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


Fire-Breathing Dragons

The Vineyardist, Calistoga, California, USA

St Valentine's Day, February 14, 2021

"The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons: paradox  and confusion." ... 
"Talk isn't cheap: you cheapen talk." ... 
This essay, Fire-Breathing Dragons, is the companion piece to It is also the eighth in a group of eight written on St Valentine's Day:

Two dragons, paradox and confusion, guard the gates to the temple of truth - as we've previously distinguished. Guarding them from what? Guarding them from us violating their integrity and their mundane sacredness. Like that, each one of us is also guarded by dragons. And for each of us, there's not just two of them: we're each guarded by a veritable army  of fierce fire-breathing  dragons. Guarding us from what? Guarding us from violating our own  integrity and mundane sacredness.

Photograph courtesy Fire-Breathing Dragons
Appreciated or not, we're constituted so that danger abounds when we violate our own integrity ie when we don't honor our word. I say that not intending to invoke guilt, shame, blame, or fear. No, it's sage counsel, just like I'd say "Oh, I wouldn't try to ride that bike which has wheels with broken spokes if I were you ...".

So like those dragons guarding the temple of truth from what we may do to it, dragons also guard each of us from what we may do to ourselves which threatens to violate our own integrity and mundane sacredness - that is to say, when we play small. Danger abounds when we're that way ie when we're being anything less than who we say we are, especially when we're justifying  ie making excuses for being anything less than who we say we are. That's when that army of fierce fire-breathing dragons makes its presence felt. It's not an ethical or a moral phenomenon. Only fools deny noticing just how fast it happens when they play small.

Now to be crystal clear for the fastidious among us: no, there are no such things as fire-breathing dragons!  Really. They're deployed here analogously, pointing to observable, natural, predictable (if not unconsidered) consequences of not honoring our word ie of cheapening it. Like what? And more importantly, like how? 

The way these fire-breathing dragons guard us from violating our own integrity and mundane sacredness is not by correcting ie by reinstating our integrity for us when we violate it. No, it's when we do, they scorch us ongoingly, relentlessly. It's what confronts us with the consequences of violating our integrity. It renders us forced to sit up, pay rapt attention, and find the way to reinstate integrity by ourselves for ourselves.

Don't trivialize this. The thing about trivializing being scorched by fire-breathing dragons is we do so at our own peril. To do so, is to miss a timely warning that we're compromising our integrity ie that we're not honoring our word, that we're playing small, that we're not being who we say we are. Consequences of not honoring our word include the loss of affinity, a tarnished trustworthiness, and an overall failing workability in our lives, to list three (and arguably there are many hundreds  more).

Remember this is neither an ethical nor a moral phenomenon. It's simply don't ride the bike with the wheels with broken spokes! Not riding that bike, is smart - given that our doing so, obviously puts us in danger. What's not so obvious (as fire-breathing dragons would warn us) is our doing so puts others  in even greater danger.

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