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 And Speaking

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

September 23, 2020

"We cannot put off living until we are ready. The most salient characteristic of Life is its coerciveness: it is always urgent, here and now  without any possible postponement. Life is fired at us point blank."
... Jose Ortega y Gasset read out loud by  
"Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable."
"The desire to philosophize from the standpoint of standpointlessness, as a purportedly genuine and superior objectivity, is either childish, or, as is usually the case, disingenuous."
... Martin Heidegger
This essay, Present And Speaking, was written at the same time as Laurence Platt Video Interview IV.

I am indebted to Drew Kopp who inspired this conversation.

It could be said that the intention of any school of philosophy is to explain, understand, and to provide access to who we really are. It could also be said that (at least one of) the intentions of all disciplines and even religions  is to provide access to who we really are. No matter what the philosophy, no matter what the discipline, no matter what the religion, the Holy Grail  of all human inquiries may just be the access to (and then the living of ie the experiencing  of) our authentic Self ie who we really are, our true nature. And we all seem to know already, intuitively  perhaps, that if we had that access / that experience, life would go a whole lot easier for us.

It could equally be said that philosophy, disciplines, and religion, having already walked the path to authentic Self, both often as well as in-depth, both successfully as well as enthusiastically, and having reached / touched that Holy Grail, have documented it ie have left ample evidence of both the path to access it, as well as the experience of it, in the form of beliefs, rituals, and (in many cases) books, both holy and otherwise, both sacred and profane.

Even with the great love and respect I have for philosophy, disciplines, and religion, and anyone else's experience  for that matter, I have three concerns with taking any of them at face value. The first is many of them are dated ie they're not current. I mean that precisely, quite literally. Beliefs, rituals, and books, regardless of how valuable they may be, are always  handed down from some point in the past, from yesterday or even earlier - and the NOW  (which is the milieu of that Holy Grail) is not of the past. The second concern I have is the experience  of authentic Self they represent, is prone to becoming collapsed  with / blended into a concept  of authentic Self. And that's a concern which, it appears, I can only resolve by ... discovering authentic Self for myself  ...

... which brings me to the third concern I have: none of the above are results of my own personal inquiry - rather, they represent what some other people discovered about authentic Self for themselves. So when I ask myself the question "When am I being my most authentic Self?" (phrasing it another way, "Who am I being when I'm being who I really am?") and I just look  at what shows up rather than trying to explain, understand, or match it up with an already known philosophy, discipline, or religion, I get something really tangible, something much more immediate, something that life fires at me point blank  (as Jose Ortega y Gasset may have said).

The first thing I notice is I'm being my most authentic Self when I'm being present. If you saw me walking in the room, you may observe "Laurence is present.". But I don't mean "present" like that. I could be lying asleep and still be "present" in the room. By being present I mean intentionally bringing myself to bear on the world, on the environment, on the people I'm with. By being present, I mean "being with" like a deliberate act. It's when I'm being present that my authentic Self shows up.

And that would seem to be the end of this inquiry - except ... it's not. I notice there's something more, a second component that's also there when I'm being my most authentic Self. In addition to being present, there's my action  ie what I'm doing  when I'm being present when I'm being my most authentic Self: it's when I'm being present and I'm speaking. I may be present and doing anything at all. Yet it seems to me when I'm being present and speaking, I'm being my most authentic Self.

Now I need one more distinction to wrap this up: it's when I'm being present and speaking generatively  and not narratively  that I'm being my most authentic Self. Wait! What's the difference between speaking "generatively" and speaking "narratively"? That, my Friends, is a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2020 Permission