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

Empty Windows

Luna Vineyards, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 25, 2012

This essay, Empty Windows, is the third in the complete group of Experiences Of A Friend (click here for the open group Experiences Of A Friend II):
  1. Stepping Back
  2. At Home As Self
  3. Empty Windows
  4. Futile Like A Freedom
  5. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  6. Werner As Intention
  7. Who He Is For Himself
  8. Source Quote
  9. Puzzle Solved, Mind Unraveled
  10. Eye To Eye
  11. Mystical Connection II
  12. Relentless
  13. Being Around Werner
  14. Being Always In Action: A Possibility
  15. Shaken Up And Teary
  16. On Being Sad
  17. The Complete Presentation
  18. Force Of Nature
  19. Everyone's In Love With Everyone
  20. I'm Old School
  21. Werner At The Speed Of Choice
  22. I Get Who You Are From What They Do
  23. The Significance - Not What Happened
  24. You Know I Love You - And I Know You Love Me
  25. Speaking To People's Relationship With Werner
  26. A Master At Being (And Having People Be)
  27. Werner As Source
  28. A Man Who's All There
  29. My Heart And You
  30. Mind Control
  31. Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again
  32. Unwavering
  33. The Leadership Course III: Pillar Of The Community
  34. American Genius
  35. Legacy II
so far, in that order.

It is also the companion piece to
  1. Ding Dong Bell
  2. Base Nature
in that order.

I am indebted to John Fowles who inspired this conversation.

I'm dreaming. I'm out walking on a weekend, walking through a big city. Which  city in which country doesn't matter. Just a big city. Any big city. In any country. The streets, almost totally devoid of traffic and pedestrians, are lined, like any city streets, with buildings, offices, stores, apartments, and town houses, most of whose windows have no drapes or blinds. Many which don't have drapes or blinds, have tinted glass, making it impossible to see inside. Those with no drapes or blinds or tinted glass reflect the sunlight outwards, also effectively shielding who's inside, preventing me from seeing them.

As I walk I can tell  I'm being watched, watched by people behind the windows, watched by people I can't see. They see me, but I can't see them. I peer into the window panes as I walk by, trying to see through the glass, trying to see beyond the drapes and the blinds and the tinted glass and the reflections, trying to see what's and who's behind them, trying to see what's inside, trying to see who's watching me. But, much to my chagrin, all I see is my own reflection on the glass looking back at me.

In a burst of creative imagination I even put myself inside  a building I'm passing. I put myself behind a window looking out through the glass at myself walking down the street. I'm inside the building behind the window, looking through the glass at myself outside walking down the street. From the inside I see myself outside looking in - at least trying  to look in. I see the quizzical, puzzled look on my face as I, outside, try to see inside, and can't.

Continuing walking, I imagine how many people are watching me, how many people can see my entire life on open display, how much of my life is a totally open book read by hidden people I don't know and can't see.

Even though I don't know them, even though I can't see them, these are the people I put on my best behavior  for. These are the people I put my best foot forward  for. These are the people I strive to look good  for. These are the people I hide my fears from. These are the people I hide I'm afraid  from. These are the people I hide my failures  from. These are the people whose approval I yearn for.

I can't see them but I know they're there. I know they're behind the windows, shielded from me by the drapes and the blinds and the tinted glass and the reflections. They see everything there is to see about me. Try as I may, there's nothing  I can hide from them. They see me when I'm doing wrong even though  I'm diligent hiding it from them. They see me when I'm being unintentionally bad. They see me when I'm being rude. They see me when I'm being inadvertently cruel, inconsiderate, intolerant, and unkind. They see me when I'm being stoopid. They see me when I'm sad.

I'm naked to them. I've got no natural protection against them. I'm embarrassed. I'm scared. I've got no place to hide. My shoulders involuntarily hunch. I turn up my collar to the cold. A shiver runs up my spine. I turn a corner.
Werner's standing there. I stop, mesmerized by equal quantities of surprise and delight. A blazing smile illuminates his face. He waves his right index finger back and forth slowly in front of his chin, and says to me "There's nobody out there Laurence!"  in that rich, deep, Philadelphian accent.

I stand there, reveling in the moment, reveling in his presence, reveling in our  presence, in our sudden communion. What he's just said hasn't hit me yet.

Then it does. And when it does, I gasp in shock with the deliciousness of it. There's nobody out there. There's no one in the buildings. There's no one in the offices. There's no one in the stores. There's no one in the apartments. There's no one in the town houses. There's no one inside looking out through the drapes, the blinds, the tinted glass, and the reflections. No one. The windows are all empty. All empty windows. Every one of them.

There's nobody behind any of the windows. There's no one watching me. There's no one for whom my life is on open display. There's no one reading me like an open book. There's nobody out there. It's a sudden, deep, transforming relief. All the bodily sensations I've carried because of what I imagine about them, suddenly disappear - they vanish. There's nobody out there. All the windows are empty. All the sensations are mine. They're not caused by any hidden watchers to whom I'm naked with no natural protection to be embarrassed in front of, to be afraid of. I created them. They're mine ... all  ... mine  ...

I'm excited, energized, staggered  by this new insight, moved to tears, truly free.

I look around for Werner to thank him. But he's no longer there. "That's alright" I say to myself, "I'll catch up with him again somewhere soon and thank him then.". I make my way back the way I came, past all the buildings, past all the offices, past all the stores, past all the apartments, past all the town houses.

This time I only see the sun's reflection on all their empty windows. Nothing else.

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