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


Present To The Past

Limpio Laundry, Napa, California, USA

December 16, 2013



This essay, Present To The Past, is the companion piece to What Happened As Distinct From The Story About What Happened.



At first this place appears like a truly odd location to be the background against which to reflect on how transformation recontextualizes  (I love  that word) the past. Yet on second thoughts, on closer examination, what better location  could there possibly be than here in this coin laundromat while I'm washing, drying, and folding my clothes and bed sheets, for reflecting on the miracle of transformation inexorably reaching back into and recontextualizing the past?

While every person's sharing of (which is to say, while every person's description or account of) transformation may be different with regard to its content  (what it looks like, what it feels like, what we say about it, what we do and / or what we're inspired  / called to do as a result of its impact), it's universally reported that transformation is a shift in context  (that is to say transformation is a contextual shift), a shift which is an invariable experience for everyone.

In this way, describing transformation (which drives it into the realm of content) can only point  to the experience of transformation yet never fully convey it accurately. Describing transformation is like saying the hole in the sand looks like the stick I made the hole in the sand with. Holes in the sand and sticks are worlds apart. So describing transformation this way would be telling you about a stick by describing the hole in the sand (as Werner Erhard may have said).

All that said, lets talk about transformation (or at least one facet of it) as the realization that things are, always have been, and always will be the way they are. And they aren't, never have been, and never will be the way they aren't. Furthermore, it's empty and meaningless that things are this way. Moreover it's empty and meaningless that it's empty and meaningless  that things are this way. Making it mean something that it's empty and meaningless is arrogance.

What's easy to get (which is to say what's easy to experience, given this new paradigm) is the present is OK the way it is and it's OK the way it isn't - and please consider both of these to be vast experiential  "OK"s. They're not intended as moral  OKs. Neither are they intended as righteous  OKs, and nor are they intended as ethical  OKs - even if there may be some intersection and overlap with some or all of the above. It's OK the way it is. Stop lying about it.

Listen: there's nothing wrong  with the moral OKs nor with the righteous OKs nor with the ethical OKs - however, this conversation isn't about them. The point I'm making in this  conversation is it's the context of transformation which lets experiencing the present be OK the way it is and OK the way it isn't.

Now, here's the corollary  which is truly life-altering: the present is OK the way it is and it's OK the way it isn't, and the present is all there is. So (and if you would allow this to sink in, it's truly miraculous) the past  ie whatever happened back then, is also  OK the way it is and it's also OK the way it isn't - or, if you'd prefer saying it this way, the past is also OK the way it was  and it's also OK the way it wasn't ... and  ... the past was also empty and meaningless, and it's empty and meaningless that the past was empty and meaningless - even though I've only allowed the past to be like this now ie in the present.

This is one of the ineffable gifts of transformation: by being transformed and being present to the past  now, transformation recontextualizes the past. The past is now OK the way it was and it's OK the way it wasn't - and it always was this way, whatever way it was, even long before I granted it being now.



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