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

Out Here II:


Muir Beach, California, USA

June 8, 2012

"This is where a master lives: out-here, living where life actually happens."  ... 
"There are certain things you can only know by creating them for yourself."  ...   quoted by Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist 
This essay, Out Here II: Out-Here, is the second in a group of fourteen written Out-Here:
  1. Out Here
  2. Out Here II: Out-Here
  3. Out-Here III
  4. Transforming Life Itself: A Completely Started Inquiry
  5. Being And Acting Out-Here: Presence Of Self Revisited
  6. Hiking In A Painting
  7. Out-Here IV: Clearing For Life
  8. Something Bigger Than Oneself II
  9. To A Fault
  10. Where The Action Is
  11. Step Outside Your Head: A Call To Action
  12. More Than Being With The World
  13. It's Never Over There
  14. Life Is What's Happening
in that order.

It is also the third in a trilogy of Essentials:
  1. Source Of Action
  2. With The Past In The Past And Nothing In The Future
  3. Out Here II: Out-Here
in that order.

I am indebted to Gopal Rao, a Landmark Forum Leader and the Operations Manager for Landmark in India, who makes the transformation of a billion  people his personal business, a big  player, who inspired this conversation.

Foreword To The Essentials Trilogy:

It could be said the bastions of transformation are anchored in the bedrock  of a rich body of distinctions. As Werner's work unleashes more and more expressions of transformation, more and more distinctions become available in this treasure trove.

Recently I found myself wondering "Of all these distinctions, which are essential  for living a transformed life?" - you know, the ones about which we could say "Don't leave home without these!"  - so I looked for the  three distinctions which are essential for anchoring ongoing, full, alive, thrilling transformation. Now, I'm certainly not saying we're limited to only  three such distinctions. But if, in a state of play, I were to vote for the essential three, which would they be?

I came up with these:

 1)  The source of my action is the way the world shows up for me - the subject of the essay Source Of Action.
 2)  The future I create has infinitely  more power to drive my life than my past - the subject of the essay With The Past In The Past And Nothing In The Future.
 3)  I master Life when I live out-here  (not the same as "out there") - the subject of this essay, Out Here II: Out-Here.

These three essential distinctions comprise the Conversations For Transformation trilogy titled Essentials.

There are many different ways each of these Conversations For Transformation essays come into existence. One of the most matter of fact spontaneous ways is when I've not planned on writing anything at all ... and out of nowhere, an essay appears, grabs me by the throat, and demands "Write me!".

That's how this essay "Out Here II: Out-Here"  showed up. When I realized I was going to write it ie when I realized I had accepted its demand to be written, I asked myself "But why write two essays on the same subject? In particular, why write two essays with almost identical titles?" (notice this essay's title is "Out Here II: Out-Here"  and there's already an essay titled "Out Here" in this Conversations For Transformation internet series of essays.

My intention in writing "Out Here" was to showcase the distinction "out here". Be careful: it's "out here"  - not the same as "out there". One of my intentions for this essay "Out Here II: Out-Here"  is you'll appreciate the distinction "out here" isn't simply an antonym  for "in here". And, for that matter, "out there"  isn't an antonym for "in here" either.

I conceived the essay "Out Here" while driving in a car with Werner Erhard. "Out here" as an experience  was real, alive, and tangible in our conversation - so real and so alive and so tangible in fact that all I had to do was reach into the space, grab a hold of it (ie grab a hold of as much of it as I could), and write it down.

With regard to writing the same essay effectively twice, with regard to writing this  essay "Out Here II: Out-Here"  as a new essay and not simply re‑writing or tweaking  the original "Out Here", here's why (it's twofold):

First, the original "Out Here" recreated my experience of being with Werner being out here. The "out here" in that essay, was Werner's. What I wanted to take on next is recreating my own  experience of being out here, having gotten it from getting Werner being out here (did you follow that?). Second, in interacting with the idea of being out here as my own experience, I realized something's missing from the designation "out here" - something subtle, something almost obscure  ... almost obscure, but missing nonetheless. What's missing is a hyphen. That's right. A hyphen. The lowly dash. The distinction is more accurately articulated as "out-here"  than as "out here".

