Course in Miracles
23 - War Against Yourself
Laws of Chaos
“laws” of chaos can be brought to light, though never
laws are hardly meaningful and therefore out of reason’s sphere.
Yet they appear to constitute an obstacle to reason and to truth.
Let us, then, look upon
them calmly, that we may look beyond them, understanding what they
are, not what they would maintain.
It is essential it
be understood what they are for, because it is their
purpose to make meaningless and to attack the truth.
are the laws that rule the world you made.
And yet they govern nothing
and need not be broken; merely looked upon and gone beyond.
first chaotic law is that...
truth is different for everyone.
Like all these principles,
this one maintains that each is separate and has a different set
of thoughts which sets him off from others. This principle evolves
from the belief there is a hierarchy of illusions; some are more
valuable and therefore true. Each one establishes this for himself
and makes it true by his attack on what another values. And this
is justified because the values differ and those who hold them seem
to be unlike and therefore enemies.
Think how this seems
to interfere with the first principle of miracles. For this establishes
degrees of truth among illusions, making it appear that some of
them are harder to overcome than others. If it were realized that
they are all the same and equally untrue, it would be easy, then,
to understand that miracles apply to all of them. Errors of any
kind can be corrected because they are untrue. When brought to truth
instead of to each other, they merely disappear. No part of nothing
can be more resistant to the truth than can another.
second law of chaos, dear indeed to every worshipper of sin, is
one must sin and therefore deserves attack and death.
This principle, closely
related to the first, is the demand that errors call for punishment
and not correction. For the destruction of the one who makes the
error places him beyond correction and beyond forgiveness. What
he has done is thus interpreted as an irrevocable sentence upon
himself, which God Himself is powerless to overcome. Sin cannot
be remitted, being the belief the Son of God can make mistakes for
which his own destruction becomes inevitable.
Think what this seems
to do to the relationship between the Father and the Son. Now it
appears that they can never be one again. For one must always be
condemned and by the other.
Now are they different
And their relationship
is one of opposition, just as the separate aspects of the Son meet
only to conflict but not to join. One becomes weak, the other strong
by his defeat. And fear of God and of each other now appears as
sensible, made real by what the Son of God has done both to himself
and his Creator. The arrogance on which the laws of chaos stand
could not be more apparent than emerges here.
Here is a principle
which would define...
- what the Creator of
reality must be;
- what He must think
- what He must believe;
- how He must respond, believing
It is not seen as
even necessary that He be asked about the truth of what has been
established for His belief. His Son can tell Him this, and He has
but the choice whether to take his word for it or be mistaken.
leads directly to the third preposterous belief that seems to make
For if God cannot be mistaken, then He must accept his
Son’s belief in what he is and hate him for it.
See how the fear of God is reinforced
by this third principle. Now it becomes impossible to turn to Him
for help in misery. For now He has become the "enemy"
Who caused it and to Whom appeal is useless. Nor can salvation lie
within the Son, whose every aspect seems to be at war with Him and
justified in its attack. And now is conflict made inevitable and
beyond the help of God. And now salvation must remain impossible
because the savior has become the enemy.
There can be no release
and no escape. Atonement thus becomes a myth, and vengeance, not
forgiveness, is the Will of God. From where all this begins, there
is no sight of help that can succeed. Only destruction can be the
outcome. And God Himself seems to be siding with it to overcome
His Son. Think not the ego will enable you to find escape from what
it wants. That is the function of this course, which does not value
what the ego cherishes.
values only what it takes. This leads to the fourth law of chaos,
which, if the others are accepted, must be true. This
seeming law is the belief...
have what you have taken.
By this, another's
loss becomes your gain, and thus it fails to recognize that you
can never take away save from yourself. Yet all the other laws must
lead to this. For enemies do not give willingly to one another,
nor would they seek to share the things they value. And what your
enemies would keep from you must be worth having, just because they
keep it hidden from your sight.
All of the mechanisms
of madness are seen emerging here...
made strong by keeping hidden the valuable inheritance which
should be yours;
position and attack for what has been withheld; and
loss the enemy must suffer, to save yourself.
Thus do the guilty
ones protest their "innocence." Were they not forced into
this foul attack by the unscrupulous behavior of the enemy, they
would respond with only kindness. But
in a savage world, the kind cannot survive, so they must take or
else be taken from.
And now there is a
vague unanswered question, not yet "explained."
What is this precious
thing, this priceless pearl, this hidden secret treasure, to be
wrested in righteous wrath from this most treacherous and cunning
It must be what you
want but never found. And now you "understand" the reason
why you found it not. For it was taken from you by this enemy and
hidden where you would not think to look. He hid it in his body,
making it the cover for his guilt, the hiding place for what belongs
to you. Now must his body be destroyed and sacrificed that you may
have that which belongs to you. His treachery demands his death
that you may live. And you attack only in self defense.
what is it you want that needs his death? Can you be sure your murderous
attack is justified unless you know what it is for? And here a final
principle of chaos comes to the rescue. It holds...
is a substitute for love.
