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

Idea As Source

Exertec Health and Fitness Center, Napa, California, USA

August 4, 2017

"This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy."
reading George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, out loud
This essay, Idea As Source, is the companion piece to Werner As Source.

It is also the eighth in an open group on Source:

Here's an idea: it's just possible you and I don't have thoughts.

Say whut?  Yes I know that may sound stoopid  on the face of it because everyone knows  we have thoughts - and the notion that we don't  have thoughts sounds naïve at best, and inane at worst. In contradistinction, I assert it's only the unexamined  notion that we don't have thoughts, which is naïve at best and inane at worst. Examining it, I'm suggesting the notion that we  (quote unquote) "have thoughts" is a commonly held yet cherished illusion. That's right. That there are thoughts, is not in question. That we  have thoughts? That we  think? That's the illusion. That's what's in question. We don't. Allow me to elaborate.

Thinking, for the most part, is an observably automatic  ("autonomic" if you prefer) process. Stop. Look. The times when we're actively engaged  participating in the thought process (which is what we call creative thinking  and / or thinking for ourselves)  is actually a miniscule fraction of our lives, involving an even more miniscule fraction of all thoughts. Simple (and truthful, and rigorous)  observation of our thought process, reveals thoughts coming and going and coming and going, without any  participation required on our part. Thinking, for the most part, is a fully automatic process. Neither intervention nor assembly are required. Batteries are included.

That's the illusion, pierced, about thinking: thinking is an automatic process. We don't think. The notion that we  think (in the sense that we think when and only when we think intentionally  ie that it's we  who cause thoughts to come) is a misunderstanding at best of how thinking works, and a non-rigorous misconception at worst.

We don't have thoughts: thoughts have us. Notice there's a subtle emphasis here: it's the emphasis on the word "have":  in "thoughts have  us", it's on "have" as in "ownership" ie it's on "have" as in "own". Thoughts own us. Thoughts drive us. They grip us (that's a particularly apt translation of "thoughts have us": thoughts have us, in the sense that they grip  us, yes?). Automatic thoughts determine our actions, our attitudes, and in many cases, our concerns. "We think thoughts" and (to a lesser degree) "we have thoughts" are patently false assumptions. "Thoughts think us"  and even "there are thoughts"  as assumptions, are much  closer to the truth.

Getting to the truth about thoughts and thinking, then living congruent with the truth about thoughts and thinking, requires a certain decisive altering of (ie a bold intrusion into) our relationship with our own thought process. What's called for is transforming our context for thoughts and thinking, so that we are  that thoughts have us ("there are thoughts"), rather than the other way around. More to the point, our ability to distinguish thoughts having us, rather than the other way around, is the beginning of (and our access  to) authentic creative thinking aka  the beginning of authentically thinking for ourselves.

In the light of the above, I assert it's idea  (in the abstract) and its component thoughts (idea's component bricks  if you will) which is really the source of our lives. This turns the notion that we're  the source of ideas ie that we think  ideas, on its head. Idea is the source of our lives. The notion of idea as source, is a key paper ie a required setwork reading  for the must-do  academic course Transformation 101. In an untransformed life, we say "we have  an idea" ie we imply we think an idea, when even the most cursory examinations show us it's not that way. In a transformed life, an idea has us, an idea owns us, an idea grips us, an idea thinks us. More rigorously, an idea uses  us. And listen: to be used by an idea recognized by yourself as a mighty one, is the true joy of life (as George Bernard Shaw may have said).


The presentation, delivery, and style of Ideas As Source are all my own work.

The ideas recreated in Ideas As Source were first originated, distinguished, and articulated by Werner Erhard.

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