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Honestly, you mention anyone’s name and if they farted in my presence I’ll remember it. I still remember sitting at a long table in the cavernous, hushed reading room at Widener Library, at Harvard, when a poor ‘Cliffie let one loose you could hear in the next county. Situation like that the human fight or flight response kicks in, right? Everyone at the table has to get up and leave holding their noses. Or the perpetrator has to pull out an AK-47 and order everyone to lie flat on the floor with their hands behind their backs. I mean, you can’t just leave it – pardon the expression – hanging in the air!

Somewhere in Japan there’s a super-computer calculating the value of Pi, the mathematical constant defined as the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. There’s another computer doing the same thing somewhere in Manhattan. They’re both on a fool’s errand, of course, because the value of Pi will never resolve to a whole number. On the other hand, I think they’re on to something incredibly important. I think they’re confirming with one calculation what might be the controlling condition of all thought, all possibility, and all creation. That would be the condition that none of it can ever come to rest.

If we think about what energy is all about, where it came from and what it’s up to, my answer would be that there are lots of explanations, but the source that these idiots calculating the value of Pi are pointing to is restlessness. Energy is force born of philosophical-ontological questions that can’t be resolved, questions that involve conflicting answers and the tensions between them. Energy fueled by titanic tensions then goes off on a tear looking for some way to come to rest.

We are part of a construct of “reality” – our real Parents and their real Child, not us noodniks making fools of ourselves in our pathetic bodies and world of material weirdness – that’s an experiment, to see if “creation” can achieve resolution and peace. And it can in theory if the Child stays out of trouble, but of course we and that poor ‘Cliffie are proof that things can go horribly wrong. How can energy come to rest when someone just farted?

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What value most expresses Mind’s stance of Being in opposition to no-being? In opposition to no-life, no-mind? What value anchored in the philosophy of Jesus most accounts for its unprecedented influence on Western thought, personal behavior, relationships, and religious practices? What value lies at the heart of “Life,” that gives it its psychic force and purpose both in the telling of the Story of Mind and the Story of its Child, in Consciousness and unconsciousness? It’s Love.

“Worth” is all of Love’s expressions put together, all of its constituent values: the beauty of purity and innocence, family, community, freedom, health, self-worth, purpose, learning and growth, abundance, protection, empowerment, and hope. There are no values that do not express their root value of Love. “Worth” is the sum and integration of all values. It is the ultimate consideration in all things.

When we say our purpose is the Creation and reciprocation of worth, we simply mean our purpose is to Love and be Loved: to Love ourselves, our Parents, and our Creations. To “Love our enemies” is simply to overlook the unreality of who they are in our state of unconsciousness – guilt -- and to Love their Reality in Consciousness – our Innocent Self.

No statement of our purpose in Life, in Being, is complete that does not begin and end with Love. What motive that accounts for the feeling, the force behind Creation, behind Life, can arise without Love? What force could possibly arise in Reality and Truth in response to the awful implications of nothingness, to its implied power to rule the state of opposites, if not the power of Love?

What is the cause of Being if not Love? What is our cause if not Love? This is what “the Creation and reciprocation of Worth” – our purpose – means. These are not arid speculations about academic abstractions, distinctions in search of relevance, “pure” research with no discernible application. How can they be if the Logic of Mind holds that every thought is driven by feeling and every feeling in Reality is guided by thought?

Without feeling thoughts which are causes can have no effects. There are many ways to understand Energy, the force of Logic that gives the thoughts of Mind their power to connect, to make Real, to give Life, to Create, that gives Mind and its extension, the Child, its authority to enforce the Logic of Mind with order and discipline. But beyond its eternal restlessness the most important way is to understand that Energy expresses and applies the power of feeling. Feeling that no less than any other gift, any other value, can be perverted by the Child’s mind in its unconscious state to serve its opposite. And this is where we find ourselves, coping in our confusion with the very thing that Being does not stand for: fear, guilt, and hatred.

What brings Love, feeling, and Energy or force into the Story of Mind now? They were present at the “Beginning” when they as much as Mind-Consciousness and Logic pierced the darkness with light when Consciousness was switched on. They and Mind are joined at the hip, all of one piece, equal partners in Being and Creation. They come into the story now because they are the working end of Consciousness, the dynamic that sets Mind in motion toward its purpose of Creation once we establish what it is. Now we are into the fun part -- the joyous, open-ended adventure into the unknown that gives the free spirits of Inquiry and Love their meaning, their outlet, their voice.

Without Love thoughts are just thoughts of no consequence. “Being” is just a word without Love. Why? Because Love is their purpose. Our purpose in Creating and reciprocating worth through Creation is to bring Love into Creation, to use and apply it, express and connect with it, in everything we think and do. The great thought systems of human history, our philosophies and theologies, are striving through trial and error to reconstruct the Child’s obliterated Consciousness, to find his way – our way – back to Love. Our purpose in validating Mind’s stance, Being, to stand for Life against the possibility of no-life, is to Love Mind, to Love the Consciousness, the Oneness, the seed of Creation and Innocence that gave birth to us and gave us our role, our purpose in Creation – our Source, our Parents Father Mind and Mother Love.

Love isn’t an afterthought when Mind-Consciousness switched on and took its place. It’s what Mind-Being is all about. It’s what we’re all about: gratitude that consummates the gift of Love, of Worth – all the values that Love represents. Thankfulness for our Reality and for the opportunity to learn and grow in knowledge and freedom, so that we can all awaken and return to Reality. To our Source: Love.

That was “satan” we were looking at. The “no-mind” whose essential attribute is that it doesn’t exist. It’s a long road to explain how a not-thing can assume such a compelling, terrifying place in the human imagination, as though it were very much real, were endowed with super-human, super-natural attributes of its own so powerful that they compete with the powers of “almighty God” himself. Yet it happened. Welcome to the human psyche, the darkness within, to “evil.” This is where it started.

The Story of Mind will lead us to unimaginably beautiful states, so we needn’t despair. The Home we came from and the Sanctuary of Creation that succeeded it are secure in our Memory, and we will make it back. All this stirring of horror in the thought of no-mind requires is Discipline: our resolve not to make it real. The prospect of the switch toggling us out of Mind and into oblivion presents us with the first inviolable rule of the Logic of Mind: do not make opposites real. Do not make unreality real. It is a rule as mandatory in Reality and Creation as it is here in unconsciousness and unreality and as compelling as the other rule we have been taught: Never interfere with the Child’s Freedom of Choice. Never interfere with his Free Will.

It is the Thoughts of Mind that make up Reality. Anything “Real” is the product of a Thought of Mind. Plato’s “ideas.” “Emanations” to others wondering of old how “God” moved in his Fullness. The precedent set in the “Beginning” is that Mind’s answer to the Question does not logically exclude the possibility of a contrary answer. From this possibility must logically flow the possibility of opposites throughout Reality and Creation and into our world of appearances.

The possibility of a contrary answer is not a function of the Logic of Mind but of the Logic of the Question which precedes Mind and is not of Mind. The “Question” is only implied by the switch, and both it and its “Logic” are projections not of Mind but of the author of these speculations. The Child in his unconscious state is driven to expand his knowledge of the event that interrupted his role in Creation, to fully inform his choices so that they may be Free, so that the event that cost him his Consciousness will not happen again. These are not idle speculations. They could be driven by powerful forces, by the force of the Child’s awakening to resume his role in Creation.

The “Question” and the two possible answers it implies – a state of Mind-Consciousness and no mind that is also no state, no nothing – are therefore only a construct of the Mind that was extended to the Child, that is his only tool for understanding. What it actually is, is beyond understanding, because it is beyond Mind. So, it’s true: I do not know what I’m talking about. Neither does the Child. But we were given a Mind and we can think. We can Reason, and putting together constructs that work, that lead us to promising hypotheses just like science, are what thinking is for.

Mind that is Logic cannot hold contradictory thoughts. That would be illogical. Mind shorts out when it’s asked to think what’s not Logical, Real, or True, which is what interrupted the Child’s role in Creation. Opposites by definition are contradictory. Mind that stands for Being will bring to Consciousness, and therefore to Reality, every positive Self, Relationship, Value, and Connection that go into the Process and Structure of Creation whose Purpose is to validate the Worth of Being. Mind that stands for Being cannot, by definition, bring to Consciousness, and therefore to Reality, opposites of Creation and any of its components that stand for non-Being, that stand for or imply worthlessness.

The debate continues in our world of unreality over what is Real and what isn’t: mind versus matter, good versus evil, light versus dark. There wouldn’t be any issue if it were not for the confusion caused by our bodies and their material environment, appearances put there intentionally by non-being to block our awareness of Reality. The essential attribute of opposites in our experience is the same as it is for the other answer to the Question: unreality. What leads us to this conclusion is the same guide that leads us to every other conclusion: the Logic of Mind, Mind that cannot hold contradictory thoughts.

If there’s any doubt as to which of two opposite states is Real, the one that supports the cause of Life is Real. The Good is Real, evil is not. The positive is Real, the negative is not. The distinction between opposing philosophies -- “dualists” who hold that opposites are both real and “non-dualists” who hold that only one side is real -- is valid but superfluous. “Dualist” philosophies can be disregarded simply because they are illogical. Science, philosophy, and religion that assume the reality of bodies and matter, whose reasoning is subjective and therefore circular, are illogical. They violate Mind’s defining Logic: it cannot hold contradictory thoughts. If there is a contradictory thought, an opposing negative thought, it must then not be Real. Bodies and their material environment conflict with the Reality of Mind which is not matter and are therefore not Real.

