Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


A Belief System Blind To Itself

Oxbow Commons, Napa, California, USA

February 4, 2016



"Life is empty and meaningless, and it's empty and meaningless that it's empty and meaningless."  ... 
"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." ... Alan Watts
"The truth believed is a lie."  ... 
"I do this because this is what I do." ... Alan Watts, answering the question "Why do you do this?"
This essay, A Belief System Blind To Itself, is the companion piece to Deadly Distractions.

It is also the sequel to
  1. On Having No Past
  2. Beginner's Mind: On Having No Memory
  3. There's Nothing To Get, Revisited
in that order.

I am indebted to Anita Lynn Erhard who inspired this conversation.




Transformation is simple ... but it isn't always easy  (if it were easy, the whole world would be transformed by now, yes?). Transformation is slippery  ie it can be hard to grasp. I mean that literally. Not idiomatically. Transformation being idiomatically  hard to grasp, is best capsulated in Alan Watts' roguish "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.". But literally, when I say transformation is hard to grasp, the thing is it's us / we  who make it hard to grasp. It, by itself, is just what it is - or (spoken with rigor) by itself, it's simply "what  is" (rather than "what it  is" - the difference is subtle, profound, elusive, and yes, slippery). What's making transformation slippery is what we impose on it. And two of our impositions on already  transformation (if you will) are meaning  and belief  - broadly speaking here.

Let's you and I take a moment or two to examine this assertion.

We occupy ourselves (which is to say we pre-occupy ourselves) looking for ie in search of  meaning in life - or colloquially, for "the meaning of life". And clearly, the meaning of life isn't readily apparent. So we search for it, yes? We're convinced  there's a meaning. Entire lifetimes  are spent occupied with trying to unearth it ie with trying to figure it all out. But what if we actually got it right the first  time? What if there really  is no meaning of life other than  the arbitrary meanings we  assign to life? This counter-intuitive postulate that life really has no meaning, is something which can only be fully appreciated when we discard our self-imposed insistence on searching for its (non-existent) meaning. What is it that opens up  and becomes available when we live life as it is, without assigning meaning?  What is it that opens up after we've dispensed with and discarded our futile insistence on assigning meaning when there's really none? Consider it's the possibility of living life transformed.

We occupy ourselves (which is to say we pre-occupy ourselves) looking for ie in search of what there is to believe  in life (and about life) - which is to say, for a truly ordained set of beliefs ie for a belief system  we should adhere to. What we should  believe in life (and about life) isn't apparent. So we search for it. We'll wonder if we're required to believe in something, yes? Millions and millions  of us are convinced the survival of our very lives depends on it - no, we're convinced the survival of our very lives requires  it. But what if we actually got it right the first time? What if we're not required to believe anything? What if whatever  we believe, doesn't make a difference?  More pointedly, what if believing in something doesn't make it real?  Listen: believing in anything only gets in the way of living life transformed. A belief system, if not rigorously distinguished as just one of many possible belief systems, is a distraction to living a transformed life. You're not required to believe in belief.

Consider this: transformation doesn't add new meaning to life (nor does it take away  any meaning we've assigned to life). Transformation isn't a new and better belief system. It doesn't tout anything to believe newly about life, and it doesn't disrespect, disrupt, or damage our existing cherished beliefs about life, or our belief systems. If anything, it recontextualizes  (I love that word) any and all meaning we've assigned to Life itself, to our existing cherished beliefs about life, and our belief systems.

Meanings we assume are (or are components of) the  meaning of life, distract from authentic, genuine, real, thrilling  transformation. Any belief system, no matter how much we cherish it, no matter how much widespread worldwide agreement it may have garnered, when not distinguished as simply one of the many possible valid belief systems, and not necessarily "The Truth", is a belief system blind to itself. A belief system blind to itself, by definition, doesn't distinguish itself as one of many possible valid belief systems, and not necessarily "The Truth". A belief system blind to itself, will distract from authentic, genuine, real, thrilling transformation. Really!



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2016 Permission