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 Works Better As A Possibility

San Francisco, California, USA

April 10, 2015



 "The truth believed is a lie."  ... 
"There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing." ... Robert Burns
This essay, It Works Better As A Possibility, is the companion piece to Don't Believe Everything You Hear In Here.
It is also the second in the third trilogy Breakfast With The Master:
  1. Raw Power
  2. It Works Better As A Possibility
  3. Magic At Heart
in that order.
The first trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Conversation With A Laser
  2. Shut Up And Do What You're Doing
  3. Secret Agent
in that order.
The second trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Health
  2. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Finances
  3. Breakfast With The Master II: Future Open
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master IV: Parental Care
  2. Breakfast With The Master IV: Taking The Guilt Out Of It
  3. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Breakfast With The Master is:
  1. Breakfast With The Master V: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  2. Breakfast With The Master V II: Not Yet Titled (working title)
  3. Breakfast With The Master V III: Not Yet Titled (working title)
in that order.
This essay, It Works Better As A Possibility, is also the tenth in an open group on Possibility: I am indebted to Reg Leonard who contributed material for this conversation.



Somewhere after that first forkful of huevos rancheros  and before my last sip of green tea, the following insights and observations graced our breakfast conversation.

I'd like to share them with you. I'm assuming since they're valuable for me, they may also be valuable for you (you and I: we're not all that different ... really).

What they and the conversation in which they occurred opened up for me is (in a word) the possibility  of possibility. By "the possibility of possibility" I'm referring to a Self-generated stand, a Self-generated place to come from  and to speak from, which has an enormous and extraordinary power to keep the space open for people to hear what's being said, a power to speak in a way which is eminently listen-able  rather than in a way which albeit enthusiastically, shuts down being listened.

What brings forth the possibility of possibility? Language. Read on.



Meaning-Making Machinery



It's one of the strongest pulls  of the machinery with which we're comprised: the pull to add meaning to everything. Once we've added meaning to everything, we're thrown to believe the meaning we've added, forgetting there's no intrinsic meaning to anything, forgetting it's all empty and meaningless.

The oft asked and universally celebrated question is "What is the meaning of Life?". I've resolved this question for myself. Here's my answer: "There is none. Life has no meaning. It's we who've made up all meaning, then assigned it to Life, then forgotten we assigned it to Life (or lied about it).".

<aside>

Here's another take on the question "What is the meaning of Life?" - it's the Zen take:

Things are the way they are, and they aren't the way they aren't, yes? (don't lie about it ...).

So: "What is the meaning of Life?". The meaning of Life is the meaning of Life.

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

<un-aside>

It's tough to get Life has no meaning, that it's we who've made up all meaning, then assigned it to Life, then forgot we assigned it to Life, then believed Life has meaning - at least at first  it's tough to get. It's tough to get possibly because we're not mindful that our adding meaning to everything then believing it, is an automatic, unconscious process. So it seems as if Life already has  some intrinsic meaning ... and if only we could figure out what it is  ...

Werner Erhard said it best. I watched and listened as a man told him "Werner, this work is so great! Today I disappeared two beliefs I discovered I've been unconsciously living out of.".

Without missing a beat, Werner responded "Yes, and as far as I can tell, so far today you've only added one more.".



"It's Possible" And "It May Be" Rather Than "It Is"



I propose our observations of Life, indeed all our utterings about almost anything and just about everything, simply work better languaged as possibilities.

For example, try on the assertion "Who I am is my word.". When I say "Who I am is my word" there's an is-ness embedded in it which, if I examine closely how it lands, can have the effect of shutting down listening. There's an is-ness which it embodies (in all likelihood it's an is-ness which we embody in it enthusiastically yet unconsciously) which not only can but will  devolve into a belief which eventually can and probably will kill off any value it once might have had.

Now try on the assertion "It's possible  that who I am may be  my word.". It's the same idea. But it's not articulated as the definitive "Who I am is my word.". It's articulated as the postulate  "It's possible that who I am may be my word.". With the augmentation of possibility, there's an opening  now, a listen-ability  if you will. Spoken this way, it doesn't shut down. Moreover it leaves me with the option of considering it for myself rather than it being dictated to me. It's harder for me to keep an open listening in which I can examine what's so for myself, when I'm being dictated to. The augmentation of possibility invites me to examine it for myself.

Another example would be the assertion "Who I am is the space in which the events of my life occur.". Now try on the same idea expressed in this definitive, but articulated as the postulate "It's possible  that who I am may be  the space in which the events of my life occur" (indeed, it's also possible that who I am may be both  my word and  the space in which the events of my life occur ...). My point is I've noticed whenever I make any assertion, it works better as a postulate ie it works better as a possibility  ie as a "may be" rather than as a definitive ie rather than as an "is". Assertions I make as possibilities, stay  open - therefore they're more listenable, and therefore if they have any value, it'll be gotten more effectively, more thoroughly, and more completely.

Articulating an idea as a possibility rather than as an "is" ie rather than as "The Truth"  brings the authentic  element of "may be" into play. It brings an element of openness into the conversation. "May be" has an opening for all of it. "May be" stays open and is listenable. Saying an idea "may be" the truth ... is listenable. Saying an idea "is" the truth ... is a trap (remember: "The truth believed is a lie" - that's Transformation 101). When it's said an idea "is" the truth, it shuts down listening, which also kills off the opportunity to examine it and discover it for ourselves.



"It's Possible" And "It May Be" Rather Than "It Is" Is Generous



I get something profound from this breakfast conversation (I always get something profound from these breakfast conversations, so in that regard this is no different). What I get is this:

Distinguishing something, and in particular distinguishing something transformational, makes a difference. But when I distinguish something transformational as "It's possible ..." or as "It may be ..." rather than as "It is ...", it's also generous  inasmuch as it offers an opportunity for people to reciprocate ie to participate in the conversation for transformation. When people reciprocate and participate in the conversation for transformation rather than merely hear it (which is to say when people re-create  it for themselves rather than merely react to it), there's an opportunity to discover the value in it for themselves.

When we generously give people an opportunity to participate in our conversations ("It's possible ...", "It may be ...") rather than limit their choices ("It is ..."), they become more listenable and therefore eminently more getable and possibly even more valuable, so it's also more likely they'll be shared more widely, reaching more and more and more people, transforming more lives, before eventually disappearing into the fabric of society (as Werner envisions). This is how you transform the world.

It could be said this entire worldwide conversation for transformation  works better as a possibility. Indeed it could also be said this entire worldwide conversation for transformation works because  it's a possibility.



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