What is “Real” in its essence? It is what Mind recognizes as being in and of its Self, where its “Self” is defined by a host of attributes, an entire interconnected thought system whose essence is where we come from, the Source of the Child: Innocence. It is the essential attribute of Oneness, which holds the seed of Creation and Knows no opposites. This is Reality.

Unless and until we present ourselves to our Parents in our Innocence, so they will recognize us and admit us back into Consciousness, into Reality, we will remain mired in unreality. We will remain on the opposite side of the veil, our split minds holding contradictory thoughts, deceived and distracted by appearances, forever projecting guilt. We will continue the Child’s struggle to reconstruct the Logic of Consciousness so that we may all awaken and return Home. And I wonder, in my own dream of blame and guilt, will the struggle ever end?

We’re not done with the “perfection” of “Heaven.”

Our material world, this “life,” is distinguished as much by the absence of love and reason as by its presence. Something is radically wrong. The disorder of this world is present in “Heaven,” too, in the Logic of the Question, because there is no discernible Logic to the switch between Being and its opposite. It’s entirely arbitrary, beyond Mind-comprehension, which means beyond Logic-Reason, the basis for order and predictability. The considerations of Reason are values and there is no place for them. The switch is even beyond irrational because neither Reason nor the lack of it has anything to do with it. It’s beyond disorderly because for all we know it’s just a flip of the coin, the toss of fuzzy dice, pure chance.

Logic governs everything within the realm of Mind and Reality created by Mind, but it does not extend beyond Mind to the Question which precedes Mind. Logically, philosophically, the void has as much reason, as much “right,” to “exist” as Being. And so, from this archetypal opposite descends all the opposites that shadow the Child and his Creations, from his birth in Consciousness deep into our world of his unconsciousness.

The archetypal opposite shadows Mind as well but in a very different way, and the difference will play a decisive part in the Child’s loss of Consciousness. Mind cannot and must not Know the possibility of the thought of its opposite. The Child’s experience with loss of Consciousness has taught him the reverse: if he’s to manage his role in Creation he must know the possibility of the thought of his opposite. It is crucial to the exercise of Free Choice, to Creation, and to staying awake. And thus the lesson that Memory has for us here on earth: to guard our thoughts.

The physicist Stephen Hawking was so determined to exclude all thought of “God” and religion from science that he proposed a universe that simply is and therefore needs no creator. His solution was to exclude the universe from considerations of “God” by making the universe “God.” But whether mind or matter is posited as the form and substance of Being is irrelevant if the logical possibility still exists of no Being, no “God.” This is the ultimate context of the Story of Mind, not whether it’s “perfect” or logical, Mind or matter, but whether it has a true opposite as opposed to the derivative “non-being.” Philosophically, logically, it does have a true opposite: No mind. Mindlessness. Nothingness. The void.

Separation is a logical impossibility in Reality and even in unreality, no matter how much sensory perception tells us otherwise. Hawking’s own profession tells us so, from Newton’s and Faraday’s intuition, to Maxwell’s calculations, to the revelations of Bohr’s and Einstein’s quantum mechanics: everything is interconnected. The Child's imagining that he could separate himself from his Parents, that he could project himself into a separate world, is the insanity that got us here. A delusion not freely chosen but by a mind unconscious, traumatized, defenseless, and overtaken by an alien thought system. We know it well, for it’s the same virus that invades and infects our thoughts.

Beyond Mind and Reality separation is not a logical impossibility. It is implied by the Question. It “exists” if only as a premise. It is neither Real nor unreal, here nor there, yet it commands consideration. For it is the mother of all opposites, the explanation why we dwell in a state of opposites.

Philosophers from classical antiquity on have observed patterns of opposites without mining their significance. The little and big opposites in our everyday experience are significant. The implications for our lives, our world, are enormous. There is no true Sanctuary. Our Home is situated on top of the San Andreas fault and there is no telling if or when it will ever erupt. We have no control over it. Our only protection is the Cause of Being and our role in serving it.

The watchword for our role in Reality is no different than it is here, with climate change, our pandemics, our threats to world peace: We are in this together.

What is implied by the Story of Mind is that it is the Story of Logic. Everything that flows from Mind in the “beginning” either extends Consciousness in an unbroken network of logical connections or it becomes a perversion of logic when the Child’s mind becomes unconscious. We deal either with Logic or its logical opposite, but one way or the other we are dealing with the essential attribute of Mind which is Logic. It is the source of “necessity,” the notion favored by philosophers who also speak of the “nature” of things, the “laws” of cause and effect. It’s all about Logic.

To violate Logic is to violate Mind itself, because Mind can’t be what it is not. If you are born within Mind as the Child was and you violate Logic there’s only one possible outcome. You can’t not Be, because you are part of Being itself. But you can lose Consciousness. It may be tough on you, but if there isn’t a breaker to trip from Consciousness into unconsciousness think of what happens to Mind. Mind can’t hold contradictory illogical thoughts and still be what it is, Logic.

This just to emphasize, before we get out ahead of ourselves, that Mind and Logic are joined at the hip. Logic is what Mind does but it is also what Mind is. Which means that everything is governed by Logic. Everything has attributes and these are defined by Logic. Even unconsciousness. Reality and unreality both. Even Feeling -- Mother Love, the Free Spirit who can’t be captured by anything, even by definitions, yet she is contained within Oneness, the Seed of Creation, and accepts the Logic of Purpose, the birth of hers and Father Mind’s Child and their Child’s part in Creation. This attempt to explain the Child’s loss of Consciousness stands or falls on Logic, because there can be no other basis for it, neither blind faith nor experience.

“Mother Love” / “Father Mind.” How did gender get into it? Must their Child be referred to as “he?” There is no word in the English language that’s gender neutral that also captures the reality and force of Self – the Who instead of the What. “It” does not suffice and I usually prefer not to resort to “their.” My choice of the feminine for Mother Love and masculine for Father Mind follows our cultural norms but is otherwise entirely arbitrary and free of bias. As is my choice of the masculine for the Child which could be either, though it will be seen that the Child’s masculine or feminine attributes do play a part in his/her story and are not incidental.

Imagine that you get to decide whether anything shall Be. You’re a nice person so you don’t want a black hole of death and nothingness to have your name on it. You want something nice, so you say let there be Life. And presto, there it is: Life! You’ve begun the process with your mind which makes choices based on thoughts-reasons and feeling. With Logic. With definitions and attributes. And the Logic of your choice is a Self endowed with its definition and attributes: Life.

If that were all there is to it we would all have eternal life and it would be nonstop fun, joyfulness, and laughter. But that’s not all there is to it. “Life” wasn’t a given with no opposite. It was a choice, and just because you chose it doesn’t mean that Life doesn’t imply the potential existence of its opposite, death, or the opposite of Being which is nothingness. The Logic of “Life” includes the possibility of its opposite. The definition of Life can’t be detached from the definition of what it is not. One implies the existence -- the definition, the Logic -- of the other. So, in choosing Life you have set in motion a scenario – a logical sequence of events -- that must include the possibility of opposites. And as we will find, the Logic of opposites and their attributes can make their presence felt in the mind of an unconscious Child.

The Logic of Mind implies the possibility of the thought of its opposite: mindlessness. But because its true opposite, as opposed to the derivatives non-mind or non-being, is entirely separate and mindless, Mind has no Knowledge of it. Mind that is Consciousness by definition can have no Knowledge of the possibility of its own unconsciousness. This is because by definition it can’t be unconscious. This is an attribute of Mind-Consciousness that will be decisive in the Child’s loss of Consciousness, so we need to remember it.

Popular culture and mythology, religion and philosophy, all condition us to think of “God” as “all-powerful” and “all-knowing.” One among many definitions of Mind is “Knowledge.” Yet the Logic of Mind, as we will see, implies that there is much that Mind does not know. All that is Real is what Mind Knows, and it is Mind that Creates Reality. It cannot know what it is not, for to do so would make its opposite Real. It cannot Know the unknown into which Creation, by definition, ventures. The effects of causes cannot be brought to Consciousness, cannot be made Real, without following in logical sequence, where there is a before and after. Mind-Consciousness does not Know effects of causes, does not bring them to Reality, until it recognizes them. To recognize a violation of Logic in cause and effect, to bring it to Consciousness, would violate the Logic of Mind and throw it into unconsciousness – an impossibility. As we will see, it was to prevent a violation of Logic of the Child’s Conscious Mind that his Mind lost Consciousness.

The Logic of timelessness does not imply that everything that is and is to be is already Known. Consciousness that does the Knowing and therefore the Creating -- the Child in Relationship with his Parents – is timeless and eternal. Yet it proceeds with Creation in logical sequence into the unknown; is therefore constantly extending and expanding itself; engaged in change; and it is the glory and wonder of Creation, of Life, that in its presence it is eternally yet to come.

We got to this point simply by starting with the thought of Mind and letting Mind trace its implications for us. The entire story of Mind and our own, the Story of the Child, can be readily explained by asking what is implied by “Mind.” It’s an exercise of what Mind does: it Reasons. We can start with what Mind is and move on to what it does. From there we can move on to How it does it, When and Where, and to the always intriguing question: Why?

