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


Here And There

Goleta, California, USA

December 15, 2009



This essay, Here And There, is the companion piece to
  1. Out Here
  2. Already Here
in that order.

It is also the thirteenth in an open group Encounters With A Friend:
  1. Showing Up
  2. Poet Laureate
  3. A Man In The Crowd
  4. Real Men Cry
  5. A Different Set Of Rules
  6. Nametag: A True Story
  7. Half Life
  8. Waiting On You
  9. Erotica On Schedule
  10. A House On Franklin Street
  11. NeXT
  12. Reflection On A Window
  13. Here And There
  14. How To Enroll The World
  15. Demonstration
  16. Two Of Me II: Confirmation Not Correction
  17. Holiday Spectacular
  18. Hello! How Are Things Going For You?
  19. Regular Guy
  20. A Scholar And A Gentleman
  21. Images Of You
  22. With Nothing Going On
  23. Where No One Has Gone Before
  24. Attachment: Causeway Between Islands
  25. If You're Not Then Don't
  26. Images Of You II
  27. Living Where Life Is
  28. Create Me The Way I Am
  29. How Do You Spell The Sound A Ratchet Makes?
  30. You Don't Ask "Why Me?"  When It's Raining II
so far, in that order.

It was written at the same time as I am indebted to Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership students who inspired this conversation.




You ask me a straight forward question, a simple enough question. You ask me "Where are you?". Without hesitating, I answer "I'm here" - to which my already always listening  silently adds "obviously ... duh!".

"Very good" you say.

Then you ask my friend the same straight forward question, the same simple question "And where are you?". Also without hesitating, my friend answers "I'm here.".

"Very good" you say.

Then you ask me a another straight forward question, another simple question. You ask me "Where is he?", pointing at my friend. Without hesitating, I answer "He's there", looking at him.

"Very good" you say.

Then you ask my friend the same straight forward question, the same simple question. You ask him "Where's Laurence?", pointing at me. Without hesitating, my friend answers "He's there", looking at me.

"Very good" you say.

Then after a pause, you say something which astounds me with its profundity, which shocks me awake with its simplicity. You say "So the consensus of what you both say is: you're both here  ... AND ... you're both there, right?".

A silence like a velvet curtain suddenly descends and hangs thick in which I find myself struggling to make meaning of his masterfully crafted paradox. Nobody is saying anything.

Then you ask me another straight forward question, another simple enough question. You ask me "When you say your friend is there, where does there  show up for you?".

I get a slippery, disconcerting feeling. It's as if the carpet's slowly sliding out from under my feet. I gamely say (and it sounds lame even to myself) "There  shows up for me here", pointing to my head (to my eyes, to my brain actually).

"Very good" you say.

Then you ask my friend the same straight forward question, the same simple question. You ask him "When you say Laurence is there, where does there  show up for you?". My friend says something similar to what I say. He says "There  shows up for me here", pointing to his head (to his eyes, to his brain, actually).

"Very good" you say.

Then you say to both of us "When you say there  shows up for you here", pointing to your head (to your eyes, to your brain, actually), "I say that's not where there  shows up for you. If you say there  shows up for you here"  you continue, pointing to your head (to your eyes, to your brain, actually), "I say that's a concept. I say that's not where there  shows up for you in your experience. What I want you to do is to point  to where there  shows up for you in your experience.".

We both hesitate briefly. Then after a moment, my friend points at me here, and I point at him there.

A-Ha!  and Eureka!  It seems for both of us, there  doesn't show up here, after all. For both of us, when we look at where there  shows up as an experience  and not as a concept, there  shows up there.

In a flash, I've gotten that my here  and my there  are really the same, and my friend has also gotten that his here  and his there  are really the same. But it's more than that, actually. In the same flash, I've just gotten that my here  and my friend's here  are really the same, and my friend has also gotten that his here  and my here  are really the same.

But it's still more than that, actually. In the same flash, both my friend and I have just gotten that there  doesn't show up here  in our heads ie in our eyes, in our brains. Rather, we've both just gotten that there  shows up there. Really!

It's gone silent again. The velvet curtain has descended again. My friend and I aren't saying anything again. But this time, neither of us are struggling. This time we're both profoundly moved.



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