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


San Francisco, California, USA

May 16, 2010

This essay, Mystery, is the companion piece to Looking Into The Space: Reflections On Synchronicity And Mystery.

There are the things you know.

I know, for example, how to drive a car. I know how to type on a computer keyboard.

Then there are the things you don't know.

I don't know, for example, how my car radio picks up stations. I turn it on when I'm driving and I enjoy the music even though I don't know how it picks up stations. I don't know how a computer works. Even so, that doesn't stop me using one.

Music by Supertramp - Cover art courtesy A&M Records
Supertramp Supertramp
The things I don't know are really the things I know  I don't know.

On occasion, the things I don't know  I know, show up. When the things I don't know I know show up, it's usually after the fact. Recently when scanning through radio stations while driving in my car, the dial alit on a local station playing Shadow Song, a track from Supertramp's breakout self titled Supertramp album in which the maestros sing in intricate three part harmony. Suddenly I realized I was singing along with the third part. It was only afterwards ie after the fact when it dawned on me "Wow! I didn't know  I know three part harmony!".

And then there are the things you don't know  you don't know. In another conversation on another occasion we may speak of what you don't know you don't know  as that which shapes you, as how you're thrown  - in a word: as your epistemology. To be sure, in inquiring into whether or not you can take full responsibility for your life and for generating your own future ie for generating a future worth living into, there seems to be no way around, no avoiding a full on, in depth, face to face encounter ie a confront  with your own epistemology ie with what you don't know you don't know.

But this time in this inquiry, in this conversation I'm not looking into what  I don't know I don't know. I'm looking at the "I don't know I don't know"  itself. I'm looking at the "I don't know I don't know" as mystery. And furthermore, in this particular context  I'm not looking at mystery as that which evokes puzzlement or perplexity or chagrin or inadequacy ie a sense of not being up to the task  - even though an experience of mystery is often accompanied by one or more of the above. Rather this time I'm simply allowing mystery to be mystery. When I allow mystery to be mystery, when I let it be, when I don't inquire into it, when I'm not puzzled or perplexed by it, when there's no chagrin or sense of inadequacy associated with not understanding it or not being able to figure it out, then ... something ... magical  ... happens ...

What happens is then interimly mystery is a place of appropriateness. What happens is then interimly mystery is a place of belonging. What happens is then interimly mystery is a place of peace. And ultimately mystery, the "I don't know I don't know" ie the mystery of  "I don't know I don't know" is where I come from.

When I leave where I come from  in mystery, it's magical. That is to say when I allow where I come from to already be  and I allow the source, the origination of my being to be in mystery rather than trying to figure it out, rather than trying to explain it, rather than analyzing it, rather than poking it and prodding it, rather than (worst of all) "working on"  it, there's power, ease, completion, closure, and freedom to be.

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