The ground we’ve covered so far is a few conclusions meant to awaken the thinker in us. Without more reasoning, more context, they won’t make much sense. They’re meant to stimulate interest, and if I’ve succeeded you’ll have the patience to wait me out. There are insights ahead that might be worth a Huh? before we move on or they might change our minds. And if we change our minds it might change the world, because our world may only be a projection of our minds.

What “Mind” implies is Consciousness. I give the word an initial cap, like certain other words, to make an important distinction. “Mind” also implies unconsciousness, because, as we well know, we all have minds and they can be in one of two states: conscious or unconscious. The distinction is critical to the story of Creation that the Logic of Mind tells in its Consciousness. It’s equally critical to the story that the Logic of Mind’s Child tells in his unconsciousness, the story of our material world – our bodies with their brains and senses and their physical universe of time and space, organic and inorganic matter.

Terms that refer to Mind in its Consciousness are flagged by their initial capital letters. If the same terms are lower case they belong to the unconscious world of Mind’s Child. This distinction raises as many questions as it answers but I don’t want initial caps to be a distraction. Just remember that an initial cap refers to the Reality of Mind-Parent Consciousness while lower case for the same term refers to the unreality of Mind-Child in his unconscious state.

The Child was not always in an unconscious state. When his Parents gave birth to him he was Conscious. Everyone, you might say, was in “Heaven.” There was no sign of matter and bodies, no suffering and mortality. Something happened that caused the Child that we were at the beginning to lose Consciousness. It was this event that triggered a chain reaction of events that produced us and our universe of violence, a very different place than “Heaven.”

What I am attempting is an explanation for this seminal event. To my knowledge you won’t find a rational explanation anywhere in metaphysics or theology, though that’s not to say there aren’t home-grown philosophers all about who are working on it and may already have come up with good explanations. What gives us the right to be so bold? The answer is we all have within our minds a shared Memory of who we are, where we came from, and specifically what happened that triggered this chain of events. We don’t have to access a deus-ex-machina to do it for us. We don’t need “saviors” or “redeemers.” We need nothing external, because what we seek lies within. We only have to access our own minds – to do it ourselves.

That is, using our Intuition, because Intuition takes us beyond our brains, beyond our bodies’ senses, to insights that are the gifts of Memory, the Memory of who we are and the Reality we came from, whose purpose is to guide us to the answers we seek, to guide us back. These are the same familiar, well-documented insights that inform the physical sciences, technological progress, the arts, and every other field of human learning and endeavor that depend on spontaneous revelation – on being “gifted.” Those of us so bold as to speculate about things “divine” are only doing what comes naturally. We are using a “God-given” talent: our minds and our power and ability to Reason with help from Intuition.

Why haven’t philosophy and theology explained this phenomenon, the Child’s loss of Consciousness? All the thinking that’s gone into the Story of Mind and the Story of its Child to follow is needed to answer this question, and it will be answered. Let me only say at this point that there is a distinct pattern that runs through the history of philosophy and theology: a split between thinkers who believe that Reality is to be found in the reasoning of mind and those who insist that there can be no credible reasoning that does not acknowledge and account for the reality of matter.

“Rationalists” stand resolutely with their thoughts, “empiricists” or “materialists” just as adamantly with their bodies. Rationalists predate Plato with his predecessor and mentor Parmenides, whose School of Reason questioned the reality of matter. It was Aristotle, a student at Plato’s Academy, who broke with Plato and opened the split, stood firmly for matter, founded science, and inspired all the empiricists and materialists to come. With one important exception: he believed in the Reality of Mind. He believed in “First Cause.” So even then, philosophy was of two minds about Reality, and the course of thinking since then has been a dance between two views that can’t find their footing: mind tripping over matter, matter tripping over mind.

The same split runs through theology, the history of religious thinking, rather violently in the branding of Gnostic Christians as “heretics” by Church orthodoxy and their suppression by force. Biblical Christianity allies itself emphatically with the materialists though, paradoxically, it leaves unquestioned the miracles of its founder and even encourages belief in miracles. Did the miracles of Jesus not expose the illusion of matter? In fact, the version of Christianity channeled by Jesus in A Course in Miracles surrounds his miracles with a unique, fully developed thought system, grounded in Reason, that leaves no doubt that he is on the side of Mind. The same tension between mind and matter, “spiritual” reality and “concrete” reality, permeates Eastern and Western religions.

What’s to account for the divide? It could be something mysterious or diabolical, the stuff of conspiracy theories. But we all have minds corrupted with some degree of darkness that comes from the same source. We will get to that when we come to the event that followed the Child’s loss of consciousness. The likely explanation is nothing more exotic than differences in personality types.

Four Myers-Briggs categories are at the root of it: Intuition and thinking, on one hand, and their counterpoints sensing and feeling, on the other. An “Intuition-thinking” type puts their faith in mind-reasoning. A “sensing-feeling” type is firmly grounded in the body. They speak different languages and come to different conclusions, and precisely where they disagree is at the juncture of opposing philosophies: What is Real? What’s real for one type is not real for the other. Period.

How did “ourselves” come out of Mind? The answer is Mind needed someone to attest to its worth who’s credible. That would have to be someone who meets the usual standards of credibility: honesty, objectivity, and, above all, independence. They’re informed, able to reason, and therefore have the power to choose freely. Take away these attributes and you have a guy who gets on the witness stand and says whatever he’s been paid to say or whatever someone who’s taken his wife and kids hostage is forcing him to say. Mind needs someone with impeccable credentials who’s out there exercising his ability to choose among a full range of options freely, without any trace of coercion or undue influence from his Creator.

Suppose there’s a Separation Police that patrols the precincts of What Is (or isn’t). He’s looking for imposters who show up claiming that they came into Being legitimately, claiming that they have the right to exist because they’re an Answer to the Question What Shall Be, or Not Be, if Anything. I call them the Separation Police because mindlessness isn’t just the flip side of Mind, a derivative of anything. “Mindlessness” sounds like a derivative but it’s the best definition I can come up with. It’s a state that can’t be defined. It can’t even be defined as a “state” since “state” is a definition supplied by Mind. It has no definitions, no attributes that can be traced to Mind. It’s truly and thoroughly separate from Mind. And it has every right to answer the Question, just as much as Mind or anything else.

What can Mind say to the Separation Police? “I am that I am?” “I’m Being, so leave me alone?” “I’m eternal Life?” “Oneness?” “Almighty God?” Those aren’t the answers the Separation Police guy with his billy club is looking for. Unless there’s something to back them up, they’re just words. What he’s looking for is Value. Worth. These are terms that imply that the character who’s hanging around the neighborhood isn’t just loitering. He’s adding value to the neighborhood. He’s making himself useful. Moreover, he’s making himself useful to someone – someone who can step forward and speak for him, verify that he’s responding to a legitimate need and specify what that need is. Someone who can attest that Mind is valuable, needed, and truly, passionately loved. That Mind has Worth that can be freely attested to by a credible witness, a direct beneficiary of Mind’s Worth. That Mind belongs.

“Value” and “Worth” can’t be just words, either. They have to be earned. The witness who testifies to the worth of something earns his credibility by standing to gain or lose by it, by investing something of value to himself in it, by risking something, by paying for it. Without Free Choice “ourselves” can’t do this. If we’re just turned loose to hang around the neighborhood without our actions being tied to any real purpose, if we’re just programmed to do what we’re told, there’s no Free Choice, no task, and nothing of ourselves is committed to doing it. We have nothing to lose, so what’s the point? Where’s the Worth?

Mind has to be able to say to the Separation Police that its Worth is attested to by a credible source who has a legitimate role in its existence, a job to do that’s directly tied to its Worth, and is demonstrably doing it. That’s us. That’s “ourselves” who came out of Mind. We are the source the guy with the billy club needs to hear from or Mind could get booted out of the neighborhood.

We complain that our lives here on earth subject us to so much frustration and misery and what’s the point? But if we weren’t so put-upon look at it this way: there wouldn’t be any proof that whatever we were doing before we wound up here risked anything. That we had anything to lose. That we were therefore capable of creating and reciprocating Worth, the one essential part in the process and structure of Creation. All the rest of it is just words, but we aren’t. We have the Authority that only Purpose, investment, and commitment can confer, to attest to the Value of Mind, our Creator, and send the guy with the billy club on his way. Our being here in pain, fear, and misery is proof that a price was to be paid for whatever went wrong in Creation and we’re paying it.

This is one explanation for how ourselves came out of Mind. Mind literally can’t get along without us. For those among us inclined to pointlessness, to think life sucks and then we die, to think all there is to life is getting and taking, there’s a reason why we came into Being. A very good reason. It's important to keep this in mind while we languish in our dream of death, unconscious, seemingly separated from Mind, our Source, our Parents, searching for Purpose. Our purpose here is to wake up and get back to our Purpose.

Mind didn’t just give us a reason so it could be appear to be beneficent as well as “all-powerful” -- Don Vito Corleone making hangers-on, a bunch of nobodies, kiss his ring. If Mind needs its Worth to be validated it must share its Worth, and this is what it has done. We share in the Worth of Mind so that we can reciprocate Worth. Just as in the sharing and reciprocation of Love, the sharing and reciprocation of Worth is a closed loop where giving and receiving are interchangeable, indistinguishable. We receive and reciprocate Worth and Love in one seamless act. We are not the beneficiaries of a gratuitous act of generosity that reduces us to captivity and submissiveness: we are truly needed. We are important. We came out of Mind to serve a Purpose.

