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

No Distance

Joseph Phelps Vineyards, St Helena, California, USA

October 17, 2016

"How can someone who is Dorothy escape from Dorothy? You cannot do that by traveling in space and time."
sharing his experience of his mother Dorothy with Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the account titled "Jack Frost Meets June Bryde" in chapter four called "Derailed" in part I, "Shadow Play", of "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
"When I don't know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you."
... Hanuman speaking with Ram in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana
"When I don't know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you. When I am who I am, I love you."
... Laurence Platt speaking with a Friend in Conversations For Transformation
This essay, No Distance, is the companion piece to The Shortest Distance Between Two People.

It's one of the essential  tenets of transformation. It's pivotal. It's germane. It's fundamental. And it's profound. It also paradoxically goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) the likelihood of being ground down into ie of devolving into a lifeless concept - such is the fate of many brilliant ideas which you'll easily discover don't work unless they're viewed rigorously through the relentless lens of direct experience (an often counter-intuitive requirement). That's why I request that as we embark on this particular essay ie as we embark on this particular conversation, you dial your concept detection meter up to full volume ie up to an eleven, and then the moment it beeps ie as soon as it detects your listening's become conceptual, that you immediately reset it back to being fully and totally experiential.

With all that now in place, try this on for size: you're everything; you're nothing; you're ... everythingnothing  ... (it's vintage Erhard).

So that we're clear, I'm not asking you to explain the idea. Nor am I asking you if you disagree with it or if you agree with it. More than that, I'm not asking you to understand it. I'm not even asking you to think  about it. What I'm asking you to do is to try it on for size like something you'd be looking at wearing ie like a cloak - that is to say like an experiential  cloak (if you will). And as soon as you reach the place where you say "I got it Laurence", I would hope it's the experience  of it you got (you're everything, you're nothing, you're everythingnothing), not the concept of it - at which point any residual concept can be thrown out with the bath water.

Listen: when I suggest we're each everything (and we're each nothing ie we're each everythingnothing) as our experience of ourselves, where it becomes really interesting is in the compelling possibility that, by definition, everything there is  is included in "everything", yes? So if I'm everything, and if you're also everything, then we must be identical ... no, then we must be one and the same. And what we call that where we're one and the same, is the "being"  of "human being". Clearly between the "being" of "human being" you are, and the same "being" of "human being" I also am, there's no distance. More than that, between the "being" of "human being" you are, and the same "being" of "human being" I also am, there's no difference  either. That's the basis of my assertion that the "being" of "human being" you are, and the same "being" of "human being" I also am, are more than merely identical ie they're more than merely congruent:  my thesis is they're one and the same.

Now, you can not  get that as a concept. And even if you do partially succeed in getting it as a concept, the part you get would only ruin the rest of it as a living experience  for you. But you can  get it directly as an unruined pristine experience. How? By looking into the space of who you really are. Between who you really are in relationship with who I really am, there's no distance. Between who I really am in relationship with who you really are, there's no distance. Between who we  really are in relationship with one another, there's no distance. What's also probably true as an assessment, is that there's not much power to be derived from thinking about any of this - indeed, I say that would be a valid creative and constructive criticism. Yet to know it, to experience it directly to the point of being  it, is transformational.

When I get that ie when I can hold  it and own it and be responsible for it, it of necessity completely transforms who I'm being (and how  I'm being ontologically) for myself - in life and in the world and in my relationships. But it's not just my intimate, close relationships with my family, with my children, with my loved ones, and with my friends and my colleagues and my associates that it transforms. It also transforms my relationship with all people anywhere and everywhere on our planet ie it also transforms my relationship with all of mankind ie with all of humanity at large - past, present, and future - as well.

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