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




Adding On

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

April 18, 2020



"Possibility for the day: being gracious in the face of any and all circumstances." ... Laurence Platt WhatsApp-ing his children Alexandra and Christian and Joshua during the lockdown

This essay, Adding On, is the companion piece to Practicing Being.




Try this on for size. If it works for you, take it, it's yours. If it doesn't, discard it and walk on.

There are three powerful distinctions we can derive from what's so:  one, there's what's so itself; two, there's our relationship  with what's so; three, there's what we're adding on  in our relationship with what's so - which is to say (tersely) there's what we're adding on to what's so itself.

The profundity of this trinity drapes itself sublimely over me like a velvet cape as I run along lanes on the outskirts of my country village at dusk. I get it, and it doesn't merely move me: it rocks my world. When I open to it fully ie when I let its full impact in, it lands so completely that it surely qualifies as nothing less than a candidate for one of the great gateways (if not the greatest gateway) to transformation of all time. It lands as a powerful portal to enlightenment, an access  to that which is the holy grail for all of us sentient human beings, past, present, and future, ever to leave our footprints on the planet.

What exactly (to be quite explicit about this access to transformation to which I'm referring) is this access? It's this: distinguishing what we're adding on  to what's so. I'm running. So what's so, is I'm running, yes? That's it. And while I'm running, I notice / I distinguish what I'm adding on to what's so. Now be careful not to get ahead of me here: the access to transformation isn't to not  add on to what's so (the difference is very subtle, and I intend you get it). It's not to try  to not add on to what's so. Even transformed human beings ie especially  transformed human beings, are always adding on to what's so. We're human beings. And all human beings are always adding on to what's so. It's what we do. It's our specialty. We're always adding on to everything. I can just see the sign in flashing neon on our storefront:


 ADDING ON  US  


Can't you? But actually, here's the secret: it's really not  you. Adding on is what the machinery does. So it's a totally futile occupation to engage in (or to try to engage in) not  adding on to what's so. Not adding on to what's so, is simply not an option for us. Trying to not add on to what's so, is just more arrogance, more machinery. And we have no ability to stop it. But what we human beings do  have in spades, is the ability to differentiate  between what's so ... and what we're adding on to what's so. In this, we hold all the hole cards. In distinguishing what we're adding on to what's so (indeed, in distinguishing that  we're adding on to what's so at all in the first place - period), we hold all the aces. It's more than that actually. It's in distinguishing that we're adding on to what's so, that we discover who we really are.

If we're smart (and we are smart: we're very  smart), then making this distinction resets our relationship with what's so. It sets our new  relationship with what's so. It transforms our relationship with what's so. It even holds the possibility of sourcing transformation itself, this fine distinction, this subtle differentiation. Eventually you'll notice differentiating between what's so, and what you're adding on to what's so, is also  what's so (sit with that  one in your lap for a moment - like a hot brick).

You know, you and I have always  had the ability to distinguish this, although we may have only been turned on to it ie we may have only distinguished it as a distinction  recently, thanks to Werner. But it's been here, hiding in plain sight  since God was a boy. Man! I love  this about that distinction. And I love that about us.

You may want to take a moment for yourself now, and look closely and tell the truth unflinchingly  about what you're adding on to what's so. I'll share some items from my own list with you first next. I looked. They're what I noticed I'm adding on to what's so, while running along lanes on the outskirts of my country village at dusk. So, one: what's so is I'm running along lanes on the outskirts of my country village at dusk. And two: everything else  on this list is something I'm adding on:


1)  "This shouldn't be happening. The government  could (and should) have prevented this happening."

2)  "Everything was going along just fine ... and now this  is happening. Why  is this happening?"

3)  "It's wrong  that this is happening. This isn't s'posed  to be happening. This isn't meant  to be happening."

4)  "Someone is to blame  for this happening. I don't mean moi!  I'm not the one who's fault it is for this happening. I didn't cause it. I'm the good guy."

5)  "I want things to go back to the way they were. I want my old life back. I want it to revert to the way it used to be."

6)  "I'm afraid. I'm scared. Will someone help me, someone who's managing this better than I am? Mommy: help me! Daddy: help me!"

7)  "Will I get sick? What will it be like? Will there be pain? (I hate injections). Will I die? Will I die alone?  Who will know I died? How will they find out?"

8)  "What if I spend all my money before I find a new source of income? Will I starve? Will I be homeless? It's not fair  that the economy has crashed, decimating all my well-planned investments. Who can I hold accountable? I want my financial security back."

9)  "It's all messed up. I'm so sad for what my children (and their children) will inherit to deal with."

10)  "The universe has done this to punish us for damaging the climate. It wants to clearly and unequivocally get our attention. It's telling us to shape up, or be sorry."

... and more, all of which is just me adding on  to what's so. And what's so? It's simply I'm running along lanes on the outskirts of my country village at dusk.


This is the access to transformation, this access in distinguishing what I'm adding on to what's so. It isn't intended to change, alter, fix, or heal what I'm adding on. Indeed it may result in that too, but that's not its primary thrust. Neither does it change, alter, fix, or heal what's so itself (look: what's so, being what's so, doesn't require changing, altering, fixing, or healing, yes?). Rather it reveals in stark relief our relationship with what's so, to be distracted (as it almost always is) by what we're adding on to it. When we notice what we're adding on (indeed, when we notice that  we're adding on at all in the first place), we notice what's so ie we notice that to which  we're adding on. The one goeswith  the other (as Alan Watts may have said). I say "You're adding on", to which you may ask "To what?". Said another way, to notice what we're adding on to what's so, is to notice what's so. It's an access to what's so, and therefore a powerful catalyst in our relationsip with what's so.

There's one thing we could assert is the hallmark of transformation. It's having discovered life is the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't. And to be clear about this: "what's so" is that which is, and it isn't that which is not. Distinguishing what we're adding on to what's so, lays bare the possibility of being powerfully and directly  related to life without the middle man, regardless of the circumstances. That's the powerful access to transformation. Indeed it's the bedrock  of life lived transformed.



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