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




It's Never Over There

Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company, Napa, California, USA

September 5, 2019



"Wherever you go, there you are." ... Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, circa 1441

This essay, It's Never Over There, is the thirteenth in a group of thirteen written Out-Here:
  1. Out Here
  2. Out-Here II
  3. Out-Here III
  4. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  5. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  6. Hiking In A Painting
  7. Out-Here IV: Clearing For Life
  8. Something Bigger Than Oneself II
  9. To A Fault
  10. Where The Action Is
  11. Step Outside Your Head: A Call To Action
  12. More Than Being With The World
  13. It's Never Over There
in that order.

I am indebted to Alan W ("Wilson") Watts who inspired this conversation.




The venerable Alan Watts, one of the west's foremost exponents of Zen, wrote the book on the topic that's not taught in schools, that's not discussed in polite circles, that's not even disseminated in churches and religious institutions (which is what put him at odds with his alma mater  the Episcopal church in the first place). It's the  book he asserted should be given to all young people to read as they start out in the world so they're equipped to live life the way it's really  lived. And that book didn't exist. So he wrote it for his son Mark (who is now the docent of his legacy) and titled it "The Book On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are".

Unlike Alan, I'm not planning on writing a book. OK "Never say never" (as James Bond may have said). Seriously, this issue resolved for me (at least for the time being) in a conversation with Werner for whom I'd prepared a list of pros and cons for and against writing a book (had we gone through the entire list, it would have taken hours). As a segue  into it, I said "Werner I'd like to look with you at whether to write a book or not.". He replied flatly without any pause (quote unquote):


<quote>

IF YOU'RE GOING TO WRITE A BOOK THEN WRITE A BOOK. IF YOU'RE NOT THEN DON'T.

<unquote>


I got it. End of conversation. Next!

So I didn't write a book. But I've written essays on the internet. And if there's an essay to write on the topic that's not taught in schools, that's not discussed in polite circles, that's not disseminated in churches and religious institutions, it's an essay that should also be given to all young people as they start out in the world so they're equipped to live life the way it's really lived. I'm writing that essay. It's this one - or at least this one starts that conversation, and at best it fleshes it out. It's for my children Alexandra, Christian, and Joshua. It distinguishes a myth under which we languish: that we're in here, and whatever there is, is over there, when in fact there's nobody in here and nothing is ever over there (and in case you're getting ahead of me, no there's nothing over here  either). Rather whatever there is, is "out-here".

Be careful: if you listen what I just said as my "Truth", you'll muddy the water. Instead listen it as a place to stand to try out being with whatever there is. I'll explain.

The default position human beings hold about human beings, is that we each inhabit a bag of skin  separately and apart from all the other human beings inhabiting bags of skin. Our default position is we're in here, and outside our bag of skin is whatever there is - in other words whatever there is, is over there.

The trouble with this position is that according to it, everything there is, exists outside of the bailiwick of who we really are, beyond our grasp, and therefore over which we're almost impotent. Even the most cursory examination reveals that's neither a satisfactory nor a powerful way of being with things, let alone of living life.

Consider instead that everything there is, doesn't exist over there. Rather all of it exists within the experiential space  (if you will) of who we really are (and yes, you have to completely let go of the bag of skin position to fully get that). And the experiential space we really are, is neither in here, and nor is it over there (both of those locations aren't real: they're just tired old concepts). Rather the experiential space we really are, and everything there is, is out-here. And while we exert almost no power over what's over there, and while we exert a little but not much power over what's in here, you and I have within ourselves at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the ability to exert enormous power through language  over what's out-here.

<aside>

The way we ordinarily deploy language is with a word-to-world  fit. That's when language is a match for what's (assumed to be already) there eg I call it "Cow" because it's a cow.

What's also available is extraordinarily deploying language with a world-to-word  fit. That's when language defines and brings forth  what's there eg I call it "Cow" therefore  it's a cow.

Our ability to exert enormous power over what's out-here through deploying language with a world-to-word fit, is the domain of what's rapidly gaining traction and becoming known as "speaking being".

<un-aside>

I would ask my children to consider the possibility it's never over there  (which may rankle many people) and neither is it in here (which may outrage many more) and instead to look to and to come from the evidence of their direct experience:  who we really are, along with all there is, is out-here (in spite of all our hopeless concepts to the contrary). That's the essay I'd write for all young people to read as they start out in the world so they're equipped to live life the way it's really lived.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2019 Permission