45. The miracle makes no distinction among degrees of misperception. It is a device for perception-correction which is effective quite apart from either the degree or the direction of the error. This is its TRUE indiscriminateness.
Christ-controlled miracles are selective only in that they are directed toward those who can use them for THEMSELVES. Since this makes it inevitable that they will extend them to others, a very strong chain of Atonement is welded. But Christ-control takes no account at all of the MAGNITUDE of the miracle itself, because the concept of size exists only in a plane that is itself unreal. Since the miracle aims at RESTORING reality, it would hardly be useful if it were bound by the laws of the same error it aims to correct. Only man makes that kind of error. It is an example of the “foolish consistency” his own false beliefs have engendered.
Both the power and the strength of man’s creative will must be understood, before the real meaning of denial can be appreciated and abolished. Denial is NOT mere negation. It is a positive miscreation. While the miscreation is NECESSARILY believed in by its own creator, it does not exist at all at the level of true Creation.
46. The miracle compares the creations of man with the higher level of creation, accepting what is in ACCORD as true, and rejecting the DISCORDANT as false. This is why it is so closely associated with validity. Real validity is both true AND useful, or better, it is useful BECAUSE it is true.
All aspects of fear are untrue, because they DO NOT exist at the higher creative levels, and therefore do not exist at all. To whatever extent a man is willing to submit his beliefs to the real test of validity, to that extent are his perceptions healed (or corrected).
In sorting out the false from the true, the miracle proceeds much along the lines suggested very correctly by B., i.e.:
If perfect love casts out fear,
And if fear exists,
Then there is NOT perfect love.
Only perfect love really exists.
Therefore, if there is fear, it creates a state which does not exist.
Believe THIS and you WILL be free. Only God can establish this solution, for THIS faith IS His gift.
Man must contribute to his readiness here as elsewhere. The readiness for faith, as for everything else that is true, entails the two steps necessary for the release from fear.
Denial of fear, in human terms, is a strong defense because it entails two levels of error:
1: That truth CAN be denied and
2: That absence of truth can be effective.
EXPERIENCING fear, which is more characteristic of B., involves only the second error. However, these differences do not affect the power of the miracle at all, since only truth and error are its concern.
YOU are both more miracle-minded, and less able to recognize fear because of your stronger, but split, identification. B., also characteristically, is less miracle-minded, but better able to recognize fear, because his identification is more consistently right but weaker.
Together, the conditions needed for consistent miracle-mindedness, the state in which fear has been abolished, can be particularly well worked out. In fact, it WAS already well worked out before.
Your idea about the real meaning of “possession” should be clarified. Your own denial of fear (this refers to a visionary experience of HS) introduced some error variance, but not really a significant amount. However, there is always a chance that as the size of the sample increases, what was non-significant before may ATTAIN significance, so we had better get this out of the way now while you are still within the safety margin.
Fear of possession is a perverted expression of the fear of the irresistible attraction.
(Aside. Yes, this DOES apply to homosexuality, among other errors, where the whole concept of possessing, or “entering” is a key fear. It is a symbolic statement of an inverted decision NOT to enter into, or possess, the Kingdom. In physical terms, which it emphasizes because of the inherent error of Soul avoidance, REAL physical creation is avoided, and fantasy gratification is substituted.)
The truth is still that the attraction of God is irresistible at ALL levels, and the acceptance of this totally unavoidable truth is only a matter of time. But you should consider whether you WANT to wait, because you CAN return now, if you choose.
(Note to HS: You are writing this with improper motivation, but we will try anyway. If you are to stop, do so immediately.)
Possession is a concept which has been subject to numerous distortions, some of which we will list below:
1. It (possession) can be associated with the body only. If this occurs, sex is particularly likely to be contaminated. Possession versus being possessed is apt to be seen as the male and female role. Since neither will be conceived of as satisfying alone, and both will be associated with fear, this interpretation is particularly vulnerable to psycho-sexual
2. From a rather similar misperceptual reference point, possession can also be associated with things. This is essentially a shift from 1), and is usually due to an underlying fear of associating possession with people. In this sense, it is an attempt to PROTECT people, like the superstition about “protecting the name”, we mentioned before.
