“I think therefore I am” …Rene Descartes
I’m not an expert of any sort, so I’m going to state my point of view as I understand it, concerning the above statement by Rene Descartes. It’s my understanding that Descartes doubted everything, including his own existence. He searched most of his life to find something he couldn’t doubt. Eventually he realized that in his searching he was thinking, and it dawned upon him that there had to be someone doing the thinking. He finally found something he couldn’t doubt, which was, he was “thinking,” and this realization proved to him beyond doubt that he existed.
I understand the above is a very simplified explanation of a very famous quote, but as mentioned, it’s my point of view as I understand it. I see myself as a very simple person, therefore I’ve offered a very simple explanation, which may, or may not, be somewhere near correct. But nevertheless, I think it is somewhere close to what he meant, only expressed in layman’s terms.
“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.”
Even though the above quote is widely credited to the fourth-century BC Greek philosopher, Socrates, it seems that no one knows for certain who coined it. But that doesn’t matter. The thing that does matter to me is the wisdom it contains. For this world of illusions contains no actual knowledge at all, as the Course implies in the following quote:
“All therapy is release from the past. That is why the Holy Spirit is the only therapist. He teaches that the past does not exist, a fact which belongs to the sphere of knowledge and which therefore no one in the world knows. It would indeed be impossible to be in the world with this knowledge. For the mind that knows this unequivocally knows also that it dwells in eternity and utilizes no perception at all.
“To know that you know nothing of LOVE. is to know that you know all of LOVE.” …Kip Baldwin
Wow! Does that not sound like a complete contradiction? How could you know nothing of anything and yet know all of it?
There I go again, asking questions that are really difficult to answer. And even if I could answer them, I ask myself; can you do so in a coherent and understandable manner? And then I recall something I once read by Albert Einstein. He said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
I think to myself; it’s okay for a genius like Einstein to point that out. He could probably explain most things with relative ease. But I’m so far from his category of genius that I don’t have such luxury. I’m only writing about it because I need to learn it.
“The ego is the belief of the mind that it is completely on its own” …ACIM
Everything in this so-called life is a choice. It matters not how we perceive it, what we believe about it, nor our determination to judge it, everything is a choice. But that being said, there is one exception, which is, as the Course points out: “When God created you, He made you part of Him.” There is no choice in this, for truth is truth, and shall always be true. You are now, and you will forever be, a Part of God. Most of us don’t believe this, for we’re taught from birth by well-meaning people that we’re something other than that which we are.
The quote in the above paragraph needs to be looked at very carefully, especially by those who are interested in learning. Some teach that our Creator created us just like Him, which is true. But, if we leave it at that, it can be a bit misleading, for it can be interpreted as if he created us as separate entities that are just like Him.
This is the kind of teaching that gives the ego an opening to amplify a falsity, and cause a belief in separateness. The quote doesn’t say that He created you just to be like Him; it says, He made you part of Him – and there is a huge and very important difference. For no part of God is, nor ever will be, separate from Him.
“A mind within a body and a world of other bodies, each with separate minds, are your “creations,” you the “other” mind, creating with effects unlike yourself.” …ACIM
The above quote is a description of the origin, the making and the works of the ego, the so-called “other” mind. It’s the part of the mind that believes it is completely on its own, which we as part of God will never be.
There’s something we must remember and understand always, which is this: As mentioned above, God created us as part of Him. As part of Him we are endowed with the very same Power of Creation He is. Therefore, we are creators, but we cannot create anything that is not part of us, and by extension part of Him. So how do we explain it when the above quote tells us that we are creating with effects unlike our self?
Luckily we don’t have to explain it because the Course goes on to explain itself. It says: “Nothing at all has happened but that you have put yourself to sleep and dreamed a dream in which you were an alien to yourself and but a part of someone else’s dream.” And it’s right here that the title of this post reveals itself. For how could we be asleep and part of someone else’s dream, and actually know anything?
“To Be as LOVE, means to accept all that LOVE is, all that you are.” …Kip Baldwin
When Rene Descartes said, I think therefore I am, and Socrates uttered, I know nothing, they were both referencing this physical experience. Descartes had discovered the only thing about it that to him was true, and therefore, couldn’t be doubted. The one and only thing he could be certain of was, he could think.
Socrates had reached a factual conclusion also. I think he concluded that there’s so much more to existence than this world of illusions that what our physical senses behold is not actual knowledge. Therefore, the one and only thing he could know for certain was, like all of us who think we live here, he knew nothing.
Descartes and Socrates were both very wise men, which is why their observations remain with us all these years later. They remain because we all know deep within that what they pointed out is overflowing with truth, and truth is eternal. They had reached a point in understanding that we all must reach sooner or later.
“To know you know nothing, is to know you know all” …Kip Baldwin
The world we see as physical beings is a world of illusions, therefore, there’s absolutely no reality in it to know. When we understand this we’ll know that in this world we know nothing. Once this happens, then the truth of what we do know will come streaming into our minds.
We’ll then know the one and only thing any of us will ever know, that which we already know, but have forgotten; our own reality. God Himself has kept the memory of it deep within our minds awaiting but our awareness. Once we allow it into our awareness we’ll know our reality as part of Him; and what else would there be to know?
I’m going to close this post with a quote by the American writer, theologian and mystic, Thomas Merton. He said: “To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is love. Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.”
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