How Did the Mind Make the Ego?
Editor's note: This transcript has been lightly edited to bring clarification to certain points of the dialogue and for easier readability. For this reason, it does not match the corresponding audio mp3 word-for-word. However, the overall content and the expressed ideas remain unchanged.
Speaker: We'll turn to page 51 in the old text [first edition]. In the new text [second edition] it's titled, "The Ego and False Autonomy", …the first paragraph [page] 56 in the new and 51 in the old and it's the very first paragraph under, "The Ego and False Autonomy".
[Bill Thetford, when this was being dictated,] kind of said, “How could such a thing have happened ever in the first place?” Jesus says…and in a sense this was incorporated into the text… Jesus says:
"It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask. There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present. Abstract thought applies to knowledge because knowledge is completely impersonal, and examples are irrelevant to its understanding. Perception, however, is always specific, and therefore quite concrete."
So, in a sense of going on a witch hunt and looking back into the past and saying, “How could this guilt have come about” or “How could the ego have come about?” …Jesus is saying, “Don't go looking… in the past for the answer. You need to have a present experience.”
Participant 1: It's not and it's still happening now.
Speaker: Yes, as long as you’re still feeling upset in any way then obviously, by your experience, you can tell that the same mistake is being repeated.
Participant 1: That's like, "Seek and do not find." [Editor’s note: ‘The ego’s mantra’ often quoted by the Speaker.]
Participant 2: But that doesn't answer the question of the premise, “How could the mind have made the ego?”
Participant 2: I don't think that's answered.
Speaker: Then here we go. We'll go back now to the "CLARIFICATION OF TERMS," which is at the back of the book… page 73 in the old book. It's the introduction to the "CLARIFICATION OF TERMS," the fourth paragraph.
"The ego will demand many answers that this course does not give. It does not recognize as questions the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible. The ego may ask, "How did the impossible occur?", "To what did the impossible happen?", and may ask this in many forms. Yet there is no answer; only an experience. Seek only this, and do not let theology delay you."
In other words to really ask that question and to kind of get really get bent on that question like, “How could the impossible have happened?”… you can kind of go into a metaphysical theological tailspin. But to ask the question, “How could the impossible have happened?” there is an underlying assumption that's beneath the question. What is the underlying assumption beneath, ‘How could the impossible have happened’?
Participants: That the impossible happened.
Speaker: That the impossible could happen and has happened.
Why would you ask how it happened unless you already believed that it did? So where you see if Jesus answers this question then that makes the error real. It's kind of like defining the ego; if you really say you want a good solid definition of the ego, and [a] couple of pages later [He] just does not give a definition for the ego. But He does talk about the miracle. He does talk about the right-mind and the correction. The third paragraph down He says:
"There is no definition for a lie that serves to make it true."
And in the fourth paragraph down He says,
"We cannot make a definition for what the ego is, but we can say what it is not."
And at that point He goes in to describe the state of the miracle… that this is a Course in choosing the right mind, in choosing the miracle, but not in to trying to analyze the ego.
Participant 1: And we think we need to know what it is so we can avoid it, but if we just get into the right mind it's not an issue. Is that what you're saying?
Speaker: Yes, it dissolves in the right-mind.
Participant 3: At what point, if I was at peace, universally was at peace… at what point did we all [laughing]…all of us that are One, choose to experience life in this form? It's a strange question I know.
Speaker: It's really another version of the one we just we're talking about how did the impossible happen? The Course say's that the ego asked the first question. And the first question was, "What am I?" Now the Holy Spirit's got a good answer for that. [Laughs] The Holy Spirit comes immediately into the mind and the Holy Spirit’s answer of course is, "You are the Holy Son of God Himself; infinite, perfect, created in the likeness and image of your Father."
Participant: Why wouldn't we just know that?
Participant 4: We do know that...
Speaker: It's buried though. Remember last night in the story book [about how I said] the mind ran, literally… ran from the light in an instant of terror because the ego belief is that God's going to get you, because you've really pulled it off now [separated from God]. 'Oooohhh, you've done a terrible thing’. So the mind, in a sense, was terrified and moved into the darkness away from the light.
And the ego gave an answer to that question too, “What am I”. [Speaker Jokingly] It's like, ‘Here you are, you're uuummmmm… a world… in a body… a body in a world.’ And it's kind of like, that's it's answer. And not only that, but you [believe that you can] make yourself .
Participant 5: And so for an instant we believed ego.
Speaker: For one instant, right. That's all it is the Course say's the unholy instant, is the instant. Now if we talk about time, here's the unholy instant where that tiny belief was believed in and here comes the Holy Spirit simultaneously as the answer to that right there in the mind. In other words God placed the answer to the insanity right where the insanity was. He didn't put the answer out in the world because that's not where the puff [insanity] is, the puff is in the mind. So He placed the answer right where the problem was. But the mind is so terrified of that light that it kind of moved out towards the form and got engaged in bodies and survival and judgment...
Participant 1: All kinds of different things.
Speaker: Yes, those kinds of things. [Participant
2 has] Lesson 223 which is:
I was mistaken when I thought I lived apart from God, a separate entity
that moved in isolation, unattached, and housed within a body. Now I
know my life is God's, I have no other home, and I do not exist apart
from Him. He has no Thoughts that are not part of me, and I have none
but those which are of Him.”
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