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


Paradox And Confusion

Vallejo, California, USA

October 15, 2008



"The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons: paradox  and confusion."  ... 
This essay, Paradox And Confusion, was written at the same time as Nothing Doing.



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 blue bird 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 look at.

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 ...
Werner Erhard says "The gates to the temple of truth are guarded by two dragons: paradoxa  and confusion.".

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 what's so)  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 what's so. "It can't  be true, it can't be what's so  because it's a paradox, because it's confusing". The other is: paradox becomes a distraction from the truth ie what's so, confusion becomes a distraction from the truth ie from what's so. Paradox and confusion themselves become the focus of inquiry. Truth ie what's so  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 you look 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 machinery.

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.



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