharist:
Gathered together in holy Communion before the screen.
Consuming the body and blood of their Team
Dispensed through the mediation of holy men.

Announcers and prophets, dressed in their blazers
Anointed by their acolytes with superhuman powers
To enrapture or to inflict eternal pain.
Reciting banalities and incomprehensible cant.

Bathed in the gaudy lights of their altar
Its mythological gods and heroic deeds enshrined
For the spiritual fulfillment of their worshippers
Yearning yet for something real.

Dave Harrison
Redondo Beach, California
01/14/2020

South Bay (Torrance), California
12/17/19

Torrance Transit #8 got me from Artesia & Rindge to the rally at Hawthorne & Sepulveda in 30 minutes.

Used my seniors discount TAP card, round trip practically free.

Stood on the NE corner for the first hour 4:45 to 5:45 flashing my Defend Democracy sign.

Chanting with the others, yelling at motorists, thanking them for honking in sympathy.

Strongest impression was the sound of car horns in all directions showing solidarity.

Truckers especially, when they blasted their sympathy long and loud.

People drove by with their windows rolled down, waving, cheering, and photographing us.

There were Trump loyalists but way outnumbered.

2nd hour I strolled up to the other end, near the mall entrance, and bellowed from there.

Got into simpatico conversations with two couples around my age and a pair of middle-aged women.

The older women still aren't comfortable with the idea of Standing Up to the Beast.

Seem to think the Beast can be removed from our living rooms by offering it tea and scones.

But the men don't see any hope in being nice; they know we're in a civil war.

The younger women seemed full of fight, with their signs and their chants.

This was a MoveOn crowd, aging eccentrics like me

With the quaint idea that the time has come to speak up.

Plus younger women ready to take it to the abusive male-chauvinists.

I overhead "Bernie" once.

But this was not a Bernie crowd: no significant college student presence.

No significant male working age presence -- guys like my son and his friends.

No significant black or Latino presence.

Docile, like the rally at City Hall downtown over separating immigrants from their children.

But angrier, more resolute, more spirited.

I overheard a rumor that Trump supporters were on site but I only saw one.

Ridiculous woman holding an "Impeachment Hoax" sign.

Thugs flying Trump flags drove by in their SUV blaring their horn.

Looked like the same mercenaries who marched by the City Hall rally.

Had our crowd reached the level of a Bernie rally it would have attracted more Trump thugs.

But there weren't enough of us (I never got a look at the whole crowd) to pose a threat.

If our numbers do swell, Trump thugs will show up and we will be tested.

Fear that there might be violence could have kept our numbers down.

Anyone showing up a week before Christmas, plus passers-by support, was encouraging.

We know Trump's base has been rallied to do battle for years.

They haven't grown in numbers; they're just waiting for us to rally to our side of it.

Right now, we're rallying ourselves, because the impeachment rally was leaderless.

The folks I talked to had no better idea than I have who to turn to.

Which candidates look good on a horse -- Warren? Booker?

Certainly not Biden.

That's my main takeaway: troops are ready to take to the streets but have no one to lead them.

The Democratic Party has to do something about it.

If it doesn't, someone else will have to fill the void.

Anyway, the House impeached the bastard; t hey did their job.

What can the rest of us do?

The Beast isn't sitting still, that's for sure.

Dave Harrison

www.davidclarkharrison.com

How did we get here? If our story began in the womb of our Parent, where thoughts weren’t scrambled with nonsense from nowhere, where it was safe to create, how did we trip the breaker? How did we jettison ourselves out of consciousness and into another reality?

30 years ago, Ken Wapnick published Love Does Not Condemn, a treatise subtitled “The World, the Flesh, and the Devil According to Platonism, Christianity, Gnosticism, and A Course in Miracles.” He wrote that no philosophy or religion explains the loss of consciousness that precipitated this seminal event. A Course in Miracles picks up the story afterward, with spiritual psychology and clues to what went before. But, basically, we’re left to figure it out for ourselves.

Not having a plausible answer to how we got here, that spares us false assumptions about our fatal flaw, our eternal sin, disgrace, and shame, leaves untouched a terminally toxic pollutant within the human soul. Our psyche is ridden with guilt. And it is the projection of guilt onto others, to get rid of it, that ultimately accounts for our suffering and appalling inhumanity. It doesn’t Make Happy; it makes miserable.

The flaw in our thinking begins with our basic identity. No account treats what transpired after our birth, the mistake we made, as the act of a child. Our corrupted minds suspect the act of a fully developed malefactor. And on this assumption rests spurious belief systems with senseless body-centered rituals, unyielding canons, arbitrary demands for sacrifice, and gratuitous cruelties.

What tidings can I share over the holidays? I’m writing a commentary on Ken Wapnick’s book that lays out a theory: what exactly the innocent Child did that tripped the breaker; that caused him or her to lose consciousness; to yield to an onslaught of viral, illusory thoughts from non-Being; to descend into madness; to try to project his guilt to get rid of it; to try to separate from the terrible specter of a wrathful Parent; and, in so doing, to try to split Being, inter-connectedness itself, a thought so insane that it produced the Big Bang, the mother of all atom-splitting nuclear explosions. All of this the act of an innocent Child not in his right mind, dreaming illusory thoughts in his sleep.

This is what I’m up to, theorizing on the meaning of life and the origin and fate of the universe, from A Course in Miracles and other sources. All for one purpose: Making Happy. Whether I succeed or not, it’s great fun trying.

Dave Harrison
Excerpted from annual Christmas letter
December 2019

Dearly Beloved: liberating free spirit, trusted friend, validating and empowering guide, bountiful and playful creator in heaven. We love you; we will always love you; we will never leave you. Thank you for all your gifts and blessings and all our relationships. Today and every day, may we be touched by your Love and receive your continuing help, guidance, and gentle loving kindness:

In our quest for Mind: for knowledge, wisdom, and truth. For reason, enlightenment, and sanity. For faith, purpose, and hope. For health, healing, and miracles. For freedom from the tyranny of guilt and blame. For ability, learning, and just causes. For growth – personal, spiritual, and character. For achievement, self-respect, and worthiness.

In our quest for Love: for freedom of thought, choice, and expression. For order and discipline. For family and intimacy, extended family and community. For worth, gifts, talents, and recognition. For abundance, food, clothing, and shelter.

