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
Paradox And Confusion
Vallejo, California, USA
October 15, 2008
"The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons:
paradox and confusion."
Paradox And Confusion,
was written at the same time as
I know who you are. Man! I really know
who you are.
You know who you are. I mean, you know who you really are.
In fact, not only do you know who you really are - you can never
not be who you really are. Think about it: how can you
ever not be who you really are? How can light ever not be
light? How can light ever be darkness? The question is absurd.
And yet you and I know only too well, from time to time we forget who
we really are. It's worse than that, actually. The truth is more like:
from time to time it seems simply impossible to be who we really are,
to be who we know we really are.
That's the nature of being for human beings.
In order to, in a manner of speaking, get to who I really
am, I have to break up who I've always identified or
considered myself to be. And it's not that who I've always identified
or considered myself to be is bad, wrong, erroneous, or false -
although it may indeed seem to be one or more of the above. It's that
my identifications and considerations of who I really am are by now so
much part of the scenery, so much bolted to the
boilerplate that the first rope bridge over the
abyss is simply to realize "I have identifications
and considerations" in the first place.
In looking at who I really am, I don't see cleanly, I can't see
clearly - at first. To be sure, I think I see
cleanly, I think I see clearly. But I don't. Any fresh
thought I think I have is really tainted by old molded identifications
and considerations. Yes I'm clear what I think. But always
hidden from view, always just out of sight is how I think.
I'm clear I see the
in front of me. What's not clear is the blue lensed glasses I'm looking
through which are so close to me, I don't realize I'm wearing them, let
alone realize I'm looking through them. Yet they color everything I
As soon as I, having the good fortune, luck, or just sheer unrelenting
intention to locate these blue lensed glasses and take them off, my
world is (no surprise here!) completely new. Most of what I once
knew no longer applies. It's confusing. "If this is the truth" I ask
myself, "then why am I confused?". And that, in itself, is a
paradox: the truth, when first experienced in it's pure
state, is confusing.
The truth is confusing? That's a paradox - in my view. The truth, when
first experienced in it's pure state, is both confusing and
paradoxical. The truth is a confusing paradox! At least
sometimes it shows up that way ...
says "The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons:
Something happens (we all know it) when paradox and confusion come up.
If there's an experience of truth (or, said more
pragmatically, if there's an experience of
during which paradox and confusion come up, the voice-over
always says something like "This is a paradox and confusing, so the
truth can't be true. This is a paradox and confusing, so the
truth isn't real. This is a paradox and confusing, so the truth
must be wrong.".
Ordinarily there are two resultants of this voice-over jabber. The one
is the voice-over jabber is believed, is empowered,
overshadowing the experience of truth, negating
"It can't be true, it can't be
what's sobecause it's a paradox, because it's confusing". The
other is: paradox becomes a
from the truth ie
confusion becomes a
from the truth ie from
Paradox and confusion themselves become the focus of inquiry. Truth ie
is long forgotten. Now the inmates are running the asylum.
There's one immediately obvious oversight here, one which if not seen,
carries enough weight to turn you away from discovery even when you're
that close, that near the truth, and it's
this: the very appearance of paradox and confusion is, in a very real
sense, a clear indicator the temple of truth is close. The
guardians of the temple of truth are at hand, ergo the
temple of truth itself is close by.
Here's how to tame dragons. Here's how to be unstopped by paradox and
confusion. If you look at this, you may notice it's ordinarily in
the last place
regarding paradox and confusion:
When paradox and confusion occur, allow them to occur. If something
shows up as a paradox, allow it to be a paradox. If something
shows up as confusing, be confused.
Regard the paradox. Experience
the confusion. Keep your fingers out of the
Clearly that's counter-intuitive. Clearly we're pulled to
resolve a paradox, to un-confuse confusion. Don't
do that. Instead, allow them to be. Allow them to be the
dragons they are. Allow them to be the mighty guardians of
the temple of truth they are. Both of them are totally and mercilessly
capable of biting your head clean off if you cross them -
that's their job given what they're guarding. And they're
both also equally capable of allowing you to be, even of purring and
allowing you to stroke and pet them. They'll allow you to pass if you
take responsibility for your experience of them. They'll
allow you to pass if you simply allow them to be.