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

Reluctant Warrior

Woodland, California, USA

May 11, 2006

This essay, Reluctant Warrior, is the companion piece to Accidental Guru.

I am indebted to Martin Rooney who inspired this conversation.

I'm no samurai. I don't require that context to live authentically nor to live as if my life depends on it. But as anyone who allows truth to go to work in their life knows, when that happens you're called to live the life of a warrior who stands unflinching for truth in the world, even if some of the time you stand for it reluctantly.

What truth? Whose  truth? The truth that this is it and here we are. And unless you add to that the codicil "... - that's what's so and it doesn't mean anything, and it doesn't mean anything that it doesn't mean anything", you'll make truth into a belief. In other words you'll essentially be a normal human being.

It's useful to take a moment to examine the precept "it doesn't mean anything". By itself it's almost enough to start heated arguments and drive wise men crazy. There is  meaning everywhere, to be sure. That much is obvious. What's not obvious is the author of meaning. A cock crowing in the east just as I have an epiphany has no meaning in and of itself. I make the cock crowing just at that exact moment  mean something. I add meaning to what happened. Then I forget I added the meaning. The cock crowing now means  something, something significant. Now there is meaning - the meaning I added. But by itself, in and of itself, a cock crowing doesn't mean anything.

One of my strengths which empowers me to remain in situations and triumph under adverse conditions more so than others who are arguably better equipped than I am to deal with such conditions is this: I regard such conditions as mere inconvenience and not as insurmountable barriers. I regard such conditions not as being in the way  between me and the fulfillment of my intention but rather as being simply on  the way between me and the fulfillment of my intention. So I allow them to be there because they're there, and I give them no meaning or power to shape my intention.

I regard them as obstacles on the way as if they're obstacles on an obstacle course. An obstacle course is all about obstacles. That's its nature. To triumph on an obstacle course you have to deal with obstacles. So you go over them or around them if you can't go through them.

It's not that I take to obstacle courses as a mountaineer takes to mountains because they're there. I'm really not that interested in the challenge. In fact most of the time I would like to wave a magic wand and have all  obstacles disappear. But lately I've realized the road of my life is a series of obstacles  one after the other. I've realized my life is not what I would like to get back to as soon as I've handled all the obstacles. I've realized my life is the obstacle course. I've even found that magic wand which lets me make obstacles disappear. The way I make obstacles disappear is to allow them to be where they are.

That's my life as a warrior. That's what I take on - I admit oftentimes reluctantly.

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