S 1 E 26, Lesson 17: “I See No Neutral Things”

Today’s lesson (17) once again emphasizes the power of propaganda and brainwashing within Plato’s cave. We’re reminded that from the beginning of our lives we’re subjected to the “wisdom” of the world that supports imperialism, white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy.

We see nothing as it is – not even the walls of our room or our own bodies. Everything is shaped by what our keepers have taught us long before we’ve had a chance to think for ourselves.

So, we grow up believing that empire is good, that whites are genetically superior, that capitalism benefits everyone, and that men are naturally superior to women.

And it goes further than that:

  • We’re taught that laws are just and inviolable, and somehow divinely endorsed. In reality however, laws are fashioned by the rich and powerful to keep them wealthy and powerful. They can never be endorsed by the God Jesus embodied who champions the poor and oppressed, not their captors.
  • We’re taught that enforcement of those non-neutral laws is carried out fairly, when the truth is that the rich and powerful rarely pay the price for their crimes, while the poor and powerless are severely punished for the slightest missteps.
  • Similarly, we’re taught that what’s called “legal,” “rational,” and “logical” trumps other ways of knowing – e.g., through feeling, intuition in general, women’s intuition in particular, divine revelation. . .. Conviction of that sort is the basis of patriarchy.

You get the idea. Virtually everything in our world is not neutral but biased towards the rich and powerful. 

This first part of A Course in Miracles calls us to decontaminate our minds from the sway of such convictions.

Put otherwise still, none of the thoughts just mentioned is neutral, much less true. Instead, each favors the interests of the teachers, priests, politicians, generals, and aristocrats who have created the shadow world in which we all live. As we’ll see in future lessons, those interests end up oppressing people Jesus identified with.

Here’s the way Lesson 17 puts its main thoughts:

  • “The thought comes first. . ..” (That is, before we’ve had the chance to develop discernment).
  • As a result, “You see no neutral things because you have no neutral thoughts.” (Only those that have been imposed on you since birth.
  • “Regardless of what you believe, you do not see anything that is really alive or really joyous.”
  • “You are unaware as yet of any thought that is really true, and therefore really happy.”
  • “I do not see a neutral wall, because my thoughts about walls are not neutral.”
  • “I do not see a neutral body, because my thoughts about bodies are not neutral.”
  • “This is not the way the world thinks, but you must learn that it is the way you think.”

Reversing your thought processes even about walls and bodies is difficult. But to repeat, that is the fundamental task of this first part of A Course in Miracles. Remind yourself of this task periodically throughout the day. Keep the thought before your mind: “I see no neutral things.”

“I see no neutral things.”

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

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