Chapter Three: Retraining the Mind
V. Perception Versus Knowledge
30 We have been emphasizing perception and have said very little about cognition as yet because you are confused about the difference between them. The reason we have dealt so little with cognition is because you must get your perceptions straightened out before you can know anything. To know is to be certain. Uncertainty merely means that you do not know. Knowledge is power because it is certain, and certainty is strength. Perception is merely temporary. It is an attribute of the space-time belief and is therefore subject to fear or love. Misperceptions produce fear, and true perceptions produce love. Neither produces certainty because all perception varies. That is why it is not knowledge.
31 True perception is the basis for knowledge, but knowing is the affirmation of truth. All your difficulties ultimately stem from the fact that you do not recognize or know yourselves, each other, or God. To recognize means to "know again," implying that you knew before. You can see in many ways because perception involves different interpretations, and this means that it is not whole. The miracle is a way of perceiving, not of knowing. It is the right answer to a question, and you do not ask questions at all when you know.
32 Questioning illusions is the first step in undoing them. The miracle, or the "right answer," corrects them. Since perceptions change, their dependence on time is obvious. They are subject to transitory states, and this necessarily implies variability. How you perceive at any given time determines what you do, and action must occur in time. Knowledge is timeless because certainty is not questionable. You know when you have ceased to ask questions.
33 The questioning mind perceives itself in time and therefore looks for future answers. The unquestioning mind is closed because it believes the future and present will be the same. This establishes an unchanged state or stasis. It is usually an attempt to counteract an underlying fear that the future will be worse than the present, and this fear inhibits the tendency to question at all.
34 Visions are the natural perception of the Spiritual eye, but they are still corrections. The Spiritual eye is symbolic and therefore not a device for knowing. It is, however, a means of right perception, which brings it into the proper domain of the miracle. Properly speaking, "a vision of God" is a miracle rather than a revelation. The fact that perception is involved at all removes the experience from the realm of knowledge. That is why visions do not last.
35 The Bible instructs you to "know yourself" or be certain. Certainty is always of God. When you love someone, you have perceived him as he is, and this makes it possible for you to know him. However, it is not until you recognize him that you can know him. While you ask questions about God, you are clearly implying that you do not know Him. Certainty does not require action. When you say that you are acting on the basis of knowledge, you are really confusing perception and cognition. Knowledge brings the mental strength for creative thinking but not for right doing. Perception, miracles, and doing are closely related. Knowledge is the result of revelation and induces only thought. Perception involves the body, even in its most spiritualized form. Knowledge comes from the altar within and is timeless because it is certain. To perceive the truth is not the same as knowing it.
36 If you attack error in one another, you will hurt yourself. You cannot recognize each other when you attack. Attack is always made on a stranger. You are making him a stranger by misperceiving him so that you cannot know him. It is because you have made him a stranger that you are afraid of him. Perceive him correctly so that you can know him. Right perception is necessary before God can communicate directly to His own altars which He has established in His Sons. There He can communicate His certainty, and His knowledge will bring peace without question.
37 God is not a stranger to His Sons, and His Sons are not strangers to each other. Knowledge preceded both perception and time and will ultimately replace them. That is the real meaning of the Biblical description of God as "Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." It also explains the quotation, "Before Abraham was I am." Perception can and must be stabilized, but knowledge is stable. "Fear God and keep His commandments" should read "Know God and accept His certainty." There are no strangers in His creation. To create as He created, you can create only what you know and accept as yours. God knows His Children with perfect certainty. He created them by knowing them. He recognized them perfectly. When they do not recognize each other, they do not recognize Him.