I’m Telling You This ‘Cause You’re One Of My Friends

Ten Letters from the alphabet of "On Beyond Zebra" by Dr. SeussSaid Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell,
My very young friend who is learning to spell:
“The A is for Ape. And B is for Bear.
The C is for Camel. The H is for Hare
The M is for Mouse. And the R is for Rat.”
“I know all the twenty-six letters like that…
… Through to Z is for Zebra. I know them all well.”
Said Conrad Cornelius O’Donald O’Dell.
“So now I know everything anyone knows.
From beginning to end. From the start to the close.
Because Z is as far as the alphabet goes.”

Then he almost fell flat on his face on the floor
When I picked up the chalk and drew one letter more!
A letter he never had dreamed of before!
And I said, “You can stop, if you want, with the Z.
Because most people stop with the Z.
But not me!!!
In the places I go, there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I’m telling you this ‘cause you’re one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!”

I recalled this bit from the book On Beyond Zebra by Dr. Seuss, when I was thinking about similarities and differences between A Course in Miracles and Steps to Knowledge.  I don’t claim that the “alphabet” of Steps to Knowledge starts where the alphabet of A Course in Miracles ends, as I have already asserted more than once that there is some overlap in the material.  But it would be reasonable to say that A Course in Miracles and Steps to Knowledge emphasize different things.

In the 243 section titles of the 31 chapters of the Text of A Course in Miracles, the word Knowledge is used exactly twice.  Once in the section “Perception versus Knowledge” in Chapter 3, and the other time in the section “From Perception to Knowledge” in Chapter 13.  The word knowledge is not used in any of the lesson titles in Workbook for Students. In the same way, the word “miracle” is used exactly twice in the entire text of Steps to Knowledge.  Once in the Step 28 review, and the other time in the Step 133 review.

I consider A Course in Miracles to be about learning how to correct one’s perceptions from teaching and fortifying separation and specialness, to serving reconciliation and redemption.  These are practices that Steps to Knowledge requires of its students as they move toward the great mystery of their lives, their true selves which are not apart from life.

So perhaps it would be more descriptive to say that the alphabet of Steps to Knowledge starts somewhere in the alphabet of A Course in Miracles, and ends up in places that A Course in Miracles considers only in passing.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

There’s Nothing Like This Anywhere Near Here

Literary Analysis

This is another post in a series of posts comparing and contrasting A Course in Miracles with Steps to Knowledge.

A Course in Miracles is written in the language of historic Christianity.  All human suffering can be traced back to human choice for human independence (the “separation”).  Human suffering is described in terms of the suffering of Jesus.  Redemption from human suffering is described in terms of atonement, and so on.

Just as there are occasional, infrequent instances of poetic language in Steps to Knowledge, there are occasional, infrequent references to Christianity, like this one:

“Upon each hour today, repeat this statement [“Today I will not judge another”] as you witness yourself and the world around you. Repeat this statement and feel its impact. Release your judgments for a few moments, and then feel the contrast and the experience that this will provide for you. Do not judge another today. Allow others to reveal themselves to you. Without judgment you will not suffer under your own crown of thorns. Without judgment you will feel the presence of your Teachers assisting you.” (Step 76, “Today I will not judge another”)

I have a suspicion, a hypothesis, that there are occasional, infrequent references to all of the world’s major religions in Steps to Knowledge, but that I’m just not literate enough to notice them.  Fortunately, great literacy is not a requirement for studying Steps to Knowledge.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

How Much Of The Message Is The Medium?

Analyzing Literature

This is another post in a series of posts comparing the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”

Many people have found the literary style of A Course in Miracles worthy of investigation.  This post by Greg Mackie is a notable instance of this.  The style element I recall the most is the use of iambic pentameter, or “da-Da da-Da da-Da da-Da da-Da” as the rhythm of a line

 

Every lesson in the Workbook for Students of A Course in Miracles after lesson 99 is written in iambic pentameter.  It was not something I was expecting.  I didn’t even know what iambic pentameter was when I studied A Course in Miracles.  I remember thinking “It’s curious that many lessons have the same rhythm.”

There are occasional, infrequent instances of poetic language in Steps to Knowledge, like this one:

“It [the power of Knowledge] can be seen in the innocence of a child’s eyes; it can be imagined in the greatness of the movement of galaxies.” (Step 235, “The power of Knowledge is becoming evident to me.”)

My experience of the literary style of Steps to Knowledge is that of simple, direct, forthright declaration.  Right or wrong, true or false, it means what it says.  And that is a style consistent with this description of Knowledge:

“All things you truly need will be provided. It is when you want things that you do not truly need that your awareness of this becomes confused, and this leads you into dark speculation and grave disappointment.What you need will make you happy; what you don’t need will make you confused.This is very simple, very straightforward and very direct. Knowledge is always like that. Knowledge affirms that which is essential. Here your approach to life becomes simple and direct.Thus, you experience life as simple and direct.” (Step 253, “All things I truly need will be provided for me.”)

