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 Thinks You

Napa Valley, California, USA

July 29, 2022

"You don't think it. It thinks you." ... 
"Thinking only begins at the point where we have come to know that reason, glorified for centuries, is the most obstinate adversary of thinking." ... Martin Heidegger
This essay, It Thinks You, is the companion piece to
  1. The Quieting
  2. Leadership: Thinking
  3. Essays - Nineteen Years Later: On Being Used By Something Bigger Than Myself
  4. Born Into It II
in that order.

If you stop for a moment and just look, you'll see that the way you relate to the source of thoughts and to thoughts themselves and to thinking itself, is that you're the one doing it ie that you're the one who's the source of your thoughts, that you're the one creating them, that you're the one thinking them. Like the "I" in the ubiquitous phrase "I think ...", you regard thinking without question  as if you're the one doing it. In a word, you are  that "I think ...".

There's a simple and easy test for whether or not you're really the one doing the thinking ie for whether or not you're really the one thinking your thoughts. It's this: if you're the one doing the thinking ie if you're the one thinking your thoughts, then stop  thinking them. That's right: stop thinking them ... and watch what happens.

Tell the truth: you can't stop thinking them. You can't stop thoughts. Even if you're a yogi who can calm your autonomic nervous system to the point where there's a brief period of respite, thinking and thoughts start again all by themselves. You can't stop thoughts, therefore you aren't the one thinking them in the first place. To the contrary, you don't think thoughts: thoughts think you. All that thinking you say you're doing about something, you've cast as if you're the one thinking it. But it's not you. You don't think it. It  thinks you. The process is on full automatic. And you can't stop this process because you aren't the one who started it to begin with.
Werner Erhard's jaw-dropping observation




is a gamechanger. Really. Try this on for size (don't believe  this, just look): thinking itself generally (and thinking thoughts specifically) isn't something we "do". Even though that's how we couch it colloquially, thinking is a process we're born into. The process thinks us. For centuries we've had it backwards. We've cast the process as if it's we're the ones thinking our thoughts. And until the possibility of being transformed showed up on the planet, that's how we kept it cast. With transformation comes the astonishing possibility (followed by the unavoidable realization) that it's actually the other way around: that it's actually thoughts that are thinking us.

You may have wondered about the two quotes I selected to post at the start of this essay inasmuch as they appear to be conflicting. They aren't. And demonstrating that they aren't, could be a subject for another conversation on another occasion. For the time being at least, first re-read and get Werner's quote, then re-read and get Martin's (in that order). Then consider that in the apparent conflict gap between the two, a breakthrough in what really  thinking is, lies waiting to be discovered.

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