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




Thousands Of Years Old

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

June 15, 2020



"For me this is a practical matter. Instead of having the answer about God like some guy or some thing or some explanation or some anything, I have a space of possibility like an openness, like a place for God to show up in my life."
...   speaking with Reverend Terry Cole-Whittaker about God 
"I don't talk about God with people who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground."
... 
"Don't change beliefs. Transform the believer."
... 
This essay, Thousands Of Years Old, is the seventeenth in a group of seventeen reflections of God: I am indebted to Yosef "Fitz" Rabin who inspired this conversation.



Werner Erhard's ideas about God have been known to raise some eyebrows. In certain religious circles which practice cherished, carefully constructed and maintained beliefs, they may even be considered to be heresy. From the sacred


<quote>

... I HAVE A SPACE OF POSSIBILITY LIKE AN OPENNESS, LIKE A PLACE FOR GOD TO SHOW UP IN MY LIFE.

<unquote>


to the profane


<quote>

I DON'T TALK ABOUT GOD WITH PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW THEIR ASS FROM A HOLE IN THE GROUND.

<unquote>


, they hold nothing back, boldly cutting through the morass, the mire, the sludge of concepts that keep us stuck in our beliefs about God which blind us to and rob us of any possible direct experience  of God. Consider this: even without requiring filtration through a carefully constructed belief system, our inherent, authentic, direct experience of God may be facilitated naturally instead just by taking responsibility for / owning what Werner calls "the space ... for God to show up" in our lives.

It's widely touted (at least in most religious circles) that a person who starts a wholesome relationship with God, will eventually become a whole person - in other words, a person who is in a wholesome relationship with God, is a person who has wholeness in their life - which is to say the religious path to wholeness in life, is to aspire to be in a wholesome relationship with God. What I've gotten from being around Werner however, is the genesis  of wholeness in my life, starts with me honoring my word* as whole. That's really the heart of Werner's work for me. Aspiring to be whole by being in a wholesome relationship with God before  honoring my word as whole, is literally putting the proverbial cart before the idiomatic horse ... that, and it's not rigorous either.

As a possibility, who we really are, is our word. With that said, it's not a possibility that lives as a belief system or in our intellect or through our understanding. If it's to be a possibility that's worth anything, it has to be grounded in direct experience transformed. So don't blindly believe it just because I said it. Rather try it on for size. If you get it, take it, it's yours. If not, discard it, and walk on.

In the absence of any possibility of having wholeness of word before aspiring to a wholesome relationship with God, we invariably and inevitably embelish, rely on, escalate, and uphold our beliefs about God. And in the religious circles in which belief systems are upheld without the possibility of wholeness of word as their bedrock foundation, Werner's work is likely to be considered to be heresy - not because it negates, disputes, dispels, demeans, diminishes, disagrees with, or argues against religious belief systems (because it does none of the above) but rather because it decisively differentiates  between what we believe (the content)  and who we really are (the context)  in which we hold what we believe - and it's the content on which we've bet the whole farm, not the context. In the absence of any tangible context (ie in the absence of any direct experience) of who we really are as the space for God to show up, even our most pivotal, critical, essential, axiomatic belief systems are destined to become little more than over-protective prison guards: senior to the prisoner population, yes, yet occupying the exact same prison facilities nonetheless.

Look: participating in Werner's work doesn't require renouncing your belief systems - rather what it does  require is authentically, rigorously, unflinchingly  inquiring into the difference between your belief systems / what you believe, and what you experience directly. That's the access to transformation!

So a Hasidic Jew who participates in Werner's work, doesn't give up any of the beauty and the elegance and the history and the magnificence of the great Hasidic Judaic traditional beliefs. Rather, they're all recontextualized  (I love  that word) now. Now he lives them all newly from the context of who he really is - in other words, he's now a transformed, empowered  Hasidic Jew. And a Christian fundamentalist who participates in Werner's work, doesn't give up any of the beauty and the elegance and the history and the magnificence of the great Christian traditional beliefs. Rather, they're all recontextualized now. Now she lives them all newly from the context of who she really is - in other words, she's now a transformed, empowered Christian fundamentalist. And a Muslim who participates in Werner's work, doesn't give up any of the beauty and the elegance and the history and the magnificence of the great Islamic traditional beliefs. Rather, they're all recontextualized now. Now he lives them all newly from the context of who he really is - in other words, he's now a transformed, empowered Muslim. Ditto for Buddhists (and for Zen Buddhists in particular) and for all others of all faiths, and for all women and men of the cloth for whom Werner's maxim is


<quote>

DON'T CHANGE BELIEFS. TRANSFORM THE BELIEVER.

<unquote>


In this regard, Werner's work in which being whole is a function of honoring your word as whole, has two distinct advantages over traditional religious belief systems which construe wholeness as a function of being in a wholesome relationship with God (and they're advantages of power and leverage, not of being "better than"): one, it's new (most of the great religions of the world are hundreds if not thousands of years old  and haven't been dusted off in quite a while); and two, it's rigorous.

If the path to God, as aspired to by the great religions of the world, lived up to its promise, Werner's work would arguably be redundant, moot.


* Six Definitions Of Word:

With permission, I've transcribed Werner's six definitions of word verbatim. Memorize them. They are:


Word‑1.  What You Said:

Whatever you have said you will do or will not do, and in the case of do, by when you said you would do it;


Word‑2.  What You Know:

Whatever you know to do or know not to do, and in the case of do, doing it as you know it is meant to be done and doing it on time, unless you have explicitly said to the contrary;


Word‑3.  What Is Expected:

Whatever you are expected to do or not do (even when not explicitly expressed), and in the case of do, doing it on time, unless you have explicitly said to the contrary;


Word‑4.  What You Say Is So:

Whenever you have given your word to others as to the existence of some thing or some state of the world, your word includes being willing to be held accountable that the others would find your evidence for what you have asserted also makes what you have asserted valid for themselves;


Word‑5.  What You Stand For:

What you stand for is fundamental to who you are for yourself and who you are for others. What you stand for is a declaration constituted by

1)  who you hold yourself to be for yourself as that for which you can be counted on from yourself (whether specifically articulated by you or not), and

2)  who you hold yourself out to be for others as that for which you can be counted on by others (or have allowed others to believe as that for which you can be counted on).


Word‑6.  Moral, Ethical And Legal Standards:

The social moral standards, the group ethical standards and the governmental legal standards of right and wrong, good and bad behavior, in the society, groups and state in which one enjoys the benefits of membership are also part of one's word (what one is expected to do) unless

a)  one has explicitly and publicly expressed an intention to not keep one or more of these standards, and

b)  one is willing to bear the costs of refusing to conform to these standards (the rules of the game one is in).

Postscript:
The presentation delivery, and style of Thousands of Years Old are all my own work.
The ideas recreated in Thousands Of Years Old were first originated, distinguished, and articulated by  .


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