In our quest for Spirit: for beauty, purity, and essence. For Innocence. For home and sanctuary. For protection, peace, trust, and harmony. For joyfulness and spontaneity, happiness, playfulness, and laughter. For freedom from confinement and addiction. For empowerment, control, strength, and energy.

Help us to share you with one another, to see us as you see us. Help us to get out of the way, that we may choose eternal life instead of death, Love instead of fear, Innocence instead of guilt, healing instead of separation. That we may reclaim our innocence through one another, awaken, and return home to be with you.

With thanks for our guides, trainers, and escorts. So be it. Amen

Dave Harrison
Excerpted from annual Christmas letter
December 2019

Trump-Miller are attacking our entire democracy
Comprehensively and simultaneously
At all levels, on all fronts.

While we have been responding to individual threats.
To feints and maneuvers meant to distract us
Unable or unwilling to acknowledge the scale
The enormity of what they are doing.

We have been defending ourselves with peashooters.
With platoons and regiments, getting absolutely nowhere.
When what is needed is for the entire country to rise up as one army
With everyone doing their part.

If it is democracy that is under attack
Then democracy itself must respond.

We can't leave the fight to someone else.
We've got to take a stand.
And challenge everyone to do the same.
Democracy depends upon it.

Democracy needs us.
Our planet needs us.

Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln – marching together.
Beneath American flags, fifes and drums playing.
Every school child’s image of our founding.
Their cause was Democracy.

Our country stands for nothing if it does not stand for Democracy.
This is our cause, and it is being taken away from us.
Our country is being taken away from us.
Trampled underfoot by dictators at home and abroad.

When the Beast invades our homes, our places of peace
With intent to harm, our only choice is to resist.
If, in defending our homes, our country, our planet
Someone is offended, someone gets hurt, so be it.

Our cause is forced upon us.
To save our country for democracy.
Gently and with loving kindness if possible.
Aggressively if necessary.
But always: to hear and be heard.

1930’s National Socialism has metastasized to our shores.
All who would defend democracy
Reason and science, compassion, truth, and civility
Must take a stand.

Our Generation’s Civil War Has Begun.
Standing Up to the Beast.
Is where I stand.
Not the end, but only the beginning.

To my Republican friends, so very kind in person
So very cruel, insensitive, and disrespectful in your beliefs
Challenged by facts and logic, addicted to lies
Indifferent to personal character
Heedless of the catastrophe bearing down on us.

Heed this.
Admiral Yamamoto’s warning:
I fear that we have awakened a sleeping giant
And filled him with terrible resolve.

Democracy is a cause unlike any other.
Countless millions have fought and died for it.
Hong Kong fights and dies now.
Many millions more will rise up here with terrible resolve.

How then will you take away our democracy?
Our rights, our freedoms, our civil liberties?
Over our dead bodies!

To the rest of us
We are not passengers on a plane that’s just crash-landed.
Strapped to our seats, immobilized by shock
Waiting passively for the end to come.
We are soldiers in a cause. taking the fight to the enemy
Secure in the knowledge that our cause is just.
We will prevail.

The time to change minds ends
When there are no longer minds to change.
When there is only unreasoning hysteria, hatred, and madness.
Rampant guilt projected onto “them.”

Our skies are inflamed with the fires of hell.
It will be time enough to make peace, to trust and make friends
When the light of Reason and respect shines again.

When guilt is banished for the lie that it is
And truth is restored.
Innocence -- our sanctuary and our strength.

It will happen.
But for now: Uncle Sam wants YOU!

David C. Harrison
Redondo Beach, California
7 December 2019 - Pearl Harbor Day

Trump-Miler's self-styled "victims" could be expected to want to become a political force.
To achieve fairness and social justice -- to end victimization.
As FDR's followers wanted -- genuine victims of the Great Depression.

Of course, that's not what the Trump-Miller mob wants.
Their political pedigree is of the opposite stripe.
From the opposite side of the Atlantic in the same era.

They want a victim-in-chief to validate their projection of guilt onto others.
Their supposed "persecutors."
To justify switching one victim for another so they can persecute.
So others can be the "losers" and they can be the "winners."

Blindly following the Winner-in-Chief makes them winners by association
A status they will never relinquish so long as their champion lives.
No matter what evils he perpetrates.

Far from being a flawed human being, he is their Savior, their Chosen One.
More exalted than history's greatest heroes -- Lincoln, Churchill.
Are we afflicted with daily horrors?
This is Horror.

Cruelty is not a by-product of their behavior; it is its very purpose.
Cruelty to others directed by their role model is proof positive.
That they have arrived, and he has gotten them there.
That they and he are one and the same.
The bond between them could not be stronger if it were real blood and soil.

Reacting to their cruelties with horror and outrage doesn't give them pause.
It's music to their ears, a red flag waved in the face of the raging bull.
An incitement to further madness, more cruelty.

The Beast's grasp of power has already gone too far to stop him by democratic means.
Republicans, the Senate, the judiciary -- pitiful institutions -- shrink in relevance before our eyes.
While impeachment grinds inexorably toward meekness and inconclusion.

With democracy already lost, horror and outrage are irrelevant.
Impeachment is irrelevant.

Tinkering with articles of impeachment won't change the political dynamics.
When it's plain for all to see: The Republican Senate can't be moved.
Their base, inflamed by their impotent rage and right-wing propaganda, can't be moved.
The politicized, emasculated Supreme Court, can't be moved.
It's too late!

Sounding the alarm over systemic cruelty at the border.
Is commendable, honorable, patriotic, courageous.
It's never acceptable to ignore abandoned children bleeding to death.
We must continue to bear witness, to alleviate suffering.

But the moral ground has shifted.
We must adjust.

All that's left in the present circumstances is to re-channel the force of feeling.
To unite in search of a leader who will rally us against the Beast.
To unite in fierce opposition to the Beast with all the resources at our disposal.
To defend Democracy, science, compassion, justice, and civility.
To defend civilization and our habitable planet.
To fight for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.

The fight -- our generation's Civil War -- has already begun.
The only question is: who can lead us in the fight?

When Republicans circled the wagons after Trump-Miller's crimes were exposed.
When they abandoned Reason for rationalizing and surrendered to the mob.
That's when the war began.
The vote in the Senate to acquit will only be a formality.
The decision of the Supreme Court to protect Trump's tax returns will only be a formality.

