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


Do You  Know? Do You  Know?

Twomey Cellars, Calistoga, California, USA

May 29, 2016



"It was hard to have a conversation with anyone. There were so many people talking." ... Yogi Berra

"I've come to the realization that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing half the time." ... David Bowie
This essay, Do You  Know? Do You  Know?, was conceived at the same time as I am indebted to Alan Watts who inspired this conversation.




There's a particular question in the background for almost all people in almost all conversations in which transformation isn't yet clear and present. If you listen intently, you'll hear it in the silence between and behind the words.

Now it's unlikely this question is distinguished  as a question, because prior to the onset of transformation, not much is ever authentically distinguished anyway. And we all get along quite well mind you, even without intentionally making distinctions. Look: we've developed life on the planet using our creativity and our productivity, to the state it's in today. We've even reached the milestone which marks the possibility of global transformation becoming an entrant on the world's stage and into its political discourse. Yes it's clear we've got room to improve. It's equally clear we've also got many things just right.

But if you stop and look ie if you stand flat-footed and just look, you'll notice prior to the onset of transformation, and prior to the possibility of global transformation, the way we lived life (which is to say the way we were certain life was meant  to be lived) was in order to survive. And in the background of this faux  certainty, was the undistinguished question "Do you  know? Do you  know?" which was addressed unspoken  to anyone and everyone in close proximity: "Do you  know (what it's all about)?", "Do you  know (what we're supposed to do)?", "Do you  know (the point of it all)?", "Do you  know (who you really are)?", "Do you  know (who I  really am)?", "Do you  know (how I can find out  who I really am)?", "Do you  know (if we'll make it)?", "Do you  know (whatever)?" etc. The question translates to "Have you figured out  (whatever)?" which I'll bet good money is a cover for the under-pinning "Will we survive?".

And then you got transformation - close up, face to face, larger than life, and twice as natural. It astounded you. It astonished you. It teased you and titillated you. You got there's nothing to get. It made you laugh with the stunning simplicity and audacity of it. It made you cry with the magnificent compassion and gorgeous brilliance of it. And even though you couldn't believe it ... there it was. If you're a graduate of Werner's work, you probably got it in a hotel ballroom under a plastic chandelier. That's when and where you discovered (and began to confront, arguably for the first time in your life) that you really (honest to God)  know nothing. Even those things you once thought you knew, you now realize you only knew in order to survive. And the beauty of it is now that you know you know nothing, and now that you know there's nothing to figure out, and now that you know there's nothing to get, there's the possibility of knowing it all in an entirely new way.

So it's not that the question "Do you  know? Do you  know?" gets answered with the onset of transformation (and even if it did get answered, the answer doesn't do you much good anyway, given that it's "No I don't know - I know nothing."). Rather it gets recontextualized  (I love  that word). What does this mean? What does it mean the question gets "recontextualized"? A question (or anything else, for that matter) gets recontextualized when the Self is newly experienced as the context for life and living. Until the onset of transformation, the Self is misconceptualized as just another piece in the game of life and living. With the onset of transformation, the question "Do you  know? Do you  know?" (and everything else, for that matter) newly occurs in this transformed context - hence it's "re-contextualized".

Here's what's fabulous: it's this new context itself which completes the question "Do you  know? Do you  know?". The question, which once searched for the answers in order to be complete (and listen: there is no  "the answers" - as Werner Erhard says), is completed by the very context in which it occurs. Already complete in this context, answers are now just pieces among the many possible pieces in the game of life and living. This is what's meant by "knowing it all in an entirely new way".



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