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


Interpretation As Interpretation

The Tides, Bodega Bay, California, USA

July 14, 2008



It's a parallel universe  in which we live daily. Sometimes we're aware we're living in it. Mostly we aren't. It's the universe in which what we think, what we opine, what we interpret is the way it is  for us. In this parallel universe it's not simply what we think, what we opine, what we interpret is the way it is for us. It's that what we think, what we opine, what we interpret is the way it is for us ... AND ... we don't have it that what we think, what we opine, what we interpret isn't real.

In other words, on those occasions when we're living in this parallel universe, we live as if our interpretations are real. When we're living in this parallel universe, we don't live as if our interpretations are interpretations.

One way to correct this state of affairs (that is if, indeed, it requires any correction at all) is to catch ourselves out, to distinguish it's our interpretation when we're interpreting. From time to time, the machinery  we are is thrown to interpret without distinguishing reality from interpretation. That's simply the nature of the machine. It's not powerful to make interpreting wrong, nor is it powerful to make yourself wrong for interpreting. Being built in  to the automaticity of the machinery, interpreting is an essential component of being human.

Distinguishing reality from interpretation is to draw the line between what's real  and what's true. If a grizzly bear with a hungry look on its face chases you through the woods, that's real. If you imagine  or think about  a grizzly bear with a hungry look on its face chasing you through the woods, that may be true for you but it's not real. In the same way, our interpretations may be true  for us but they're not real.

Interpreting by itself diminishes power. Distinguishing interpretation as interpretation  then leaving it alone is the source of great power.

The way we human beings process input, leaving interpretation alone isn't easy for us. It's more than that actually: leaving anything  alone isn't easy. We're prone to fixing. We're prone to want to fix everything. We're prone to want to fix our thinking. We're addicted to therapy and to getting better. We're convinced something's wrong. To have it be that there's nothing wrong  requires incessantly giving up sticking our fingers in the machinery. We can't give it up! We've been fixing ourselves for so long now we believe there's gotta be some kind of payoff. "With all this manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere!". But there isn't. And there never was to begin with. In spite of this, we can't leave our interpretations alone. It's hard for us to just let it be. Even though it drives us crazy (literally), we continuously live as if our interpretations are real.

But interpretations aren't real. They're just interpretations. It's not that  we interpret which has us at odds with reality from time to time ie that we interpret at all. Neither is it what  we interpret ie the inference of our interpretations which keeps us from simply allowing what's so  to be. Rather, it's that we make no distinction interpretation  within the broader context of what's so. When I collapse my interpretation of reality with reality, and I don't distinguish I'm doing it, that's a train wreck just waiting to happen.

Distinguishing interpretation as interpretation, as a parallel universe we live in from time to time, creates the possibility of being powerfully grounded here  and now.



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