Reason has already left the room.
What more proof that we have been abandoned by Reason.
Than five minutes of right-wing media?
Than five minutes conversation with anyone who supports Trump?

Yes, victimization of immigrant children at the border.
Has not drawn the attention, the outrage, that it deserves.
Forgive our Democratic compatriots for their blunders, their shortcomings.
But we must move on.

I offer solidarity with anyone who will join me in this cause.
We must find and get behind the right candidate with everything we've got.
Short of Trump-Miller dying of natural causes.
And their base melting away -- not a likely prospect.
It is our only hope.

David C. Harrison
Redondo Beach, California

Thoughts from a letter to a friend
6 December 2019

Christmas greetings (excerpt)
December 2018 

Christians celebrate the birth of an unusual person. A Visitor from where it’s always Now, and he performed miracles to show what it means that where we are it’s never Now. It means where we are isn’t real. I was dusting a radiator in Cambridge, 48 years ago, when suddenly everything was crystal clear: the meaning of life and the origin and fate of the universe. That’s interesting. I’ll finish dusting and write that down. Of course, my epiphany was gone when I was done, so I had to wait another 14 years before it happened again. This time, I was polishing a floor in Hanover. My empty brain was flooded by a felt perception of the interconnectedness of things. Hmm, that’s interesting, I’ll write that down. But all that came to mind was “aware” and “storyline.” Huh?

 

Theoretical physicists trying to figure out the origin and fate of the universe have also come to Huh?. They thought matter was real, but quantum gravity has them wondering, and no experiments can prove their strange theories. They’re asking for help from philosophy. A Course in Miracles, channeled by our unusual Visitor, is philosophy plus psychology that explains what the deal is. Worth taking seriously because it’s from conscious Mind, not compromised by sensory perception that rules out objectivity. Matter behaves like the stuff dreams are made of because it is a dream. Scientists have waded into a projection of Mind rendered unconscious because it contemplated an irrational thought. That would be us, given freedom of thought and choice, and what did we do with it? We chose the mad idea of separation instead of sanity, and you see what the result is: broken relationships and all the rest. So, what’s to be done? How about just doing what our Visitor suggested: look upon one another as he sees us – innocent and blameless. And let conscious Mind, our loving Parent, know we’d like to wake up. Poof goes the dream! Poof goes the universe! We’re Home again!

Wishing you and yours wildly fun holidays, a wakeful New Year, and a welcome Home.

Dave Harrison

What A Course in Miracles May Have to Offer Quantum Gravity

David Clark Harrison, Harvard College AB ’59, Harvard Law School JD ‘63

What A Course in Miracles May Have to Offer Quantum Gravity

It’s never now here.
Just the future flipping instantly into the past.
Things and their implied opposites and variations must all exist.
Non-Being can’t be the opposite of anything.

Keys to understanding the origin and fate of the universe?
The meaning of life?
Clues to our cause?

A couple of book titles from quantum gravity do get one thinking:
Carlo Rovelli’s Reality Is Not What It Seems.
Adam Becker’s What Is Real?

Becker thinks physicists will find meaning in quantum mechanics.
That is, if they don’t give in to the “Copenhagen Interpretation.”
That says physics has reached the limits of what’s understandable.
He’s sure there’s a pony in there somewhere.

Einstein balked at his own invention and took issue with Bohr.
Bohr, the oracle of quantum mechanics, the mystic at the summit.
The soul of the Copenhagen Interpretation.
As hard to pin down as Hawking’s “quest for knowledge” was in your face.

Rovelli yields to the obvious and bows to the inevitable.
Unifying cosmology with quantum mechanics takes us into the unknown.
Quantum gravity is way over our heads.
This theoretical physicist thinks it’s time to bring in philosophy.

A line has been crossed.
We live in an interesting time.

Time now for quantitative to make room for qualitative?
For what’s necessary to find meaning in anything:
Mind, reason, feeling, and values?

Where physicists can’t take us.
They the consultants, we the clients.
Whose numbers can’t say what difference anything makes.
To those for whom the difference matters – all who live, suffer and die.

The measurers do have a stake in their profession.
Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and The Grand Design get that across.
In the time of Galileo, he could have made a convincing Urban VIII.
A Vatican hardliner bound by authority and his convictions.

Colonizing other planets is comic book science fiction.
An adolescent’s idea of purpose – our cause.
The fanciful offspring of thought unaided by reflection.
For Hawking it was true: “Philosophy is dead.”

What about the rest of us?
Can there be a story that has a place for reason, creative energy, love?
That leaves Matt Damon cultivating potatoes on Mars and gets serious?
That won’t condemn our grandchildren to scavenging on Earth?

Einstein figured out years ago it’s never Now in our universe.
Just an “extended present” which is “neither future nor past.”
Quantum gravity since discovered that it’s never Now anywhere.
Quanta, the particles that make up all matter, tell us time doesn’t exist.

Being is the Singularity if it has no opposite.
The Mind that is timelessness, the eternal Now.
Where there are no beginnings, no origins.
Just Being and just Now -- Reality!

Hope for us if it matters where we belong and are headed.
Because no one can turn off the switch.
No “disturbance in the force” can flip Something back to nothing.

Inquiry stops with the Singularity.
It stops with Mind whose being cannot imply an opposite.
Being is all that there is – one thing, everything, and nothing else.

We of the beginnings and endings, past and future, never Now.
Imagining things -- inside a Mind that’s dreaming.
Pure Reason when it was awake that took in an irrational thought.
A monkey wrench, the idea of separation.
We took aim at Being and knocked ourselves unconscious.

Separation is no more real than non-Being.
Not even in quantum gravity, where all matter is interconnected.
It’s all granular, indeterminate, and relational.
If they’re not connecting, interacting, quanta don’t exist.
It’s a roll of the dice which streetlight they show up under next.
Because they disappear in the darkness – they’re gone.

Faraday, using intuition, and Maxwell, using math, discovered fields.
Lines of matter, electromagnetic waves, that connect matter everywhere.
Where we get light from, telecommunications, electronics.
Information connects matter everywhere.

Show me anything that’s separate!

