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


The Big Emptiness

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 29, 2016



I am indebted to JeanneLauree Olsen who inspired this conversation.



I guess it's because I publish material regularly which is internationally distributed, that people who have come across these Conversations For Transformation, contact me, then engage with me (either in face to face conversations or via e-mail) about what they evoke for them. Yes they are evocative. Now that's actually not my main intention for them. Yet given their context, they are bound to be evocative. It goes with their territory. And because they are evocative, they elicit comparisons born of similarity. So people recommend books to me, or they'll ask me if I've read this book, or if I've read that book. When they do, I take it as a compliment. And make no error: it really is  a compliment to be spoken about in the same breath as known writers. Then I decline their recommendations or I let them know I (probably) haven't and won't read the book in question. It doesn't end there. Who would not  want to read all the great material out there? There's value in the explanation I give them:

All evidence to the contrary, I don't actually see myself as an author or as a writer. Really I don't. Who I am for myself is someone who speaks  transformation. And I speak transformation because it's the only way I know to have it come forth in my life and stay. It just so happens that I speak transformation deploying this internet series of essays as my medium. So I suppose that does make me a writer by default. I can own up to that. I can be responsible for it. But who I am for myself  isn't a writer. A writer is what some of us are. No, who I am for myself is a speaker. A speaker is what all of us are. In other words, what I do is nothing out of the ordinary.

So when people recommend books to me, or when they ask me if I've read this book or that book, I tell them the truth. I tell them I don't read a lot. That comes as a surprise to them. There seems to be an expectation that I, a writer, would read a lot. But I don't. I tell them I prefer to leave the space of my being empty and open. I prefer to look into this empty, open space ie into this big emptiness, seeing if I can derive new ideas from it for myself. After all, isn't that what the goal of writing is? Isn't that others' goals too? If I'm going to say something original at all, then it works best for me not to add anything to the space in which new ideas occur. It works best for me to look and see if I can come up with something out of the emptiness ie to see if I can come up with something out of nothing  authentically. An essential component of all these Conversations For Transformation is distinguishing (distinguishing out of nothing) - not narrating nor commenting, not comparing nor opining.

One of the things I've gotten clear about being around Werner, is where he gets what he gets. I mean where does  he get it from? Consider this (not like it's the truth  but rather like it could be  it's true): he gets what he gets by looking into the space ie into the emptiness of his own being, then distinguishing what's there. I've heard him assert on countless occasions he has no interest in explaining  or in understanding  what's there (and he definitely  has no interest in fixing  what's there) - just in distinguishing it. I've made that my model: looking into the emptiness of my own being, and distinguishing for myself what's there. Then I'll speak it (or write it as the case may be). It's useful listening Werner articulate what's there to be distinguished. But it takes on a power all of its own when you and I distinguish it for ourselves.

That's why I don't read much. Said a slightly different way, that's why I'm wary  of reading. I'm not looking to present others' theories, traditions, and customs in new ways. I'm not looking to say something intelligent about them. Neither am I looking to talk about what other people are talking about. There's nothing wrong with any of that, mind you. It's just not what I'm committed to. What I do ie what I'm committed to is challenging myself to look into the big emptiness of my own being, and distinguish the material directly for myself, rather than from any number of (intelligent) authors' conjecturing. Of course, anyone who eschews reading altogether, is a fool. On the other hand anyone who's unwilling to look into the emptiness of their own being, and distinguish the material directly for themself, is an even bigger fool.



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