I do not know what anything is for.
1. Purpose is meaning. 2Today’s idea explains why nothing you see means anything. 3You do not know what it is for. 4Therefore, it is meaningless to you. 5Everything is for your own best interests. 6That is what it is for; that is its purpose; that is what it means. 7It is in recognizing this that your goals become unified. 8It is in recognizing this that what you see is given meaning.
2. You perceive the world and everything in it as meaningful in terms of ego goals. 2These goals have nothing to do with your own best interests, because the ego is not you. 3This false identification makes you incapable of understanding what anything is for. 4As a result, you are bound to misuse it. 5When you believe this, you will try to withdraw the goals you have assigned to the world, instead of attempting to reinforce them.
3. Another way of describing the goals you now perceive is to say that they are all concerned with “personal” interests. 2Since you have no personal interests, your goals are really concerned with nothing. 3In cherishing them, therefore, you have no goals at all. 4And thus you do not know what anything is for.
4. Before you can make any sense out of the exercises for today, one more thought is necessary. 2At the most superficial levels, you do recognize purpose. 3Yet purpose cannot be understood at these levels. 4For example, you do understand that a telephone is for the purpose of talking to someone who is not physically in your immediate vicinity. 5What you do not understand is what you want to reach him for. 6And it is this that makes your contact with him meaningful or not.
5. It is crucial to your learning to be willing to give up the goals you have established for everything. 2The recognition that they are meaningless, rather than “good” or “bad,” is the only way to accomplish this. 3The idea for today is a step in this direction.
6. Six practice periods, each of two-minutes duration, are required. 2Each practice period should begin with a slow repetition of the idea for today, followed by looking about you and letting your glance rest on whatever happens to catch your eye, near or far, “important” or “unimportant,” “human” or “nonhuman.” 3With your eyes resting on each subject you so select, say, for example:
4I do not know what this chair is for.
5I do not know what this pencil is for.
6I do not know what this hand is for.
7Say this quite slowly, without shifting your eyes from the subject until you have completed the statement about it. 8Then move on to the next subject, and apply today’s idea as before.