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


Is There Anything At All Outside Of My Experience?

Marin Headlands, California, USA

July 17, 2015



"It's mine, all mine!"   ... 
"Experience is simply evidence that I am here."  ... 
"Is there anybody out there?" ... Pink Floyd

"Is there anybody in here?" ... Laurence Platt




I've been engaging with the question "Is there anything at all outside of my experience?" ie "Is there anything other than  my experience?".

Unexamined, it seems as if my experience is bordered  ie has an edge, a perimeter, a boundary (if you will). Unexamined, it seems as if outside of my experience it's possible there may be something else. My first take on it is it does seem to be that way: without close examination, it does seem possible there may be something else. So drilling down, I'm looking at "Is it possible that my experience is all there is?"  like "Is there nothing  else?". Like that. Well ... is  it? And: is there?

In my inquiry I immediately notice yes there is one thing bigger than my experience. It's actually not a "thing" (that's merely a figure of speech). It's who I am. Who I am is the space, the context  in which my experience shows up ie it's the context in which whatever  I experience, shows up. My experience (quoting Werner) is "simply evidence that I am here". The only thing outside of my experience is who I am. So anything  I experience, shows up in the context of who I am. And within the context of who I am, it's all  my experience.

Now watch: there's nothing that's not  my experience. We human beings have no access to experiencing anything outside of the context of who we are (if you examine this assertion for yourself, you'll see it's true). So for me there's nothing outside of my experience. Nothing. Nothing at all. It's all  my experience.

When that first occurred to me, it occurred as an onus which seemed so huge as to be almost overwhelming. At first I tried to avoid it and deny what I'd seen - that's how uncomfortable and unconfrontable it was. But it was undeniable. The fact that I was overwhelmed by it, didn't make it any less true. Then I wondered whether or not I was mistaken about what I'd seen. But that didn't do any good either: it was unmistakable. I'd opened the fridge and seen the Grand Canyon  in there (unexpectedly, while looking for a soft drink). In shock and haste I closed the fridge door. But it was too late! The Grand Canyon was out of the fridge. The cat was out of the bag. The genie was out of the bottle. It knocked me on my ass.

Everything there is ie all of it, shows up within and as my experience, - which is to say it all shows up in the context of who I am. Whatever I experience, there's nothing outside of my experience except the context of who I am. Within my experience there's that which I know, and there's that which I don't know. I experience knowing, and I experience not knowing, and if there's anything else outside of my experience, I experience it as something that's outside of my experience.

<aside>

Listen: I really want you to get this: "... if there's anything else outside of my experience, I experience it as something that's outside of my experience.".

In other words, whatever's supposedly outside of my experience, shows up in an experience I have of something being outside of my experience. And any experience I have, is clearly within my experience.

That's very Zen. Sit with it in your lap like a hot brick (it will drive you crazy if you try to figure it out).

<un-aside>

So even that which I experience as supposedly "outside of my experience" is within my experience (even if I don't understand it). It's still my experience which, to boot, still shows up in the context of who I am. That's almost enough to induce vertigo and mal de mer:  something which is outside of my experience, is still my experience  ie even that which is supposedly outside of my experience, is actually within my experience.

There's no end to experience. That's the resolution I've been looking for: there's nothing that's outside of my experience. There's nothing that's outside of the context of who I am. Spoken with rigor, it's all  my experience.

(Again quoting Werner) "It's mine, all mine!"  - that is to say, everything there is, is mine ie everything there is, is (within) my experience. It's all  mine. Everything. I totally get it. And here's the thing: this is an experiential  "mine" not a possessive  "mine". If I take it personally and possessively ie that it's all mine and not yours, the stage is set for rampant conflict - not unlike the scenarios unfolding today across the planet. So in my experience of "for me, it's all mine" is also my experience of "for you, it's all yours". This would imply there's only one  experience (as the Highlander may have said) for all of us. But the game of life we're called on to play, requires we pretend  there are many individual experiences ie that we each have our own - bordered, edged, perimetered, bounded.

I get it. I discovered it for myself - even if I don't totally understand it. It's truly awesome. Getting it is a gamechanger. It will transform your life - even though you'll never fully understand transformation.



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