Both 1) and 2) are likely to become compulsive for several reasons, including:
a. They represent an attempt to escape from the real possession-drive, which cannot be satisfied this way.
b. They set up substitute goals, which are usually reasonably easy to attain.
c. They APPEAR to be relatively harmless, and thus SEEM to allay fear. The fact that they usually interfere with good interpersonal relationships can be interpreted, in this culture, as a lack of sophistication on the part of the OTHER (not the self), and this induces a false feeling of confidence in the solution, based on reliability NOT validity. It is also fairly easy to find a partner who SHARES the illusion. Thus, we have any number of relationships which are actually ESTABLISHED on the basis of 1), and others which HOLD TOGETHER primarily because of the joint interests in 2).
d. The manifestly external emphasis which both entail seems to be a safety device, and thus permits a false escape from much more basic inhibitions. As a compromise solution, the illusion of interpersonal relating is preserved, along with the retention of the lack of love component. This kind of psychic juggling leaves the person (or juggler?) with a feeling of emptiness, which in fact is perfectly justified, because he IS acting from scarcity. He then becomes more and more driven in his behavior, to fill the emptiness.
When these solutions have been invested with extreme belief, 1) leads to sex crimes, and 2) to stealing.
The kleptomaniac is a good example of the latter.
Generally, two types of emotional disturbances result:
a. The tendency to maintain the illusion that only the physical is real. This produces depression.
b. The tendency to invest the physical with non-physical properties. This is essentially magic, and tends more toward anxiety-proneness.
c. The tendency to vacillate from one to the other, which produces a corresponding vacillation between depression AND anxiety.
Both result in self imposed starvation.
3. Another type of distortion is seen in the fear of or desire for “spirit” possession. The term “spirit” is profoundly debased in this context, but it DOES entail a recognition that the body is not enough, and investing it with magic will not work. This recognition ACCEPTS the fact that neither 1) nor 2) is sufficient, but, precisely BECAUSE it does not limit fear so narrowly, it is more likely to produce greater fear in its own right.
Endowing the Spirit with human possessiveness is a more INCLUSIVE error than 1) or 2), and a step somewhat further away from the “Right Mind.” Projection is also more likely to occur, with vacillations between grandiosity and fear. “Religion” in a distorted sense, is also more likely to occur in this kind of error, because the idea of a “spirit” is introduced, though fallaciously, while it is excluded from 1) and 2). Witchcraft is thus particularly apt to be associated with 3), because of the much greater investment in magic.
It should be noted that 1) involves only the body, and 2) involves an attempt to associate things with human attributes. Three, on the other hand, is a more serious level confusion, because it endows the Spirit with EVIL attributes. This accounts both for the religious zeal of its proponents, and the aversion (or fear) of its opponents. Both attitudes stem from the same false belief.
This in NOT what the Bible means by “possessed of the Holy Spirit.” It is interesting to note that even those who DID understand that could nevertheless EXPRESS their understanding inappropriately. The concept of “speaking in many tongues” was originally an injunction to communicate to everyone in his own language, or his own level. It hardly meant to speak in a way that NOBODY can understand. This strange error occurs when people DO understand the need for Universal communication, but have contaminated it with possession fallacies. The fear engendered by this misperception leads to a conflicted state in which communication IS attempted, but the fear is allayed by making the communication incomprehensible.
It could also be said that the fear induced selfishness, or regression, because incomprehensible communication is hardly a worthy offering from one Son of God to another.
4. Knowledge can also be misinterpreted as a means of possession. Here, the content is not physical, and the underlying fallacy is more likely to be the confusion of mind and brain. The attempt to unite nonphysical content with physical attributes is illustrated by statements like “the thirst for knowledge.”
(No Helen, this is NOT what the “thirst” in the Bible means. The term was used only because of man’s limited comprehension, and is probably better dropped.)
The fallacious use of knowledge can result in several errors, including:
a. The idea that knowledge will make the individual more attractive to others. This is a possession-fallacy.
b. The idea that knowledge will make the individual invulnerable. This is the reaction formation against the underlying fear of vulnerability.
c. The idea that knowledge will make the individual worthy. This is largely pathetic.
Both you and B. should consider type 4) very carefully. Like all these fallacies, it contains a denial mechanism, which swings into operation as the fear increases, thus canceling out the error temporarily, but seriously impairing efficiency.
