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


In Appreciation

Quent Cordair Fine Art Gallery, Napa, California, USA

January 26, 2017



"As stupid as it sounds, it's true there's a sense of joy with simply being with what's there."  ... 
"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth." ... Alan Watts

"I don't question how or why it all came to be: I simply appreciate that it is." ... Laurence Platt




Our collective human archives, our accumulated lore and legends and all our records, are prolifically endowed with many varied, interesting (and in some cases truly fabulous)  accounts of how and why all this came to be. Some such accounts even claim to be "The Truth", a claim which appears to be symptomatic of the onset of great righteousness later on. Others are presented as possibilities, as "What if  ... ?"s  - which appears to make them clearer to look at, more palatable to entertain, and certainly much easier to consider. Generally speaking, many such explanations and / or attempts to explain the how and the why of it all, are at the confluence where the two great rivers, science and religion, meet. Sometimes there's common ground. Sometimes there's only disdain and hostility shouted from one bank to the other.

Of course we're not limited to only two  rivers which source this inquiry. That would make it overly simplistic. There are many others in addition to science and religion: notably there's also the "I don't know"  river. "I don't know" / "We don't know", in regard to how and why all this came to be, is arguably the one closest to the truth - that is, if you're willing to tell the truth unflinchingly about our situation. We know what we know. We also know (regarding certain areas of life) what we don't know. "I don't know  how or why all this came to be" is as close to an authentic, honest, truthful statement about how and why all this came to be, as y'all are likely to get.

Now something is often forgotten and / or overlooked in this pursuit. Something is often neglected in this inquiry into our origins and into the origins of all that came to be. It's this: the mechanisms ie the instruments with which we conduct the inquiry (to wit, our intelligence, our intellect, our discrimination etc) are included in that which came to be, yes? That being so, I question whether we have any access to an objective outcome of such an inquiry, when that with which we're conducting the inquiry is also that into which we're inquiring. Can we, for example, using our intelligence, reach an objective outcome inquiring into the origins of our intelligence? Can we, using our intellect, reach an objective outcome inquiring into the origins of our intellect? Can we, using our discrimination, reach an objective outcome inquiring into the origins of our discrimination? I don't assume the answers to these questions are no, and I don't assume the answers are yes (in any case, with transformation we'll get to appreciate the answers in an entirely new light). Rather, what I am suggesting is these are the real questions ie these are the interesting questions to ask.

Listen: they're actually more than merely interesting questions. They epitomize the age-old epic Zen conundrum ie the classic Zen enigma: can the hand grasp itself?  can the eye see itself? can the tooth bite itself? In all three cases, it's more than arguably  not: it's demonstrably  not. Captured (actually mesmerized)  by this, I ask myself where it leaves me in regard to this inquiry. And when I begin asking questions of this order, something enlightening ie something transformational  happens.

Where it leaves me is with the following compelling realization: inquiry or no inquiry, outcome or no outcome, explanation or no explanation, I'm here. I'm still here, whether I'm in the inquiry or not. I'm still here, whether the inquiry bears fruit (ie answers) or not. The inquiry can (and probably will) produce many, many  possible answers, and the inquiry may or may not  produce satisfaction ... and yet  ... the blindingly simple obviousness of it all is inquiry or not, I'm here, whether the how and the why is explained or not ie understood or not. This suggests the pragmatist pays attention to being here rather than to the how and the why of it all coming to be.

So I don't question how and why it all came to be, as a condition of satisfaction for my life. Rather than question how and why it all came to be, I simply appreciate that it is. Understanding the how and the why, is not required. As stupid as it sounds, understanding the how and the why is not a condition of satisfaction for living.



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