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 Churches, Museums, And Castles

Sankt Petri Kyrka, Göran Olsgatan, Malmö, Sweden

February 17, 2014



"It doesn't always have to be like this ... all we need to do is make sure we keep talking." ... Stephen Hawking

This essay, In Churches, Museums, And Castles, is the companion piece to Prayer.

It is also the second in a group of three written in Denmark / Sweden, February 2014:
  1. Air You Can Trust
  2. In Churches, Museums, And Castles
  3. Spirit Of Generosity
in that order.

The group of three written in Denmark / Sweden, February 2014 is the prequel to Listening: You Never Have And You Never Will.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who contributed material for this conversation.




Photography by Alexandra Lindsey Platt - 12:41:12pm Monday February 17, 2014
in Sankt Petri Kyrka, Göran Olsgatan, Malmö, Sweden
I don't go to church. I find going to church distracting. There's not much value for me in going to church. Rather, I bring  my Self to church. The difference is profound. Bringing my Self to church has value for me. Actually bringing my Self to anything in Life has value for me. And bringing my Self to church (or synagogue or ashram or mosque or any of our houses of worship)  as a celebration of Life itself, has enormous  value for me.

I bring my Self to museums. Not because I'm interested in the past. The truth is I'm only fleetingly interested in the past. To be sure, whenever I bring my Self to museums, there are ample (if not neverending)  interesting opportunities to study the past. Rather, what I get from bringing my Self to museums, are opportunities, given the past but no longer run by the past, to fully appreciate the present, and opportunities, also given the past but no longer run by the past, to be fully open to the new possibilities for the future.

Whenever I bring my Self to castles, I'm enthralled with them. I'm completely enthralled with medieval castles. I'm completely enthralled with ancient forts. I'm enthralled with their bastions, with their moats, with their drawbridges, with their turrets, with their ramparts, with their armories ie I'm particularly  enthralled with their armories and with their collections of ancient guns and weapons and swords and other instruments of mayhem and blood-letting and torture and destruction.

To be clear, I'm not a gun guy  or a weapons guy myself. That's not what interests me here. What gets  me (not as a criticism of how we are but rather as an inquiry into  how we are ie as an insight into how we're thrown  to be), is realizing how much time, how much expense, and how much brilliantly creative  energy we've (I'm talking about all  of us now, I'm talking about all of humanity now) invested in developing implements which kill and maim - and we've been developing implements which kill extremely well  and which maim very effectively  for centuries and centuries and centuries.

This is us, humanity, yes? At least this is one enduring side  of us, humanity. Based on what's on view in these armories in so many of these castles, we've been doing this for a long, long time. And there's enough of a momentum to ensure we, without question, will continue doing it for a long, long time yet to come.

Listen: I mean "without question" quite literally. I say it's because we don't question what's possible, that we keep the status quo, we keep the way it's always been, in place. I say it's because we don't question what's possible, that we've limited our own options by always trying to get  from Life, rather than bringing our Selves to Life (to borrow from President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, we ask what Life can do for us; we ask not what we can bring to Life). I say it's because we don't question what's possible, that we're run by our past with no real appreciation of the opportunities in the present, and with no real appreciation of the new possibilities for the future - not just for us and for our own countries, but rather for our planet and for all  its countries and for all its peoples.

This is one of the great mysteries of being human: why solving what's wanted and needed for our planet and for all its peoples as a whole, remains such an unreachable idea ie why it remains so elusive that we can't all agree on it. It's one of the great mysteries of being human that solving what's wanted and needed for our planet and for all its peoples as a whole, remains so untenable that there are more arguments and more agreements in place against it among the people who run our countries and our planet at large, than for it.

In each church, in each museum, in each castle to which I bring my Self, I see plenty of evidence it's been this way for centuries and centuries and centuries ... and  ... in each church, in each museum, in each castle to which I bring my Self, in each one of them already present is the new possibility it doesn't always have to be like this.



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