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


Skewed Since Antiquity

The Forum, Rome, Italy

August 12, 2009



This essay, Skewed Since Antiquity, is the third in a group of three written in Europe, August 2009:
  1. Mona Lisa! Mona Lisa!
  2. Further Than The End
  3. Skewed Since Antiquity
in that order.




Photography by Alexandra Lindsey Platt - August 12, 2009
The Forum
Rome, Italy
Rome is a city full of and known for its landmarks  - buildings and places which are easily recognized. There's the landmark Colosseum. There's the landmark Pantheon. There's the landmark Spanish Steps. And there's the landmark Forum.

It's very clear even to the architecturally naïve that just one of the Forum's columns, whether cast or carved, whether doric  or ionic  or corinthian  requires a staggering amount of work. Each plinth, each block on which each column stands requires even more work. The attention to detail is simply extraordinary.

If carved, both columns and plinths require meticulous filigree  delicate chipping away solid marble. Then multiply all this work by however many columns the Forum requires. Throw in a few monumental statues for good measure ... that, plus  a roof or (in all likelihood) a dome. Then exponentiate all that by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds  of similar still standing structures built over a period of ... two  ... thousand  ... years  ... and more, and you have just the barest taste of what it took to construct Rome, "the eternal  city".

It's been said "Rome wasn't built in a day". Really. No kidding!

If you can stop yourself just for a moment from being blown away  by standing in the living presence of this centuries old - no, millennia  old - city, if you can take your mind off all its landmarks and what it took to build each and all of them, you may start to get something else, something at first imperceptible, something akin to a context  against which all your awe  shows up.

It's the context of human being. As you stand in the midst of all this, as you contemplate all ancient and modern Rome's landmarks, you start to realize the time continuum  civilized human beings have been around here is two  ... thousand  ... years  ... and more old. And you realize this context of human being  then obviously wasn't a whole lot different than the context of human being  today. OK, so Julius Caesar didn't have internet access, and gladiators at the Colosseum didn't stop off on the way to work at the local Starbucks. But the conversation, the set of concerns, the culture  of human beings then was hardly any different then than the conversation, the set of concerns, the culture  of human beings today.

In other words, what stands in the way of, what covers up  the possibility of transformation today isn't any different than what stood in the way of, what covered up  the possibility of transformation then. But it's more than that actually. What stood in the way of, what covered up  the possibility of transformation then has had two  ... thousand  ... years  ... and more to solidify, to coalesce, to gel, to get practiced at  standing in the way of, at covering up  the possibility of transformation today.

Now, to put this in perspective, in the history of time, two  ... thousand  ... years  is but a blink of an eye, and transformation's been around since before time started. But looking at what there is to get over, at what there is to get off of today  to clear the space for real, lasting transformation to show up on the planet, we've got two  ... thousand  ... years  and more of civilization, of solidification, of coalescence, of gel, of practice  which stands in the way of, which covers up  the possibility of transformation today to get over. The resistance didn't start yesterday. It didn't even start in your childhood. It goes back further than that, much  much further than that, waaay  further. We, the people of Planet Earth, have been skewed since antiquity. Literally.

Enter transformation: stage front and center.

Transformation defies the linear  conversation. If transformation took two  ... thousand  ... years  and more of civilization to arrive here now, then it's arrival here now is irrefutable evidence we've always been transformed  like a possibility. If only once during those two  ... thousand  ... years  and more of civilization, especially in ancient Rome when the Forum was first constituted, transformation was experienced by one or more people (and there's good evidence it was), then it didn't happen two  ... thousand  ... years  and more ago: it happened NOW!  If we, You and I, are transformed here and now, then so were the people of ancient Rome in the Forum two  ... thousand  ... years  and more ago like a possibility.

That's us, the people of Planet Earth today and the people of ancient Rome in the Forum: skewed since antiquity, and at the same time always transformed like a possibility.



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