Stupidity is a choice

One of the more well-known humorous quotes by musician Frank Zappa (1940-1993) is about the essence of the universe: “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.” He probably never realized, from the perspective of A Course in Miracles, just how close he was to the truth. After all, the Big Bang was the direct result of the Son of God, seemingly having chosen a dream of separation from God, stupidly deciding to splinter into billions of fragments, in a maladaptive attempt to hide from God. In ACIM, Jesus calls it madness: “Call it not sin but madness, for such it was and so it still remains. Invest it not with guilt, for guilt implies it was accomplished in reality.” (T-18.I.6). But although Frank Zappa frequently joked in his music about the silliness of the world, he was rather pessimistic about the outlook for mankind. He did not realize that you and I are not a helpless figure in an evil reality; rather, we are the dreamer of this nightmarish waking dream. A dream that is, to remind ourselves again, already over in reality, because it never truly happened, since in reality it could never happen. Let’s look at some ways the madness manifests in our waking dream of time and space that seems to palpably real.

My body is constantly bombarded by vicious bacteria, viruses and parasites. We scientifically battle these lifeforms, but they seem to be quite capable of keeping pace with our progress, as they learn to mutate ever more rapidly. No matter how much attention you and I pay daily to our health and well-being, we sooner or later get physically sick from time to time. It’s a rat-race that seems to go on and on (and we won’t win).
No matter how kind and loving you and I try to live our lives, sooner or later we get irritated, dislike situations and/or people, and wish that this or that would be different. Our minds are barely at peace at all during a day. Moreover, Murphy is always around: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong sooner or later.
We constantly elect political leaders who claim to act in the best interest of the people, but in practice primarily listen to the large corporations. We notice that very few people act in the general interest; by far most people act primarily in their own interest. Hmm, that’s including ourselves if we honestly look at our own projections… ouch!
Ah, and let’s not forget: the climate is seriously at stake. Millions of tons of plastic in the oceans seriously threaten our flora and fauna. Loads of medicinal progesteron waste deforms huge amounts of fish. In metropolitan areas, the air has become barely breathable. The global warming is very, very likely caused solely by human industrial factors. We may already be too late to prevent the global temperate from rising several degrees. If the ice caps melt, the rising sea level will cause millions and millions of deaths. That is, if your planet it not struck by some meteorite before that, extinguishing 90% of the population.
Apart from that, no matter how well we take care of our lives and our planet, sooner or later we all die anyway. We can invent ways to prolong the longevity of the physical body, but the extra years are not necessarily more happy years. Moreover, if I see my life span in the course of the millions of years of the existence of the planet and the universe, my lifespan sort of resembles one brief tinkle of a firefly in the night. In the larger picture of time and space, my physical life on earth is totally insignificant and irrelevant.

Again, this is what Jesus calls madness in A Course in Miracles. And we all believe it. Only when we honestly study and practice Jesus’ curriculum, we (slowly!) come to realize that the way to end the madness is not to renounce the world (asceticism), or to just party all our lives (since it’s all illusory anyway), nor to sedate our pain for the rest of our days. The trick to end this madness is to be very active in the world, but to do it with a different teacher. This is because the madness is not in the world per se, but in the thought system that made up this world: the ego, which is the idea of attack, separation, defense, pain, and death. Most of us have a grandparent who taught us that the only real way out of a difficulty is to face it and go right through it. In the same vein, Jesus pleads with us to look at the thought system we have chosen, from a bird’s eye perspective above the battleground, very calmly, without any condemnation, in no way denying the pain (psychological/physical) that we experience, and then realize just what we have chosen. He then simply invites us to “Brother, choose again” (T-31.VIII.3), meaning: why not choose to be guided in your thoughts and activities in this world by the Holy Spirit. You will be so much happier.

Kenneth Wapnick has emphasized many times that no-one should expect this to be a choice that’s easily made. After all, this requires complete trust in the Love of God, in which there is no room for any individuality. Bye-bye, cherished personality! The development of trust (M-4.I.1) is a process with many phases, stages and eye-opening moments. It’s no good banging yourself over the head and making yourself feel guilty for not having attained such a level of trust as yet. Such pain suits the ego very nicely; it conveniently seduces you to choose asceticism, partying, or numbing your mind – all perfect distractions to ensure the ego’s continued existence. Once you are convinced that letting go of your cherished personality is the way to eternal peace, the first step is simply to choose to step back and ask the other Teacher what to do. If you listen in silence, and wait for an answer to come without any fear or pain involved, you are making significant progress on the ladder out of the hell of madness. And you realize with astonishment that the madness and stupidity that we had heretofore taken as facts of life, are actually conscious choices by the seemingly sleeping Son of God, of which you and I are a holographic part, and they can be undone… just by choosing once again. That’s the road to the disappearance of the universe and the remembering of Oneness, the hearing of the eternal call of God:  “Forget all things except My changeless Love. Forget all things except that I am here.”  (The Gifts of God, p.128)

Also see my seven “guidelines for living in an illusory world” in “Miracles or Murder: a guide to concepts of A Course in Miracles“. This guidebook, endorsed by Gary and Cindy Renard, was published in March 2016 by Outskirts Press and is available at


3 thoughts on “Stupidity is a choice

  1. Thank you Jan-Willem for this inspiring essay. What appear to be stupid choices within the dream are perhaps ignorant choices faithfully (and perhaps unconsciously) repeated. Training can overcome ignorance and Jesus provides that superbly. An example of stupidity could be to experience good training and then live in opposition to it. “Ignorance” appears several times in the Course, “stupid” is never mentioned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Stupid” is of course judgmental (condemnatory). Ignorance is much more neutral. If we accuse anyone of stupidity in the dream, we are actually pointing the finger at ourselves, for our own silliness of making this world real.


  3. Pingback: Waanzin is een keuze – Ik zoek innerlijke vrede .nl

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