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


Etching

Silver Oak Cellars, Oakville, California, USA

January 5, 2011



If I say I'm writing an essay titled Etching, you may think I'll be sharing my experience of etching. You may think I'll be sharing my experience as an etcher. And if I say in this essay I'll be discussing metal, you may think I'll be discussing the medium  on which I etch.

But no, that ain't it.

<aside>

In this essay, in addition to discussing metal as a medium on which to etch, I'll also be discussing sand and water and air as media on which to etch - that is to say, I'll be discussing whatever it means  to etch on sand and on water and on air. More about them later.

<un-aside>

In this essay I'll be discussing living  (handling the circumstances and predicaments and situations coming at me) as an etcher. And in this essay, the medium on which the etcher living  etches, is me. When living etches on me, I can be like metal or I can be like sand or I can be like water or I can be like air.

Let me explain what I mean.

Prior to encountering Werner Erhard - in other words, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away  (as George Lucas may have said) - I would have argued something like "Living leaves psychological scars.". Not only would I have argued it, but I would have righteously touted scars to prove it. Living, I would have argued, has the ability to "bend people out of shape" (especially me), to leave scars, to leave lasting, deep, and above all damaging  impressions in a domain I called the psyche  - pronounced (appropriately) sigh key. I was a psychology major at college. This way of looking at things was a good fit for my belief system.

"Living leaves psychological scars" I would have said - that is, I would have said it back then. But "back then" I didn't recognize I had choice in the matter. Not recognizing I had choice in the matter of living leaving psychological scars, made me metal  on which living etched: the scar is made; I see it being made; it's there for life.

This entire scenario transforms when I recognize I have choice in the matter. I'm not speaking about choosing or not choosing whether living will etch on me - so to speak. Human beings being human, it seems to be a foregone conclusion it will. Rather, I'm speaking about when  living etches on me, I have choice in the matter of which medium  I'll be. In this regard, metal isn't my only choice.

So if I'm metal, and living etches on me and the scar is made and I see it being made and it's there for life, what are my other choices? What other media could I be on which living can etch? Well ... for starters, I could choose to be sand. If I'm sand and living etches on me, the scar is made and I see it being made. But given the inexorable effects of the wind (or of the tide if I'm sand on a beach), more sooner than later the scar disappears. If I choose to be water  and living etches on me, the scar is made and I see it being made. But it disappears just as fast as it's made. And if I choose to be air  and living etches on me, the scar is made but I don't even see it  being made ... AND  ... it disappears just as fast as it's made.

Of course, human beings are human. We're not metal. Nor are we sand. Nor are we water. Nor are we air. This is just a way of looking at things. Nonetheless it's a useful analogy, given the proviso that all analogies eventually break down. It could be said, however, that when it comes to illustrating choice in the matter of ways of being when living etches on you ie when it come to illustrating choice in the matter of which medium to be  when living etches on you, this analogy is a useful tool for sharing it with you.

I'd also like you to consider that choosing which medium you'll be when living inevitably etches on you, and especially choosing to be air  when living inevitably etches on you, embodies the highest form of martial arts, which is this:

It's not about defending yourself against the blow. It's not even about dodging the blow. It's about not being  where the blow lands



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