Thus, you claim you can’t read, and B. claims that he can’t speak. Note that depression is a real risk here, for a Child of God should never REDUCE his efficiency in ANY way. The depression comes from a peculiar pseudo-solution which reads:
A Child of God is efficient.
I am not efficient.
Therefore, I am not a Child of God.
This leads to neurotic resignation, and this is a state which merely INCREASES the depression.
The corresponding denial mechanism for 1) is the sense of PHYSICAL inability, or IMPOTENCE. The denial mechanism for 2) is often bankruptcy. Collectors of things often drive themselves well beyond their financial means, in an attempt to force discontinuance. If this idea of cessation cannot be tolerated, a strange compromise involving BOTH insatiable possessiveness and insatiable throwing-away (bankruptcy) may result. An example is the inveterate or compulsive gambler, particularly the horse-racing addict. Here, the conflicted drive is displaced both from people AND things, and is invested in animals. The implied DEROGATION of people is the cause of the underlying EXTREME superstition of the horse racing addict.
The alcoholic is in a similar position, except that his hostility is more inward than outward directed.
Defenses aimed at protecting (or retaining) error are particularly hard to undo, because they introduce second-order misperceptions which obscure the underlying errors still further.
The pseudo-corrective mechanism of three is apt to be more varied because of the more inclusive nature of the error, which has already been mentioned. Some of the possibilities are listed below:
a. One aspect of the possession/possessed conflict can be raised to predominance. If this is attempted in connection with possessing, it leads to the paranoid solution. The underlying component of “being possessed” is retained in the “persecution” fantasies, which are generally concomitants.
b. If “being possessed” is brought to ascendancy, a state of some sort of possession by external forces results, but NOT with a major emphasis on attacking others. Attack BY others becomes the more obvious component. In the more virulent forms, there is a sense of being possessed by demons, and unless there is vacillation with a), a catatonic solution is more likely than a paranoid one.
The FOCUSED paranoid has become more rigid in his solution, and centers on ONE source of projection to escape from vacillation.
(Aside: It should be noted that this type of paranoia is an upside-down form of religion, because of its obvious attempt to unify into oneness.)
Both 1), 2), and 4) and more likely to produce neurotic rather than psychotic states, though this is by no means guaranteed. However, 3) is inherently more vulnerable to the psychotic correction, again because of the more fundamental level confusion which is involved.
It should be noted, however, that the greater fear which is induced by 3) can ITSELF reach psychotic proportions, thus forcing the individual closer and closer to a psychotic solution.
It is emphasized here that these differences have no effect at all on the miracle, which can heal any of them with equal ease. This is because of the miracle’s inherent avoidance of within-error distinctions. Its SOLE concern is to distinguish between truth, on the one hand, and ALL kinds of error, on the other. This is why some miracles SEEM to be of greater magnitude than others. But remember the first point in this course, i.e., that there is no order of difficulty in miracles.
The emphasis on mental illness which is marked in these notes reflects the “UNDOING” aspect of the miracle. The “DOING” aspect is, of course, much more important. But a true miracle cannot occur on a false basis. Sometimes the undoing must precede it.
At other times, both can occur simultaneously, but you are not up to this at the moment.
Further, insights into mental illness can be misused, and lead to preoccupation with one’s own symptoms. This is why this area is less constructive for most people than a course primarily devoted to mental health. However, some professions will find (some?) principles of mental illness constructive, especially those which are concerned with mental illness in others. This obviously includes psychologists.
The obvious correction for ALL types of the possession-fallacy is to redefine possession correctly. In the sense of “taking over,” the concept does not exist at all in divine reality, which is the only level of reality where real existence is a meaningful term.
No one CAN be “taken over” unless he wills to be. However, if he places his mind under tyranny, rather than Authority, he intrudes the submission/dominance onto free will himself. This produces the obvious contradiction inherent in any formulation that associates free will with imprisonment. Even in very mild forms, this kind of association is risky, and may spread quite unexpectedly, particularly under external stress. This is because it can be internally controlled ONLY if EXTERNAL conditions are peaceful. This is not safe, because external conditions are produced by the thoughts of many, not all of whom are pure in heart as yet.