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




This Is What I Do

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

February 13, 2019

"A superstition isn't a superstition when it is. A superstition is a superstition when it isn't." ... 
"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." ...  Laurence Platt recreating  
"Q: What isn't when it is and is when it isn't? A: A superstition." ...  Zen koan by Laurence Platt 
"Do or do not: there is no try!" ... Yoda, Grand Master of the Jedi Order
"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place." ... 
This essay, This Is What I Do, was written at the same time as Bye Bye Baby.

I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt who contributed material for this conversation.




I asked "Do you know why you do this?" (I actually I eschew "Why?"  questions, but I asked it that way to make a point, to provoke an inquiry). She said "I do this in order to  ... (fill in the blank)". I asked "Do you know why you did that?". She said "I did that in order to ... (fill in the blank)". I could tell she had it that "in order to" was the basis of doing something ie she had it that "in order to" was the reason for action. It was clear we had work to do. Really. We had a superstition  to exhume.

Consider this: the absence or presence of "in order to" is a function of being transformed, or not. Try this on for size: in transformation, there's no "in order to". How so Laurence? Like so: standing in transformation, I look. And when I look standing in transformation, I notice there's no "in order to". And it's awesome. So I say so. And not standing in transformation (or said another way, standing in no transformation), I notice there's no possibility other than  "in order to". So I say that also.

Listen: I'm not de-legitimizing "in order to". De-legitimizing "in order to" would be like de-legitimizing a spoon, an implement that's good to have in your hand when there's a banana split or a chocolate fudge sundae. It's that the presence or absence of "in order to" is a function of where I stand  (that's right: it's a function of "... where I stand")  and that's all  it's a function of. When I'm not standing in transformation like an experience, I'm in a place where I do something / whatever I do / anything  ... in order to make something happen, in order to get  something, in order to amass  ie a place where "in order to" is why I'm in action. When I'm standing in transformation like an experience ie like a context, it brings the possibility of doing what I do because this is what I do  - and that's it, and that's all, and there's no "in order to" required for action. Like black cats and broken mirrors portending bad luck, designating "in order to" as imperative before acting, I say is a superstition.

So ... why do I write these Conversations For Transformation? ie why did I write these one thousand four hundred and fifty one Conversations For Transformation? In order to share something? Possibly. Maybe not. Maybe. In order to have something to do in my spare time? Possibly. Maybe not. Maybe. In order to be creative? Possibly. Maybe not. Maybe. In order to introduce you to Werner? Possibly. Maybe not. Maybe. Listen: all  of them are interpretations. No, I write these Conversations For Transformation because this is what I do. Period. There's no other reason. There's no point. There's no use. There's no ulterior motive. There's nothing else.

For me it's alright this way. Bees buzz, birds fly, and fish swim - not "in order to" but because that's what they do. Cows go "Moo moo!", pigs go "Oink oink!", crows go "Caw caw!", hens go "Cluck cluck!", and roosters go "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"*  - because that's what they do. And we human beings go "Blah blah blah!" - because that's what we do. Like that, I write these Conversations For Transformation because this is what I do.

"No Laurence" she said defensively, "there must be a reason  ... !?". "I get it" I said, "isn't that the tired old, cherished 'Everything happens for a reason'  shtick, yes?" assertively. I smiled at her as I said it. My intent wasn't to dominate, or to be right and to make her wrong. My intention was to tease  her into looking newly, freshly.

Look: the only interesting answer (ie the only answer that's worthwhile)  to the question "Why do you do ... (fill in the blank)?" is "Because this is what I do.". That's the domain from which transformation shows up. To not get that (or at least to not get it like a possibility)  is to not get transformation. And to address not getting transformation is the opportunity at hand. It's actually more than that - it's waaay  more. It's to address not getting transformation, is the only game in town. Really.


* With my deepest, deepest gratitude, love, and respect to Old MacDonald, who is a wise, wise man.


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