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

Bake Your Cake (And Eat It)

Justin-Siena High School North Lawn, Napa, California, USA

June 5, 2010

"You can't have your cake and eat it too." ... old English proverb, circa 1546

"Really? Who said so?" ... Laurence Platt, circa 2010
This essay, Bake Your Cake (And Eat It), is the companion piece to
  1. Bake Another Cake
  2. The Big Four Oh
  3. On Being Your Own Best Friend
in that order.

I am indebted to Palmer Kelly who inspired this conversation.

To the degree you're dependent on, need, and expect others to acknowledge you, acknowledgement is a hook.

Acknowledgement isn't merely the medals, the kudos, the recognition, the thanks, the appreciation, and the congratulations bestowed on us noticing and honoring our accomplishments. It's much more than that. Without acknowledgement it's impossible to function in the world. I mean that quite literally. If you don't, for example, acknowledge the existence of doors, you walk into walls a lot. People who don't acknowledge physical reality  appear appropriately banged up and bruised.

With regard to being hooked on acknowledgement ie expecting others to acknowledge you, you know the feeling. You do something great  or you do something generous  or you do something brilliant  or innovative or timely or immaculate or impeccable. And nobody notices. Or says anything. Or nobody says anything complimentary. No one thanks you or expresses appreciation for what you do. No one registers your contribution. No one brings a cake to celebrate your accomplishment. You feel unappreciated, under-appreciated, slighted, ignored, neglected, hurt, diminished, unimportant, small, and needy.

Notice what you make up  at this point. Now is the moment when a life-skewing  decision is made. While it's articulated in varying ways, the core expression is the same: "No one appreciates me" or "I'm not loved" or "I'm not worth anything" which is often followed by "I'll show  them" or "I'll prove  to them ..." or even the more succinct "OK then $&#* 'em all!", all of which give rise to a distorted bent out of shape  way of being in the world.

In retrospect such decisions are mostly mistakes  because of what they end up costing in terms of aliveness, health, vitality, and full Self  expression. They impact experiencing well being and wholeness and completion. In a word, they keep you stuck. Fueled by righteousness  they become deadly possibility killers  which without access to transformation  take years and years and years  to isolate and uncover, let alone unravel and disappear.

If it's not seen for what it is and given up, the bent out of shape-ness continually and hopelessly  looks for missing acknowledgement out there  in the world. The success of an endeavor, the usefulness of a contribution, even a project's workability or non-workability can only be seen, gauged, and evaluated to the degree it's acknowledged by others, by peers, by friends, and / or by family. Getting no acknowledgement is regarded as a negative judgement, as a refusal to sanction, as a criticism, as an invalidation  of the endeavor, of the project, and even of your whole way of being. In the absence of acknowledgement in this scenario, the possibility of well being and completion is a very faint wisp on the far horizon.

This is how expecting  to be acknowledged by others puts your well being and completion at risk ie at the mercy  of powers beyond your control. People don't withhold acknowledgement  in order to deprive you of a sense of well being and completion. Really. When acknowledgement isn't forthcoming, one factor is it can't be  forthcoming as there's simply no background  to appreciate what you've done. Another is it's not yet  forthcoming as what you've done isn't yet known or gotten. And still another is it'll never  be forthcoming as whatever it is you're doing simply isn't recognized by others and won't ever be. It's futile waiting in a state of hope, putting off experiencing well being and completion until you're acknowledged and appreciated by others which may never happen. And even if it does happen, it may not happen adequately  ie it may not happen enough for your liking. Too much acknowledgement from others (as David Bowie may have said) is never enough.

Here's the bottom line:

Conversations For Transformation, this body of work, this internet series of five hundred essays (and counting) inspired by the ideas of Werner Erhard, would have died on the vine if I'd waited, wishing and hoping, for others to acknowledge them, to tell me they're OK, to tell me they're valuable, to tell me they work. I know they're OK. I know they're valuable. I know they work. In lieu of and especially prior to  Conversations For Transformation being acknowledged by others, I acknowledge them and I acknowledge myself. In other words I bake my own cake. This means whether and whenever Conversations For Transformation are acknowledged by others or not, they're already acknowledged. This means whether and whenever I'm acknowledged by others or not, I'm already acknowledged. I bake my cake and bring it to celebrate the creation Conversations For Transformation is. I bake my cake and bring it to celebrate the creation my life is.

It's naïve, by the way, to dismiss this as ego - really  naïve. This is worlds apart from ego. This is a plain smart pragmatic way of sourcing acknowledgement (and well being and completion) at the start  of creating something, rather than being hooked on continually and hopelessly waiting for acknowledgement to come from others as the result of it.

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