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


Light On Things

Andretti Winery, Oak Knoll Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

June 4, 2013



"I do not put what I think I know from my learning and experience as a lens between me and what I am dealing with. I keep what I know, so to speak, above the space between me and what I am dealing with so that it shines some light on what I am dealing with rather than being a filter."
 ... 
"Experience is simply evidence that I am here."
 ... 
This essay, Light On Things, is the companion piece to Shit Happens.

Conversations For Transformation receives its three quarter millionth view with the publishing of Light On Things.

I am indebted to Michael Richardson who inspired this conversation, and to Clay Kilgore who contributed material.


Foreword: 

Werner's quotes above aren't to be glossed over. They're required pre-reading  for this essay. Read them now if you've not done so, then re-read them as often as you need to till you get them and can own them.

Photograph courtesy click4interiors.co.uk - Photoshop by Clay Kilgore
Red Anglepoise Desk Lamp
The question "Why?", when asked in the context of a scientific inquiry, has a lot more utility (which is to say it's really a lot more useful)  than when it's asked in the context of transformation. In the context of a scientific inquiry, the question "Why?" can lead to the discovery of new causalities, and the discovery of new causalities can lead to new scientific breakthroughs. In the context of transformation on the other hand, the question "Why?" has considerably less power.

It's worse than that actually. It's in the context of transformation, "Why?" can be both a distraction as well as an avoidance  mechanism. "Why am I doing this?" and its related "How  do I do this?" get in the way of action. In the context of transformation there's only "Act!"  or "Don't  act!" - there's no "Why  act?" and there's no "How act?" either (as Yoda the Jedi Master may have said).

So apropos Werner's first quote above, I'm not going to ask "Why?" (which is a question of logic and reason) - like "Why  would Werner put what he knows above the space between himself and what he's dealing with so that it shines some light on what he's dealing with rather than being a filter?". And I'm not going to ask "How?" either.

Rather I'm going to ask "Where?"  (which is a question of space  and experience) - like "Where is Werner standing  when he puts what he knows above the space between himself and what he's dealing with so that it shines some light on what he's dealing with rather than being a filter?".

That's right: neither "Why?" nor "How?" but rather "Where?". Furthermore I assert embedded in the answer to the question "Where is Werner standing ... ?" is who you really are like a space, like an experience.

The distinction which becomes available where Werner stands and which becomes tangible  when you stand where Werner stands, is context. Who I really am is the context for everything I've learned. Who I really am is the context for my experience. Who I really am is the context for all the knowledge I've accumulated. I have  learning ... but I'm not what I've learned. I experience  ... but I'm not my experience.

<aside>

I experience ... but I'm not my experience.

My experience is simply evidence that I am here (as Werner Erhard may have said).

<un-aside>

We have  knowledge ... but we're not what we know. So after examination it's clear who we really are is the context, is the space  in which all our learning shows up, the space in which our experience shows up, the space in which all our knowledge shows up - yes?

Now, where Werner stands and what he shares  from where he stands (which is to say his speaking where he stands)  makes this distinction alive and real in the world. I've put this to the test like a hypothesis  in my own life: when I stand where Werner stands, I can immediately and easily discover context for myself like a possibility.

Keeping what I know above the space between me and what I'm dealing with so it shines some light on things, allows me to be fully present with what I'm dealing with. This is transformation. Putting what I think I know from my learning and experience as a lens between me and what I am dealing with, is typical survival  behavior ie it's deploying / using what I've learned, using my experience, and using what I know in order to survive  at any cost - in particular, in order to survive even at the cost of presence of Self.

Listen! There's nothing wrong  with surviving. Really there isn't. It's what we do. The sign on the storefront says:

  Survivals"я"Us  

We're survival machines. You and I can't not  survive (yes the double negative is  intentional) even if we tried. There's nothing wrong with putting what you think you know from your learning and experience as a lens between you and what you're dealing with, like a filter. But here's the thing: no new possibilities  become available when you do that because doing it obfuscates  who you really are.

<aside>

"... no new possibilities become available when you do that because doing it obfuscates who you really are":

You can't get this intellectually or analytically. You can't get it by deduction or by reason. You can't get it by argument or by debate.

The way to get it is experientially. The way to get it is by looking at your experience then telling the flat footed truth  about what happens when you put what you think you know from your learning and experience as a lens between you and what you're dealing with, like a filter.

<un-aside>

On the other hand, keeping what you know above the space between you and what you're dealing with so it shines some light on things, doesn't obfuscate who you really are.

<aside>

"... doesn't  obfuscate who you really are":

You can't get this intellectually or analytically either. Neither can you get it by deduction or by reason. Nor can you get it by argument or by debate.

You can however get it experientially also. The way to get it is by looking at your experience then telling the flat footed truth about what happens when you keep what you know above the space between you and what you're dealing with so it shines some light on things.

You can verify this for yourself experientially if you investigate it with rigor ie if you try it on for size.

<un-aside>

This is just what's so:  only when you can stand where who you really are isn't obfuscated by what you've learned or by your experience or by what you know, only when you can stand where what you've learned and your experience and what you know is a light on things rather than a filter, can you authentically invent new possibilities



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