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


Context Gives Our Cue

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

September 6, 2014



This essay, Context Gives Our Cue, is the companion piece to
  1. Performance Artists
  2. Third Rail
in that order.




Here's an idea: what would it look like if the entire human family made music together as an orchestra? Can you imagine the possibility it would unleash for the world? To ask the question more colloquially: what if the entire human family played in a band? - the same  band. Well? What if?

The very idea of a band comprising the entire human family with everyone playing an instrument and / or singing and clapping is, of course, a simile for what's possible for being for human being. There's no need to qualify it by saying it's a simile for what's possible for being for human being in our wildest dreams. No, the idea's not even far-fetched, regardless of whether, for the most part, we've given up on our child-like wonder which renders visions like that possible, or not. Today "everyone knows"  it can't happen. We've learned. Man!  have we ever learned ...  We're now jaded - and we're smart, to boot. The human family working together? all of us?  playing together? for the benefit of everyone? with no one and nothing left out? What a concept!  It could never happen. What a ridiculous  idea.

Or so it would seem ...

Seriously: what would it take for it to happen? It is possible. You already know that. It's clearly possible. To a degree, our sustainable future depends on it. But we've gotten so far away from the beginner's mind  idea of it all working for everyone with no one and nothing left out, that we're now resigned  to it never happening (and while no one wants to be the first to say it, it's killing  us to live inside this resignation). The few people who remain ever hopeful, ever optimistic, know something's missing, the presence of which would allow it to happen ... but if they tell the truth about it, they can only speculate on what it is.

What's missing isn't the possibility that it can happen (and if you said what's missing is the possibility that it can happen, kudos  to you for a good guess). Rather what's missing, I assert, is the lead  we would take our cue from for it to happen (and in a moment, I'll say what I mean by the lead  for it to happen - it's not the same as a lead-er  who will make it happen). This lead, by the way, isn't missing  as in "it got lost" or as in "it's never existed before". Rather this lead is missing as in "it hasn't yet been globally distinguished". It's a lead which, once distinguished and experienced, inexorably unites human beings - just as if we were all playing in the same band, if you like - who whole-heartedly take their cue from it.

Groups take their cues from leads in order to function cohesively as groups. We already have examples of groups, countless groups, small and large, working together, playing together. A band takes its cue from a drumbeat, the singer, or the (appropriately titled) lead guitar. An orchestra takes its cue from the conductor's baton or the first violin. Each of our countries as further examples, work together and play together. Within countries, the leads people take their cues from are the national culture and the laws of the country. Each sports team is a another group which works together and plays together. The leads they take their cues from are the game plan and the directives of the team captain and coaches. Each army  is another group which works together. The leads they take their cues from are their strategy and their officers and government.

What we all don't  have (it could easily be argued) is the lead from which to take our cue for cohesion between all  human groups. The evidence of this can easily be seen in the fragmented state of the world today. We can't even begin to consider the entire human family playing in a band together because we're railroaded  by all the divisive leads which each of humanity's component groups take their cues from. We simply accept it as inevitable there will be groups which are cohesive internally, yet are at odds with all other, similar groups externally. The lead each band takes their cue from, isn't the same lead all bands take their cues from. The lead each country takes its cue from, isn't the same lead all countries take their cues from. The lead each sports team takes its cue from, isn't the same lead all sports teams take their cues from. The lead each army takes its cue from isn't necessarily the same lead all armies take their cues from (indeed, given the nature of armies, especially opposing  armies, it wouldn't ever be the same).

If this is starting to sound like what I'm leading up to is we should all take all of our cues from God, as well-intentioned as that may seem, what's galling for all of us, and especially what's galling for religious people of good will everywhere, is the lead each religious congregation takes its cue from, isn't necessarily the same lead all religious congregations take their cues from. They're all dancing to the beats of different drums, to the point where it's god-damned near impossible  to even get a pinky-hold on what it may look like if there were one drum to whose beat we could all dance.

Well? What is this lead? What is this lead we would take our cue from for it to happen? What lead could the entire human family take its cue from which would give working together and playing together for the benefit of everyone with no one and nothing left out like a possibility?

<aside>

I'm inclined to stop right here and end this conversation with this open question which will generate many, many answers, rather than limit the access to future possibility by providing just one answer.

But that is what I'm going to do. I'll provide one possible answer now. And I invite you to make up more of your own answers.

<un-aside>

Beyond our identities, beyond our preferences and opinions, beyond our arguments and righteousness (and yet inclusive of all of the above) is the context, the space  in which the events of our lives show up  ie the context, the space in which all the events of all of our lives show up. It's this context, this space which is who we really are ie who we all  really are. It's this context, this space which gives the possibility of possibility itself  - for each of us, for all of us. Every single human being, all those of us who walk the planet today, all those of us who walked the planet in the past, and all those of us who will walk the planet in the future, have equal access to and equal ownership of this context, of this space.

This context, this space, isn't allocated on the basis of culture, country, creed, class, or religion. Rather it's inclusive  of and allows  all cultures, countries, creeds, classes, and religions to show up. It's not made available by agreement, bartering, coercing, convincing, or prevailing. Rather it's made available by distinction alone  - which is to say it's made available by distinguishing it's already here, which is to say it's made available by each individual distinguishing for themselves  it's already here.

Taking its cue from the lead given by the conductor's baton, allows the orchestra to function cohesively. Taking its cue from the lead guitar, allows the band to play together seamlessly. I submit taking our cue from the lead given by this context, by this space, by this possibility, is what it will take for the human family to work together, all of us, to play together for the benefit of everyone with no one and nothing left out, our entire human family playing in a band, the same band.

Like the lead guitar gives the band its cue, context gives our entire human family our cue.



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