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 Trouble With "The Truth"  (The Trouble With "The Answer")

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 19, 2016

Werner Erhard famously avers you never discuss God with someone who doesn't know the difference between their ass  and a hole in the ground. That's a very provocative  assertion. It's very confronting. It's very ... well ... it's very Werner.

To be sure, there's nothing either intrinsically or inherently wrong with having a conversation about God with anyone - of any faith, any time, anywhere. The trouble's likely to arise, however, not from the conversation itself but rather from the context  (which is to say from the unexamined  context) in which such conversations usually take place. And although it's not the same distinction  as "God", the trouble with having a conversation about "The Truth", and the trouble with having a conversation about "The Answer", are similar, especially if they're rooted in the same unexamined context in which such conversations usually take place.

Life is open, life is fluid, life is kinetic  (look out-here  and it's obvious: something's happening because everything's moving). And the trouble with "The Truth" is as soon as we figure it out (which is exactly what we're driven to do, yes?), it becomes a closed, static, fixed version  of the real  thing. That's the hazard inherent in any conversation about "The Truth". But what's crucial to distinguish here is it's a hazard which goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) any conversation  about "The Truth" and yet doesn't gowith  "The Truth" itself per se  - that is to say it's we  who reduce the distinguished "Truth" to closed, static, fixed, dry concepts and beliefs.

It's a trap. It's natural for us human beings to want to inquire into "The Truth". And yet in so doing, we reduce "The Truth" to an unsatisfying collection of closed, static, fixed, dry concepts and beliefs. The joy and the satisfaction in life come from being in the conversation, yes? The joy and the satisfaction in life, in other words come from having a say in the matter  of our own lives. "The Truth" itself (the pure, the undiluted, the "what's so")  is strangely neutral, unjoyous, and maddeningly dissatisfying ("a-satisfying" as in "asexual" may be the best way to articulate this) - even when facets of it are well known and clearly understood.

The reduction of the distinguished "Truth" to closed, static, fixed, dry concepts and beliefs, is the unexamined context in which almost all  conversations about "The Truth" take place. However (and I really want you to get this) you don't honor "The Truth" by believing it:  you honor "The Truth" by living  it ie by being  it. When you honor "The Truth" by living it ie by being it and not by believing it, only then can you claim to know the difference between your ass and a hole in the ground.

Now who we are, it could be said, never  shows up in "The Truth" ie who we are never shows up in "The Answer" - no matter how much and no matter how intently and no matter how fervently we seek it there. Where we show up rather, is in what we say about "The Truth"  - or at least in the fact that we have something to say about it at all  in the first place. When you know it's you  who reduces the distinguished "Truth" to closed, static, fixed, dry concepts and beliefs, then a new context can become available in which it's likely that a conversation about "The Truth" can bear fruit, and not devolve into closed, static, fixed, dry concepts and beliefs ... and  ... be joyful and satisfying at the same time.

But wait! There's yet more  trouble in the land - in particular, with regard to "The Answer". It's this: there are at least a thousand answers  to any question about life which is worth asking. Yet somehow we have it rigged that there's only one  possible "The Answer" - so there are at least another nine hundred and ninety nine  perfectly decent other answers we miss. There are no smarts  in settling for only one  "The Answer" when a great question  can evoke a thousand great answers.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2016 Permission