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


Full Self-Expression:

Demonstration II

Kenzo Estate, Monticello Road, Napa Valley, California, USA

August 13, 2021

"Lots of people have talked about taking that step into the unknown. Taking that step into the unknown is actually a lot less courageous than taking a step from  the unknown."
"Choose a problem that's worth your time. World hunger is worth your time. Making a million dollars isn't."
... Sandra "Sandy" Bernasek (1951 - 2018), Landmark Forum Leader, quoted by the Pittsburgh City Paper
"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'Thank You!', it will be enough."
... Meister Eckhart
This essay, Full Self-Expression: Demonstration II, is the fourth in a sextet conceived during my second sabbatical:
  1. Sabbatical II (Beginning)
  2. Silence And Nothing
  3. Sabbatical II (Middle)
  4. Full Self-Expression: Demonstration II
  5. Setting Up For The Rapids
  6. Sabbatical II (End)
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Demonstration.

Look: it turns out the way it turns out. And it's never turned out any other way, other than the way it turned out. Not once, not ever. The starting point for living life transformed, is to get it the way it is (and the way it isn't) with nothing added, and with nothing taken away. If you don't get it that way, it's a pretty miserable, frantic existence. If you do, it's all perfect. No kidding! Look: that's not trivial. It's high stakes. But it's not significant. Making it significant is just more arrogance.

In the light of this, I've discovered (when I tell the truth about it) that nothing I do makes any difference. Really. It turns out the way it turns out anyway - no matter what I do (or don't do). No, that's not fatalism. And no, it's not some kind of pre-determination / pre-destination either. And it doesn't require karma  to conceptualize it tritely. But it is unmistakable and (depending on your willingness to confront the obvious rather than the known / the thrown)  inarguable. Things turn out the way they turn out. And they've never turned out any other way. Not once. Not ever. Even if that doesn't fit into your categories, it's the truth. Stop lying about it.

Bringing forth who we really are - in the face of it turns out the way it turns out anyway - is possibly the only action we can initiate that makes any lasting difference at all. But watch: if none of what we do makes any difference, since it turns out the way it turns out anyway, then it's a paradox, a kind of a cosmic joke  (if you will) played on us, that bringing forth who we really are, in the face of it doesn't make a difference, makes a difference. You may not get this rationally, cerebrally, or intellectually: in the face of nothing makes a difference, bringing forth who we really are makes a difference. It will drive you crazy if you try to figure it out.

Our world, and the ongoing play of life in it, comprises people. I wonder: if you and I don't know who we really are (and consequently have no access to bringing forth who we really are), what does that say for our world, and for the ongoing play of life in it, comprised as it is by people who (mostly) don't know who they really are? It's a disconcerting predicament to be in, one which (for the most part) we don't question or challenge, relegating us to a kind of feeling our way around in the dark  way of living, a way of living that's bolted in place by what the venerable Alan Watts distinguished as "the taboo against knowing who (we) are".

I'm a big fan of Alan - who he is, his infamous break with the Episcopal Church, the books he's written, the talks he's given. I've visited his houseboat. Yet I've not met him personally. So it was in being around Werner in the Franklin House that this other possibility for being (indeed, this entirely new possibility for being in the world) became apparent. Werner is always, always two things: one, in action, and two, fully Self-expressed. Both. Always. Being fully Self-expressed (that's "Self" with a capital "S") in the face of it turns out the way it turns out anyway, is arguably the one actionable ability we human beings have which makes any difference at all.

Make a million dollars? Makes no difference. Not really. Fly into space? Makes no difference. Not really. Develop a new social media app? Makes no difference. Not really. Discover who we really are, be who we really are, and bring that forth in all our actions, as our natural Self-expression? Makes a difference. Makes a profound, enormous, enduring difference. Alters the very fabric of Life as we know it.

That's Werner's demonstration  (as Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, may have said). Arguably it's his demonstration of always full Self-expression and always in action, which validates all the abstracts and ideas in the rich body of distinctions that is "transformation", not the other way around.

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