Hence I conceived "Out Here II: Out-Here"  to share my own experience of being out-here, and to demonstrate why the dash makes the difference.

"Out-Here"  (Not The Same As "Out There")

If you define a master as "someone who lives out-here  where life actually happens", it's the entry point into a far reaching conversation, a conversation about which all of us have opinions, a conversation about which all of us are thrown  to have opinions. It's more than that actually. It's when people really get what this distinction is, it's charged, and it can be deeply reactivating, or it can be totally freeing depending on how it lands for you, depending on how you listen it - which is to say depending on what listening you are for it.

It's not, however, one of those distinctions which should be given to a lot of debate and explanation. As much as we crave debate and explanation, debate and explanation of distinctions can damage direct experience  of distinctions. Rather, it's one of those distinctions which should be lived  in all its profundity. In particular, it's one of those distinctions which each of us at some time or another, has already  lived - even though we may not have distinguished it with our language at the time - I know I didn't.

A form of being out here, when undistinguished, may come on spontaneously, unchosen. It may randomly happen (without conscious choice) as an experience of being unfettered, as an experience of being unbound, as an experience of being un-held-back, as an experience of being with life as it's lived  - indeed, as an experience of being with life where  it's lived. Then, as this experience matures and becomes more familiar, an element of choice becomes available. I can choose  to live out here. I can take charge of the experience rather than being out here  randomly (which, when you come to think of it, is little more than a so-called mood swing).

My earliest, simplest (and most delightfully naïve)  concept of where who I am  is located, could be heard in my answer to your questions "Where is who you are located, Laurence?" and "Where does life as it's lived  show up?". I would have answered both the same way: "In here"  (pointing to my head).

The trouble with conceptualizing it that way (as we do) is I'm not really  "in here" at all. The truth is I really have no clue  (pointing to my head) what's "in here". When I say who I am is located "in here", when I conceptualize  who I am as located "in here", what I point to when I point "in here", what I point to when I point to my head, is merely bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotions - in a word, automaticity.

So is, then, the real location of who I am, the real location of Life itself, the real location where life as it's lived  shows up, better described as "out there"?  (pointing away from my head toward the world).

The answer is no - and it's a very, very  subtle no. Here's the subtlety: if I say who I am is located out there, then where do I have to be located  to be able to distinguish out there?  Why, in here, of course! "Out there"  reinforces "in here", yes? (that's basic, entry-level Zen 101  by the way). The real location of who I am, the real location of Life itself, the real location where life as it's lived  shows up, isn't distinguished as out there  but rather as out here.

Don't just take my word for it: try it on for yourself. Language  it. Experience  it. That's how you'll get it. But even more important than that is if you're going to live this distinction, if you're going to know it fully, you have to create it for yourself (as Werner Erhard, quoted by Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize‑winning physicist, may have said).

Try this on for size: where who I am is located, where Life itself is located, where life as it's lived  shows up is out here not out there. When I say it's out there, it reinforces me being in here. But when I say it's out here, who I am is out here too. That's truly sublime.

Even more than that, it's not simply out here. It's actually best expressed as "out-here". The lowly dash has at last made its appearance, completing this experience like the final quarter inch in a five mile run (in the essay titled "Out Here" the lowly dash hadn't yet claimed it's front and center stage  place).

"Out here" (two words) is a non-dualistic experienced distinction of where a master lives ie of "where life actually happens", which is best expressed as one elegant hyphenated word: "out-here".

The Most Profound Expression

Check this out for yourself. It's where we listen most powerfully. Out-here. It's where we relate most thoroughly. Out-here. It's where we communicate most intimately. Out-here. It's where we work most effectively. Out-here. It's where we appreciate the miracle of existence most acutely. Out-here. It's where we honor the privilege of being alive most deeply. Out-here.

Creating being out-here  at will, on cue, on demand, by choice rather than randomly, rather than accidentally (even if enjoyably) is arguably the most profound expression there can possibly be of being human.

And perhaps what's most  profound about it is since out-here  is where who I am is located, and since out-here  is where Life itself  is located, and since out-here  is where life as it's lived  shows up, there isn't really anything to create at all. It's already fait accompli. You already are  it. You can only be  it.

So: be it.

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