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Rick’s clientele

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

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

Escape from “paradise”

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

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

For love of Democracy, for love of Diversity

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

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

The cruelty of an unchanging status quo

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

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

Allons enfants de la Patrie!

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

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

Must Horton really hear every Who?

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

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

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

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

The choice: whether to crush individual Worth or affirm it

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

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

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

Respect for Free Will means respect for the individual

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

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

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

The context where there is Meaning and relevance

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

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

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

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

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