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


Miracles Are Miracles And Love Is Love

Napa Valley, California, USA

August 17, 2010



"The logic system of the mind is 'Everything is the same as everything else ... except not always.'."  ... 
I am indebted to JeanneLauree Olsen and to Lisa Johnson who inspired this conversation.



This is an essay on blurring. At least that's how it turned out.

It started off as an essay on distinguishing. As I looked at distinguishing (that is to say, as I looked at what it is to distinguish something), as I came to grips with the starter material for this essay, what occurred to me is we have a natural ability to distinguish but it's not always exercised. If you don't distinguish doors, for example, you end up walking into walls a lot. People who don't exercise their natural ability to distinguish have a certain bruised, banged up  look about them.

What stops us from exercising our natural ability to distinguish? Or, to ask the same question less confrontingly, why don't we exercise our natural ability to distinguish more often when clearly, making distinctions in Life works better? If there's any doubt about this assertion, witness the condition of people who walk into walls a lot.

I started looking into what gets in the way of us distinguishing. We're born into and we live in a world given by distinction. This is our milieu. Any and all creation, after all, is simply a matter of distinction (as Werner Erhard may have said). What I came up with is this: what gets in the way of us distinguishing is blurring. If a thing isn't experienced as distinct from another separate thing, I say the distinction is blurred. And what follows this assertion like a corollary  is twofold:

 1)  Not distinguishing  or simply forgetting to distinguish is something we  naturally do. In other words, not  distinguishing is an in-action on our part. So if our natural ability to distinguish isn't exercised, it's us  doing it (or it's us not  doing it - depending on how you're reading this);

 2)  Blurring, on the other hand, is something the mind  naturally does. It's operationally imperative  for the mind to blur: "Everything is the same as everything else ... except not always.".

Therefore if what's so is our natural ability to distinguish isn't always exercised, I assert there are two forces at play:

 1)  (over which we have little say) the mind, as it's operationally imperative for it to do, is blurring, and

 2)  (over which we have say) we're not intentionally exercising distinguishing.


Watch Carefully: Blurring Is Automatic



A friend and I were in a conversation in which I noticed not distinguishing due to blurring became apparent. Actually the focus of the conversation was neither distinguishing nor was it blurring - that is at first  the focus of the conversation was neither distinguishing nor was it blurring. At first, the focus of the conversation was two of Werner's quotes. The first is Werner's idea of a miracle. The second is Werner's idea of love.

Here they are:


A MIRACLE IS SOMETHING THAT VALIDATES WHO YOU ARE RATHER THAN DIMINISHES WHO YOU ARE.


And


LOVE IS GRANTING ANOTHER THE SPACE TO BE THE WAY THEY ARE AND THE WAY THEY AREN'T SO THEY CAN CHANGE IF THEY WANT TO AND THEY DON'T HAVE TO.


Neither are "the truth"  - and they may be. Rather than taking them as the truth, it's much more valuable to take anything Werner says as a powerful place from which to stand and look. Don't take either of them, unexamined, as the truth. Don't take anything anyone  says as the truth. Having a powerful place from which to stand and look lets things open up, allows new possibilities to come into view, and brings new insights way more potent and way more powerful than anything settled for and conceptualized as "the truth".

That said, given Werner's quotes above about a miracle and about love, my friend noted "Based on these fine definitions, it sounds like miracles and love are synonymous.".

And that's exactly right. It sounds  like miracles and love are synonymous. It does. Yet as romantic  and as beautiful as it sounds, be careful  of saying this. As romantic and as beautiful as it sounds, saying "Miracles and love are synonymous" is devoid of distinction. Saying "Miracles and love are synonymous" blurs miracles and love. Miracles and love are distinct. I mean this quite literally. I say miracles and love aren't  synonymous. I say miracles are miracles and love is love.

It's that simple. It's only blurring imposed by the mind (and the mind blurs everything)  which makes miracles and love synonymous ie which makes them the same or just similar. It's only blurring imposed by the mind which makes two of anything  similar, really.

On the one hand, there's the romantic and beautiful sounding "Miracles and love are synonymous" based, as it is, on blurring. When you look at it, when you start to confront  it, you'll see blurring everywhere, you'll see blurring is rampant. You'll see blurring is more akin to stream of consciousness  "say the first thing that pops into your mind" rapping, than it is to wide awake, stone cold sober  flat footed intentional distinguishing. On the other hand, there's the much plainer but more Zen "Miracles are miracles and love is love.". While clearly less dramatic, the latter is an un-blurred matter of simple intentional distinguishing.



Distinguishing Is A Linguistic Implement



This is powerful. It's really  powerful. It's really powerful because by using this simple linguistic implement  ie by saying "Miracles are miracles and love is love" rather than saying the romantic and beautiful yet blurred "Miracles and love are synonymous", it reinstates and exercises intentional distinguishing even while the mind is blurring as it's operationally imperative for it to do.



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