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 Is Decisive

Pebble Beach, California, USA

September 6, 2004



This essay, Context Is Decisive, is the companion piece to

When we create context as a distinction, we refer to the space in which something shows up, or (spoken with rigor) the space which makes it possible for something to show up. In the matter of our own lives, who we really are is the context for the events of our lives. I am the space in which the events of my life occur.

In the matter of creating leverage in life, when you look you see the obvious which at first isn't obvious: that the only facility we have to create leverage in life is language. In the matter of communicating the space in which the events of our lives occur, who we really are is who we say we are. That doesn't mean you are whatever you say you are. It means that who you really are is the context for your word. Language renders your context authentic to others. Languaging it makes context real and sanctifies it.

Arguably it isn't effective to explain what a context for living is. Understanding is the booby prize. Rather, when you create it, when you be it, I get it. When I be it, you get it. When you get it, you know it as who you really are, as the context for the events of our lives, as the space in which the events of our lives occur. When you get it, you also notice that its essence is that it is shareable.

Actually it's more than that. It's not merely that it can be shared ie that shareability is one of its properties. It's that if it doesn't call you to share it or if it's still present when you don't share it, then that ain't it!

Language which leverages and brings forth context isn't the talk referred to in the phrase "talk is cheap". In fact, the phrase "talk is cheap" is the hallmark of a misconception of who we human beings really are. Language which leverages and brings forth context generates a stand and a new possibility for human beings. The new possibility for human beings is really a powerful shareable context for living.

For example, there's a certain power and leverage in saying "I think wars don't solve our problems.". There's another order of power and leverage in saying "Who I'm being is wars don't solve our problems.". Say it. Try it on for size. Say "I think wars don't solve our problems.". Then try on for size "Who I'm being is wars don't solve our problems.". Say them both. Something distinct is called forth saying each one. As you say each one, look and see how they land in the listening of others.

There's dither in the former. There's daring and decisiveness in the latter. The sense of distinction between where you come from saying one then the other is palpable. If you say "That's just semantics - we're playing with words", you're right. Language is all we have to create and leverage context and distinction in life. In that regard there is nothing else.

Werner Erhard says context is decisive. This has two implications.

The first is the bigger picture for an action. For example, if you drive two hundred miles an hour around Times Square, New York, you get a prison uniform; if you drive two hundred miles an hour around Sears Point Raceway, California, you get a laurel wreath. Context decides implications for actions. That's powerful.

The second implication is even more powerful. Who you really are is the context for your life. Acting from the context for your life rather than from your fears, concerns, interpretations judgements etc gives being decisive.

"Context is decisive" is vintage Erhard. Sitting with it in your lap like a hot brick gives who you really are.



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