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

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An Inconvenient 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, An Inconvenient Omission, is the companion piece to A Convenient Omission.

It was written at the same time as A Convenient Omission.

I am indebted to Alan Watts who inspired this conversation.




Foreword:

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



In a previous companion piece in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays, I'd asserted that omitting who we really are from our lives, is mighty "convenient" ie it's a convenient omission. And what's so convenient about it is it lets us off to commit to nothing - nothing at all that is, except for surviving and allowing the status quo to persist (the "status quo" being living our lives without being responsible for who we really are). That is convenient.

I pass no judgement on it. It is not wrong. It's no sin. There is no blame. Life itself offers an invitation. And an invitation (that is, any authentic  invitation) can be declined or  accepted. Like that, when Life itself invites us to be responsible for who we really are, it's OK to decline. Really it is. For sure, it's OK to accept. But it's also OK to decline. As already noted, when I look around I notice that declining to be responsible for who we really are, is the status quo ...

... and yet  ... under relentless scrutiny, I also notice that it's an in-convenient omission too. What does that even mean, Laurence? What does it mean that omitting who we really are, is an inconvenient  omission? Indeed, how can omitting who we really are, be both a convenient omission and  an inconvenient omission? Consider this: it's convenient  inasmuch as it lets us off to survive yet avoid being responsible for who we really are, but then it's inconvenient  too inasmuch as avoiding being responsible for who we really are, comes at a price, a price which in actuality is a daunting one. Let's flesh out the latter further.

Here's what's always occurred to me as strange ie as an anomaly: how can we, not having a handle on / not knowing who we really are, have relationships that work?  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 love relationships. We aspire to them. We covet  them. We work hard at being in them. Yet we don't know who or what we really are, in relationships? Then we fret our relationships don't work? Man! That's strange. Who woulda thunk?  (is it just me? am I the only one?).

And remember, we've omitted who we really are (the convenient omission) because then we don't have to be responsible for being who we really are. But look: that also omits our capacity for having relationships that work. So that convenient omission? It's actually also an inconvenient  omission. Take a look around. Notice how the world doesn't work? And it's not just that it doesn't work "over there". The world not working impacts all of us here  - whether we're directly in the conflict zone, or not. Look: if their  end of the canoe tips over, we all  end up in the water. We've omitted who we really are (the convenient omission) because then we don't have to be responsible for being who we really are. But that omits our capacity for having the world work for everyone too.

So that convenient omission of who we really are? It's actually an inconvenient omission. Being seduced by the faux option of not being responsible for who we really are, comes with a daunting price tag which reads "The world doesn't work.". And it's not that the world doesn't work over there, or that the world doesn't work "somewhere else", or that the trouble is on their watch but NIMBY  (Not In My Back Yard), or that "the"  world isn't working in eg Europe. It's that "our"  world doesn't work - period. It's a daunting price to pay for omitting being responsible for who we really are in life. It's an inconvenient omission.



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