Separation is just a mad idea; the void that can’t exist.
Yet an irrational thought taken in by conscious Mind has consequences.
The thought that something is that isn’t, that can’t be.
A Mind that’s Reason can’t be itself and hold an irrational thought.
It will either reject the idea and hold onto sanity or lose consciousness.

The Mind in question is us, an extension of the original Mind.
Knowledge for whom separation is unknowable and therefore unthinkable.
We are an extension of Being – our source:
Mind-Love, Mind-Reason, Mind-Energy -- the grammar of Reality.
Innocence and perfection our birthright, our integrity.

Extended Mind that is part of Being cannot cease to exist.
Death is not real: we cannot die.
When corrupted, extended Mind will lapse into an unconscious state.
Mind-fear, Mind-guilt-insanity, Mind-entropy -- the grammar of unreality.

So that we could reciprocate Love, we were given freedom.
Freedom of thought, freedom of choice.
And we used it – what child wouldn’t? -- to do something dumb.
To make a mistake, which we now have to undo.

Mind even unconscious is real and so is Energy.
Hard to question our bodies’ senses since both are present in the dream.
Long ago, Parmenides and Bishop Berkeley saw through the deception.
They were overruled by Dr. Johnson when he kicked a solid object.

Science still rules the day with its virtual reality headset – our senses.
Even after Einstein’s equations replaced Newton’s familiar universe.
With a “glimpse of reality. . . that seems to be made of the same stuff our dreams are made of.”

This from Carlo Rovelli, pointing quantum gravity toward the unknown.
Toward philosophy and maybe weird metaphysical stuff.
That can’t be any weirder than quantum gravity.

All of science is part of a larger quest.
Not just Hawking’s “quest for knowledge.”
That he believed only science is qualified to lead.
The larger quest for Awakening that we are all qualified to lead.

Because the Mind that’s unconscious is our Mind.
The dream is ours, and every advance we make is toward ending it.
Every invention, discovery, revelation, and epiphany.
Toward returning home to Reality – to peace, truth, and sanity.
Toward healing the separation.

Harvard’s history department claims that “Ideas make history.”
The mad idea of separation got all of humanity in this fix.
Being taken in and letting go of the deception is our story.
One hell of a story caused by one hell of an idea.

Quantum gravity is giving us a start toward awakening.
By taking us to the outer limits of physics.
Newton’s comforting universe of absolutes left in its wake.
Its objects once behaving sensibly but no more.
We’re beyond the point of no return.

Physics won’t restore our familiar environment.
It won’t fix our stricken planet or find another to ruin.
It won’t reveal the meaning of life and give us purpose.
Or solve the origin and fate of the universe by studying matter.
When it’s Mind that needs our attention.

Brain science has yet to establish where consciousness comes from.
Mind poking into brains, globs of gray matter inside their carapace.
Looking for what’s inside Mind that’s doing the poking.
An image with a caption worthy of The Onion.

Mind is our consciousness, the extended Mind with which we think.
Our brains process data from our virtual reality headsets.
They’re data processors.
Colluding with our bodies to keep the illusion in place.

Our VR headset appears to be telling us what’s “out there.”
Our bodies’ senses affirming that our bodies and our universe are real.
When what it may be doing is blocking us.
From seeing what’s Here and Now.

Letting physics and anyone else tell us what it’s all about is a crap shoot.
Better to assume we are all Galileos and everyone else is the Pope.

Time to break up the monopoly of senses and numbers.
Come full circle back to all that Democritus and Aristotle had to work with:
Intuition and reason.
Before there were instruments of science to conduct experiments.

The gift of intuition that listens.
That hears guidance that comes not from a slumbering, delusional Mind.
But from Mind that’s awake.
From Reality.

Guidance that might be found in A Course in Miracles.
That doesn’t ask us to abandon reason for faith.
To abandon freedom of thought and freedom of choice.
Without which Love cannot be.

Guidance that doesn’t demand anything of us.
That we submit to the authority of any individual or institution.
Or obligate ourselves to add to its wealth.
That we subject our minds and bodies to symbolism of any kind.
Or to coercion, guilt, and punishment.

Guidance that doesn’t limit how and when we learn.
That asks its teachers to get out of the way.
That lets us choose whatever source speaks to us.
Whether it’s the Course or something else.
Because it’s not a “bible” – it’s taught in various ways.

Guidance that doesn’t ask us to hold opposing thoughts.
That Reality is Being -- Mind, Love, Reason, and Energy.
And non-Being, too -- separation, guilt, fear, insanity, and entropy.
That Reality is what we observe even though it comes from nowhere.
Changes, acts weird, and disappears like an illusionist’s act.

Guidance that won’t let appearances, magic, and confusion deceive us.
That won’t subject us to the cruelty of dogma and bullying “tradition.”
To the deceptions and hysterics of self-preservation.
To the predatory appetites of unrestrained authority.
To the mystique of the past, revered nothingness wrapped in gauze.

Guidance that responds to quantum gravity’s call for philosophy.
With the one attribute that our VR headset cannot provide: objectivity.
From the same place where quantum gravity is leading us.
To timelessness.
To the only place where Reality can be found: Mind in the eternal Now.

Guidance that can explain the strange behavior of quanta.
Granular, indeterminate, relational.
The stuff our dreams are made of because they’re in a dream.
Because Reality is Mind, the laws of cause and effect that govern Mind.
And matter can only be a projection of Mind that’s in an unconscious state.
Its laws of cause and effect – science -- only a mirror image of Reality.

Guidance that shares its view of us honestly, in the light of day.
Affirming and unsparing, encouraging and challenging, never judging.
Respecting the free spirits we really are in spite of our adolescence.
Our addiction to Whatever, our littleness, and going our own way.

Guidance that assures us that we’re endowed with free will.
The opportunity to influence our fate with our own choices.
The necessity of choosing again, since it was our own mistake.
When we chose to reciprocate vengeance instead of Love.
And descended into a nightmare of guilt, fear, and insanity.

Ours is the lead role in this story, a long and perilous Odyssey.
Like the Greek veterans of Troy, we need and receive help.
To navigate past our counterfeit guides and our addictions.
We aren’t in control, but we have our part to do:
Take the initiative and mind our thoughts and choices.
Choices among guides, values, and purposes.

