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

Privilege At Daybreak In The Battle Between Good And Evil

Exertec Health and Fitness Center, Napa, California, USA

December 18, 2007

This essay, Privilege At Daybreak In The Battle Between Good And Evil, is the companion piece to It is also the first in an open group Conversations With A Friend:
  1. Privilege At Daybreak In The Battle Between Good And Evil
  2. Future Perfect
  3. This Is What It Means To Be!
  4. Empty Cup
  5. Conversation With A Friend: A Symphony Of Notes
  6. The Sound Of Your Voice
  7. Conversations With A Friend VII
  8. Space For Redemption: When "I'm Sorry!" Isn't Enough
  9. What Did You Do To Me?
  10. You Are Always With Me
so far, in that order.

When I awake at daybreak, I notice you and I are already in the middle of a conversation about the battle between good and evil. In my own life, I've noticed that battle's been going on for a long time, arguably for as long as I can remember. And I'm pretty sure it's been going on for longer than that even. It's not a battle I asked for. It's not something I initiated. Based on what I've read, it's been going on for as long as history's been recorded. It's just there, it's always  just there, going on all by itself in an amphitheatre as old as time itself. But I've got a feeling it's even been going on for much longer than that. In all likelihood it's been going on for all eternity.

It's always been a long, strange, incorrigible battle. Our side is good. Your side is evil. Yet that's just what we  say. You  say your side is good and our side is evil. And both of us say God's on our  side. Whether I'm in it  or whether I'm observing it, it's patently clear how powerful it is, how pervasive it is, how destructive  it is, and how it just plain doesn't work. But that's Life. Or is it? Do I have no choice but to be in it because it overpowers me, sweeps me in, overwhelms me and demands I react? ... or what?  There's no respite, all through the night, all through all nights.

But now it's dawn. I'm wide awake sitting bolt upright listening you. I'm listening everything you say, and through it all I keep on hearing who you are.

When I hear you, something buried deep in me is activated. I'm reminded of what's possible. With that, I become reticent to continue living by the distinction good  as opposed to the distinction evil. They're both conceptual. They're both merely interpretations. They're useful, to a certain degree, for creating a context for living, for creating a certain moral framework  at least. Yet moral frameworks bring in another  set of distinctions: the distinction right  as opposed to the distinction wrong, both of which are also conceptual, both of which are also merely interpretations.

Now, I'm not against distinguishing good from evil and right from wrong any more than I'm against distinguishing green traffic lights from red. In order to get along in society, in order to get along in the world, it's essential  we're able to make and respect such distinctions. We label people who don't as sociopathic, even as psychopathic. Sometimes we incarcerate them, such is our intolerance, such is our abhorrence of people who are unable to make and respect such distinctions.

The trouble, however, with living from the "good / evil", "right / wrong" set of distinctions as if they're absolute  and not simply concepts and interpretations is twofold. Firstly, good defines  evil just as right defines  wrong. This dragon of paradox  is inherent in all forms of righteousness. Interpreting good  calls forth and brings evil  into being. Interpreting right  calls forth and brings wrong  into being. The back of the hand begets  the palm. Heads begets tails. Secondly, living from concepts and interpretations relegates the miracle of who we really are  to the background. There's nothing wrong with that. It simply makes who we really are harder to locate. And when we can't locate who we really are, we do battle for things we aren't. It's very pernicious.

As you and I speak, I reinvent an old distinction. It's a distinction that lives in experience  rather than in concepts, rather than in interpretations. It's a very, very ancient distinction. It's been around as long as human being's been around. In all likelihood it's been around longer than that - I just don't know whom to ask for verification of whether it has or hasn't been around longer than that. It's the distinction true Self  as opposed to the distinction identity. It's who we really are as opposed to who we think we are ie that with which we identify. True Self doesn't negate  concepts and interpretations any more than identity causes them. True Self does, however, provide the context in which I can observe I've falsely identified with my concepts and with my interpretations. That's its value. That's what comes forth in our conversation.

But wait! Something else  comes forth in our conversation. There's something else here, and it's a privilege  to be with it. It's something greater than I. It doesn't require a gold record  to be acknowledged. It doesn't need an academy award  to say it's appreciated. It doesn't require a nomination to the hall of fame  to authenticate it. It's that which becomes possible when you and I are in relationship. It's a privilege afforded by Life Itself. And all that's required to have it is to declare  it, to distinguish it.

As the sun rises ever higher in the sky, the battle still rages. Despite it, I walk on, not resisting, not defending, not drawn in, inventing being this way as a potent new possibility for living the rest of my life with you.

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