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


By Consideration Alone II

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

July 15, 2014



This essay, By Consideration Alone II, is the eleventh entry in The Laurence Platt Dictionary: It is also the sequel to "How?" Questions: By Consideration Alone.



There's literally no limit to where the ideas of transformation can be applied in the world with great effect and leverage. Itemizing even a few of them would require a very, very long list, a conversation for another occasion perhaps. For example, just one of these ideas, the shifting of the context for living from a "you or  me" world to a "you and  me" world (whether you articulate the principle in exactly that way or whether you articulate it in some other form) has the power to dramatically alter the quality of every aspect of life as we know it on the planet for everyone. Seriously. We can only begin to imagine what life on Earth would look like if we seven billion people co-operated with / worked with each other rather than competed with / fought with each other.

There's also literally no limit to where the ideas of transformation can be applied to our personal, individual experience. The ideas of transformation open up heretofore unavailable possibilities for the world at large. They also open up heretofore unavailable possibilities for you and for me. They make space  available in our lives which wasn't accessible before. Participating in Werner's work reveals to me how much space I have available. Indeed, before participating in Werner's work I didn't know I had space  at all.

What I've noticed is the longer I participate in Werner's work (which is to say the longer I'm around Werner - nearly four decades now and counting) the more these ideas expand rather than diminish or get stale over time. And the more they expand, the more they refine and the more relevant they become - which is to say the more accepted they become (Werner himself asserts his work will eventually disappear into the fabric of society, that the languaging  he invented will be absorbed by humanity as it becomes commonplace, obvious, self-evident.

<aside>

Werner Erhard's work is revolutionary. The way people respond to it is best articulated by Sir Arthur C (Charles) Clarke, British inventor, futurist, and author (2001: A Space Odyssey)  in his Law of Revolutionary Ideas  which states that every revolutionary idea (in science, politics, art, or whatever) seems to evoke three stages of reaction:

 1)  "It's completely impossible. Don't waste my time."
 2)  "It's possible but it's not worth doing."
 3)  "I said it was a good idea all along."

Arthur's Law of Revolutionary Ideas may have been derived from a statement attributed to an earlier Arthur, Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher and author (The World as Will and Representation), which is:

"All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as self-evident.".


<un-aside>

Take for example our interest in, our inquiry  into how  we do what we do - I'm not talking about what  we do but rather how  we do it. And I'm not talking mind stretching concepts here like how we split the atom. I'm talking simple stuff like how we walk. You do walk, don't you? You do know how you walk, don't you? (and if you don't walk, then use me as the model for this inquiry). It's challenging and unpalatable (at least, at first) to confront the fact you have no idea  how you walk. It takes a certain patience, a certain bigness  to stay with the inquiry long enough to really appreciate you don't know how you walk, and yet also notice not knowing how you walk, doesn't stop you walking.

Eventually when I conceded it's true I walk without knowing how I walk (in order to walk, I move my legs one in front of the other, but I have no idea how  I move my legs one in front of the other), a new idea developed which interests me - a lot: I walk by considering myself walking. I consider myself walking - and voila: now I'm walking! I walk by consideration alone. For a while at least, it seemed that was it, that it was the answer to the question "How do I walk?".

When I looked up "consideration" in the dictionary, this is what I found:

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
consideration


noun
from the verb consider (POSSIBILITY)
to spend time thinking about a possibility or making a decision
<unquote>

Like many word definitions which are written outside of the conversation for transformation, the existing dictionary definition of consideration doesn't go far enough. It doesn't take the context  for consideration into account. It stops short of defining consideration as a power, as an ability which can be applied to initiate walking, which I could use to explain how I walk. So after looking at what's missing, I came up with my own definition of consideration which tweaks the dictionary definition of consideration.

From The Laurence Platt Dictionary:
<quote>
Definition
consideration


noun
from the verb consider (POSSIBILITY)
to call a possibility into existence, to make an idea or an action manifest, or to make a decision then act
<unquote>

This defines consideration as a power, as an ability which can initiate walking, so I could use it to explain walking by consideration alone. I was satisfied with this new definition. It worked for me ... for a while. Then it stopped working - which arguably means it didn't really work at all in the first place. It stopped working when I realized it fails in two crucial ways.

In the first place, its three parts aren't seamless  so it's not elegant. I can see that now. The first part "to call a possibility into existence" works. I can use "I walk by considering myself walking" in this sense. The second part "to make an idea or an action manifest" also works. I can also use "I walk by considering myself walking" in this sense. It's the third part "to make a decision then act" which doesn't work. It actually jars  in this context. I can't use "I walk by considering myself walking" in this sense - because it then begs the questions "How do I make a decision to walk?" and "How do I act to walk?" and I'm back where I started.

If it weren't for the second way in which it fails (and the second way in which it fails doesn't merely render it elegance-less: it renders it totally unusable) I may have invested the time reworking it.

I've had a breakthrough in interacting with the question "How do I walk?". It's led to an expanded and refined, relevant view of how I walk, which comes from looking into it (that is to say from looking into the whole ballpark ie the entire gamut comprising this question and others like it) continuously while participating in Werner's work.

The second way in which it fails is such that I can't use "I walk by considering myself walking / I walk by consideration alone" anymore to explain how I walk because it's false. Yes it was interimly useful to me once. But on second look, it was also (however well-intentioned) naïve. It's false to say I walk by considering myself walking. It's false to say I walk by consideration alone. Really it is. It isn't considering  which initiates me walking. Neither is there any considering going on while I'm walking which keeps me walking. What then is the answer to the question "How do I walk?"?

The answer teases. It tantalizes. It's elusive. It seems so trivial as to appear unsatisfactory as an explanation. It even deploys an explanatory no-no:  it refers to itself  as a base ie it's self-referential. In this fivefold respect it's like a Zen koan: it's maddening  - like only a Zen koan can be.

Here then is the correct answer, the transformed answer to the question "How do I walk?": it's "I walk by walking.".

I walk by walking. That's it. That's all. There's nothing else. It's that simple. It's that profound. You can forget about considering  yourself walking. It's that freeing.



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