Just like the song on my lips and the song deep in my soul have to be the same song for me to progress, the literary style of a book and its content have to be singing the same song.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Some Literary Comparing and Contrasting

Literary Analysis

This is another post in a series comparing and contrasting the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”

One significant difference is that A Course in Miracles includes a text of roughly 290,000 words, while Steps to Knowledge does not.  The Workbook for Students of A Course in Miracles contains 365 lessons, as does Steps to Knowledge.  Some people might consider it reasonable to compare Steps to Knowledge with the Workbook for Students.

I find Steps to Knowledge and the Workbook for Students to be roughly equal in readability, both relatively free of idioms.

I had a thought today which I have never had before.  The thought is, since different people read the text of A Course in Miracles at different rates, the people will have many different states of mind when they study a particular lesson.  Therefore, there will be a wide range of outcomes when students study A Course in Miracles.  There might not be as wide a range of outcomes when students study Steps to Knowledge.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Is this a bug or a feature?

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Compare And Contrast: Who, Where, When, How, For Whom

Compare and Contrast

This post is continuing the thread of comparing and contrasting the books “A Course in Miracles” and “Steps to Knowledge.”  I don’t seek to prove anything in particular in this thread, I plan to put information that is kept in different places in one place.

Data points can be seen as similar or different depending on the scope in which they were viewed.  For example, both A Course in Miracles and Steps to Knowledge were written in the 20th Century, but one was published in 1976, and the other was published in 1989.  I’m going to give the data, and leave the decision about the significance to you.

I am using the ACIM website, the New Message from God website, and the introduction to Steps to Knowledge as data sources.

Who: Helen Schucman (1909-1981) was the scribe of A Course in Miracles.  Marshall Vian Summers is the messenger of Steps to Knowledge.

Where: A Course in Miracles was scribed in New York City.  Steps to Knowledge was received in Albany, New York. (What is it about New York?)

When: A Course in Miracles (the text, the workbook for students, and the manual for teachers) was scribed over a period of almost seven years (October 1965 to September 1972).  Steps to Knowledge was received over a period of 20 days (May 26, 1989 to June 14, 1989).  I find that significant.

How: Helen Schucman describes her experience:

“The Voice made no sound, but seemed to be giving me a kind of rapid, inner dictation which I took down in a shorthand notebook. The writing was never automatic. It could be interrupted at any time and later picked up again. It made obvious use of my educational background, interests and experience, but that was in matters of style rather than content. Certainly the subject matter itself was the last thing I would have expected to write about.”

The shorthand was later transcribed by William Thetford.

Steps to Knowledge was originally recorded on audio cassettes, and later transcribed.  Marshall Summers describes various days of his recording Steps:

May 27: “Felt so much pressure. Two intense sessions of recording. Felt really “out there” afterwards. It was difficult to be with people.”

June 1: “49 Steps in 4 hours with several breaks. Very powerful.”

June 8: “77 Steps today. Felt the Presence all day. I could not do much after this.”

For Whom: The voice dictating A Course in Miracles identified itself to her as the voice of Jesus.  The voice speaking through Marshall identifies itself as the voice of a group of unseen spiritual teachers who describe themselves as Teachers of the Greater Community.

I hope this helps.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Please Compare And Contrast

Comparing Apples to OrangesI’m making a mental note to show this image to someone who uses the phrase “You’re comparing apples to oranges” to suggest a valid comparison is not being made.  Venn diagrams have proven to be an invaluable tool for describing relationships between things.I hope to fill in the details for a Venn diagram like this:

Comparing and Contrasting A Course in Miracles with Steps to KnowledgeI hope that this will help.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

An Offering Of Gratitude

Maruru (Offerings of Gratitude) from Noa Noa by Paul Gaugain

In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, a character had immortality thrust upon him by some highly improbable events.  Unfortunately, he didn’t take it very well, and eventually decided to use his gift to insult the universe.  That is, he would insult everybody in it. Individually, personally, and in alphabetical order.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because if I were in Bowerick Wowbagger’s position, I would (among other things), visit each and every past and current student of A Course in Miracles, thank them for their efforts, and offer a sincere and heartfelt invitation to study Steps to Knowledge.  This blog post will have to do for now.

I have opined that a step in Steps to Knowledge recapitulates material in A Course in Miracles here and here.  I recently got the idea that it might be a good thing to write a few posts comparing and contrasting A Course in Miracles with Steps to Knowledge, and the larger body of material, the New Message from God, of which Steps to Knowledge is a part.  But I didn’t want to write anything without first writing “Thank you.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.