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

Philosophical Framework

Browns Valley Yogurt and Espresso Bar, California, USA

October 22, 2019

This essay, Philosophical Framework, is the one thousand five hundredth in this Conversations For Transformation internet series. That doesn't mean anything. It's just what's so.

It is also the companion piece to An Experience Like A Red Balloon, A Life Like A Concrete Form: A Manifesto.

Of the plethora of distinctions which comprise the rich body of distinctions that is Werner's work, there's one distinction which is incredibly useful to me. It's one of the very first I encountered (if not the  first) when I first heard about Werner's work. In my subsequent explorations in this terrain, I've gained facility with countless distinctions, all of them valuable. Yet that first one always and ongoingly grabs me as the  essential one - essential, that is if we are to get our hands and feet on the levers, dials, switches, and pedals of living a transformed life. That distinction / realization is "Who I am is not my mind.". It's the distinction in whose direction I subsequently learned the great American Zen master and erstwhile episcopal priest Alan Watts had steered Werner. Thank You Mr Watts!

In any effective application of the conversation for transformation, there is of necessity a lot of discussion about our pre-conceptions, our worldview, our frames of reference, the already always listening  we vociferously cling to which effectively stops us knowing who we really are. We've carefully assembled ways of being in the world which defend us and ensure our survival. It's taken us years (each of us a lifetime in fact) to put it all together, and we're not about to let it go easily or quickly or without a fight. Yet without being willing to let it go and stand naked (so to speak) and be present, it's damn near impossible to be clear about who we really are.

So it's our very intelligence which keeps us trapped. And with us humans, smartness isn't in short supply. It's our very own smart aleck  brilliance that keeps us repeating the same unworkable patterns in our lives. It's the very best of our skills and abilities  which keeps unwittingly setting us up to live as little more than impostors. An impostor is someone who pretends to be who she isn't. In terms of being who we really  are, face the facts: we're all impostors.

The perfect conversation for transformation would go directly to who we really are, deftly side-stepping all our (for want of a better phrase) defense mechanisms. Yet that's not prudent: the mechanisms impede it. We hold on tooth and nail to that which we aren't. It's our nature to do that. As a result, a conversation that reveals who we really are, has got to start from the explanations, the theories, the philosophies  which are draped over who we really are, effectively obfuscating it, and confront them first. When that's accomplished, we're free to proceed into the pristine, much much easier-to-navigate, facile, delightfully simple domain of who we really are.


Excerpt from Plastic Chandelier II:

Sitting talking in a Starbucks  recently, I shared (Werner's work) with one of my best friends (not a graduate). She listened quietly, then when I'd finished speaking, said knowingly "It (quote unquote) isn't that simple, Laurence" to which I responded "Only if you say it isn't.". For her (and honestly, for many, many others), it isn't  that simple.


Why does Werner's work take so many days to deliver transformation? It doesn't. It takes but a split-second out-of-time to deliver transformation. But it take days and days and days to deal with all the stuff we put in the way. The philosophical framework we deploy which covers over who we really are (which is code for: which we deploy to avoid being responsible for  who we really are) is presented impeccably, immaculately, to the degree that you soon realize (that is, if you're open to looking) it's pointless to argue it. Its logic is inescapable. If it weren't, it would devolve into petty intellectual spats between clever boffins. But it's set up so it doesn't fall into that trap. It's an inescapable philosophical framework that allows us to go beyond it, and to get who we really are prior to it all. That's  the access to transformation.

When I tell the truth ie when I admit it, I've been involved with people, schools of thought, institutions, even houses of religion who talk enthusiastically, passionately, leaving adherents knowing about  transformation (or whatever their local term of art  for it is) yet with no access  to it - for example leaving congregants knowing that forgiveness is a good idea, and yet with no access to actually being forgiving. The purpose of Werner's in-depth coverage of our philosophical framework is not to wax philosophical  nor deftly debate or argue its nuances. It's to render its logic inescapably, so it can be set aside, revealing an open portal, the access to transformation.

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