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 Convenient Omission

Napa, California, USA

December 20, 2022

"The most strongly enforced of all known taboos is the taboo against knowing who or what you really are behind the mask of your apparently separate, independent, and isolated ego."
... Alan W ("Wilson") Watts
This essay, A Convenient Omission, is the companion piece to An Inconvenient Omission.

It was written at the same time as An Inconvenient Omission.

I am indebted to Alan Watts who inspired this conversation.


The matter of who we really are (or if you prefer, of what  we really are) is for the most part not included in our polite exchanges and day to day conversation. Neither for that matter is it front-and-center in our institutions of education and / or our technical schooling. Even stranger, it's not included in our religious discourses much either.

Indeed, the very fact of the matter that who we really are isn't included, isn't included either.

It's a convenient  omission, and it's also an inconvenient  omission. Here's the convenient omission.

I hazard a guess (and I hazard a second guess that my first guess is accurate) that some of us already are  that when this conversation we're about to have is complete, it will have been too abstract, too heady, too intellectual. I submit to you it's really not. It's actually a dogshit reality  which we cast as abstract, heady, intellectual in order to resist it. And it's OK ie alright if you do. But I invite you to stay the course and remain open to its abstracts after it's complete.

Most of us at some point or other in our lives have asked ourselves ie mused something like "Is it just me?"  ie "Am I the only one?". My own most clear-cut recollection of first asking these questions was when I began noticing that who we really  are, isn't something we have a comfortable handle on. More than that, we don't have a comfortable handle on who we really are, and yet we do things. We live our lives, we drive cars, we cook, we go to the store. Yet we don't have a handle on who we really are as we drive cars, as we cook, as we go to the store. Man! I find that strange (is it just me? am I the only one?).

This is what's always occurred to me as strange, as an anomaly: how can we, not having a handle on / not knowing who we really are, do anything at all?  And when I say "... not knowing who we really are ..." I don't mean not knowing our name, our height, our net worth, our mailing address etc. I mean not knowing who we really  are. We live our lives. We truly work hard at living our lives. And yet we don't know who or what we really are that's living our lives. It's unfathomable. This is what I began noticing: we're OK with omitting who's really living our lives, we're OK with omitting what's really living our lives. It was a big awakening for me, one which begged so many questions. It's when I first mused "That's mighty convenient"  (is it just me? am I the only one?).

Actually, omitting who we really are, isn't merely convenient. It's waaay  beyond merely convenient. It's chiseled into the rock by an ancient taboo, a taboo that justifies keeping who we really are out of reach. It wasn't set in place by a legal process, a vote, or a discussion of any kind. It's dictated automatically  by our survival instinct ie by our drive to survive. The omission is automatic, so who we really are is omitted for  us ie without effort and conveniently. That's what there is to confront: this omission is really convenient. And what's "convenient" about it is it allows us to avoid being responsible for who we really are.

Stepping up to being responsible for who we really are, isn't required in order to survive. Really. You and I will survive for as long as we do, whether or not we step up to being responsible for being who we really are. Omitting being responsible for who we really are, is convenient inasmuch as it lets us off  to commit to nothing, yet surviving and allowing the status quo to persist (the "status quo" is living our lives without being responsible for who we really are).

This convenience allows us to live in a strange kind of socially accepted daze in which we're alive yet incognizant of who we really are. I'm sorry but I assert that is  strange. It's strange that we can be alive, live our lives, and yet not know who it is that's alive and / or not know what it is that's doing the living of our lives. It's a conundrum, a paradox. The truth is it's easier living the paradox of omitting who we really are, than stepping up to being in the inquiry into it. Ease ranks higher on our life-preferences' scale than profundity. So we omit it out of hand, mostly with nary a second thought. It's a convenient omission.

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