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


Living Without Distortion

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 8, 2017



"This is it. There are no hidden meanings. All that mystical stuff is just what's so. A master is someone who found out."  ... 
"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives."  ... 
I am indebted to my sister Anthea "Anth" Sarah Platt Haupt who inspired this conversation.




Transformation is simple but it's not easy. The starting point for authentic, thrilling, real transformation is just "what's so"  ie the way it is (which also includes the way it isn't)  - in other words, exactly the way life occurs. Watch: life occurs exactly this  way - not that  way, not any other way, not the way you think it ought  to occur, and certainly not the way you'd like  it to occur (the latter is slippery:  it's hard to distinguish it and set it aside, without brutal, bone-numbing  honesty). We, when the truth is told, are heavily invested in the way we'd like it to occur, always expecting dividends to be returned from our investment in the way we'd like it to occur ie always expecting a payout. The universe on the other hand, never returns anything other than  the way it is.

Here's a curious fact about the way we human beings are thrown to be: when we as neophytes go looking for transformation, "what's so" is the last  place to which we look. Transformation, it would seem (as the old adage says) is always hiding in plain sight.

"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives" says Werner Erhard. Exercising this power, is the  intelligent, essential  choice to make. But prior to exercising this power, we rarely go to what's so  for transformation or (in different contexts) enlightenment or deliverance or salvation or even good ol' plain peace of mind  for that matter. We're certain  something else is required. So we bury  the possibility of transformation ie we bury the possibility of being transformed by what's so, in a way that (upon close, rigorous, truthful examination) is essentially automatic. And until our automaticity  (if you will) is fully distinguished, the possibility of transformation and of being transformed, is rendered elusive - often with mea culpas  from the best of our intentions, and even more often with mea culpas from our simple, natural, unexamined arrogance of being human.

Not grasping the searingly brilliant such-ness ie the stark thus-ness of what's so ie not fully grasping "This is IT!" ("We're here! There's nothing to get!"), on top of it we glom  all our interpretations, all our beliefs, all our philosophies, all our religions, all our politics, and even all our personal opinions and all our preferences. We have it that some or all of the above are required, necessary, and even expected  of us if we're going to live transformed. Consider this: there's life as it is (which is the domain of transformation) ... and then there's some or all of the above which we glom on (ie add on) when in fact transformation becomes possible when and only when all of the above are fully and totally bracketed. By "bracketed" I mean when we set them aside ie when we hold them in abeyance  ie when we give them space  so they can be, without interfering in us directly experiencing  what's so.

I call all these add-ons collectively "distortion", given they distort our naked view of what's so ie given they distort our direct experience of what's so. Listen: there's no normative value judgement  inherent for me when I call them "distortion" and say they "distort". Distortion isn't a bad thing. Nor is it a good thing. Rather, it's just an observable phenomenon. In respect to directly experiencing what's so and living from what's so, glomming on add-ons distorts our direct experience of what's so. So being willing to live from what's so without  glomming on interpretations, beliefs, philosophies, religions, politics, opinions, preferences etc is what I call "living without distortion". By "distortion" I mean anything that's glommed on to (and so gets in our way of) directly experiencing what's so - unmitigated, unfiltered, uninterrupted.

<aside>

To "By 'distortion' I mean anything that's glommed on to (and so gets in our way of) directly experiencing what's so - unmitigated, unfiltered, uninterrupted", I could also add a fourth pertinent descriptor: "unexplained", like this: "By 'distortion' I mean anything that's glommed on to (and so gets in our way of) directly experiencing what's so - unmitigated, unfiltered, uninterrupted, unexplained.".

In the sense that no explanation of what's so  is required  for living transformed ("Understanding is the booby prize!"), adding the descriptor "unexplained" may arguably be useful. Just as arguably however, is it may put something in the way. How?

Look: all of "unmitigated", "unfiltered", and "uninterrupted" qualify experiencing what's so  directly, whereas "unexplained" qualifies experiencing what's so cerebrally, intellectually, rationally, logically etc, qualifications I don't require in this context.

<un-aside>

With all that said, notice this  particular Conversation For Transformation wouldn't be complete (which is to say it wouldn't have integrity)  if I overlooked ie if I neglected to bring forth the following essential directive:

There's no possibility  for transformation - none, zero, nada, zilch, rien - if the objective is to first purge  ie if the objective is to first eliminate all traces of interpretations, beliefs, philosophies, religions, politics, and personal opinions and preferences. Neither by the way (while we're on the subject) is there any possibility for transformation if the objective is to first purge ie if the objective is to first eliminate (sometimes articulated in this context as "destroy") ego, in spite of well-known, cherished eastern  concepts to the contrary (that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion - it's vintage Erhard).

You're a human being. You have your own personal favorite flavors of all of the above. Transformation isn't realized by eliminating any  of them - any more than training and getting fit for swimming is realized by eliminating an arm or a leg. Rather transformation is realized by leaving all of the above alone  ie by letting them be, so you're left free to distinguish and come from the context  in which they all  show up. That's  transformation! That's living without distortion.



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