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


Paradise Is On The Tip Of My Tongue

'Anini Beach, Kīlauea, Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA

December 4, 2011



"'Ua hona 'ia ai pono a pololei (that which is done, is true and correct), 'ua hā'ina 'ia aku no 'ia 'oe (that which is spoken stands before you)." ... ancient Hawai'ian hula chant

This essay, Paradise Is On The Tip Of My Tongue, is the companion piece to It is also the fifth in a group of five written in Hawai'i:

Photography by Victoria Hamilton-Rivers - 10:35am Sunday December 4, 2011
'Anini Beach, Kīlauea, Kaua'i, Hawai'i, USA


This essay isn't a travelogue  - even though I came up with it on the heart-stoppingly divine 'Anini Beach on the north shore of Kaua'i aka the garden island  of the Hawai'ian chain.

In the normal course of events, paradise (or "a" paradise actually, since there are many more than just one) is a place we go to and relish and enjoy, a place where we marvel, indeed a place where we experience being at peace, and (if I may risk saying it this way) a place where we experience being one with the universe.

Now, having said it that way, I'd like to draw your attention to how fraught with trouble regarding paradise that way is. In the first and second place, paradise as a place we go to and relish and enjoy, and paradise as a place where we marvel, belies the paradise we're already in right now. No, I'm not merely referring to those of us who already live in spectacular environments. I'm referring to almost all of us  who live in regular, ordinary environments. Paradise as a place we go to and relish and enjoy, and paradise as a place where we marvel, both rob us of the possibility of the paradise we're already in right here  ie both rob us of the possibility of the paradise in (and as)  this very environment we're in right now. In the third and fourth place, paradise as a place where we experience being at peace, and paradise as a place where we experience being one with the universe, both rob us of the possibility of experiencing being at peace, and of exeriencing being one with the universe, in the exact place we're already in right here  and right now.

And listen: that's only the surface  of this enigma. There's a much deeper issue with paradise, a much more pernicious  problem with paradise, which is this: paradise, (and going to  paradise, in particular) is construed as an opportunity to vacate responsibility  - that's why we call it a vacat-ion, yes? It's more than that actually (or worse  than that, depending on how you look at it). It's more than simply regarding paradise as a place to go to in order to vacate responsibility. It's when you're in paradise and you've vacated responsibility, the question is: who's being responsible for "This is paradise!"?

Let me explain what I mean by that.

In Zen we ask "If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, then does it make a sound?". Similarly, if there's a paradise, and there's no one there to say  "This is paradise!", then is there a paradise?  I'm not just talking about the geographic location and the vistas of paradise, because if you're from Planet Earth (and if you're reading this, then you're from Planet Earth for sure), it's all  geographic location and vistas. Rather, I'm talking about the designation  "paradise". I'm talking about the distinction  "paradise". I assert paradise is really (and only)  a function of my speaking  "This is paradise!" And furthermore, if I don't speak "This is paradise!" on 'Anini Beach on the north shore of Kaua'i aka the garden island of the Hawai'ian chain or anywhere else for that matter, then it's not paradise.

Paradise isn't a place I go to. Paradise is a place I say so. (Gee! I hope you get this ...). It's even more than that. It's when I'm in a paradise, then the linguistic act  of speaking  "This is paradise!" brings who I really am  to bear on the environment itself. In other words, when I say "This is paradise!", I not only distinguish this as paradise: I also presence who I really am in the environment.

<aside>

You and I have the ability to speak "This is paradise!" anywhere.

The ramifications of this are vast.

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

<un-aside>

Paradise isn't simply paradise because it's comprised of pretty or even breathtakingly gorgeous  scenery, vistas, and a balmy climate. That's merely the stage's backdrop. That's simply the play's mise en scène. Paradise is paradise because the miracle of who we really are is present (ie presence‑ed, if you will). And the way we presence who we really are is by speaking. That's what speaking "This is paradise!" brings forth. In other words, even the heart‑stoppingly divine 'Anini Beach on the north shore of Kaua'i aka the garden island of the Hawai'ian chain, is paradise only because I say so. And if I don't  say so, then it's just a jagged piece of rock topped with leaves, edged with sand surrounded by salty water.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2011 through 2016 Permission