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

Standing In The River

St Helena, California, USA

April 14, 2006
Reposted October 10, 2020

This essay, Standing In The River, is the companion piece to Conversations For Transformation receives its fifty thousandth view with the publishing of Standing In The River.

I am indebted to Professor William Warren Bartley III and to Dr Robert Lee "Bob" Culver who inspired this conversation.

Photography by Symon Productions - London Eye, London, England - 2004
Werner Standing Still
He's standing in the river up to his knees in water, serenely looking into the water watching the water go, just standing in the river watching the water.

Observation #1: something's happening because everything's moving  ...

The river flows around rocks. It doesn't flow through  rocks. With a rock in its way, it's the river's true nature  to flow around it, just as it's a rock's true nature  to not move out of the way. Rocks don't stop the river, nor do they make it wrong. It's the river's true nature to flow, giving way to and going around anything in its way. Thus the river, flowing around rocks, honors rocks' true nature, and the rocks the river's.

Observation #2: there's no cause  for river. Rain? Or was it clouds before the rain? Or was it wind blowing water saturated air, to condensing heights? Wait ... doesn't it require the rotating planet itself to engender the very notion of wind? The river, this  river, this very moment standing in the river  was therefore already present in the seeds of the universe. The chain of events which caused standing in the river  therefore had to have been caused at the dawn of time ...

But look: really?

Pick any one of those causes. Pick whichever one your perspective or your fancy happens to alight on. Every one of them is a false  cause. Why? Because if you expand your limited focus, it's clear there's another cause prior to that cause which caused that cause. So who or what is really  the cause of river?  Who or what is the real cause, the source  of standing in the river?

That Was Now, This Is Now

That was Werner standing in the Russian River during a company picnic in 1966. Standing in the river is how he stands in life. Even then.

Today he's still standing, standing still. He's seventy now. I see and I don't see the good looks, the suave Hollywood handsomeness. I see the commitment, the unwavering  commitment to commitment. Beyond that I see something extraordinary. I see the platform from whence unwavering commitment to commitment springs. I see the source of access to that platform laid bare for all for the asking.

And after all these years of being around him and keeping my eye on him, I still sometimes wonder incredulously and ask myself "How on Earth does he do  that?".

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