To those who wonder if “Mind” is too abstract, unfeeling, and therefore not Real, stick around. The story of Mind and our own story, the Story of the Child which is part of it, take on many dimensions. They are packed with emotion as well as thoughts. They are beyond relatable: they are relatability. Yes, they are metaphysics, so brace yourself. But if it’s Love you want, passion and ecstasy, it’s all here. If it’s getting on-the-ground practical you want, there is nothing in our experience of “life” that cannot trace its origins back to the Story of Mind and the Story of its Child, that cannot be explained by the Truth of Who we are and what we’re doing here as opposed to the appearances, deceptions, and distractions that make up our material world. The Stories of Mind and its Child are consequential and they are relevant.

Still doubtful? Then let me put it this way: Mind is not an “it.” Mind is a Who, not a what. There’s just no word in English that combines masculine with feminine and expresses the force and tenderness and Love that is our Being. The difficulty with relatability isn’t with Mind; it’s with our pitiful language and flawed perceptions. It’s with us.

Philosophers have wondered through the ages why Perfection bestirred itself to Create. They assumed that “Perfection” has a nice comfort zone where it can spend its days in undisturbed contemplation, watching shadows play upon the barn from the setting sun, admiring hummingbirds hovering at the bird feeder, without a care in the world. They weren’t thinking. With mindlessness in the offing, there is no such “Perfection.” There are two answers to the Question and we and our Source, Mind, are only one of them. There is no easy-chair pipe-smoking “Perfection.” There is only Cause, the Cause is Being, and Being needs us, our Free Will, to join the Cause -- to attest to its Worth. Period.

In The Poseidon Adventure the Gene Hackman group sought rescue in the stern, and that’s where they were found by their rescuers. En route, they passed a group heading the opposite direction toward the bow. Each thought they were right and couldn’t be persuaded to change direction. Only one was right.

The history of thinking about who we are, where we came from, and where we’re supposed to be headed, is divided into two groups, one suspecting that reason – our minds’ logical thoughts -- should be our guide, the other certain that only our bodies’ senses – our material world -- can be trusted. The great preponderance of opinion now and throughout history has sided with the latter, and it’s dead wrong. The great names in philosophy all struggle to make sense of Reality because, over and over again, they can’t reconcile what their minds want to tell them with what their bodies and their brains are telling them. The deception of appearances blocks their understanding and they come away confused, leaving us with the brilliance of insights that fall into this school or that and solve nothing.

Who is the great philosopher who got it right? Jesus! The institution and doctrine of the Church brought his light to the darkness instead of the other way around, perverted it into its opposite so that only fragments remain to connect and resonate. A Course in Miracles begins to fix all that by dredging up the darkness that was planted in our minds when the Child lost consciousness and exposing it to the light. Practicing the Course doesn’t mean pretending we’re serene boobs who are unaffected by all the shit that’s happening. It means looking right at the shit and understanding that it’s coming from within our own minds, our own psyches, it’s totally insane, and it has a totally insane purpose which is to distract us from the Innocent Child that we all are and from our Purpose which is to wake up, to get the hell out of here, get back to Creation, and get back to work!

The great names in philosophy were great minds with promising insights here and there that nevertheless couldn’t navigate through appearances and deceptions to put them together in one great and simple answer the way Jesus did. Jesus did it by leading us toward the stern, into mind, not matter, and into the dark shit that’s been interfering with great minds’ ability to reason. We do well to go to churches that remind us that we’re all nice, comfort us, and encourage us to do nice. But we could do just as well, or better, to get together and face the fact that we’re not nice; look right at our not-niceness; be horrified and dismayed at first; come to understand its absurdity and manipulative intent; laugh it right out of the building; and thus disarm it.

If only Gene Hackman didn’t have to give up his life for his group. Oh well.

PREFACE

This is the first installment of the first draft of The Story of the Child (working title). It is my attempt to explain how the Child of our Parents, Father Mind-Logic and Mother Love-Freedom, given the gift of Life in Eternity and Reality, given a central role in Creation, lost Consciousness and wound up here in our temporal world of bodies and matter, mortality and unreality. If you're from the Judeo-Christian tradition it's a rewrite of the Garden of Eden. If you're from the Graeco-Roman or Eastern traditions, or from any other philosophy or religion, or if you're just wondering why we put up with suffering and death, this is my answer. It's one individual's reasoning for who we are, why we are here, and what we can do to part with appearances, deceptions and distractions, awaken, and resume our job in Creation.

It's based on Jesus' teaching in A Course in Miracles, a radical departure from biblical Christianity, but it goes beyond the scope of the Course. Its main source is the Memory we all share of the Child's Story and the intuition given to us to access it. Its main source, in other words, is no external "redeemer" but my own mind. In the end it's based on nothing more than what passes for logic and reason in my corrupted, irrational, human mind.

The first draft will be a tough read. Here are some definitions and guides to style and formatting that might make it easier:

* Initial caps refer to the part of the Child's story that occurred within Mind before he lost Consciousness. The same terms lower case belong to the story after he lost Consciousness and split off into multiple identities in our dream world of bodies and matter. I.e. initial caps belong to Consciousness-Reality, lower case to unconsciousness-unreality.

* The "Child" is us in our Conscious state when our Parents (Mind-Love, commonly referred to as "God" in monotheistic religions) gave birth to us in Eternity and Reality (commonly referred to as "heaven"). He was one Child. He was gender neutral for purposes of this telling; "he" is arbitrary and could just as easily be "she." Nevertheless the distinction between masculinity and femininity plays a key role in explaining his origin and central role in the Process and Structure of Creation.

* The "Child" is also us in our unconscious state, dreaming that we are split off into separated bodies. His identity comes from A Course in Miracles and my intuition, not from Carl Jung or any other source. The Course refers to the "Father" and his "Son" and "Sonship." The "Child" and his "Parents" are my invention.

* My book will have a bibliography and it will be sourced. It will be fleshed out with quotes from other sources. This first draft is just me winging it without notes or sources, an exercise in getting it right that will, from time to time, get it wrong. I hope, then, to fix any flaws in my reasoning, wrap it up, and seek publication.

Thank you for your patience! I hope this helps.

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INTRODUCTION: BEGINNING THE STORY OF MIND

There’s been all this talk through the ages about “God” and “spirit” when all we’re talking about is the most obvious thing in all Creation: Mind. It’s what we think with, so how could it be any closer or more familiar to us? And yet busy philosophers and theologists go fussing about searching for exotic terms and concepts to define the thing they’re searching with. We have our minds and we know what they do because they’re doing it all the time: they think. They come up with thoughts. And they string thoughts together in sequences that are supposed to be reasoning, but since we struggle to think with split minds in this existence we call “life” it’s either rationalizing instead or weak reasoning. Or just enough thought to spoon food into our mouths.

In the “beginning” there was no “beginning.” Time hangs around us like a dense fog because where our unconscious minds deposited us is in a dream where it’s never Now. If it were Now we would be awake. As simple as that. But merrily we go along in our ignorance believing whatever our bodies’ senses and our environment turn up even when our own investigations tell us the opposite. In the “beginning” there was just a wondering What might be fun to try? As if all this bother with Creation and Meaning, Mind and Being, were a parlor game gathering dust in the cupboard. Let’s try this game called “Mind.” And so Mind came into existence and, right away, there’s a problem. The directions say if Mind isn’t played just so the players might lose the whole game and flip into its opposite: mindlessness.

What’s that? Well, since we’re only equipped to play “Mind” we’ll never know. How can you figure out the opposite of what you’re using to figure out with? How can you fix a problem with an Atlas rocket with plumbing tools? We just have to leave the question unanswered. All we have to know is that Mind doesn’t occupy all the space there is that’s implied by the Question. Mind’s reasoning can figure that much out. We just have to remember that Mind’s existence isn’t a given because its opposite is waiting out there to kick in and we can’t be sure what will throw the switch.

Once Mind-Consciousness came into Being it advanced beyond its function of Self-awareness, from observation into its function of Thinking, into the production of Thoughts guided by its power and ability to Think Logically, i.e. to Reason, in service to its cause, Being. Thus began the extension and expansion of Mind’s Self-Knowledge / Self-Being, through the process of Thinking-Reasoning and its product, an interconnectedness of Thoughts.

Affirmation of Self-Worth was built into the Logic of Being, the essence of Character. Its expansion was therefore Self-motivated and not driven by the possibility of no-being or any other influence outside of itself. Its power was entirely Self-contained. It was not a “self-interest” engaged in the pursuit of self-preservation aware that it existed in an environment of competing self-interests.

Its Being was, nevertheless, only one logical answer to the Question and so, Self-affirmation was, in fact, a requisite for survival. It was required to sustain the cause of Being even if Mind that was purely Self-motivated could not be aware of it. The Logic of Mind requires that its state of Being be earned, that the stance of Being be independently supported by reasoned validation of, and commitment to, Being’s Worth. Creation and the Child’s part in it – our part in it once we regain Consciousness – became an essential means, an instrument, for Mind-Being’s Self-affirmation: Worth freely chosen, validated by the free spirit of Love from the Child that lies beyond our Parents' control.

As for the Child's Mind -- our Mind -- it figures out what’s needed to keep it in existence and then it devotes all its powers and resources to accomplish it. However uninspiring this may seem the Child's Mind -- our Being, our Self -- has to account for itself. It must establish its reason for being, its justification, its Worth, in all its choices, as though it did exist in an environment of competing self-interests, because that is, in effect, what its state of opposites is. It is the price we pay for having Free Will and a blessing too, for in so doing we contribute to the affirmation of our Parents' Worth. Unlike our Parents, we're aware that mindlessness is waiting in the wings, the void or whatever we want to call it, so there’s no excuse for lounging about on the promenade deck. There’s work to do and we’re part of it.