Guidance that enables us to relate to Being.
A sentient, accessible Who, not a scientist’s cardboard-cutout what.
To the Mind, Love, Reason, and Energy who endowed us with feeling.

Who gifted us with values -- things cared for and needed:
Spirit, beauty, purity and innocence.
Reason, enlightenment and sanity, purpose, self-worth and hope.
Love, family and intimacy, community, fairness and belonging.
Knowledge, wisdom and truth, learning, growth and achievement.
Health, wealth and abundance, order, security, protection and peace.
Freedom, joyfulness, creativity and spontaneity.

Celebrations and rewards of Love.
That needs to give and to receive, for we are part of the infinite loop.
Our honored place in Mind secured by being loved and needed.
By a Friend – by gentle, loving kindness.

Guidance that assures us we are not judged and condemned.
We are simply wanted back.
And the choice we are given, once again, is to reciprocate.
To let Love know we want back.
That the free spirits we are, are ready to exercise our birthright.
To change our minds, choose again, and correct our mistake.

We want back because relationships are to Make Happy.
And a world that incubates endless conflict isn’t where to find them.
A world that tempers every moment of joy and laughter with loss.
With the affront of suffering and death endured and sure to come.

My Guide flies me over the deep, blue, pure waters of Lake Parrish.
Shimmering beneath the moon and the stars.
Soaring free from the tyranny of blame.
A magnificent sorrel flying draft horse, my minder, companion, and escort.

Who ferries my son from the desolate hill to the other side.
The hill with the burning crucifix, his hands and feet nailed to it by blame.
Beneath a sky inflamed with the fires of hell.
A tableau of madness brought to horrifying life.

Owen, who was all-everything in school and made it to Harvard.
Who lost his mind to unbearable pain, fear, and impotent rage.
To grievances, abandonment, grief, and misery.
Who lost everything because he couldn’t relate.

Who lost hope, his career, then his mother, and checked out.
Alone, in his childhood home, with rooms empty and the mail piled up.

Owen’s memory tempers joy and laughter with my granddaughters.
And with their father, Andrew, my constancy and hope.
Their family the beacon at the strait that drew me off my island.
To retirement three years ago and grandparenting, my second childhood.

Our Guide is also present in the dream, imagined as we wish.
An emissary from consciousness, timelessness, and Reality.
Indispensable – we accomplish nothing on our own.
Sent to bring us along with insights and creative talent.
Character and resolve – all of our gifts.

So that we get it right and make it back home sooner rather than later.
Using our gifts, if we are so blessed.
Those of us who haven’t lost our precarious hold on survival.
Who yearn for peace, truth, and sanity.
And try not to listen to the counterfeit guide from unconscious Mind.
Who takes our children away.

Is the matter in our bodies all that connects us to our universe?
Or is there also a connection with Mind -- with our own thoughts?
Must Dr. Johnson be the last word, or can we do better?

Will philosophy add anything to quantum gravity?
Turn ambiguity, ambivalence, and confusion into a coherent story?
A worthy cause?

The author of A Course in Miracles must think so.
The visitor from Reality who inspired the Nag Hammadi texts.
Who lifted the stage drop of spacetime and matter.
With effortless miracles that bypassed our wavering laws of science.

Whose Gnostic “heretics” inspired Harvard’s Karen King.
To stand for Reason and open his story to the light of day.
Over the dead body of Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon.
Crossing another historic line to heal an ancient wound.

The Gnostics got their name because of their point.
That we do not and cannot know anything in this illusory world.
We are descended from Knowledge but do not share in it.
How can anything be known inside a dream?

The Church celebrated miracles which proved the Illusion.
Only to unleash its fury on those who absorbed the lesson.
So that it could establish that the Church and our world are real.
That guilt, fear, and insanity must be real.
Or there is no need for the Church.

What then are miracles?
Thus stripped of their purpose: unfathomable mysteries of the divine.
All of one piece with the fanciful plot twists of Greek mythology.
Frivolous fairy tales. Religious mumbo-jumbo. Entertainment. Magic.

These the impurities that Hawking purged from his quest for knowledge.
The foolishness of biblical religion which has no place in science.
The master of black holes was drawn in by the Church.
Past the event horizon without noticing: that the founder is the scientist.
That miracles are his experiments, and they lead us to knowledge.

The laws of science fade away in quantum gravity.
Not to the unknown but to the Known: to Reality.

Its title is to be taken literally: A Course in Miracles.
Our world, a projection of unconscious Mind, makes miracles inevitable.
There is no order of difficulty in miracles.
For the author of the Course and for us.

When we finally see ourselves as he sees us.
As we love our children and grandchildren.
For their innocence and spontaneity.
Precious playmates in our Temenos, the sanctuary of trust and safety.
Secured for us within the Mind, the Love, that created us.

The Christ we were all supposed to be, uncorrupted.
Until the illusion of guilt was imposed upon us.
In service to stewardship that professed forgiveness.
And misperceived, choosing instead to preserve itself.
At the expense of our innocence, our reality, and its own faith.

Forgiveness is not a gratuitous dispensation to be granted to the unworthy.
Sinners all, wallowing in guilt.
It’s a simple acknowledgement that separation never happened.
That we didn’t replace our Parent.
That we are not condemned, because our Reality is innocence.
We, whose worth is beyond question, are blameless.

Background to the Gnostic heresy.
The discovery of its texts at Nag Hammadi, the end of another crucifixion.
The channeled Course in Miracles itself a miracle.
The resurrection of Gnostic Christianity that has no need of labels.

Only Mind and Energy creating and connecting through Love and Reason.
The grammar and idiom that I have chosen to share these thoughts.
Faithful, I hope, to the spirit of the Course but not always to the letter.
The author of the Course lives, and his work speaks for itself.

Quantum gravity leads us into another dimension for a reason.
Hawking’s quest for knowledge is more posture than promise.
All we can aspire to with our VR headsets are perceptions and beliefs.
Bound to be corrupted by the virus, separation.

Quantum gravity, the Nag Hammadi texts, and the Course all converge.
On the thought that the reality of our world, our life, is open to question.
Reason and intuition say so.
And now science may be saying so.

If he hadn’t kicked the bucket, even Dr. Johnson might say so.

All Are Called. Few Choose to Listen.
Titles of books written about the Course by its first teacher.
Maybe Reason in the Here and Now is buried yet in the sand.
The teacher of the texts quarantined by academia wary of religion.

