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


Beyond Language

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

November 24, 2015



"What happened had no form. It was timeless, unbounded, ineffable, beyond language."
... 
sharing his experience of the moment of transformation with Professor William Warren Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "Once Upon A Freeway" in chapter nine called "True Identity" in part III, "Transformation", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
I am indebted to Bill Kilburg who inspired this conversation.




In a certain sense, who we are as integrity  is our word. But in another sense, who we are - period  (not only as integrity) - is our word. Is there anything beyond our word? In other words, if who we are is our word, that is to say if who we are is our language, then what's beyond  our language? Or, spoken tersely, if who we are is language  (not "our"  language) then is there anything beyond language?  (not beyond "our"  language: the "our"  in "beyond our  language" is incidental, gratuitous, superfluous). And the thing about asking the question "What's beyond language?" is this: it works better if, as far as possible, you ask it from your experience  rather than ask it from your intellect. The valuable answers come pouring out when you go for what shows up  for you, rather than when you go for what you understand.

What does it mean to ask a question (quote unquote) "from your experience" and not from your intellect ie what does it mean to go for what shows up for you, rather than for what you understand? It means to simply look into the space, and notice what's already there. It means to not try to explain what's there, or to evaluate it. It means to not try to understand it. It means as far as possible to not even try to draw on what you may have once heard about it or on what you may have once read about it. It means to just look  ... and to say what's there ie to say just what you experience - not what you feel, and not what you think ... just what you experience.

So if I ask the question "What's beyond language?" and I look, what there is for me to see is the space in which language occurs. What's there is the space in which language can happen ie what's there is the space in which language shows up. A picture shows up in a frame. Matches show up in a box. Water shows up in a ewer (and yes, it is "a"  ewer, and not "an"  ewer). Like that, language shows up in a space  ie in an experiential  space. What that experiential space is, is who I really am.

If you're too analytical about this, you'll miss it. It's real simple. It's dirt simple. It's dogshit reality  simple. Language shows up in the experiential space which is who we really are. So if the question is "What's beyond language?", then an answer could be "Beyond language is the experiential space which is who we really are", yes?

And if the question then becomes "OK, if beyond language is the experiential space which is who we really are, then what could be beyond the experiential space which is who we really are?", there are many answers which have come to us over the years through intellectual analysis, through attempts at understanding, and through religious inquiry and contemplation, many of which now form the cornerstones of some of our most cherished belief systems and doctrines. But then if you ask the question experientially ie if you simply look into the space and notice what's already there, you'll notice the experiential space which is who we really are, is unbounded  - which means it has no edge or limit ... which means there's nothing beyond it  ie it's everything  ... and it's nothing ... ie it's ... everythingnothing.

The experiential space of who we really are is unbounded and has no edge or limit. There's nothing beyond it. And language shows up in the experiential space which is who we really are which is unbounded and has no edge or limit, and beyond which there's nothing. Said tersely, what's beyond language is who we are - and by that I mean what's beyond language is who we really  are. Transformation is the process of becoming and being who we really are. So is it a contradiction to say who we are is language, and then  say who we are is the space beyond language, in which language shows up? If the one is true, then how can the other be true too? And the answer is each of them is true: who we are is language ... and  ... who we are is the unbounded experiential space beyond language in which language shows up. So listen: it's not one or  the other: it's both. It's one seamless process, one seamless whole. Being transformed is the ongoing process of being one seamless whole.



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