From the birth of the Child on, we have a Purpose: doing our part to affirm the Worth of Mind. Doing our part to Be.

The warmth and light from time
The fire that consumes all evidence of my being
Draws me to it in my grief

As if its embers home to my tears
Could bring us back together again
As if the dog curled up by the fireplace
And those of us still living

Could summon forth those who are not
Could restore the tenderness
That flickered in my child’s soul

A moment of having and touching
Before it was taken away

Our values are what really matters – love and family; friendship and community; health and healing; freedom and free will; self-worth; purpose, learning, striving, growth and achievement; abundance; protection and trust; beauty, purity and innocence; empowerment and control. Whenever we’re in doubt, these are our conscience. These are our best guide to avoiding mistakes.

Grandparents know all about mistakes because they’ve seen and made lots of them. They know a lot about values, too, because experience has taught them what’s important. Kids might do fine without a grandparent. But it’s possible they’d do even better with one. Grandparents want kids to have this resource: helping them with values so they avoid mistakes.

This is how grandparents want to be there for their kids. They applaud kids' performances and cheer them from the sidelines. But when kids are ready for more, grandparents are ready for more.

Grandparents don’t tell kids what to do. Setting a good example, standing up for their values – that’s their job. If they follow the wrong example they won’t be role modeling their values. They won’t be role modeling the values they want their grandchildren to have.

What kids need from their grandparents is good role models.

Here are some thoughts about grand-parenting, relationships, and role modeling based on one grandparent's experience:

Respect and affection between friends can never be taken for granted, because that would be telling our friends their needs and feelings don’t matter. That they don’t matter. It would tell them that they’re worthless when friendships should tell them the opposite.

Differences between people can cause serious problems. Our reading and entertainment tell us that every day. Our minds work differently. Our personalities aren’t the same. We value different things. Our priorities are different. We present ourselves differently. We try to connect and communicate differently – the list goes on and on.

Our circumstances are always changing. And our needs and feelings change with them. Because everyone’s circumstances are different, no one has the same point of view.

Our physical, biological, and social environment is a dynamic system driven by powerful forces. Understanding these forces is the purpose of every field of learning -- physics, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, social science, political science, ethics, theology, biology, and more. We are brought together in one great human enterprise: learning.

One of the great lessons of life is the need for continuous improvement -- for learning and personal growth. This is as true for groups as it is for individuals. It is our purpose. We can’t stand still. We must move forward.

Learning takes effort. It takes thought, and kids are capable of that. If grandparents didn’t believe in their kids they would say, “They’re just kids” and ignore them. Grandparents don’t ignore their kids. They think their kids are worth a whole lot more than just one birthday gift. They're worth a million birthday gifts! They're not “just kids.”

As Vince Lombardi would put it: What’s best for our kids isn’t everything: it’s the only thing. Being useful to their kids is why grandparents exist. A good grandparent will try to be useful even if it means doing without the affection, kindness, joy, and laughter that their kids bless them with. Their kids are worth a trillion birthday gifts!

Relationships usually survive misunderstandings and hurt feelings without too much damage. But when we don’t respect our differences it can have more serious consequences. It can cause wounds that take away trust and safety. It can even bring close friendships to an end.

In the end, there is only one way to save a friendship and that is to earn it. To have strong values, share them, and to stand up for them even if it takes work and may not succeed. What is friendship worth, anyway, if it doesn’t ask something of us? If we don’t risk something?

Living a truly good life and doing what’s right aren’t things to be casual about. They require thought and deliberation. They require care and concentration, because it can be very easy to lose sight of what really matters and make a mistake.

It’s up to each of us to determine for ourselves what’s right. It’s everyone’s duty to affirm the truth about who we are and what we believe in everything we do. It’s all about Character. It’s all about Purpose.

Modesty is being aware that a higher power knows what’s best and letting this awareness guide our conscience. Anyone can find fault with what’s wrong, but who really knows what’s right? This is modesty, a virtue that is everyone’s duty to share, and grandparents would share it with their kids.

Miracles happen when power that we’re not aware of works quietly through our minds and hearts to overcome barriers to change and lead us forward. The barriers to change necessary for friends to move forward may not come down without a miracle. This is as true for brothers and sisters as it is with fathers and sons.

“Happy endings” aren’t a given but neither is disappointment. What we think are “happy endings” may also lie beyond our understanding. We should be prepared for both, because whatever comes may be for the best – we don’t know.

Memory

The Peace that we all crave
Can be found in one place

In the Memory

Of who we really are, that we all share
That resides within our Mind
That will guide us Home if we will let it.

The Story of the Child is the Story
That our Memory wants us all to know
What our Memory wants to tell us

Because it’s our Story

Our connection to Reality, Truth
And the meaning of Life
Because it’s our Path

That will lead us Home

How can bodies and their senses, that materialize out of nowhere
That return to nowhere in the merest blink of a cosmic eye
That suffer every manner of disease and disfiguration
Be worthy of such veneration, such idolatry, by fields of human endeavor

That imagine themselves occupied with serious things –
By science, metaphysics, ontology, psychology, and the humanities
That imagine themselves grounded in objectivity and perspective
In “common sense” and “realism?”

How can largeness emerge from such littleness
When it is Mind that presides over all
That supplies thoughts and quietly, gently asks to be noticed?
What might we Learn if we closed our ears
To the constant din and distraction of our bodies
And listened to Mind instead?

Could it be clues to what’s really going on?
Pieces of our story that would help us understand
Who we are and what we’re doing here
If only we put them together with a bit of Reason?

Mind is not synonymous with brain. The business of the brain is with the body. The business of Consciousness is with thoughts. The business of Mind that is unconscious is with regaining Consciousness. This is its only concern. It is mind blocked by a brain that cannot hear this.

Mind contains the seed of Creation. The seed is Oneness that contains everything of Creation: its purpose, process and structure, its archetypes of Masculinity and Femininity, their Relationships and Creations, and the Energy that animates all of it.

Abundance and Freedom are the Joy that extends and expands Love. Logic is the attribute of Mind that disciplines and empowers Creation. Reason is the function of Logic that mediates between them. Love and its expression of Abundance and Freedom are married to Mind and its expression of Logic by Reason. Their marriage – Freedom with Choice -- produced a Child.

We are the Child. We have Free Choice because we are Free Choice. Because the role we were given in Creation is to Create and to Reciprocate Worth the only way Worth can be Created: when it is Freely Chosen.

The role we were given in Reality is to Learn and to Grow: until we have attained proficiency in Creation; until we have attained maturity and earned responsibility for Parenting; until we can role model Parenting and extend Life through an abundance of relationships; until we have learned the Worth of Happiness by Reciprocating it.

Two events interrupted our training. The loss of Consciousness deconstructed Reality in the Mind of the Child. Unconsciousness dreamed another reality, a reconstruction of facades meant to deceive. The dream is our unreal world of appearances -- bodies and brains, time, space, and matter -- from which an unconscious Child must awaken.

We choose to resume our job in Creation when we choose to awaken. We choose to awaken when we choose to deconstruct the dream of deceptions, to rediscover the Reality and the Truth of our Self. We will learn how to do this when we tell the Story of the Child that illuminates what has happened, puts it in context, and gives it meaning. For now, telling the Story of the Child in the context of the dream is his Story.

Unconscious Mind was invaded by the author of the dream of appearances and deceptions. We choose to deconstruct the dream when we abandon its author. A corrupted mind cannot heal itself without help from Mind that isn’t corrupted. We abandon the author of the dream when we choose another, our Self guided by Reason from Consciousness, a collaboration between us and an offer of help that’s accepted.

The case for telling the Story of the Child – for explaining the loss of Consciousness and its context, what preceded and followed it – runs long and deep. What’s in it for me comes down to this: having my Self, my story, deconstructed and handed back to me in a pile of lies, meant to keep me from my job, bothers me. I’ve got work to do – the gift of Purpose, usefulness and Worth, the gift of Happiness – and I mean to do it. I’ve got my Self to reclaim, my Sovereignty. I am Masculinity who would reclaim his Manhood. If you are Femininity, you would reclaim all the pride, the glory, the beauty that is the essence, the Spirit, of Womanhood.

We all have work to do, nothing less than a central role in Creation: the Reciprocation of Worth back to Being, its Source, that’s meaningless without it. This is what’s in it for us.

Shall we awaken? Or shall we continue our journey down the Niagara River?

The chaos of our universe that violates Logic and upsets Order
The appearances, the deceptions that violate the Truth
Don’t just hit us in our minds, our psyches.
They are a gut punch.

An offense to our integrity that’s literally nauseating
That demands a determined response that makes it clear to the perpetrator:
This is not acceptable.

The perpetrator is us.
And the response that’s demanded isn’t force in kind
That can only validate and perpetuate the offense –
Another attack, another projection of guilt –
But the force, the Logic, of Discipline.

A decisive act of Mind, of Will, that will strip the offense of its false premises
By shifting belief to the Truth
By not seeing what is not there to seeing what is there.
By letting go our addiction to lures that trap us
In an endless cycle of offense, victimhood, condemnation, and retribution.

Appearances are not real.
Victimhood is not Innocence.

