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


(How To Be A) Victim Of Circumstance

Aparto Suites Muralto, Madrid, Spain

March 14, 2011



The most effective way, the most sure fire way, the most fool proof  way to be a victim of circumstance  is this: abdicate responsibility for making distinctions.

If I'm intent on being a victim of circumstance (and even if I'm not), abdicating responsibility for making distinctions is deadly  effective. It's more than that, actually. It's whenever I abdicate responsibility - intentionally or unintentionally - for making distinctions, the only role left  for me to play in Life is victim of circumstance.

When I assert I get to play victim of circumstance by abdicating responsibility for making distinctions, it may sound as if that assertion is painted with too broad a brush. To be sure, there are a few specific, pointed  distinctions, three of them in fact, the absence of which (in other words, the absence of being responsible for  which) invariably renders me a victim of circumstance. I've got something to say about these three, which I'll do in just a moment - it'll actually be distracting to this  conversation (unlike others) to get into the specifics too soon.

Who I really am is the maker of the distinctions in my life. Say whut?  Yes, that's who I really  am. I know that's slippery. It's hard to get. It really is. It's slippery partially because it's abstract  and hard to reach, and partially because I seldom distinguish who I really am as the maker of the distinctions in my life. Distinguishing the abstract and hard to reach "who I really am is the maker of the distinctions in my life" is a muscle I seldom exercise.

I walk. I talk. I sleep. I eat. I do all of the above.

<aside>

Actually  ... it's arguably not accurate to say "I walk, I talk, I sleep, I eat.". Arguably what's accurate  is what's derived from the Zen form "it  walks, it  talks, it  sleeps, it  eats" etc.

However, for this  conversation, saying "I walk, I talk, I sleep, I eat" is good enough for jazz.

<un-aside>

I can distinguish  I walk, I talk, I sleep, I eat. I make distinctions like these all  the time. But here's the thing about making distinctions like these all the time - here's the thing about doing anything  "all the time": making distinctions has become so intrinsic  to my functioning as a human being that I often don't notice it's who I am. Sometimes I don't even notice I'm making distinctions even when I'm making distinctions. When I say I don't even notice I'm making distinctions even when I'm making distinctions, I mean it in the same way as the bird doesn't notice air when it flies; I mean it in the same way as the fish doesn't notice water when it swims. I'm saying we don't distinguish that we make distinctions. I'm saying we don't distinguish that making distinctions is who we really are.

Fleshing this out a bit more, making distinctions like "I walk", "I talk", "I sleep", "I eat" etc doesn't provide an access  to who I really am. But making a distinction like "I make distinctions - like 'I walk', 'I talk', 'I sleep', 'I eat' etc"  provides an access to who I really am. That said, how to be a victim of circumstance is really very simple: do not  make the distinction "who I really am makes distinctions". Again, whenever I abdicate my responsibility - intentionally or unintentionally - for making distinctions, the only role left for me to play in Life is victim of circumstance.

My thesis is this: not distinguishing that we make distinctions  (even when we do), not distinguishing that making distinctions is who we really are, puts us on the fast track  to being a victim of circumstance. Operating in Life blind to who is the source of the distinctions in our lives, indeed operating in Life not being responsible for the distinctions  in our lives, which is to say operating in Life not being aware of who we really are, is simply the most effective method there is - bar none  - for being a victim of circumstance.

I mentioned earlier there are a few specific, pointed distinctions (three of them in fact, each coming from Werner Erhard), the absence of which ie the absence of me being responsible for which, always renders me a victim of circumstance. Now that I've laid the groundwork for who I really am as the maker of distinctions in my life, the three specific distinctions which, if abdicated, render me a victim of circumstance, are:

 1)  I'm the source of the quality of my life;

 2)  I can disappear  anything in my life;

 3)  I can transform  my life.

So ... how to be a victim of circumstance? All you have to do is abdicate distinguishing these three distinctions, and abdicate distinguishing who you really are as the maker of the distinctions in your life.

Doing so is easy. It's also deadly effective.



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