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
Doing To Not Be
Rutherford House, Rutherford Appellation,
August 1, 2014
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
"An untransformed life is not worth living."
Being is what we are. Being is what we express. One way or another. No
We human beings spend an inordinate amount of time doing things in
order to avoid being (that's my assertion) which is to say we
spend an inordinate amount of time doing things in order to avoid the
experience of being, in order to avoid experiencing what we
experience in the day to day business of being
It's crazy. I started noticing this about us at about the same time as
I started noticing it about myself. Gradually it dawned on me how much
of the many seemingly innocuous activities I engage in are (if the
truth be told) designed to avoid being. It's truly crazy: being
yet avoiding being.
I don't know
we avoid experiencing being. I don't know
whyI avoid experiencing being. I don't know
we're that way. We're just that way. Now I've started looking at
exactly where I avoid being, at what I do to avoid being. I've started
discerning everyday actions which are based solely on avoiding being,
as differentiated from those grounded in being. I'm really not
we avoid being (that is, whenever we do) - to tell you the truth, I've
inquiries to be powerful. Rather I'm simply interested in
distinguishing what I do to avoid being, then looking to see whether or
not I'm willing to give up doing it - whatever it is.
One of the most arduous tasks I've ever set myself is taking stock of
everything I do in order to avoid being ie making an inventory of
everything I do which has the specific purpose of avoiding experiencing
experience in the day to day business of being
For me, this process is an essential component of the
a crucial part of being
to living an examined life. Living an examined life requires me to be
authenticabout where I'm being
may have said).
Any behavior which falls into the category of behavior designed to
avoid being, is what I call "Doing to not be". Now it's perhaps
true that this particular phrase I've
"doing to not be" is inelegant, unrefined, and even arguably
grammatically bruised. So I want you to know I reviewed it over and
over again before I set it in stone as the title for this
When it first occurred to me as "doing to not be", it was
good enough for
though it called for some refinement. I experimented with various
alternate forms. But in the end I'm back to square one (first thoughts
are the thoughts of genius), staying with it the way it first occurred
to me in its
cut form. And now, having fully fleshed it out, I see it can be no
other way: it is "doing to not be" - that's the form that
does say it best.
"Doing to not be" refers only secondarily to the things I do to avoid
experiencing being. Primarily it refers to the crazy state of affairs
in which we human beings do things in order to avoid experiencing
being, at all. And the only questions worth asking in this
regard are "Am I willing to give it up?" and "Am I willing to
not do to not be?" and "Am I willing to experience being,
in the way?" and "Am I willing to experience being,
naked?" (notice that's "being, naked" which
is not the same as "being naked" - it's a subtle difference) and "Am I
willing to experience being, unmitigated?".
Of course the answer to all of the above, is yes - at least
my answer to all of the above is yes. Actually: is there
any other option? Not for me, there isn't. And I'm going out on a limb
here: I'll bet you good
there's no other option for you either, if you tell the truth about it.
Anything other than yes is 1000% incompatible with
Here then is (at least some of) my inventory of doing to
late, veging out, gossiping (gossiping is arguably the
#1 most effective way to avoid being), not exercising,
overindulgence in alcohol (consuming more than that with which it's
safe to drive a car, is overindulgence), opting for
games (or any digital passtime like texting, Facebook-ing,
face to faceconversation
(social media is not communication).
I didn't say there's anything wrong with eating too much
in, another glass of
or playing Solitaire. So if you're following this
as if I'm
about doing the right thing as opposed to doing the
wrong thing, then you're missing the point entirely.
Rather this is about the possibility of taking on and telling the truth
unflinchingly about whether anything we do, whatever we
do, no matter how benign, is really something we do in order to avoid
being, is really something we do in order to avoid
experiencing being ie is really something we're doing
to not be - hence the phrase.
If it is, if it is avoiding being, then I have a choice, you have a
choice, we have a choice: to give it up ... or not.