What is truly “victimizing” is the gut punch we deliver to ourselves
When we take the lure and allow ourselves to be misled into a cycle of self-destruction.
When we allow lies to deprive us
Of our integrity, our identity, our sovereignty, our Worth.

None of it is necessary or inevitable.
Let skepticism and fatalism be the albatross
Around the neck of what isn’t true instead of what is true.

All it takes is an opening of mind, a change of mind.
All it takes is a simple exercise of Reason
That will restore real Freedom, the Freedom to choose
To choose our own Purpose, our own destiny.

Instead of submitting passively to the dictatorship of appearances
To the convenience of arbitrary circumstances that permit us to “exist”
Until one day they don’t.
Until we learn the hard way that “chance” is another purpose
That does not wish us well.

Purpose that is ours is ours for the asking.
All it takes is the right choice:
Between Reason and mindlessness.
Between Discipline and a pair of fuzzy dice.

Which will it be?

David C. Harrison
June 15, 2020

Welcome

To: Carlo Rovelli
Author: Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity
Director, Quantum Gravity Group
Centre de Physique Theorique (CPT), Aix-Marseille University
Case 907, Luminy, Office number: 453
F-13288 France

Re: Appeal to Theorists to Lead a Change in Thinking and Serve the Cause of Reason

We only need to ask ourselves: What is implied by the thought, the idea, of Mind?
To access the help we need from philosophy to understand quantum gravity.
It may take months or years of reflection to tell Mind's story
Going back to Why must there even be a question?
With nothing more than Intuition's spontaneous insights and Reason to guide us
But it won't take the centuries that it took for experimental physics, the study of matter
To begin the journey to quantum gravity.

My book, The Story of the Child (working title)
Will likely offer a rationale for your loop theory that explains quantum gravity.
This is because our illusory material environment mirrors in many ways the Reality of Conscious Mind
That created the Child -- our real Self -- and gave him a role and purpose in Creation.
It was the Child's loss of Consciousness that interrupted his part in the process of Creation
And produced the appearances that now challenge our understanding.

The entire process of Creation, from Mind-Oneness and its stance, Being
To the Child and his creations of Worth and back again, to Being
In the Child's freely chosen reciprocation of Worth
May be described as an infinite and ongoing loop
Whose purpose is to give substance and meaning to the assertion of Being
To the stance of Life and Creation -- that is our Reality, our Truth, and our Purpose.

The journey to quantum gravity, whose main insight captures this essential attribute of Creation
And sees it reflected in the Child's imagining of another state, is most likely on the right track.
All that it needs now, to complete the journey
Is to understand that what must distinguish Creation from its imagined state
Is that one state is real and the other is not.

Had this distinction been understood by those who have long philosophized about opposites
Their topic would have yielded clarity and eloquence instead of confusion and convolution.

Opposites are nothing more than an accommodation of Mind
On the Child's plane of Creation, that can lose Consciousness.
But whether or not Child-Mind loses consciousness, the opposites of Reality do not exist.
Our world, being a manifestation of the idea of non-being, of death
Is an opposite that cannot be real.
"Reality is not what it seems" because it is literally not real.
Parmenides was right!

Hopefully, the distinction between reality and unreality -- non-dualism
Will make it into your theory and the promise it holds, of clarity and eloquence, will be realized.
The appeal from Reality Is Not What It Seems, for help from philosophy, will then have its response.

Much more explanation is needed -- the purpose of my book
But, for now, keep in mind two critical distinctions:
Between Mind Conscious and mind unconscious and between Parents and Child.
Parents' Conscious Mind knows nothing of our unreal world and had no direct part in its making.
It was Child unconscious mind's doing, and the great question for Intuition and Reason to answer
Is why and how did the Child lose consciousness?
This is the subject of The Story of the Child.

Whether we answer this question will have a direct bearing on whether we survive.
Whether the world's leading theorists -- the best minds, like yourself -- join the cause
May determine whether we succeed.

David C. Harrison
303-746-5983 / http://www.davidclarkharrison.com
74apollo350@gmail.com

Letter addressed separately to:

• Carlo Rovelli, Aix-Marseille University. Author, Reality Is Not What It Seems:
The Journey to Quantum Gravity

• Adam Becker, University of California, Berkeley. Author, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
• Karen L. King, Harvard Divinity School. Author, What Is Gnosticism?

Date: June 3, 2020

So long a science remains riveted to matter – inanimate and organic, -- so long as it systematically overlooks the role of conscious mind in Creation and unconscious mind in illusion, it will never lead humanity to the real origin and fate of the universe and the meaning – the purpose – of life. Purpose that humanity addicted to technology, on the precipice of mass irrationality and extinction, now desperately needs. On the contrary, it can only legitimize forces that keep humanity in the dark, pinned down by flaws in our knowledge and reasoning that are essential to freedom of choice, learning, and growth.

The “meaning” of quantum physics, the end of the road for quantum gravity, needs no further “quest.” Experimental physics has already produced the results that tell us what we need to know: matter is not real. Its strange behavior is readily explained as the product of mind that logically can only be in an unconscious, dreaming state. What it has produced is not Reason or Reality but unreason and unreality. These are the hallmarks of our universe and self-destructive humanity – unexplainable magic that only happens in dreams and imaginations.

What unconscious mind has produced, still living and empowered with energy, is illusion. And physics, passionate about its cause, passionate about its subject, passionately convinced that matter is real, proves it. If we haven’t already figured this out from the bizarre behavior of quanta, from a universe ruled not by order but by entropy, we may be literally too dumb to live.

Science has two tasks to salvage its honesty. The first is to acknowledge the flaw in the logic that supports it: the logic that holds that sensory perception is qualified to adjudicate between reality and unreality. That holds that separation between the body and other objects that belong to the same state of matter bestows objectivity, when separation can only bestow objectivity if it’s between one state and another. Physics that fails to acknowledge this flaw may certainly continue with its discoveries. But it is not qualified to answer for metaphysics about reality. If it lacks objectivity and rationality, it lacks authority. And until it acknowledges this fact, it is not being honest.

The second task to salvage physics’ honesty is to acknowledge the truth about the findings of its experiments, going back to its origins with Galileo and to its premises with Aristotle. Experiments that were meant to support elegant theories of everything, to reveal beauty, essence, and perfection in the cosmos, have revealed instead a welter of causes and effects that make no sense. Their net result is a pointlessness that mocks the laws of science and confounds understanding rather than illuminating it. If the laws of science disappear precisely at the point where metaphysics demands answers, what use are they? They rationalize appearances on a human scale, but humanity has been doing this on its own for thousands of years.

What mind is searching for is Reality and Reason that will enable it to exercise free choice, so humanity will grasp its purpose and act decisively to serve it. We aren’t doing this. And one glaring reason why is that science hides rather than shares the truth. The cosmos isn’t Plato’s “divine” and never will be. The journey to quantum gravity has already gone beyond where it could be any practical help.

It’s time to look elsewhere for the meaning and purpose of life, not from what matter can tell us but from what mind can tell us. Science that compromises with honesty can’t set us on this path. But science that’s honest can at least help.

Einstein devoted his career to a single-minded effort to prove the logic of matter, the perfect order of the cosmos defined by mathematics and physics, and he failed. Bohr was right. Why can’t physics accept the verdict of the Copenhagen Interpretation and support a larger effort of mind – of philosophy, metaphysics, ontology, and psychology – to find answers instead of continuing to obstruct it? Why are scientists intent on discrediting the effort instead of joining it?

Telling the story of the Child, our archetypal Self, is giving the Child back some part of the Reality and the Truth that he lost when he lost consciousness. It’s giving humanity some part of the Reality and Truth that we need in order to exercise free choice in whether to move forward, with objectivity and reason rather than sabotaging our cause with subjectivity and unreason.

The story of the Child needs to be told. Because otherwise we may never know our true worth. We may never know the meaning and purpose of life, the cause the Child was given in Creation – our cause. Without resolve that can only come from purpose, transferring perception from bodies’ senses to intuition and Reason – from appearances to Truth -- will continue to elude us. The basics of what we are doing here -- who we are, how we got here, and what is within our power to do about it, -- will continue to elude us. Unless we connect with the Child that dwells in Mind – with our Self, -- how can we ever get back home to Reality, to the engine of Creation, where we belong?

Our story needs to be told so that we will finally make it relevant, constructive, and consequential. Let it emerge from the fog of mythology, from medicine-man faiths and cultures, into the light of logic, meaning, and utility. Into the light of Mind and Reason without the mysticism and self-contradictions that alienate common sense.

The thinking reflected in the publication I’ve cited has taken you to the outer edges of the paradigm shift that’s needed. You’re receiving this because there may be a willingness to consider it, a level of intelligence and intellectual honesty that offers hope.

Am I making sense? Is the story of the Child worth telling? Can we at least try?

David C. Harrison
Author, The Story of the Child (working title, book in progress)
303-746-5983 / 74apollo350@comcast.net

Welcome

Letter to Adam Becker, Author, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics
Visiting Scholar, Office for History of Science and Technology
University of California, Berkeley
Adam@freelanceastro.com

Science has staked its legitimacy on sensory perception -- the observation and measurement of quantifiable matter -- as the sole arbiter of reality. Matter at the level of quanta has revealed that it is not bound by the reality so defined. The logical foundation that science has chosen for itself, and the material reality it stands for, is called into question.

