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


Like A Monk In A Cave

Napa, California, USA

Fourth of July, 2023

"On the surface of it, what we're celebrating today is our independence as a nation. This independence lives in symbols like the flag, hot dogs, apple pie, fireworks etc.
But if you look closer, you'll see your independence like an experience / like a possibility, which is more than symbols, and isn't only celebrated for just one day each year. Rather it's a vibrant 24 / 7 / 365 ongoing intentional creation of your humanity, living in the impact you make on the world now, and the legacy you'll leave for its future generations.
So with the symbols of independence distinguished from the experience / possibility of independence, Happy 4th of July!
I love You."
... Laurence Platt texting, Fourth of July, 2023

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
... Professor Albert Einstein

"If their  end of the canoe tips over, we all  end up in the water."
... anonymous
This essay, Like A Monk In A Cave, is the companion piece to It is also the sixteenth in a group of sixteen written on the Fourth Of July:
  1. Anticipation: Accounting For An American Love Affair
  2. Independence Day
  3. I'd Rather Be With Me
  4. Do It For Nothing
  5. The Only Way Out Is Through
  6. Under All Circumstances
  7. Word Power
  8. When There's Nothing To Say
  9. The Possibility Of Being Independent And Free
  10. Intimacy In A Crowded Place
  11. What Goes On
  12. Imprints Of Love
  13. Bookends: A Reflection On Mortality
  14. Come Back To Being
  15. Nobody Is Responsible Except You
  16. Like A Monk A Monk In A Cave
in that order.

I am indebted to Clare Erhard-Trick who contributed material for this conversation.

It's the Fourth of July. Naturally enough, we're all talking about independence, and the profound freedom that comes with true independence ie with being truly independent. When we're truly independent, we're truly free (just like the front and the back of the hand, they're distinct yet inseparable). Yet even when we're truly independent, we're still not free to do anything we want to anyone or anything regardless of the consequences. There are laws against it.

But look: it's only secondarily that we're not free to do anything we want to anyone and anything, because of laws. What it's because of, is something way more profound than that. Primarily it's because given the interwoven interdependence of all aspects of all of our lives, the consequences of what we do to anyone and anything, are also wrought on ourselves. I'm sorry, but there's just no way of ducking out of that. It's a simple function of who we all really are.

Living as if we're not interwoven with and interdependent on all aspects of life, is simple crass naïveté. Yet each of us are designed to seek dominance and avoid being dominated, to be right and avoid being wrong, to win and avoid losing. It's as if our very base nature  is at odds with our interwoven-ness with and interdependence on all aspects of life. In this paradigm, there's no possibility we'll ever be independent or free (the paradigm we're run by, prohibits it).

Now enter from stage left to stage front and center, the possibility of transformation, real transformation, genuine transformation, authentic tranformation. Be still, undistracted, like a monk in a cave, and consider the possibility of us all being interwoven with and interdependent on all of it, with no possibility of it ever  working out for everyone and anything as long as who we're still being is dominating and avoiding being dominated, being right and avoiding being wrong, winning and avoiding losing. It will never work simply because as long as we're in a battle with what we construe as their  base nature, we're locked, untransformed, into the bigger battle with our own. It will never work until we grok that if their  end of the canoe is shelled, we will all  end up in the water.

Is who we're  being, at least partially at cause in the national and international malaises that haunt and torment us? It's a sickeningly confrontive question to entertain. Simply entertaining it like a possibility  can put us into a dark place, given the sheer hopelessness and helplessness of it. But if we just keep on pushing through the dark place, alone, suddenly we burst out into sunshine. And when we do, don't be so surprised, but that's what was going to happen all along. We just didn't notice it while we were staying so busy dominating and avoiding being dominated, being right and avoiding being wrong, winning and avoiding losing. Listen carefully, my friends (again): it's got to work for everyone and everything, or it's not going to work for us at all. That's transformation.

I love Werner.

Don't say it. You do too. Yes I know.

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