But we can’t be sure when and how our Guide is reaching us.
Maybe many are choosing to listen.
My ballot was only one vote in the midterm elections.
Before it became millions of votes, and our country changed.

Knocking ourselves unconscious was Three Stooges stuff.
When we come to and exit this Vaudeville act, I’ll find time to laugh.
When, not if.
Because we can’t fail if awakening is Love’s will.
For our Parent to fail at anything is as nuts as separation.

I would share my Guide with you to Make Happy:

Respecting our freedom of thought instead of coercion and guilt.
Sharing abundance instead of hollowness.
Bestowing blamelessness instead of judgment and condemnation.
Focusing on the Here and Now and my own responsibilities.
Feeling, sharing, and celebrating thankfulness.

To my dear friends and colleagues from a lifetime:

Sunday school at Wallace Memorial United Presbyterian Church
Eight years at Greentree Public Grade School
Four years at Andover and seven more at Harvard.
One year at the San Gabriel Valley Daily Tribune
Eight in Cambridge, the City of Boston, and the Boston Harbor islands
Eight in Hanover and the Connecticut River Basin
Three in Washington, Chesapeake Bay, and national water policy
Two in St. Paul, Grand Forks, and the Red River Valley of the North
Eleven in Pittsburgh, Morgantown, and the Monongahela River Valley
Twelve in Boulder at StorageTek, EDS, and Boulder County Democrats
Eight in Aurora at Anthem and Kaiser’s Security Operations Center
One in retirement, writing and hiking in Crested Butte, Colorado
Two years so far writing and grandparenting in the South Bay, Los Angeles

And to all my family: you are my happiness.

I love you. I will always love you.
I will never leave you – even if I could.

When my father, Max Harrison, died prematurely, in November 1966, I had assumed that Harrison Construction Company records would finally reveal to his heirs what he had been up to all those years.

by David C. Harrison

Courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor
Courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor

Harrison Construction of Pittsburgh, PA uses a Koehring shovel to load an Athey wagon towed by a Cat D8 tractor at the Ruch’s Hill Federal Housing site work project on May 3, 1939.

pg_14-01
Photos courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor

pg_14-02
Photos courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor

Harrison Construction’s heavy earthmoving continues at the Ruch’s Hill site on May 3, 1939.

Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection
Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection

A Cat D8 tractor with an R. G. LeTourneau HU scraper is pointed downhill to load. The Ruch’s Hill project contained 800,000 cubic yards of excavation.

When my father, Max Harrison, died prematurely, in November 1966, I had assumed that Harrison Construction Company records would finally reveal to his heirs what he had been up to all those years. I had even imagined a place in our basement where I would find them. No such luck. What did fall into my hands were a few letters, advertisements and some photos, some of which keep me company on the walls of my study where I write this.

This was a disappointment, especially since I’m working on an informal memoir at Andrew’s request, my older son. Depending on what I found, I might have gone to work on a company history instead. As it is, what I think I know, or remember, about HCCo is a few fundamentals and not much else. Without you and my nephew Todd Harrison, who comes up with amazing stuff off the Web, my ignorance would be an embarrassment.

EJ Harrison was drawn to Pittsburgh from Mercer County, no doubt, by tales of great wealth being accumulated by “Pittsburgh millionaires” – Carnegie, Frick, Westinghouse et al and their close associates. He got a business degree from the Duff Institute, which, I’m pretty sure, still exists; became a bookkeeper for the Cronin & Sons Construction Co; and took it over when its alcoholic owners couldn’t run it anymore. (I was told they were found passed out near railroad tracks on the South Side.)

Max was pulled out of Penn State University before he could get a degree – he majored in civil engineering – because EJ needed him to help run the business, and likely because he saw the potential to build a fantastic, money-making family business. This, I was told, alienated Max for a time. He held a job for the Koppers Corp in Chicago, then went to work for the Pittsburgh Railways Co., and only joined his father at HCCo, he told me one day as we were driving across the West End Bridge to his office on the North Side, because EJ offered him more money.

Courtesy of Akron University: Goodyear Collection
Courtesy of Akron University: Goodyear Collection

EJ Harrison standing and Max Harrison

Theirs, I took it, was a financial, not a sentimental, bond. The family aspect of it did prove to be strong in one sense, because Max shared company profits very generously, I was told, with his three sisters and their families, who were, after all, shareholders and directors. But in another sense it was weak to nonexistent: he hired his sons during summer breaks from school but made it clear that they were to pursue careers doing something else. The family business ended with him when it went under, around 1962, but even if it went on it wouldn’t have been led by a Harrison.

The 30’s were good years. EJ put the company in position to land Depression – era job-creating construction projects. He did well with government clients, small projects in and around Pittsburgh. During the war, with Max coming into his own as a company salesman, they were, according to Max, the first construction company on site at Oak Ridge, TN. And it was around this time they built Alcoa’s enormous North Plant in Blount County, TN. Max’s golf foursomes at Oakmont Country Club – he also belonged to Long Vue and probably other clubs – yielded more Alcoa projects and the creation of HCCo’s Southern Division, based at Alcoa, TN. His client base still included government agencies, but it was ties to Pittsburgh’s corporate elite at the Duquesne Club that really fueled his enthusiasm.

pg_16
Harrison Construction Co. machinery is seen working at Oak Ridge, TN on May 24, 1950.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission offered to settle a contract dispute in the late 50’s or early 60’s. Max’s lawyer, Bill Booth, told me this when I arrived the summer of ’62 at Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, as an apprentice lawyer. He said Max didn’t take his advice to settle. Max put his trust in the courts instead, went on with his lawsuit and lost.

This happened at a time when his remarkable salesmanship had advanced his career in construction and politics. He traveled a good deal to meet with important people – leadership networking was his first love. The force of his personality got results. He was in demand. Too much so, I came to believe, because this profitable, admired family business, that could have lasted generations, needed closer supervision than he was able to give it.

In going through the pages of your outstanding books – from my nephew Todd Harrison I received the Ohio and Pennsylvania Turnpike editions – I was struck by the similarities in landscape and equipment, so that Harrison’s men and machinery couldn’t be distinguished without the captions. In one important respect I do believe Harrison stands out. The guy that ran it, from the mid-40’s through the 50’s, was all about character. So many of the blessings of life that came to me, and still come, came because people trusted and admired Max Harrison. He leadership-networked both his sons into a world of opportunity where, almost literally, we could have had, or done, anything we wanted.

