Sex, statistics, and editing the Course

From the early Course-related documents available to us, we learn that Jesus used specific experiences from the lives of Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford to illustrate the ideas he was communicating. On one occasion while the Text portion of the Course was being given to Helen and Bill, Jesus used Helen's sexual attraction to a fellow co-worker at Columbia University, to launch into a concept he said was "an area the miracle worker must understand."

" . . . . [Helen's] confusion of sex and statistics is an interesting example of this whole issue. Note that night you spent . . . doing a complex factorial analysis of covariance . . . you wanted that design [for a psychology test], and Jack [a colleague at Columbia University] opposed it. One of the real reasons why that evening was so exhilarating was because it represented a 'battle of intellects'. . . each communicating exceptionally clearly but on opposite sides. The sexual aspects were naturally touched off in both of you, because of the sex and aggression confusion . . ."
There was more than just physical attraction that sparked between the two on that occasion. There was also "the complete respect each of your offered to the other’s intellect."

However, there was also an error involved.
"The error . . . [was] because neither of you was respecting all of the other. There is a great deal more to a person than intellect & genitals [physical attraction]. The omission was the Soul. Sex is often utilized on behalf of very similar errors. Hostility, triumph, vengeance, self-debasement, and all sort of expressions of the lack of love are often very clearly seen in the accompanying fantasies . . . . "
Neither Helen nor Jack were perceiving each other as complete beings, or in a way that included their spiritual or soul component. Certain aspects were selected out and focused upon to the exclusion of the whole.

It is not uncommon these days to focus exclusively upon physical characteristics of another and to exclude everything else. Thus the term 'sex object,' or not seeing the other as a person at all, but just as a means of personal sexual gratification.

The discussion between Jesus and Helen up to this point was fairly straight-forward psychology, and was not directly a topic for the Course itself. The discussion outlined above was edited out of the 1972 version of the Course. The discussion was, however, the basis for something else. Something very important for miracle-workers to know and understand.
"The confusion of miracle impulse with sexual impulse is a major source of perceptual distortion, because it induces rather than straightening out the basic level-confusion which underlies all those who seek happiness with the instruments of the world . . . I want to finish the instructions about sex, because this is an area the miracle worker must understand. Inappropriate sex drives (or misdirected miracle-impulses) result in guilt if expressed, and depression if denied. We said before that all real pleasure comes from doing God’s will. Whenever it is not done an experience of lack results. This is because not doing the will of God IS a lack of self. . . The pleasure which is derived from sex as such is reliable only because it stems from an error which men shared. Awareness of the error produces the guilt. Denial of the error results in projection. Correction of the error brings release."
The "error which men shared," was that sex as such, or relating to bodies alone and without relating to the whole, was pleasurable by itself.

Although the clear topic of discussion here was sexual impulses, when the time came for Bill and Helen to edit the Course, they changed "sexual impulse" to "physical impulses," but left the remainder very similar to the original dictation. This is how it reads in the 1972 version:
"The confusion of miracle impulses with physical impulses is a major source of perceptual distortion because it induces, rather than straightens out, the basic level confusion which underlies the perception of all those who seek happiness with the instruments of this world. Inappropriate physical impulses (or misdirected miracle impulses) result in conscious guilt if expressed and depression if denied. all real pleasure comes from doing God's will. This is because not doing it is a denial of self. Denial of error results in projection. correction of error brings release."
Although Bill and Helen had reservations about express mention of sexual issues in their proposed public version of the Course, some of the basic message still shows through their editing. It was, however, rendered much less useful.

With the final round of editing immediately prior to first release of the Course to the general public in 1975, the passage took a bizarre twist. The published version first states that miracle impulses should not be confused with physical impulses, but in the next sentence it states, "Physical impulses are misdirected miracle impulses." The original "denial of error results in projection" is changed to "denial of self results in illusions."

It is amazing how a straight forward discussion of sex got so twisted around.