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


Hostile Environment

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

January 22, 2011



This essay, Hostile Environment, is the companion piece to The Myth That Life Is ... Er ... Hard.

It was written at the same time as


Life. It's not fair. It's not easy. So you say.

But "It's not fair" and "It's not easy" are assessments. And assessments, no matter how cherished, no matter how widely held, aren't the truth. What's closer to the truth is Planet Earth didn't come with any guarantees things would be fair or easy here. So when "It's not fair" and "It's not easy" are said as judgements and / or complaints, well ... so what?!"

Photograph courtesy daviddarling.info
Hostile Environment:
Not Fair, Not Easy
Look: something - an asteroid? a meteor? - caused an extinction event  for the dinosaurs. If you had an extinction event in your suburb, it would ruin your  day too. It wasn't fair, especially after all the hard work Mom and Pop Tyrannosaurus Rex put into raising a family and carving out territory. It certainly didn't make things easy. Vesuvius didn't ask the denizens of Pompeii to approve its plan to annihilate them before it erupted. But it did so anyway. Not fair. Certainly not easy for the Pompeiians. Neither fair nor easy for those in the path of the Banda Aceh tsunami. Neither fair nor easy for those in the path of the Brisbane Australia floods.

From the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs to the more recent flooding of Brisbane, it's been obvious our domicile on Earth has always been (while we may not want to confront it) a hostile environment.

Since "It's not fair" and "It's not easy" are just assessments and not "the truth", and assessments aren't the source of any measure of empowerment, what I'd like to flesh out in this conversation is a powerful  view of whatever's considered not fair, a powerful  view of whatever's considered not easy.

A powerful view of whatever's considered not fair is "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't.". A powerful view of whatever's considered not easy is "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't.". The assessments "It's not fair" and "It's not easy" aren't powerful since they're aligned with opinions  about the way things should  be. Remember, Planet Earth didn't come with any guarantees things would be fair or easy here. "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't" is powerful since it's not  aligned with opinions about the way things should be. "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't" is powerful since it's aligned with the physical universe.

The physical universe, the environment in which we live, isn't hostile  or not fair or not easy when it's the way it is, and when it isn't the way it isn't. When the physical universe, when the environment in which we live, is the way it is, and isn't the way it isn't, then it's neither hostile nor not fair nor not easy: it's just the physical universe, it's just the environment in which we live.

That's reality. No opinions clouding the picture. In a word (in two  words actually), it's just "what's so".

Wait! Isn't "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't" merely apathy?  - especially when it's said sounding like Eeyore  ever lamenting in The Hundred Acre Wood  in his own distinctive accent. Isn't "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't" merely the uninvolved bleating of indifferent sheeple?  Or depressed donkeys? No. And here's why.

The assessments "It's not fair" and "It's not easy" play as victims  of what's so even if  they're arguably good descriptions. They provide no foundation, no basis, no platform  on which to stand and make a difference. All they do is rail against  what's so. "It's the way it is, and it isn't the way it isn't" acknowledges  what's so. Notice if your intention is to make a difference, it's fundamental  to transformation (it's an axiom  if you will) that you can't make a difference with anything  until you first get it exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't. When you get it exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't, there's freedom of choice  around what to do next. When you get it exactly the way it is and exactly the way it isn't, there's an an opening:  a clearing, a context for new possibilities. That's  when things start to shift.
Werner Erhard suggests building a strategy to resist a hostile environment binds you as much to the hostile environment as committing to it.



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