In the summer of 1967, not long after Max died, I was able to organize a meeting at the Duquesne Club with some of Pittsburgh’s corporate elite. I wanted them to hear a presentation by an MIT professor whose students had designed a new community to be built on Boston’s Thompson Island. When it was over one of the corporate attendees, I think speaking for all of them, said he was there to honor the memory of Max Harrison.

The summer of 1954 Max set me up to work at the company’s shop at 51st St. and AV RR along the Allegheny River. The experience I got threading rods and welding supplied me with metaphors for a poem that drew the attention of Dudley Fitts, an authority on English literature at Andover. Its publication in The Mirror, with his blessing, was all that distinguished my otherwise nondescript secondary education.

That was also the summer that I traveled in a Harrison green pickup, with Ronnie, a conscientious coworker, across the border to lend a hand with the Ohio Turnpike project. Four or five of us were lifting a LeTourneau tire on the back of a pickup when I shifted my grip, thinking the direction was up when the direction was down. I heard a snap and realized it came from my left arm which had disappeared beneath the tire. Next thing I knew a doc in East Liverpool with a very attractive nurse was putting me out to set my arm.

Courtesy of Ohio Cat
Courtesy of Ohio Cat

Harrison Caterpillar D8 with a No. 90 pull scraper working on the Ohio Turnpike on June 21, 1954.

But having one arm in a sling wasn’t the end of my summer job. Max had me transferred to a project on a city block next to the old Duquesne Gardens, off 5th Avenue in Oakland, where Pittsburgh’s minor league hockey team, the Hornets, used to play. My job, when I wasn’t on lunch break checking out the Gardens, was directing traffic with my good arm.

The summer of 1954 was also when I was invited into Uncle Bill William’s shack. It stood right there in front of the shop, where equipment routed around either side of it. It was where this good man and loyal employee lived, who had simonized Max’s Buicks and Cadillacs for years at the Western Avenue office. Providing an aging employee with a place to live, a steady job and income, was a small sample of the consideration Max showed, I was told, toward all his employees, whatever their race or ethnicity.

Near Bill’s shack was a steam jenny. I used it to clean the engine of an end-of-life Harrison pickup that I would then drive crazily around the shop on lunch break. Three guys on break, eating sandwiches from their lunch pails in back, got up and scurried inside when they saw me coming. That summer I took mother’s Buick out for a spin after dinner, along US Route 40 west of Washington, PA. It was after dark. I got the old girl up to 100 mph. The same idiot was behind the wheel of that pickup, so they did the right thing.

Doing night shift at the Pittsburgh Asphalt plant, a company subsidiary, was a novelty. Dan Cowan, another good fellow, came by the house and drove me to work that night. We were supplying asphalt for a paving job, Pittsburgh’s Liberty Tubes. I remember being seated on a platform high off the ground but, unlike other jobs I was assigned, the only task I recall was staying awake.

My reward for that summer at the 51st Street shop was a trip to Knoxville to visit Betsy, a pretty girl Max’s friend Pete Gettys, a sand & gravel competitor, had introduced me to that spring. So what did I do? I rented a Chevy Impala at the airport and drove Betsy down two-lane roads at 80 mph, with my left arm in a sling and my right arm around her. Why am I still alive?

My favorite company summer job, by far, was 1957, when I was turned loose on a Caterpillar D8 rigged with a single fork in the back that I used to subsoil Max’s Tennessee River farm. 17

I would rise at 7:30, start the pony motor, then get the big engine running, get seated and start manipulating the gears and that fork. I had a pair of Chippewa boots and I got a nice tan, and by the end of the summer, Curt Hart, Harrison’s Southern Division VP, happened to be there one day and told me he would have hired me even if I weren’t the boss’s son. Being the son and grandson of hard-ass heavy construction executives, you don’t hear praise much, and that’s OK. But it was as close as I ever got to feeling like there could be a place for me in the company. For just a moment, it felt like I belonged.

In 1957 was also when I rammed the ‘dozer into a dead tree off the field thinking I would remove it when all those dead branches coming down almost removed me. Then there was the day I decided to remove a wasps’ nest from a tree along the driveway by ramming the tree with a company pickup, which, of course, wound up in the shop. And I drove an inebriated company employee back from Harrison’s annual clambake in the same pickup so fast, on a curvy two-lane road after dark, that it restored instant sobriety. Why am I still alive?

The year before, Max sent me to work with a crew paving runways, laying pipe and building an access road for an Air Force unit stationed at Blount County Airport. They had me banging the underside of dump trucks with a mallet to loosen the load when they backed up to the paving machine. I operated a Barco dirt tamper (sometimes on my foot) and helped lay pipe under a hot Tennessee sun.

But the excitement this time was provided by something called a Sheep’s Foot. This invention of the devil was supposed to pack down dirt along the edge of 45-degree fill, part of the access road. I had to navigate along the edge to do any good, and the damned thing had no brakes. Losing control would have been fatal. I recall waking up one night in a sweat, pulling up the mattress at my feet, with all my might, in an effort to apply the brakes.

Just to prove an accident could happen, I once backed up a Euclid heavy dump truck maybe one inch too far onto a depressed fill site, in Knoxville, and that’s all it took to back it right over on its side. It made the evening news, but I wasn’t injured. Why am I still alive?

That same two-lane road gave me experience operating a kidney-killer LeTourneau scraper – I scraped too deep my first shot and had to be rescued by a ‘dozer. And a grader, though the ride was recreational only. A government project inspector came along one day and needed to know if the road was properly graded. I told him it looked OK to me. Fortunately, the inspector found an engineer to answer his question and I was off the hook.

Courtesy of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Courtesy of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

A LeTourneau Super C pan is working on the Eastern Ext. of the PA Turnpike on August9, 1949.

