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

Don't Do That! II

Coombsville Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

September 28, 2019

This essay, Don't Do That! II, is the companion piece to Don't Do That!.

Some of the most elemental things we do, can be those over which we seem to have the least if not no control. For example, we say "I am  sad" not "I'm doing  sad" and we say "I'm worried" not "I'm doing  worry.". As implausible as it may sound, it's possible "sad" is something we do, rather than something we are. Likewise, it's possible "worried" is something we do rather than are. But if I say "Don't be sad" or "Don't worry", I imply controlling that over which we (seem to) have no control. And everyone knows  "sad" and "worried" require couch-time and analysis. Everyone knows remedying being sad or worried, isn't as simple as "Don't do that!", yes?

Consider this: what if the remedy for free-floating sadness and worry and others of that ilk, is  just "Don't do that!"? What if that were a possibility?


Photography by Toni Millen

Tuesday February 21, 2017

courtesy Don't do that!
<start joke part one>
A guy goes to the doctor. He says "Doctor, I've got this terrible pain in my side. It goes away but it keeps coming back. Just when I think it's finally gone, it comes back worse then before. I can't sleep. I can't concentrate. It's horrible. Can you cure the pain, Doctor?".

The doctor asks "When do you get the pain?". The guy says "Every time I put both my legs over and behind my head, then touch my toes together, and then put my arms behind my back and interlock them at the elbows, then pull really tight and bend my hands backwards.".

The doctor says "Yes, I think we can cure the pain: DON'T DO THAT!".

<end joke part one>

If it's true we do sad (not are), then it's true we can not  do sad (likewise for worried) like a possibility. The hard part is trying out this new approach given the almost overwhelming folk lore (ie learned  common sense) that it doesn't work that way. But it's just possible that "doesn't work that way" is only erroneously  learned common sense which arbitrarily excludes all other workable approaches. Try it out. If it works, take it: it's yours; if it doesn't: leave it here, and walk on.

<start joke part two>
The guy (who is now pain free) opens the doctor's bill. It's for one thousand dollars. He calls the doctor and asks "Doctor, why did you charge me so much? All you did was say 'DON'T DO THAT!'".

"Ah yes" says the doctor "I only charged you one dollar for saying 'DON'T DO THAT!'. But I charged you nine hundred and ninety nine dollars for knowing that's what you needed to hear.".

<end joke part two>

The thing about erroneously learned common sense, is it can be un-learned. But it'll keep snapping back like a rubber band until "Don't do that!" becomes the new common sense. Try it on for size. Confront your free-floating sadness and worry and others of that ilk, with "No, don't do that!". Be responsible. Notice what happens.

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© Laurence Platt - 2019 Permission