Ask: What's with "remembered not" to laugh?

“…How curious that the text says ‘remembered not to laugh’ instead of ‘forgot to laugh’ (because it is impossible to be separate from God).  Since it was such a mistake, what’s with ‘remembered’???” – KA 

Actually, it is “remembered not”. The “not” is what makes it mean “forgot”. Here is the phrase you referenced:

“Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. In his forgetting did the thought become a serious idea, and possible of both accomplishment and real effects.” (T-27.VIII.6)

Well, you want to remember to laugh? It is all because Helen Schucman had a love for iambic pentameter, the meter in which Shakespeare wrote. A Course in Miracles was dictated to her in this beat so that she would be more open to and comfortable with it. She would find it beautiful. Unfortunately, this led to some awkward passages, just as you shared. Instead of “forgot” we get “remembered not”. However, the next line clarifies with “in his forgetting”. The tyranny of this meter is why there are also many confusing double negatives sprinkled throughout ACIM.

I took care of all of that when I translated ACIM into plain language [The Message of A Course in Miracles (Text) and Practicing A Course in Miracles/The Way of A Course in Miracles (Workbook/Manual for Teachers)]. I removed unclear, awkward phrasing and double negatives, among other things.

Here is that phrase in The Message of A Course in Miracles:

“Into Eternity, Where All is One, there crept a tiny, mad idea of separation at which you who are One with God forgot to laugh. In your forgetting, the thought became serious to you, its accomplishment seemed possible, and its effects seemed real.” (MACIM-27.8.6)

It’s not as beautiful to read but I hope it is clearer!

One’s own obstacles of guilt and fear and the dense, formal way it is written make it hard for many students to understand A Course in Miracles. Some of my clients choose to spend our time together reading and discussing ACIM. They find this direct, one-on-one approach where they can get their specific questions answered shifts their understanding and practice faster than a study group. You can email me at to set up an appointment. Learn more at

If you have a question the answer to which you think will help others email it to me at and indicate that you want it answered in the newsletter/blog.


Christine said…
Oh, thanks for doing all of that re-interpreting, Liz! Sometimes I can't believe I am reading it (the Course writings, The Infinite Way, even Science and Health for old time's sake...) I hold these writings in my hands and think - gee, how did I get this? Just grateful for all of it...
nicci said…
i purchased and use both these plain language texts, reading first a section from the original (Foundation For Inner Peace edition) and then the same section in liz's text. these resources have helped me greatly in my understanding of the theory and practicing of the teachings. her translation text for the workbook lessons also include mentor's notes following some of the lessons; they have been especially beneficial. both these books have been immeasurably helpful. i have shared her translations from time to time with my study group also, always to considerable benefit for my companions there. they are a primary resource for me as i navigate this path.
ACIM Mentor said…
Thanks for the plug, Nicci!
nicci said…
a heart-felt you are welcome .
Unknown said…
I see 'remembering not to laugh' differently.
It is not used because of being poetic, but it has to be used this way.
We cannot 'forget', ideas do not leave their source. Every thought which is once generated stays in eternity. However our focus can change. Remembering is turning the focus to something. Remembering not to laugh means we are focusing on not to laugh option. However we always have a chose to remember (focus on) laugh. It is not forgotten. It is always there however when we turn our back, we cannot see that option.

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