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


The Scalpel Of Experience

Stinson Beach, California, USA

September 26, 2010

This essay, Language: The Scalpel Of Experience, is the eighth in an open group on Language:
  1. Last Word
  2. Speaking Of Freedom
  3. The Transformation Of The World
  4. Constituted In Language
  5. Zen Bland
  6. Source Of Zen Bland: Hand Grasps Itself?
  7. Linguistic Acts
  8. Language: The Scalpel Of Experience
  9. Wordsmith
  10. Source Quote
  11. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  12. My Word In The Matter
  13. You Are What You Speak
  14. Residue Of Meaning
  15. The Effortless Breakthrough
  16. The World's Conversation
  17. Read To Us
  18. Everything You Say
  19. Breakfast With The Master IV: Language As Music
  20. Leading With My Word
  21. Language And Results
  22. No, It's What You Say  About It
  23. Located Inside Language
  24. Be A Good Day
  25. Words Are Like Numbers
  26. Law In The Universe II: An Inquiry Into Inquiring
in that order.

It was conceived at the same time as Attachment / Commitment: A Fine Line.

If you've ever tried sharing an experience you're having, you know it can't be done. If you've ever tried saying everything that's going on at any particular moment in time, you know it's impossible. It's not because words aren't up to the task - it's not a matter of representation. It's not because you can never be accurate  or detailed  enough to convey all the minutiae of what's happening - it's not a matter of description. It's not even a matter of differentiating between what's really happening, and what you make up  is happening - it's not a matter of interpretation

The reason you can't share an experience you're having is because when you're sharing an experience you're having, the experience you're sharing is in the past  so it's no longer the experience you're having.

This is just how it is for us human beings. The moment of NOW  devolves into the past so fast, there's only accuracy in sharing what was. There's only accuracy in sharing what's in the past. There's no accuracy in sharing what's NOW. There's no accuracy in sharing what's in the present.

That said, the accuracy in what was  is made available through speaking  what happened, in other words through language. In a very real sense, there is no  "what happened". There's only what you say  happened. When all of us  have the same account of what happened, then there's agreement  which we call reality.

It's language which makes an experience real. There is no  "is real" ie there's no reality without language and agreement. There's no real, shared, agreed on  experience which happens without language. In Zen we ask "If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?". We could also say "If you have an experience and there's no one there to speak it with who agrees it happened, is it real?".

Notice I said "if"  in both cases. I intend to be provocative. I intend for you to look at what you may not ordinarily look at. This isn't a business as usual  inquiry. It's an inquiry which doesn't have any right answers. It's an inquiry which if it works ie which if it really  works, the answers you'll come up with are more questions.

If something happens, no matter how small or how large, no matter what its scope, it's simply what's so. There's no experience of it, and there's no experience of the reality  of it until someone speaks it declaring something happened, with which everyone agrees. Language with agreement creates real experiences. Language carves out  experience from what happened. In other words, language distinguishes experience from simply what's so.

Language is the scalpel  of experience.

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