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


Self Realization:

Discovery Or Creation?

Muir Beach, California, USA

June 20, 2010



This essay, Self Realization: Discovery Or Creation?, is the third in a septology on Self: It is also the sixth in a group of fourteen on Creating: I am indebted to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers who inspired this conversation.



I came on it randomly in a conversation one day, this distinction "discovery or creation" apropos Self realization. It grabbed my attention, fascinating me immediately.

Which is it? I wondered: do I discover  who I really am ... or do I create  ie generate who I really am? In other words, when I realize who I really am, is it realize as in discover  ... or is it realize as in create  ie generate?

And immediately came the sense I naturally know  which it is - with a couple of qualifiers in place:

 1)  it could be the one or the other, or it could be or both, or it could be neither ie it could be something else;

 2)  whichever it is, it merited further inquiry, at the completion of which it would be clear.

If it's realize as in discover  who I really am, it implies who I really am is already here. Then I come along and discover who I really am. But if this is true, then who's the me  who discovers the me I really am? Are there two  of me? Is there the me I really am, and in addition is there also the me who discovers who I really am? This seems to be what discovers  who I really am implies. Yet the idea of there being two  "me's" ...? While intriguing, this possible version seems unresolved ie it leaves something to be desired.

If it's realize as in create  who I really am, it implies who I really am isn't  already here - at least not yet. Then I come along and create who I really am. Again, are there now two  of me? Is there the me I really am, and in addition is there also the me who creates who I really am? This seems to be what creates  who I really am implies. And again, the idea of there being two  "me's" ...? While intriguing, this possible version also seems unresolved ie it leaves something to be desired. After all, if I create who I really am, then who's the me who creates the me I really am? And if I do create who I really am, then the me who creates who I really am is powerful enough to create, powerful enough to generate who I really am. And if this is true, then which me is the more powerful: the me who creates who I really am? Or the me I really am? And even more mind-boggling: which of these two "me's" is the real  me?

All these apparent issues, paradoxes, and confusions begin to break up, resolve, and clarify when I stop looking at who I really am like a "thing"  which is the point of view all the previous questions are mired in. All these apparent issues, paradoxes, and confusions begin to break up, resolve, and clarify when i start considering the possibility of who I really am being a process. In other words, rather than thinking about who I really am as a noun, I'm considering the possibility of who I really am being a verb  (as Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller may have said).

The verb I really am is speaking  and listening. Although this may sound as if they're two ie as if I'm two verbs rather than one, there's only one. The one verb I really am is speakinglistening.

So, with regard to my initial inquiry:

 1)  I discover who I really am is speakinglistening, so in this sense it's the former;

 2)  I create who I really am by speakinglistening, so in this sense it's the latter;

 3)  Obviously if it's the former and  it's the latter, then in this sense it's both.

Is there a fourth sense? Can Self realization be neither  discovery nor creation?
Werner Erhard resolves this in a dramatic, decisive way which turns the path  to Self realization around on itself one hundred and eighty degrees. He asserts Self isn't where you're headed. Rather, Self is where you come from. So in this sense Self realization is neither discovery nor creation.

As with all truly great insights, this may seem so stoopid  simple that we who've become too clever for our own good and are convinced if it's not complex and intricate it can't be worth much, are at risk of glossing over it entirely. Self realization is, in effect, the un-discovery, the un-creation. When regarded as discovery or as creation, the path to Self realization is little more than survival in disguise. Our ongoing efforts at discovery and / or creation of Self actually keep true Self realization at bay. In this sense, it could be said true Self realization only becomes an authentic possibility the moment all attempts at Self discovery and / or Self creation cease.



Quad Erat Demonstrandum



There it is, the fourth sense: Self realization neither as discovery nor as creation.

Is this "the truth"?  Whatever you do, please don't make it "the truth".

This is just a conversation. It's not "the truth" and neither is it not not  "the truth". It's an inquiry into the true nature of Self realization. If you find value in it for yourself, take it - it's yours. If you don't find value in it for yourself, thank you for your listening.



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