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 "The Possibility Of Being  ..."

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

April 14, 2019

This essay, It's "The Possibility Of Being  ...", is the eighteenth in an open group on Possibility:

What's different between inventing a possibility like the "possibility of not wanting for anything" as distinct from the similar "possibility of being Self-sufficient"  ... or the "possibility of eating right" as distinct from the similar "possibility of being healthy" ... or the "possibility of having a person with whom to be in a relationship" as distinct from the similar "possibility of being loving, lovable, and kind"? Hint: in the conversation for transformation, it's never  a possibility of doing or having. In this conversation it's always  a possibility of being. OK Laurence, what exactly is the difference between a possibility of doing or having, and a possibility of being?

The difference is that in the latter of each of those pairs, possibility is invented from, as a complement to, as an expansion of, as a fulfillment of who I'm being  as a human being. We hear it said "this is possible" and "that's possible", or "it's a possibility that this could happen" and "it's a possibility that that  could happen". So inventing a possibility is a linguistic act. Well ... if I'm going to invent possibility at all, then for my money, I'll be pragmatic. Consider this: which spoken form works better: "the possibility of getting a lot done" (for example) ... or "the possibility of being productive"? ie which creates space for who I am to show up powerfully?
Werner deploys the idea of a "possibility" primarily as a possibility of being, and only trivially as a possibility of doing or having (or of happening or of feeling). To appreciate this fully, I have to step outside of any pre-conceptions I may have about what possibility is. Possibility, outside the realm of transformed being, is openly fraught with "maybe", conjecture, pipe-dreaming, and / or even with science-fiction. And in all of the above, there's at least some value. But it's in the realm of being, that possibility takes on a power all of its own: the power to transform people, the power to bring forth the heretofore unimaginable, the power to restart lives anew.

So in the realm of being ie in the milieu  of being, to invent a possibility is to invent a new possibility for being. Period. That's what's to distinguish here. It's not to invent a new possibiliy for having or doing. The way Werner deploys the idea, to invent a new possibility is to invent a possibility for being for human being. It's to invent a right-now  kind of possibility, a point-blank kind of possibility, a tonight's-the-night*  kind of possibility. It's not a someday  kind of possibility nor a maybe  kind of possibility. It's always a possibility for being-in-the-world, a possibility in which I stand ie as, and inside of, in which I enroll others in me having invented and gotten. Interestingly enough, just being  the possibility I invented, is the key to enrolling others (enrolling others in your possibility is never a chore: they just get it).

The possibility / possibilities I'm alluding to, are of a different order than the possibility of winning the Powerball  lottery, the possibility of learning a new skill, the possibility of developing improved health and fitness, all of which are of course possible. The possibility / possibilities I'm alluding to are akin to the possibility of being whole, full, and complete, the possibility of being generous, the possibility of being peaceful, and more. They're possibilities I invent and get, inside of the new realm of possibility - transformation - Werner's work brings forth. That's not to say you couldn't invent such possibilities inside of / with another discipline. But here's what's so for me: I've not discovered another discipline with the same uncanny, unerring, urgent opening for possibility to appear (as I said, for me it's just being pragmatic).

In Werner's work (which is to say inside of the context ie inside of the new realm of possibility - transformation - that Werner's work brings forth), any possibility I invent, leaves me with power, freedom to be, and full Self-expression in areas of my life where they were lacking or blocked. Inventing possibility in this way doesn't merely impact how I feel (and how I feel really has very little to do with it). It's more than that. It's it alters the totality of what's available for me as a human being.

* Postscript: the back-story behind a "tonight's-the-night" kind of possibility:
Werner tells the following joke with great effect:

The leader of a seminar titled About Sex  asks the group "Who of you have sex more than once a week? Stand up.". Half the group stands up. They all have big, bright smiles on their faces. The leader then says "Got it. Who of you have sex once or twice a month? Stand up.". Half the remaining group stands up. They're smiling, but they're not as radiant as the first group. The leader then says "Got it. Who of you have sex once or twice every four months? Stand up.". All the remaining group stands up. They're hardly smiling at all. "Got it.".

The leader then notices there's one person still seated, a little old man alone in a corner, and he's got the biggest smile  on his face. I mean he's a lighthouse. It's a huge megawatt beam. "Please stand up" says the seminar leader. The old man stands up. People are putting on sunglasses to shield their eyes from his blazing grin. "How often do you have sex?" she asks the old man. "Once every six months" he says. "Only once every six months?"  the seminar leader asks incredulously, "so why are you so happy?".

And the old man replies "Because tonight's the night!!!".

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