This is the "magic"
that will cure all of your pain; the missing factor in your madness
that makes it "sane." This is the reason why you must
attack. Here is what makes your vengeance justified. Behold, unveiled,
the ego's secret gift, torn from your brother's body, hidden there
in malice and in hatred for the one to whom the gift belongs. He
would deprive you of the secret ingredient which would give meaning
to your life. The substitute for love, born of your enmity to one
another, must be salvation. It has no substitute, and there is only
one. And all your relationships have but the purpose of seizing
it and making it your own..
Never is your possession
made complete. And never will your brother cease his attack on you
for what you stole. Nor will God end His vengeance upon both, for
in His madness He must have this substitute for love and kill you
both. You who believe you walk in sanity, with feet on solid ground
and through a world where meaning can be found, consider this:
[These are the laws
on which your "sanity" appears to rest.] These are the
principles which make the ground beneath your feet seem solid.
And it is here you look for meaning. These are the laws you made
for your salvation. They hold in place the substitute for Heaven
which you prefer. This is their purpose; they were made for this.
There is no point in asking what they mean. That is apparent.
The means of madness must be insane. Are you as certain that you
realize the goal is madness?
No one wants madness,
nor does anyone cling to his madness if he sees that this is what
it is. What protects madness is the belief that it is true. It is
the function of insanity to take the place of truth. It must be
seen as truth to be believed. And if it is the truth, then must
its opposite, which was the truth before, be madness now.
Such a reversal, completely
turned around, with...
- madness sanity,
- illusions true,
- attack a kindness,
- hatred love and
- murder benediction,
is the goal the laws
of chaos serve.
These are the means
by which the laws of God appear to be reversed. Here do the laws
of sin appear to hold love captive and let sin go free.
These do not seem
to be the goals of chaos, for by the great reversal, they appear
to be the laws of order. How could it not be so? Chaos is lawlessness
and has no laws. To be believed, its seeming laws must be perceived
as real. Their goal of madness must be seen as sanity. And fear,
with ashen lips and sightless eyes, blinded and terrible to look
upon, is lifted to the throne of love, its dying conqueror, its
substitute, the savior from salvation. How lovely do the laws of
fear make death appear! Give thanks unto the hero on love's throne,
who saved the Son of God for fear and death!
And yet, how can it
be that laws like these can be believed? There is a strange device
that makes it possible. Nor is it unfamiliar; we have seen how it
appears to function many times before. In truth it does not function,
yet in dreams, where only shadows play the major roles, it seems
most powerful. No law of chaos could compel belief but for the emphasis
on form and disregard of content. No one who thinks that one of
them is true sees what it says. Some forms it takes seem to have
meaning, and that is all.
How can some forms
of murder not mean death? Can an attack in any form be love? What
form of condemnation is a blessing? Who makes his savior powerless
and finds salvation? Let not the form of the attack on him deceive
you. You cannot seek to harm him and be saved. Who can find safety
from attack by turning on himself? How can it matter what the form
this madness takes? It is a judgment that defeats itself, condemning
what it says it wants to save. Be not deceived when madness takes
a form you think is lovely. What is intent on your destruction is
not your friend.
You would maintain
and think it true that you do not believe these senseless laws nor
act upon them. And when you look at what they say, they cannot be
believed. Brothers, you do believe them. For how else could you
perceive the form they take with content such as this? Can any form
of this be tenable? Yet you believe them for the form they take
and do not recognize the content. It never changes. Can you paint
rosy lips upon a skeleton, dress it in loveliness, pet it and pamper
it, and make it live? And can you be content with an illusion that
you are living?
There is not life
outside of Heaven. Where God created life, there life must be.
In any state apart from Heaven, life is illusion.
At best, it seems
like life; at worst, like death. Yet both are judgments on what
is not life, equal in their inaccuracy and lack of meaning. Life
not in Heaven is impossible, and what is not in Heaven is not anywhere.
Outside of Heaven, only the conflict of illusions stands; senseless,
impossible, and beyond all reason, and yet perceived as an eternal
barrier to Heaven. Illusions are but forms. Their content is never
The laws of chaos govern
Their forms conflict,
making it seem quite possible to value some above the others. Yet
each one rests as surely on the belief the laws of chaos are the
laws of order as do the others. Each one upholds these laws completely,
offering a certain witness that these laws are true. The seeming
gentler forms of the attack are no less certain in their witnessing
or their results. Certain it is illusions will bring fear because
of the beliefs that they imply, not for their form. And lack of
faith in love in any form attests to chaos as reality.
From the belief in
sin, the faith in chaos must follow. It is because it follows that
it seems to be a logical conclusion--a valid step in ordered thought.
The steps to chaos do follow neatly from their starting point. Each
is a different form in the progression of truth's reversal, leading
still deeper into terror and away from truth. Think not one step
is smaller than another nor that return from one is easier. The
whole descent from Heaven lies in each one. And where your thinking
starts, there must it end.
Brothers, take not
one step in the descent to hell. For having taken one, you will
not recognize the rest for what they are. And they will follow.
Attack in any form has placed your foot upon the twisted stairway
that leads from Heaven. Yet any instant it is possible to have all
can you know whether you chose the stairs to Heaven or the way
Quite easily. How
do you feel? Is peace in your awareness? Are you certain which way
you go? And are you sure the goal of Heaven can be reached? If not,
you walk alone. Ask, then, your Friend to join with you and give
you certainty of where you go.