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


Distraction / Consolation:

Getting Away From Who I Am

Sonoma, California, USA

May 29, 2015



"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us." ... Marianne Williamson

"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." ... Diane Ackerman
This essay, Distraction / Consolation: Getting Away From Who I Am, is the companion piece to
  1. Deadly Distractions
  2. Holding The Door Open: The Space That's Already Here
in that order.

It is also the prequel to Integrity Doesn't Imprint Like Balance.

It was written at the same time as I am indebted to Garth Luxton who inspired this conversation.




I take an inventory of my life from time to time. It's an inventory of my actions. It's an inventory of what I'm doing. It's an inventory of what I'm up to. It's an inventory of my occupations (which includes a sub-inventory of my inner dialog  if you will). It's an inventory of what I'm currently engaging with. For the purposes of this inventory, whatever I'm engaging with either falls into the category of being an authentic expression of who I am in the world, or it falls into the category of being a distraction from being who I am in the world (which includes a sub-category of consolations for being thwarted from being who I am in the world).

When I'm authentically being who I am in the world, I'm writing, I'm speaking, I'm relating, and I'm managing whatever it takes to have my writing, speaking, and relating work. These are the items which are easy to distinguish for my inventory.

What's not quite so easy to distinguish for my inventory are the distractions and the consolations I succumb to from time to time. It's hard catching them. It's even harder telling the truth about them. They're slippery and pernicious. I say "slippery and pernicious" because they're cleverly disguised  as authentic engagements when in fact what they really are, are pulls  ie they're really skews  if you will (pulling me away from being who I am in the world, skewing me away from being who I am in the world). There are any number of them which distract me from being who I am ie which beguile me with good reasons to not  authentically be who I am.

To be clear, I'm making no excuses for my actions when I'm being distracted and / or being consoled. Whether I like them or not, I still take responsibility for them and for all of it all the time anyway. Those distracted and / or consoled behaviors per se however, don't hold any interest for me. What does interest me (as soon as I can distinguish it clearly) is their pull, their skew. I notice there's more of a natural pull in their direction than there is in the direction of being authentic. Now that's  interesting to me. Being authentic is something I have to generate ongoingly. It's harder. There's no natural pull towards it. Yet distraction and / or consolation on the other hand, have a natural pull towards them. So it's easier. That's very  interesting ...

Sometimes I find myself wondering whether our lives wouldn't be much easier to manage if there was a pull, a skew towards being authentic instead. But there isn't. It seems to work the other way around. The pull, the skew is towards being inauthentic, towards being distracted, towards being consoled. I assume it's because being inauthentic comes from life's mechanized drive to survive, whereas being authentic comes from and requires ie calls for being creative, for making it up out of nothing.

At least in my assumption, it appears we human beings are thrown to be this way - and it interests me that we're thrown to be this way. Left to its own devices when I don't impose authenticity and integrity, my life would appear to devolve all by itself towards distraction and / or consolation ie getting away from who I am (it's pulled, skewed that way), which is to say getting away from authenticity and integrity.

When I say that, by the way, I'm not complaining. Rather than being a complaint, it's my stone cold, flat footed observation of the fact that unchecked, I'm pulled to go that way ie that unchecked, I'm skewed to go that way. By the same token it's also my recognition of the fact that the way I must go if there's going to be authenticity and integrity in my life, is I have to generate it. Given the preponderance of evidence and the choice I have in the matter, the latter way is the way I go.



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