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


Superstitious Minds

St Mary's Episcopal Church, Napa, California, USA

March 4, 2007



"We can't go on together with suspicious minds." ... Elvis Aaron Presley

"We can't go on together with superstitious  minds." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, Superstitious Minds, is the companion piece to
  1. The Way We Are
  2. Sticky Like A Fly Trap
in that order.




If you say a black cat crossing your path is bad luck is a superstition, it isn't.

If you say a black cat crossing your path is bad luck, it's a superstition.

Getting that is like interacting with a Zen koan: what isn't when it is and is when it isn't? Sit with it in your lap - like a hot brick.

A carefully crafted Zen koan (riddle) will blow the mind. The best known and arguably the most brilliant and perfectly minimalistic Zen koan is "What's the sound of one hand clapping?". Zen koans don't have an answer  per se. Rather, the result of interacting with a good Zen koan is an "A-Ha!" experience which blows the rational reasonable mind unwiring who you really are as naked presence.

Nonetheless, in this case only and for the sake of this conversation only, the "answer" to the Zen koan "What isn't when it is and is when it isn't?" could  be ... a superstition.

I'm not just considering all the wonderful old wives' tales  which we know and love as classic superstitions, most of which are purported recipes for bad luck  ... or so they  say ... like stepping on sidewalk cracks, walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, and of course a black cat crossing your path.

I'm considering just about anything we know and believe, no matter how mundane, no matter how profane, no matter how sacred, has the potential ultimately to harden into, to congeal into, to endarken into, to devolve into a blind rote concept no longer alive with any light of inquiry ... in other words, into a superstition.

Without ongoingly inquiring into what we know to be true, without holding up to the light beliefs which will, without inquiry, inevitably crystallize into blind rote concepts, we inexorably become superstitious. That's when the trouble begins. That's when we get righteous and positional, both of which are evidence of superstitions not recognized as superstitions  driving the machinery.



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