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

Always Something On My Mind

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

September 9, 2010

"You were always on my mind." ... Willie Nelson

"There's always something  on my mind." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, Always Something On My Mind, is the companion piece to Resurgence.

It was conceived at the same time as

It wasn't until after I experienced Werner's work for the first time that I realized what I'd called thinking  isn't really thinking at all. If someone asked me why I was quiet, for example, I would answer "Shh! I'm thinking.". What I really  should have said is "Shh! I've got something on my mind.".

"Shh! I'm thinking" implies intentionally  thinking. It implies when I'm thinking I'm intentionally doing  something. Looking closer at this, I noticed what I'd obfuscated with thinking really has no intentionality in it at all. I noticed I'd obfuscated thinking with having something on my mind. I noticed I had no distinction for what thinking really is, and nor could I articulate the difference between thinking and having something on my mind. Any differences I saw between the two, I see now were at worst naïve  and at best inaccurate. Furthermore "Shh! I'm thinking" implies "I'm thinking thoughts". Thats not true. It's obfuscated. What's closer to the truth is I don't think thoughts. What's closer to the truth is thoughts  think me.

Left to its own devices, the distinction between thinking and having something on my mind surely and inexorably slips away from me. Like all distinctions it has a short half life. If I don't recreate it from time to time, it devolves to the point where there isn't  any difference between when I'm thinking, and when I have something on my mind.

When I'm thinking, it's neither the same state nor is it the same experience nor is it the same intentionality  (it's especially  not the same intentionality) as when I have something on my mind. The two are nowhere near synonymous, even though they're often spoken, without rigor, interchangeably.

I don't always keep it this crisp. And when I don't, it doesn't serve me.

When I'm thinking, when I'm really thinking, when I'm really thinking for my Self, I'm creating the space for something to be. I'm allowing something to become. When I'm thinking, what I'm really doing is bringing something into existence. In other words, when I'm thinking in the way I'm distinguishing thinking here, what I'm doing is bringing forth the possibility  of something being. Thinking this way is a purely creative act.

When I've got something on my mind, on the other hand, there's no creativity in it. There's no intentionality in it. My mind, being the collection of all records of all my experiences, particularly those records I need quick access to for protection and survival, from time to time throws out complete multi-level multi-sensory holograms of earlier times it's reminded of, making sure I watch out  for dangers (both real and imaginary) of the past, and not fall into them again today.

There's neither creativity nor intentionality nor freedom in this. My mind is a machine hellbent on survival whose logic system is "everything is the same as everything else ... except not always"  as Werner Erhard points out. In this sense, having something on my mind is pure automaticity. In this sense, there's no thinking involved at all in having something on my mind. So when I obfuscate thinking with having something on my mind, I'm killing off  the possibility of really thinking for my Self.

When I look, I notice there's always  something on my mind, most of it having no relation whatsoever to what I intend nor to what I think nor to what I create. The machine isn't ever switched off. For me, the opportunity to live Life transformed is to distinguish that which is on my mind automatically, from that which I create and bring forth by thinking for my Self. In other words, the opportunity to live Life transformed is to distinguish thinking as an intentional creative act, from having something on my mind which is simply the machine's ongoing automaticity.

If there's any really worthwhile definition of human beings growing up  ie of coming of age (I would say of becoming enlightened  were it not for the unnecessarily restrictive eastern  connotation), then mastering this distinction is it.

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