There being no alternative reality for which sensory perception can serve as proof, science must turn to systems thinking to understand its discoveries. Metaphysics, the branch of philosophy concerned with the logic of reality, belongs in the conversation. This should include ontology, the branch of metaphysics concerned with the logic of being. The dynamics of human motivation, personal growth, feelings, and relationships come into play, and this involves psychology. Yet another field to consult is theology, because it offers insights into mind that orders all forms of creation.

Yesterday, I submitted a letter to the Mind / Brain Editor of Scientific American commenting on an article by a neuroscientist, Christof Koch. His article, “Tales of the Dying Brain,” prompted my letter because it adheres to the article of faith in sensory perception that has rooted science in subjectivity and irrationality from the beginning, and I believe the time has come to place it on firmer logical ground.

My letter cites two invaluable sources: Your own What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics and Carlo Rovelli’s Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity. Both you and Rovelli appear troubled, as Einstein was, by matter that doesn’t respect science’s article of faith. Both, commendably, encourage physics to follow the trail wherever it leads, Rovelli with an open appeal for help from philosophy. But while you're both alert to the question of material reality, neither appears willing to question your faith -- to question the role of traditional physics and its dependence on sensory perception.

My letter to Scientific American suggests that the world revealed beyond matter, through quantum mechanics, and the dying brain, through near-death experiences, is one of two competing realities, only one of which can be real. Hawking was unapologetic in championing his profession's bias in favor of sensory perception. It was his, and yours and Rovelli’s prerogative, to do so. But it comes at a cost. Science insisting on the incorrect reality, in service to its institutional purposes, leads human understanding down the wrong road.

It leads to incorrect conclusions devoid of meaning and purpose. Add to this the cost of not leading human understanding toward correct conclusions that awaken us to meaning and purpose. Quantitative science measures. It doesn't evaluate. The courageous and talented physicists whose work is highlighted in your book are an inspiration. But they and their work -- their profession -- can't be the source of "meaning" in quantum physics. For this, we need other sources.

Weaning science off rigid dependence on sensory perception must be a paradigm shift too far or it would have happened over a century ago. I do not make light of yours or science’s institutional self-interests. But more than Professor Koch’s article, it is the state of our world that says it’s time for change, and what must change is our thinking. What must change is for theorists in every field, like yourself, to state the obvious: that humanity is succumbing not only to mass irrationality but also to mass extinction, that it’s flawed reasoning that got us here, and we must shift to a new paradigm of thinking before it’s too late.

My letter to Scientific American alludes to attributes of mind -- “intuition” and “reason beyond appearances” – that can access the objectivity this new paradigm will need. They deserve an explanation, and, hopefully, they will get it in the book I’m preparing for publication, tentatively titled The Story of the Child. I have criticized science for overplaying the story of matter when it’s the story of mind that can guide us. My book is an attempt, from one individual’s perspective, to explain what it means to “tell the story of mind.”

With integrity, honesty, and humanity, you are no doubt making great progress in your work. I would be honored if my letter to Scientific American, which follows, and my book were any help. Science needs help from philosophy, and I am pleased to humbly offer one response.

David C. Harrison
June 1, 2020

Letter to Carlo Rovelli, Director, Quantum Gravity Group
Centre de Physique Théorique (CPT), Aix-Marseille University
Author, Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity (2017)

Re: Appeal from theoretical physics to philosophy for help understanding the meaning of quantum gravity

The approach to the task of physics presented in Reality Is Not What It Seems strikes me as reasonable. This in contrast to the approach propounded by Stephen Hawking, because you acknowledge the limits of experimental science and allow a role for philosophy while he, notoriously, did not. For him, “Philosophy is dead.” For you, it becomes essential.

The occasion to express my thanks and admiration has finally arrived. Today, I submitted a letter to the Mind / Brain Editor of Scientific American commenting on an article by a neuroscientist, Christof Koch. The article, “Tales of the Dying Brain,” prompted my letter because it adheres to the article of faith in sensory perception that has rooted science in subjectivity and irrationality from its very beginning, and I believe the time has come, with your appeal to philosophy, to place it on firmer logical ground.

My letter cites yours and Adam Becker’s recent book, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for Meaning in Quantum Physics. Both authors, troubled and confused as Einstein was by matter that doesn’t respect science’s article of faith, appear to believe that a road still lies ahead for traditional physics. You, in particular, breezed by Schroedinger’s observation that science by sensory perception is circular reasoning without reflecting on it, nor did you credit Parmenides and his School of Reason with common sense.

Yet both sources should be taken as prominent red flags for science, for I believe they point in the direction of the “philosophy” that can make sense of quantum gravity. That is, if the “other reality” that I allude to in my letter to Scientific American is understood for what I’ve implied that it is: one of two competing realities, only one of which can be real. Science has been insisting that the incorrect one is real -- matter rather than mind, -- not in service to the truth but in service to its own institutional purposes.

Hawking was unapologetic in championing his profession and made his own and his profession’s bias very clear. It was his, and yours and Becker’s prerogative, to do so. But it comes at a cost. The cost is continuing to lead human understanding down the wrong road, to incorrect conclusions devoid of meaning and purpose. Add to this the cost of not leading human understanding toward correct conclusions that awaken us to meaning and purpose.

Weaning science off rigid dependence on sensory perception must be a paradigm shift too far or it would have happened over a century ago. I do not make light of yours or science’s institutional self-interests. But more than Professor Koch’s article, it is the state of our world that says it’s time for change, and what must change is our thinking. What must change is for theorists in every field, like yourself, to state the obvious: that humanity is succumbing not only to mass irrationality but also to mass extinction, that it’s flawed reasoning that got us here, and we must shift to a new paradigm of thinking before it’s too late.

My letter to Scientific American alludes to attributes of mind -- “intuition” and “reason beyond appearances” – that can access the objectivity this new paradigm will need. They deserve an explanation, and, hopefully, they will get it in the book I’m preparing for publication, tentatively titled The Story of the Child. I have criticized science for overplaying the story of matter when it’s the story of mind that can explain what it’s all about. My book is an attempt, from one individual’s perspective, to explain what it means to “tell the story of mind.”

With integrity, honesty, and humanity, you are no doubt making great progress in your work. I would be honored if my letter to Scientific American, posted on my website, and my book were any help. Quantum gravity has called for help from philosophy, and I am pleased to humbly offer one response.

David C. Harrison
May 31, 2020

Science’s reliance on sensory perception to establish what’s real is neither objective nor rational. It is inherently subjective and irrational. This was pointed out by the physicist-philosopher Erwin Schroedinger, an admission that was noted in Carlo Rovelli’s Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity (2017). Our bodies and their senses being part of their own material environment disqualifies them from attesting to its reality. For this another perspective is needed, one that is not built into its own environment and doesn’t have to be “spiritual.” It only needs to be mind, which is manifestly not coterminous with the brain, as distinguished neuroscientists have concluded.

Putting sensory perception on the witness stand to attest to its own reality is self-referential circular reasoning. It isn’t reasoning, which means the logical foundation for all of body-centered “science,” including the science of mind, is inherently illogical. It means “science,” which prizes objectivity, is subjective. A “science” that denies itself access to the perspective of mind, that rigidly adheres to bodies’ sensory perception and their brains’ circular reasoning, sacrifices not only objectivity for subjectivity, it sacrifices its legitimacy.

This, I think, is ample reason to question Christof Koch’s “hypothesis that all our thoughts, memories, percepts (sic) and experiences are an ineluctable consequence of the natural causal powers of our brain rather than of any supernatural ones”. If what he means by “supernatural ones” is mind, nothing could be farther from the truth. Reason says so, and that’s what near-death experiences (NDE’s) are telling us. NDE’s reveal that, in the space between sensory perception and what lies beyond, attributes of reality take over that mock the limits our bodies impose.

They do so just as the behavior of quanta mock the limits of reality that physics imposes in the space between matter and what lies beyond. Whether the neuroscientist Koch is willing to question all-knowing sensory perception, theoretical physics concerned with quantum mechanics long ago expressed its doubts in Nils Bohr’s “Copenhagen Interpretation” [ref: Adam Becker, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics (2018)] and, more recently, in Rovelli’s appeal for help from philosophy to make sense of quantum gravity.

What the brain during NDE’s and quanta under observation may both be telling us is that what lies beyond material reality is another reality. Koch says NDE subjects describe it as “realer than real,” a subjective valuation that can’t be measured, so he and science will leave its significance to us. But to NDE subjects and to this observer, its significance seems obvious: The reality they are experiencing is mind beyond matter.

Koch explains that NDE’s “are triggered. . . when the body is injured by blunt trauma, a heart attack, asphyxia, shock, and so on.” Then why does it change the logic of what transpires when the cortex is stimulated electrically or “exciting the gray matter elsewhere”? In either case an external force physically alters the brain, the subject’s mind is released from the body, and it takes with it all the powers of consciousness – observation, thought, and feeling – except the power to act and sense with the body. What transpires is a clear separation of a part of consciousness that belongs to mind from a part that’s tethered to the body, and that would be the brain. Electrical stimulation of the brain only differs from the usual causes of NDE’s by being deliberate.

The “origin” of NDE’s can only be traced to the brain because, by definition, a “near death experience” refers to a condition of the body and its brain. It has nothing to do with the death of the mind or “spirit.” Since there was never any logic to declaring that the “origin” of NDE’s is “spiritual,” it’s absurd for Koch to conclude that “subjective experience provides support for a biological, not spiritual origin” – to declare, in effect, that the origin can’t be “spiritual.”

