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


Scoop

Redwood City, California, USA

December 18, 2008



This essay, Scoop, is the companion piece to A Red Rag To A Bull.

Its material was derived during a conversation with Werner Erhard.

While the format, style, structure, embellishment, and execution of the finished work are all my own creation, the base ideas presented in it are entirely originated, formulated, articulated, and owned by Werner.




From time to time, you're upset by something. From time to time, you're impatient with someone. From time to time, you're sad about something. At such times, you're reactivated. There's a loss of power and freedom to be. Your sense of Self  is diminished.

Actually, spoken with rigor, the truth is closer to this: From time to time you're upset  - period. From time to time you're impatient  - period. From time to time you're sad  - period. Adding "by something", "with someone", "about something"  is unnecessary. In fact, if you look unflinchingly  (which we'll do in just a moment), you'll see it's not true. With that proviso  in place, saying "from time to time you're upset by  something, from time to time you're impatient with  someone, from time to time you're sad about  something" is good enough for jazz.

When you're upset, when you're impatient, when you're sad, it's almost impossible  in the moment to notice you've stepped through a time warp  into the past. By that I mean this:

You're never upset with what you're upset with. You're never impatient with whom you're impatient with. You're never sad about what you're sad about. It's worse than that (or better - depending on your point of view): You're never upset now. You're never impatient now. You're never sad now. You've stepped through a time warp. You're upset only in the past. You're impatient only in the past. You're sad only in the past.

Take a close look at my next assertion. Not like it's "the truth". Take a close look at it and see if it rings for you. Try it on for size.

I assert you're not upset with whatever you're upset with. You're not impatient with whomever you're impatient with. You're not sad about whatever you're sad about. I assert you're upset with whatever you're upset with reminds you of. You're impatient with whomever you're impatient with reminds you of. You're sad about whatever you're sad about reminds you of.

Actually, it's not even that. You're never really upset with whatever you're upset with reminds you of. You're never really impatient with whomever you're impatient with reminds you of. And you're never really sad about whatever you're sad about reminds you of. The truth is you're upset with whatever reminds you of  whatever you're upset with reminds you of. You're impatient with whomever reminds you of  whomever you're impatient with reminds you of. You're sad about whatever reminds you of  whatever you're sad about reminds you of.

Going on only belabors the point, yes? So, to cut to the chase:

If your intention is to resolve your upset, it's only marginally useful taking on your current upset  or even the upset before this one it reminds you of. You've got to get back to the very first upset in your life they all  remind you of. If your intention is to give up being impatient, it's only marginally useful taking on the current person  you're impatient with or even the person before the one you're impatient with he reminds you of. You've got to get back to the very first person in your life you were impatient with they all  remind you of. If your intention is to give up being sad, it's only marginally useful taking on the current situation  you're sad about or even the situation before this one you're sad about it reminds you of. You've got to get back to the very first situation in your life you were sad about which they all  remind you of.



The Source Incident



For the sake of this conversation, let's call the incident they all remind you of  the "source incident". The source incident is the incident when you were first upset by something or when you were first impatient with someone or when you were first sad about something. The source incident may have elements of more than one of the above or even all of the above.

Once you recall the source incident, regardless of whether it's the source incident for being upset or whether it's the source incident for being impatient or whether it's the source incident for being sad, or even whether it's the source incident for any repetitive pattern in your life, it's entirely possible to scoop  out the fixed, self-perpetuating way of being which surrounds it and which has reactivated you ie which has run  you throughout your life ever since then. There's no need to be resigned  to being run this way. I'm opposed  to suffering.

In order to wield this scoop effectively, here are two distinctions you should consider taking on like a microscope  ie as a way of scrutinizing the source incident unflinchingly:


 1)  Your interpretation of what happened.

I come home with the results of my school test. I've improved my grade from a C to a B+. I'm very happy with this result. I tell my my mother I got a B+. She says "You get a D- for the state of your room, young man. Go tidy it. It's a mess.". Clearly, my mother doesn't love me. If she did, she'd celebrate my C becoming a B+ with me.

I steadfastly march a certain way into the future from then on, knowing my mother doesn't love me. What I don't know  is: my mother doesn't love me isn't "the truth". What I don't know is: "my mother doesn't love me" isn't real. What I don't know is: I interpreted  "my mother doesn't love me" based on she told me to go tidy my room. I use "my mother doesn't love me" as the basis of many conclusions in my life from then on, with predictably unexpected and unwanted results, for example: getting upset when my accomplishments aren't noticed, being impatient with people who don't accurately hear what I tell them, becoming sad when I'm not loved by someone I love.

You've got to be willing to consider nothing happened other than what you say happened. You've got to be willing to consider nothing happened other than what you interpreted  as what happened. If you're not willing to consider nothing happened other than what you interpreted  as what happened, you can't get you're cause in the matter. If you can't get you're cause in the matter, you can't recontextualize  the source incident. If you can't recontextualize the source incident, you can't get to choice in the matter  of the source incident, which means it will always run you.


 2)  The kind of person you declared you would be from that moment on.

In any moment, declaring the kind of person you'll be from then on is the single most powerful fulcrum of possibility  a human being has access to. However, without re-establishing choice in the matter  surrounding the source incident, without being willing to consider you chose  the way you'd be from then on, declaring the kind of person you'd be from then on is a trap, replete with chains, shackles, and the obligatory arrow shot through the heart. If you re-establish choice in the matter surrounding the source incident and the kind of person you declared you'd be from then on, a new possibility  emerges: the possibility of being renewed and authentic.

When my mother didn't love me (that is to say when I interpreted  my mother doesn't love me), I declared I wouldn't share my accomplishments. I declared the kind of person I would be from then on would be independent  and self-contained  ie someone who would take care of himself. Ordinarily, this way of being would be considered virtuous. The trouble is when there's no choice in the matter ie when I'm being this way as a reaction, it's a trap. It's more than a trap, actually: it's a life long  trap. Getting back to the source incident and my interpretation of it, of the kind of person I declared I would be from that moment on begins breaking up  the fixed way of being, the fixed way of being which invariably brings upset, impatience, and sadness in all future incidents which it's the core of. Getting back to the source incident and my interpretation of it, getting back to choice in the matter of the kind of person I declared I would be from that moment on also begins to create some space, also begins to create some room to move  ie some new freedom and some new possibility around the source incident which all future incidents are reminded of.

It's more than that, actually. I declared I'd be a certain kind of person from the moment of the source incident on. Clearly that declaration powerfully impacted my life from then on. So now or at any time from now on, I can just as powerfully declare I'll be a new or another kind of person - with, from now on, just as much (if not more) intentionality and impact.

There's a contextual shift. The upset, impatience, and sadness start to break up and disappear ... effortlessly ... just in the process of life itself.


Who Doesn't Want You To Know



That's the scoop. It's a complete system. It's a pragmatic implement. You already knew about it. At best, it's been lost from your view - but it was always available to you. As you wield it again and refamiliarize yourself with its pleasing heft, you'll wonder why something so simple, something so obvious, something so powerful and useful could become lost from your view for so long. For completion, it's worth considering for a moment why.

Who you aren't  is heavily invested in you being who you aren't. Who you aren't  is heavily invested in you not being reminded you're being who you aren't. Who you aren't  is heavily invested in you being right  about being who you aren't. That's why the scoop, once it's lost from view, stays hidden: who you aren't  does a masterful job keeping it hidden. Who you aren't  doesn't want you to know the scoop. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, who you aren't  and why it's so heavily invested in being who you aren't  and why it does a masterful job keeping the scoop hidden from you, is the most essentially human  aspect of being human I know.



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