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

Family In Me

Capitola, California, USA

July 21, 2007

This essay, Family In Me, is the companion piece to Family Ties.

It's a definition (a distinction actually) I'm currently inquiring into all over again, re-scrutinizing in a way and to a depth I've never been before.

Family. What is family exactly? Said another way, what makes for  family?

There's the question's already always answer  in which I'm not interested. That's not to say I'm not interested in family per se. I am. Whatever family  is (and isn't), it's one of the most precious opportunities available to human beings. Rather, what I'm not interested in is the question's already always answer, in what would have once always popped out of my mouth, undistinguished, in answer to the question "What makes for family?". I've started the inquiry anew.

There's family like the family of man. Everyone's included. Being born a human being of any race of any class of any creed anywhere any time is it's only qualification.

There's family like the immediate, intimate family I'm born into: father, mother, brother, sister, uncles, aunts, cousins etc.

There's family like the family I establish: spouse, children, grandchildren, in-laws etc.

There's family like a statement of generosity, the act, for example, of including good friends  in my "family". Let's call this extended  family.

As I probe and push deeper into this inquiry, what starts to emerge is a stalwart notion, a sterling rethinking of what family really  is or could be. It's family in transformation. It's definitive. It's decisive. Literally it's family in me. Arguably that's prime. That's paramount. It's the only one  ... arguably.

I'm saying "arguably"  not to imply it's better  to be family in transformation  than not to be. In the fundamental Zen sense it's impossible  to become better  through transformation. That would be, as we sometimes like to say, unclear on the concept. When transformation is confused with improvement or with getting better, it's a recipe for disempowerment, for disappointment, for nothing working, for becoming buried deeper in the mire.

Family in transformation  brings to the table decisiveness, intentionality, responsibility, integrity, openness, and sharing. Biology ie the simple matter of being born  into a family, doesn't carry those qualities. It's merely the prerequisite for physical presence, the precursor to being here.

Something remarkable becomes possible when we bring transformation to bear on the family we're born into. What I'm postulating is this: if biology isn't there, we wouldn't be present at all. But even if biology is there, are we really present without transformation? I mean, really?

When I look at it this way I see the gift transformation brings to the family I'm born into. That touches, moves, and inspires me! From that inspiration a new platform, a new vantage point with a clearer vista emerges. In a much broader sense, when I look, inspired, I see an entirely new possibility of family as all of our stands for transformation. This is family in transformation.

The only qualification for inclusion in family in transformation  is to be a stand for transformation. Family in transformation  isn't necessarily the family of man nor the family I'm born into nor the family I establish nor extended family ... although clearly and desirably it's quite possible it could be.

It's family in me.

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