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 Maps, No Instructions

Yountville, California, USA

June 7, 2007



They know I can reach you.

When they come to me to ask about you, they ask me how they, too, can reach you. I tell them to reach you is to traverse the obstacle course you've set up, designed for every person to start with the possibility of but not with the guarantee of reaching you. As a matter of telling the plain, cold truth, I caution them if reaching you were easy, they'd already be with you by now.

I also, cupping my hands around my mouth, whisper in their ears, as a hint, it works better if they shed everything, discard all their stuff, leave all their baggage  behind, consider being nothing but naked presence  before attempting to reach you.

That's just my add on, my suggestion, my commentary. Yet it's based profoundly on my observation that you provide no maps of your course, and you give no instructions for traversing it. As a participant myself, I've also noticed there aren't signs on your course and there aren't rules. Eventually people also confront there's no path  to reach you either, and the path to reach you is everywhere. Your brilliantly crafted design gives people no way out but to confront generating for themselves the miracle it requires to reach you.

I know why people love you. I know what they want from you. I know what they want you to do for them. Indeed, there's even some validity in them wanting it from you, in wanting you to do it for them. If they don't have what they want, they go to someone they think has it who can give it to them, they go to someone who they think can do it for them. Since they think you've got what they want, it's certainly an option to want it from you, and to want to reach you. It's certainly an option to want to reach you to get it from you.

They'll find out they can't get what they want from you because you won't give it to them. That's not because you don't want to give it to them. It's because what they want from you isn't gotten that way. Eventually they'll find out if they don't generate for themselves what they want from you, they'll never have it. Then, paradoxically, when they generate for themselves what they want from you, they'll find out they always had it, they'd merely forgotten they always had it.

I've noticed one of the ways you give people what they want is by cutting off their attempts to manipulate you into giving them what they want. You've known for a long time this ensures they have to generate for themselves what they want from you. You've known for a long time it's the only way they'll ever have mastery over what they want, once they've gotten it. The equation here is almost bizarre: the way you give people what they want from you is to not  give people what they want from you.

From you, people get how amazing they are. From you, I get how amazing I am. Yet you provide no maps, no instructions for the simple reason I, being who I am, am already who I am. So there's no place to go to - I'm already here - hence no maps. And there's no particular way to be - I'm already the way I am - hence no instructions. If you provided maps and instructions, it would imply there's a place to go, it would imply there's a way to be. In one stroke of the brush, in a stroke of genius, you eliminate those implications. You're slippery. God  you're slippery.

Standing in that enigma  I see what I don't necessarily want to see. I see what I want from you is who I am. And you've already shown me who I am. In spades. Therefore in order to be with you, in order to reach you, I have to be with I'm already who I am. I have to be with I've already gotten from you what I want from you, and then confront what to do with this leftover, with this superfluous, with this free floating, with this extraneous want.

It's very Zen. To tell you the truth, it drives me crazy  sometimes. But the truth is also this: since you've already given me what I want, the way I reach you is by giving up wanting it.



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