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Collective Consciousness vs. Individual Consciousness

Participant: A friend was talking earlier about the collective consciousness, the Christ Mind Consciousness. There are a lot of belief systems that have specific procedures on dealing with the human pool of consciousness, sometimes referred to as the “raised mind consciousness” thinking in large groups in which there are several specific types of thought manifestations all the way to mass hypnosis that… because thoughts are things and large numbers of people may hold the same thought about an event or person or anything that it effects the truth and our ability to see the truth and we need to in some way deal with that in our thinking.

How does the Course deal with this specifically? Because I’ve only seen references to individual thought and not collective thought.

Speaker: Well, let’s turn to page 51 which will be a helpful one to start it off. The subheading is ‘The Ego and False Autonomy’.

When we start to get to this idea of the collective… Because a lot of times I hear talk about, “I am dealing with my ego and then there is the collective ego.” And also I will hear about, “My friend so-and-so, their ego is really acting up. And what I am I to do since I am doing pretty good at handling mine right now but my friend is out of control?”

The first two sentences of that paragraph are really helpful. And that is…

”Everyone makes an ego or a self for himself, which is subject to enormous variation because of its instability. He also makes an ego for everyone else he perceives…”

Oh! Now we’re getting past the trick of the collective! You see, that’s where the individual mind thing comes in. Jesus is addressing the Course to the reader and he is saying that your mind is twisted and not only have you made an ego for yourself, which you might call your personality, but you have made an ego for every other person you meet and it’s your dream. So in other words, you are the Dreamer of the Dream but you have made this whole thing up. Now that’s a huge leap because there’s another part in the Course where he kind of gives a hint at this back in the Teacher’s Manual where the question is ‘How many teachers of God will it take to save the world?’ When you think of it in the collective kind of a sense when you are wondering how many thousands is it going to be to handle this mess and the answer that Jesus gives is, one.

If it’s a collective thing and it only takes one teacher of God to handle this seemingly multiplicity mess…this is pretty deep. It all goes back to the idea that there is only one mind and the whole idea of the collective or of multiple minds even or egos or whatever is a metaphorical construct that Jesus is using and one that he uses often in the Course when he talks about ‘your brother’s mind’ and he talks about ‘minds’ plural, a lot. These are metaphorical constructs and the way that it can help to get a hint that he is just talking about it in a metaphorical sense when he uses plural is way back in the clarification of terms, where he talks about Mind and Spirit right at the beginning in the clarification of terms. At the bottom of the first paragraph he does talk about what you had mentioned earlier tonight about the unified spirit. “The unified spirit is God's one Son, or Christ. In this world, because the mind is split, the sons of God appear to be separate nor do their minds seem to be joined. In this illusory state a concept of an “individual mind” seems to be meaningful.” So you can tell that he is describing and using the metaphor of the individual mind as if we each have one. But because he knows that the mind is so convinced, so believing in the illusion that it would make no sense to just come out and be describing things in terms of the one mind that basically it goes on to say that this course is written at the ego level where it is needed. It would do no good to just have two words… God Is. Because mind is not in touch with “God Is”. It really believes in fragmentation and needs a system to help undo that fragmentation.

Once again it is described as if it has two parts, as if in italics. The split mind is a metaphor because in reality the separation didn’t happen. It’s impossible because God didn’t create separation. But he knows that when the mind is in the deluded state that you have to have something to work with and so as a structural component or metaphor it is described as if it is split in two parts – a right mind and a wrong mind. When we get into the collective and the belief that the collective is causative in some way and that it influences individuals it still part of the ego’s backward thinking. It’s a big thing to remember that I am responsible for what I see, ‘I choose the feelings I experience’ and that ‘I decide upon the goal I would achieve’ and ‘everything that seems to happen to me I ask for and receive as I have asked’. That last one is a quote from page 418 and it doesn’t leave a lot of leeway for projection, if all my feelings, if all my perceptions come from my decision then I am responsible. That’s the good news in the sense that that’s where the empowerment comes back to. I don’t have to rely on anything or anyone outside myself to accept the Atonement. But I can’t project the responsibility for the ego anywhere else.

Participant: Right, right. It sounds right to me.

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