Another time being the boss’s son thrust me into a supervisory role when a ‘dozer operator asked if it was quitting time. I looked at my watch, as if that would settle the matter. It took a moment before I realized he was asking permission to quit. And that was the extent of this experience running a heavy construction company

I liked the Harrison cap and the company badge that was attached to it. I liked working out in the sun and around all the dust, the heavy equipment and the guys. Everyone was decent to me and to one another. The only time there was an awkward moment was when some white workers at the airport job were being a bit too casual with their conversation and a black worker showed up who could have been offended. But he got a fast, gracious apology and, I don’t think, would have taken offense anyway. It wasn’t an ugly moment at all, just awkward.

Otherwise, a whole lot of classy individuals were taking care of their jobs, working well together and being professional. The one instance where I clearly didn’t belong was when I was replaced in the cab of the Euclid one day by a union driver. He just showed up, got in the cab on the passenger side and indicated he was taking over.

That was my one experience with labor-management relations in mid-20th century America. It was the one time where I felt just a little of the pressure company management, and companies around the country, felt from an aggressive labor movement. I didn’t take sides – poets who dig ditches in the summer to make a buck aren’t exactly involved – but it did make an impression. I could see Max’s side of it a little better, but I also respected labor’s side of it. If that irritated Max what fun it was to hear him complain about one of my cousins he employed who joined a union picket line at a Harrison project. Why is my cousin still alive?

Eighty-five bucks a week. That’s what we were paid, and it was more than most of my classmates probably earned at their summer jobs.
Construction jobs paid well then and they still do. Construction, mining, and manufacturing – these are the bedrock jobs for a thriving middle class, and I had a little part of it.

What ties my career to my father’s career after my formal education wasn’t anything to do with business, at the office or in the field. It was leadership networking. It’s where his career really took off, and mine. At least insofar as I enjoyed it and got any results. His networking got results for the company, elevating it from just another construction outfit to one that was noticed. It was, I’m certain, because of the quality of its work, the character of its chief executive, and how vividly he brought himself and his enterprise to life.

I’m damned proud to be a Harrison, and a large part of it is because of him, and because of his company.

His networking also got results for him, because he hugely enjoyed it. When he would come home from work, busting through the back door in his straw boater, a man of good cheer and upright bearing, I could tell he had come straight from the Duquesne Club. He had been Building the Best for the Best, his company motto. He had been living it. He wasn’t a major figure around town, exactly, but he was a force unto himself. I wish you could have seen him, known him.

And I wish he could have known you. Your work is clearly a labor of love, and with these recollections, I hope some of my respect, my appreciation, comes through. I hope some sign comes through that, if Max and EJ were here, they both would be feeling pretty good that somebody out there was paying attention.

Thank you so much for your very kind inscription, Enjoy the history as your family helped make it. Max and his father did make history. All their employees, and all the companies and their employees featured in your books, made history.
I’m so glad I don’t have to root around in the basement to find a record of it.
Thank you, Edgar. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely, David C. Harrison

Courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor
Courtesy of Caterpillar Tractor

Harrison Construction uses Caterpillar D8 tractors with LeTourneau pans to handle heavy earthmoving at the Kanawha Airport in West Virginia on May 28, 1945.

Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection Caterpillar RD-8 tractors with LeTourneau bulld
Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection

Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection
Courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau Collection

Caterpillar RD-8 tractors with LeTourneau bulldozers and scrapers grade the North Park Playground in Allegheny County during May, 1936. The project required excavation of 460,000 cubic yards.

 Photos courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau
Photos courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau

 Photos courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau
Photos courtesy of HCEA: R. G. LeTourneau

Two LeTourneau Model A Tournapull scrapers were used by Harrison Construction on this highway relocation between Johnstown and Southmont, PA, circa 1940.

 Courtesy of HCEA: Euclid Collection
Courtesy of HCEA: Euclid Collection

A Euclid TS-24 scraper is push loaded with Euclid TC-12 and Caterpillar D9 tractors in this cut section along the Erie Thruway (Interstate 90) near Platea in Erie County, PA, circa 1958.

 Courtesy of Akron University: Goodyear Collection
Courtesy of Akron University: Goodyear Collection

N. T. "Whitey" Franklin, Vice President in charge of construction, surveys work at the Pittsburgh Airport in 1960. The massive 7.9 million dollar contract called for the excavation of 8 million cubic yards of material to build a new runway. A Marion 111-M shovel is loading a B Tournarocker in the background.

EDITORS NOTE: David C. Harrison upon reading accounts of Harrison work in two of my road building books wrote the poignant well-crafted letter describing the human side of growing up in a heavy construction family business. It is used here with his permission.

"Harrison Construction" first appeared in "SHOVEL" Winter 2015, an official publication of the Historical Highway Heavy Civil Construction Association. 10415 Turnstall Road, New Kent, VA 23124. Edgar A. Browning, Editor and Publisher. (804) 932-8232.

06-03-07

Re:  Character reference, Larry M

To whom it may concern:

I take great pleasure in providing a character reference for my dear friend Larry M.  Larry and I have been friends and in regular contact since we met in Washington, DC over 25 years ago.  13 years ago he and his companion, Mary, introduced me to my wife, Rebecca.  As in all matters involving Larry, it turned out very well.

I've not had business or financial dealings with Larry but from the sidelines I've observed him handle many transactions and have come to admire his competence both with money and with people.  He is open in his relationships, business or personal, straightforward and honest.  He is an able man who usually succeeds in whatever he undertakes.  If there are complications he will work them out to the best of his ability, to everyone's satisfaction.

Two very remarkable traits are his commitment to public service and the phenomenal number of friends and acquaintances he has made here and abroad.  As a highly respected journalist with the National Observer and the National Journal he developed an expertise in Middle Eastern and environmental affairs that made him well worth listening to.  In his company, on many occasions right up to the present, I've had the rare privilege of meeting others worth listening to and learning from them.

I can't begin to name all the causes Larry has contributed generously to over the years with his time, leadership skills and money.  They span the range from international peace to community theater.  But I do know that once he commits, Larry is often the one they choose to run the show.

People gravitate to Larry and why shouldn't they - he shows one and all respect, entertains them with a masterful sense of humor, and gives a great deal more than he takes.  The truth is, he loves people and enjoys their company.  And they love him back.

I've learned much from my friend, Larry, but especially this, that a friend can be trusted to be who he is and depended upon through thick and thin.  This is a person I would want at my side under any circumstances.  I commend him, sincerely and enthusiastically, to anyone who asks my opinion.