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


Source Of Aliveness

Vallejo Ferry Dock, Vallejo, California, USA

January 4, 2013



"You and I possess within ourselves, at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform  the quality of our lives."  ... 
This essay, Source Of Aliveness, is the companion piece to The Dispassionate View.

It is also the third in a trilogy sourced by Werner Erhard's seminal quote above, on the Power To Transform:
  1. Whack!
  2. Under All Circumstances
  3. Source Of Aliveness
in that order.

I am indebted to Harvey Herman who inspired this conversation, and to Charlene Afremow who contributed material.




Every so often I become aware I'm in a moment of diminished aliveness and loss of power. When I don't examine and tell the truth about such moments, the closest plausible explanation I have for them is they simply come about by themselves, a so-called mood swing beyond my control  - kind of like the weather changes. Unexamined, I say these weather changes just  ... happen  ... and the best if not the only  way I can deal with them is simply get through them  ie wait for them to pass.

Actually that's not a bad way to be in such moments. It even has a Zen flavor  to it if you will - which I like.

But when I get off it  enough to tell the truth about such moments of diminished aliveness and loss of power, something becomes really (and at times inconveniently)  clear. It's this: what appears (on the surface at least) to be diminished aliveness and loss of power, isn't that at all. To describe my aliveness as diminished  focuses on / implies there's something about my aliveness  which diminished. To call my power lost  focuses on / implies there's something about my power  which was (or got)  lost.

This way of looking at moments of diminished aliveness and loss of power may be a great way of explaining what happens  in such moments. Yet this explanation, in and of itself, gives me no renewed access to aliveness in moments of diminished aliveness, and nor does it give me any renewed access to power in moments of loss of power. Understanding is the booby prize, remember? In fact interpreting such moments in this way is an avoidance  really. An avoidance of what?  (it's the telling of the truth about what I'm avoiding, which is what's (quote unquote) inconvenient).

What's inconvenient is realizing I avoid owning  diminished aliveness and loss of power. They're my  responsibility - not a mood's. When the blame game  is over, when I've stopped attributing (to no avail, to no benefit to myself) diminished aliveness and loss of power to something someone else did or said, when I admit none of that works, has ever worked, in fact can't ever work, then I'm finally free to choose to exercise the muscle  (if you will) I possess to transform the quality of my life, the muscle I possess which I can choose to exercise at every moment under all circumstances (as Werner Erhard may have said). And by the way, notice it's essentially human  to occasionally forget about or simply abdicate being responsible for this muscle.

I've been in the presence of terminal cancer patients who have more aliveness in their pinky fingernail and more power in one of their breathless last words than some people have, have had, and will ever  have in their entire lives. It's who we are for ourselves  which is the source of our aliveness and power.

In the end it's never something anyone else did or said which is the cause of moments of diminished aliveness and loss of power. So when there are such moments in my life, the most effective and always available  action is to take back responsibility for my own aliveness and power - which is to say to give up abdicating  responsibility for them. The way I drift  as a human being seems to make this a daunting task ... sometimes. Fortunately (and count-on-ably) my muscle to do this is already always here  ... "at every moment under all circumstances" ...



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