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Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D.
The manual has its place in the curriculum of the Course by virtue of its role in explaining how we should teach this course, which means how we should learn it. Its purpose is to guide us in becoming teachers of God through demonstration. In one way or another, each section is about learning how to accomplish this. This line-by-line presentation of the manual is organized around two major themes and variations of these two themes, thus demonstrating through the use of this musical form the masterful way in which Jesus weaves together his message.
The first theme unifies all of the seemingly disparate questions posed in the manual—that of separate versus shared interests. This theme is the core of the Course’s concept of forgiveness. It is what makes healing possible, and is also the basis of the important topic in the text: the distinction between form and content. It emphasizes that we are all the same, reflecting the much larger theme of the Oneness of God’s Son, and his perfect unity with his Creator and Source.
The second theme is equally important—in fact, it would not be possible to learn that our interests are shared without it. It is the key to the practice of the Course: asking the Holy Spirit for help. By asking help of our inner Teacher, we become aware of our wrong-minded thought system. In what the Course refers to as our right mind, the Holy Spirit gently corrects our misperceptions.