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


September 11, 2001 - Ten Years After

Diamond Mountain Appellation, Napa Valley, California, USA

September 11, 2011



"When I don't know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you." ... Hanuman speaking with Ram in the Sanskrit epic Ramayana

"When I don't know who I am, I hurt you. When I know who I am, I am you." ... Laurence Platt contemplating September 11, 2001 ten years after
This essay, September 11, 2001, is the final essay in the quadrilogy September 11, 2001:
  1. September 11, 2001
  2. September 11, 2001 - One Year After
  3. September 11, 2001 - Five Years After
  4. September 11, 2001 - Ten Years After
in that order.

It is the companion piece to
  1. What Happened As Distinct From The Story About What Happened
  2. Road Warrior
in that order.




Imagine you're on another planet. No, imagine you're from  another planet. Imagine you're from another planet looking down on Planet Earth, and you see its people fighting each other, making war on each other. Now imagine the planet you're from, doesn't have fighting or war. Imagine the planet you're from, doesn't know  fighting or war. What could you say about what you saw the people of Planet Earth doing to each other? You wouldn't know  what it was they were doing to each other, would you? Whatever you saw them doing to each other would look very strange indeed ...

Of course, you're not from another planet. And you're not on another planet. So you'll never be able to look at what we the people of Planet Earth do to each other, from the perspective of not knowing what fighting is, from the perspective of not knowing what war is.

But you can  consider it like a possibility. Can you look at what we the people of Planet Earth do fighting each other, can you look at what we the people of Planet Earth do making war on each other, can you look at all of it from the perspective of ie coming from  not knowing what fighting is, coming from not knowing what war is? Can you consider the possibility of no fighting on Planet Earth? Can you consider the possibility of no war on Planet Earth?

This is what's truly bass ackwards  about Planet Earth: here, no  fighting and no  war are the possibilities which are very strange indeed ...

I won't publish this essay, September 11, 2001 - Ten Years After, today ie on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001 out of respect for the commemorations being held for the people who lost their lives and who gave their lives on September 11, 2001. There are times when it's easy to listen new ideas which intrude into our already sensitivities, and there are other times when it's not so easy to listen. Today, being the day of commemoration of the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, may not be the most appropriate day to listen newly for who we are  in the matter of September 11, 2001.

Be careful. When I say "... who we  are in the matter of September 11, 2001", I don't mean us. And I don't mean them  either. That would just keep the conversation within the same conflict: "us / them", "good / bad", "right / wrong". And the trouble with keeping the conversation within the same conflict is we already know the outcome  of this conversation. We already know "we're  the good guys, and they're  the bad guys". And it isn't even a stretch for our combined imaginations to realize "we're the good guys, and they're the bad guys" can be voiced evenhandedly by both  sides of the September 11, 2001 conflict - indeed, by both sides of any  conflict. This is the nature of conflict. So when I say "... who we are in the matter of September 11, 2001", I mean all  of us. I mean all of us nearly seven billion people of Planet Earth.

"Oh no!" you say. "You're wrong, Laurence. We are  the good guys, and they are  the bad guys.". No. It's all  of us - if you're willing to listen it from this vantage point. We're all the people of Planet Earth fighting each other. We're all the people of Planet Earth making war on each other. And from the perspective of someone on another planet, from the perspective of someone from another planet who doesn't know fighting or war, what we do to each other looks very strange indeed ...

I assert fighting and war are the natural results of not knowing who we really are. When I don't know who I am, I hurt you. When I know who I am, I am you. "Too  simple!" you say? Yes. Entrenched as we are in "us / them", "good / bad", "right / wrong", it is  simple. We can't get it from the already always listening  we are. And maybe we can't get it today, the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001, either. We may have to wait until the commemoration services for and the remembrances of the people who lost their lives and who gave their lives on September 11, 2001, are over. It's hard for us to listen this if it intrudes into our already sensitivities.

But when the ceremonies are complete, when it's alright to re-listen September 11, 2001 after an appropriate time has elapsed, when you can re-listen September 11, 2001 with new ideas ... then I propose you invent it for yourself, like a possibility. Try it on for size.



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