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


Life, Living, And You:

Distinguishing Distinguishing

Partrick Ridge, Mount Veeder Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 11, 2021

This conversation showcases a brilliance and a beauty and a minimalism of distinguishing. Be careful: it doesn't showcase the power and elegance and apply-ability of distinctions. Most distinguished distinctions are distinguished then applied ie used - indeed, they're only valuable when they're applied. But in this conversation I'll look at another class of distinguishing that's just to be appreciated. Watch: appreciating it without even applying it, makes something powerfully transformational available.

To tease this out, let's begin with distinguishing something we've all distinguished: balance. What was it like for you when you climbed on to your first "two-wheeler" as a child and, after falling one or three times, distinguished balance? It altered what's possible for you in life, yes? It was a major breakthrough for you. Yet you can't describe balance for me in a way that gives me an apply-able understanding of it if I haven't learned to ride a two-wheeler myself and distinguished it for myself, yes?

"Balance" is a distinction that lives only when it's applied. It doesn't live in understanding. Neither for that matter does it even require  understanding. You don't get balance that way. You get it by distinguishing it. Then you put it to use when you apply it. Doing so, elicits that certain wonder  and joy  in the distinguishing of it - just as with other distinctions whose power can be applied once we've gotten them, without any understanding being required. OK, that's that  order of distinguishing.

Then there's this  order of distinguishing which in its simplicity and elegance, demonstrates a brilliance and beauty in distinguishing, that inspires us to similarly master distinguishing distinctions in a way that's as inviting, exciting, and inspiring. It's the kind of distinguishing to be celebrated for its own sake as it teases out the trifecta  of "life", "living", and "you". Here's how Werner distinguishes them. Listen for / be knocked back by their brilliant, terse simplicity, and tautological inter-relatedness:

LIFE: we live in it;

LIVING engaging with life;

YOU: for whom life exists, and who does the living.

For now, don't angle to apply it. Just stand in it. Hold it up for its light. Try on its minimalism and marvelous spartan clarity. Immerse yourself in the bright space this distinguishing opens up and enlivens. One of the answers to the eons-old question "Who are you?" may be "I'm the one distinguishing distinguishing.". This trifecta of distinctions shows distinguishing distinguishing to be an erudite, respected undertaking. Keep on trying it on until you get to the "Oh WOW!!!" ie the "A-Ha!" it packs.

This is what's possible with distinguishing distinguishing, even prior to distinguishing distinctions to apply. It requires nothing more be said or added. It's complete. It's stand-alone. It's also (dare I say this?) true, yes? Keep on trying it on until you get to the rich, profound quietness that goeswith  it (as Alan Watts may have said).


The presentation, delivery, and style of Life, Living, And You are all my own work.

The ideas recreated in Life, Living, And You were first originated, distinguished, and articulated by Werner Erhard.

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© Laurence Platt - 2021 Permission