The issue isn’t “origins.” The issue is causes and effects. The cause is physical alteration of the body’s brain, one that places the brain in a weakened, dying state, that gets it out of the way of mind. The effect is an irrefutable experience, documented many times over, of an other-worldly state of consciousness which can only be mind.

If we can get the distinction clear between brain and mind, and the cause-effect relationship between brain alteration and mind that’s unattached to body, NDE’s will begin to make perfect sense. They clearly suggest that there’s another reality that’s not matter but mind. And, if NDE subjects are to be believed, it’s the reality of mind that’s real and the other that isn’t. It’s the reality of mind that’s natural and the other that ought to be labeled “supernatural.”

But we don’t have to go there to make a point. The point is that messing with the brain is no grounds for siding with body-centered science that there’s no reality beyond sensory perception or that all consciousness is seated in the brain. To do so is to fly in the face of evidence provided by NDE’s. Worse, to do so is to side with circular reasoning -- not to be truly “scientific” but to be hopelessly subjective and irrational.

Let Rovelli search for quantum gravity and Professor Koch study the brain. But while they’re at it, let’s all get off our self-referential addiction to sensory perception and acknowledge its subjectivity. Let’s get serious about metaphysics and trace the story of mind. Why? Because only in intuition, an attribute of mind, will we find objectivity. Only there will we find reason beyond appearances, the perspective that’s qualified to distinguish between competing realities. And because that’s what quantum mechanics and NDE’s are telling us to do.

Like the story of the brain and matter, all accounts of the human experience are ultimately the story of mind. To learn it is not to surrender to unreason, to contradictory ideologies that science rightly fears, but to open the door to guidance that is both rational and felt, that provides values and meaning. It is guidance that science dependent on numbers and measurements cannot provide by itself. Should Professor Koch convince us that we have only the brain, matter, and measurements to guide us, that the evidence of NDE’s to the contrary can be ignored, it will be a disservice to his own cause – to the cause of reason and knowledge, science and learning. It will be a disservice to the cause of mind.

Letter submitted to Scientific American
Commenting on Christof Koch, "Tales of the Dying Brain"
In Scientific American (June 2020 pp. 71-75)

May 30, 2020

[Reviewer's note: I had originally intended to promote this book with the following review, but I've had second thoughts. Like the coal he mined, I think it's best to leave Mr. Frick and the culture of exploitation he represented in the ground. The less that's heard about him the better. We all need to be listening to science. The polluters and their Ayn Rand grandstanding have already had their say.]

Henry Clay Frick took thinking seriously. Which meant he took reasoning seriously, character and purpose, too. Turn him loose in a chaotic new industry -- coal and coke in Southwestern Pennsylvania -- and he rationalizes it.

Caught up in passions of the great colliding movements of the 19th and 20th centuries -- capitalism, socialism, the industrial revolution, organized labor, -- people came at him with every kind of nonsense. Didn't faze him. He just stuck with good old logic, unflinching discipline, and straightforward relationships.

He was well served by superintendent Thomas Lynch and engineer J. H. Paddock
But he sorely missed a third figure. A leader with stature among his work force he could trust and deal with. Someone freely chosen by his employees through their own organization, sanctioned and facilitated by his company.

The industry needed rationalizing same as oil, steel, and other new industries. Problem was, the owners, rock-ribbed capitalists, went overboard on control. What they thought they understood and what they assumed, was based on a contorted definition of "self" in self-interest. Left out the public interest, which rigid conservatives still have no use for today.

The story of labor-management relations in the period Vivian covers, 1870-1920, an age as sorrowful and lamentable as it was “golden,” with its betrayals, savagery, and character assassinations, was as much about the heroics that didn’t happen as what did. It was about governance.

Not until the New Deal 30's, when US Steel let their workers organize, and into the prosperous 50's, could the United Steelworkers’ Dave McDonald and USS CEO Ben Fairless tour the country touting labor-management harmony, sharing wealth and control, one big happy family.

All the tribalists in ownership ever have to do to get it right is to get what governance is all about: community, and what community is all about is fairness. The coal operators' employees were screaming in their faces about fairness. What government is for, the last thing those of extreme persuasion want to hear.

But it's too much to ask that Charles Armstrong and other bare-knuckled coal operators in Frick's era would understand that government needed to be rationalized, too. That they needed to push for legislation that would let them off the hook and let them do what capitalists are good at, meeting market demand with supply, efficiently and at a profit.

Vivian’s able research did its job: Frick clearly wasn't the demon he was made out to be. Though the portrait she paints isn’t without blemish. The "scheming two-faced" Carnegie’s taking over Frick's business was no worse than what Frick did to his competitors. Otherwise, primary sources say his workers received not the worst in workplace safety, compensation, housing, provisioning, and consideration during periods of hardship and injury, but reliably the best in the industry. "Safety First" originated with a 27-rule company-wide policy instituted by Frick's superintendent Lynch after the Mammoth Mine explosion in 1891.

Yet Frick and the coal-operator syndicate he helped organize didn't go far enough in their rationalizing. The structure they engineered balked at partnering with labor. It didn’t even consider partnering with government. They were perceived as having too much control as a consequence. They were perceived as being insensitive, intransigent, and unfair. Frick in particular, not because he failed but because he was so prominent, because he succeeded.

The perception of unfairness dispensed by an impersonal system that wasn't listening, that wasn't legally obligated to respond with respect and compassion even if it was, wasn't just hurtful. It was emasculating. It created an emotional climate so combustible that, for the communities who experienced it, it descended into a recurring nightmare of terror. If, as Vivian shows, it was the miners who eventually threw the unions out, many in the communities they took over wished they could have thrown the entire industry out.

Because Frick and his expanding empire came into prominence, it was he, more than anyone, who was expected to correct the injustice and the unrest, he who attracted attention. The case Vivian's research supports is that it wasn't that Frick did too little in the event, but that too much was expected. Well after he died, in 1919, any perceived affront to labor rights and human decency in the region, including murder, no matter the source, was attributed to him.

The price he paid in rage and hatred, in character assassination, has already lasted a century beyond his time. It is history's unfairness to him, a rendering of perverse justice, that may never end. A twist of fate that the historian will miss if she's not alert to the broader context. And miss it she did. It isn't the truth about Frick that's the point, it's the untruth, the larger meaning of his story that one will not learn from Vivian's account. If deliberate distortion of an individual's role in history is a rarity, we may count Frick's fate as a striking example.

He's been chosen to stand in for an unregulated system of exploitation that dehumanized workers, brought social unrest, disfigured the landscape, and left others to deal with unsolvable mine drainage. Regions proud of their history commemorate events with markers. As Vivian notes, Morgan Valley, from Broadford to Mount Pleasant, has sites where serious history was made but very few markers. If the truth doesn't really matter about Frick, its history doesn't seem to matter to the region. For those who experienced it and those left behind, the age of coal and coke was anything but "golden."

The coal operators' successors today in the fossil fuel industry are still at it, leaving the public "self" out of self-interest. Coke works near Frick's coal fields, at Clairton, run by US Steel, are still violating air quality standards. Yesterday, it was 80 degrees above the Arctic Circle in Siberia. There's a connection. The inequities that made Frick's coal fields a combustible mix of injury and impotent rage have expanded into our own time to cover our entire planet, potentially joining humanity itself in the current mass extinction. We, the public, are all paying the price.

The ultimate irony is that it wasn’t the coal operators’ wealth and power that their miserable workers, long-suffering immigrants, were really after. They just wanted fairness.

Those who care about fairness and the truth about Henry Clay Frick, Pittsburgh’s "Steel City" history, and the pain and chaos that marked the birth of America’s industrial revolution, are sure to appreciate Vivian’s scholarship. She writes of immigrants’ contributions to her region’s place in America’s history with the care and reverence it deserves. Passionate about the subject of her book, she is passionate about the historian’s craft as well, and brings to it an extraordinary combination of reflection and activism.

Not content with numerous publications, she has founded a historical society and a museum and written about Italian-American foods and ways. Just a few among the many gifts this talented scholar has shared with her community, a role model for responsible citizenship in a democracy. Should Vivian's readers come around to her point of view it would be a good thing, not just for her subject but for the telling of history, with its admirable attention to detail, to facts, to clarity, and to force of argument, backed by eight years researching original sources.

If I have one reservation it would be that in the pride the author takes in immigrants' accomplishments she can lose sight of their costs. Even as she faithfully records the miseries and ruinous effect of the extraction industry on our habitat, she doesn't quite get the enormity of it. What would be her assessment if she could look back on her "golden age" from a longer term perspective? From the perspective of the remnants of humanity after much of the globe is rendered uninhabitable by an intricate climate system disrupted by pollution? By a fossil fuel industry that means to go on extracting until the earth's resources are gone and life, too?

The answer would depend on how we all weigh the benefits and costs. The author can speak for herself. But the answer for this native of Pittsburgh, always eager to brag about his home town, is it wasn't worth it.

That said, the beleaguered Mr. Frick needed a historian with force of will and integrity to match his own, and he found it in Cassandra Vivian. Her book is a good read. Whether it changes minds or not, I recommend it.

David C. Harrison
A.B. American History, Harvard 1959
J. D. Harvard Law School 1963
Founder and executive director, Mon Valley Tri-State Network 1986-1995
Co-founder, Mon Valley Tri-State Leadership Academy 1991-1994
Current book in progress tentatively titled "The Story of the Child"

May 26, 2020

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.

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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.

1

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.