Chapter 3: Retraining The Mind
VII. Judgment and the Authority Problem
1 We have already discussed the Last Judgment in some though insufficient detail. After the Last Judgment there will be no more. This is symbolic only in the sense that everyone is much better off without judgment. When the Bible says “Judge not that ye be not judged” it merely means that if you judge the reality of others at all, you will be unable to avoid judging your own.
The choice to judge rather than to know was the cause of the loss of peace. Judgment is the process on which perception, but not cognition, rests. We have discussed this before in terms of the selectivity of perception, pointing out that evaluation is its obvious prerequisite.
2 Judgment always involves rejection. It is not an ability which emphasizes only the positive aspects of what is judged, whether it be in or out of the self. However, what has been perceived and rejected, ‐ or judged and found wanting, ‐ remains in the unconscious because it has been perceived. One of the illusions from which man suffers is the belief that what he judged against has no effect. This cannot be true unless he also believes that what he judged against does not exist. He evidently does not believe this, or he would not have judged against it.
It does not matter, in the end, whether you judge right or wrong. Either way, you are placing your belief in the unreal. This cannot be avoided in any type of judgment, because it implies the belief that reality is yours to choose from.
3 You have no idea of the tremendous release and deep peace that comes from meeting yourselves and your brothers totally without judgment. When you recognize what you and your brothers are, you will realize that judging them in any way is without meaning. In fact, their meaning is lost to you precisely because you are judging them.
All uncertainty comes from a totally fallacious belief that you are under the coercion of judgment. You do not need judgment to organize your life, and you certainly do not need it to organize yourselves. In the presence of knowledge all judgment is automatically suspended, and this is the process which enables recognition to replace perception.
4 Man is very fearful of everything he has perceived but has refused to accept. He believes that, because he has refused to accept it, he has lost control over it. This is why he sees it in nightmares, or in pleasant disguises in what seem to be his happier dreams. Nothing that you have refused to accept can be brought into awareness. It does not follow that it is dangerous, but it does follow that you have made it dangerous.
5 When you feel tired, it is merely because you have judged yourself as capable of being tired. When you laugh at someone, it is because you have judged him as debased. When you laugh at yourself you are singularly likely to laugh at others, if only because you cannot tolerate the idea of being more debased than they are. All of this does make you feel tired because it is essentially disheartening. You are not really capable of being tired, but you are very capable of wearying yourselves. The strain of constant judgment is virtually intolerable. It is a curious thing that any ability which is so debilitating should be so deeply cherished.
6 Yet, if you wish to be the author of reality, which is totally impossible anyway, you will insist on holding on to judgment. You will also use the term with considerable fear, believing that judgment will someday be used against you. To whatever extent it is used against you, it is due only to your belief in its efficacy as a weapon of defense for your own authority.
The issue of authority is really a question of authorship. When an individual has an “authority problem,” it is always because he believes he is the author of himself, projects his delusion onto others, and then perceives the situation as one in which people are literally fighting him for his authorship. This is the fundamental error of all those who believe they have usurped the power of God.
7 The belief is very frightening to them, but hardly troubles God. He is, however, eager to undo it, not to punish His children, but only because He knows that it makes them unhappy.
Souls were given their true Authorship, but men preferred to be anonymous when they chose to separate themselves from their Author. The word “authority” has been one of their most fearful symbols ever since. Authority has been used for great cruelty because, being uncertain of their true Authorship, men believe that their creation was anonymous. This has left them in a position where it sounds meaningful to consider the possibility that they must have created themselves.
8 The dispute over authorship has left such uncertainty in the minds of men that some have even doubted whether they really exist at all. Despite the apparent contradiction in this position, it is in one sense more tenable than the view that they created themselves. At least it acknowledges the fact that some true authorship is necessary for existence.
9 Only those who give over all desire to reject can know that their own rejection is impossible. You have not usurped the power of God, but you have lost it. Fortunately, when you lose something, it does not mean that the “something” has gone. It merely means that you do not know where it is. Existence does not depend on your ability to identify it, nor even to place it. It is perfectly possible to look on reality without judgment, and merely know that it is there.
10 Peace is a natural heritage of the Soul. Everyone is free to refuse to accept his inheritance, but he is not free to establish what his inheritance is.
The problem which everyone must decide is the fundamental question of authorship. All fear comes ultimately, and sometimes by way of very devious routes, from the denial of Authorship. The offense is never to God, but only to those who deny Him. To deny His Authorship is to deny themselves the reason for their own peace, so that they see themselves only in pieces. This strange perception is the authority problem.
11 There is no man who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this is the result of his own free will, he must regard his will as if it were not free, or the obviously circular reasoning involved in his position would be quite apparent. Free will must lead to freedom. Judgment always imprisons, because it separates segments of reality according to the highly unstable scales of desire. Wishes are not facts by definition. To wish is to imply that willing is not sufficient. Yet no one believes that what is wished is as real as what is willed. Instead of “seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven” say, “will ye first the Kingdom of Heaven,” and you have said, “I know what I am, and I will to accept my own inheritance.”
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