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


Three Sixty

Silverado Trail, Napa, California, USA

February 4, 2009



Three Sixty: three hundred and sixty degrees, a full circle, a surfing maneuver, a complete  and total  turnaround.



If you can stay open to it and if you can stay present  to it (these are two very big "ifs"  in there) then any  experience can be catalyst for transformation - which is to say any  experience, regardless of its circumstances, can be a springboard from which to high dive into the depths of any of life's myriads of possibilities.

The antithesis  of this statement is: we're impediments to transformation showing up in any circumstances to the degree we've taken a position, either in the form of a fixed opinion  in which we say things are  a certain way (and there's no possibility for them to be any other way), or in the form of a fixed way of being  in which there's no possibility of possibility itself  showing up at all.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
position


noun
an opinion
<unquote>

Also from the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
position


noun
the place where something or someone is, often in relation to other things
<unquote>

There's nothing wrong with having an opinion per se. Opining goeswith  the territory of being human (as Alan Watts may have said). Having an opinion is arguably the  quintessentially human thing to have. Like a nose, everyone's got one. Opining is harmless. On the other hand, what's deadly  (both to transformation and  to possibility) is the positionality  which wants to come with opining.

When I say "In my opinion, music should be played loudly", I'm not attached. There's an opening for conversation and healthy debate. There's no problem. But when I say "Music must  be played loudly" and I say it from a position  like it's "The Truth", then I'm attached. Then there's no opening for conversation other than resistance and argument. Then there's no possibility of it being any other way. Then there's no possibility of possibility  at all, and Houston: we have a problem.

Notice the problem isn't the opinion. It's never  the opinion itself that's the problem. It's the positionality  which wants to come with opining that's the problem.

If you can stay open to it, if you can stay present  to it, it's an inverse clue to, a kind of reverse pointer  to, a reminder of who you really are, when you're stuck with an opinion, when you're stuck with a position  without which you can't be who you're being. It's almost axiomatic - in fact it could even be stated as a definition: that which is stuck when you're stuck with an opinion, whatever it is  which is stuck when you're stuck with an opinion, whatever it is you're stuck with, none of that is who you really are ... therefore  ... you're better off without it and, like nicotine and alcohol which have overstayed their welcome, which have outserved their usefulness, you're better off dropping it.
Werner Erhard refers to this three sixty, this full circle maneuver, this complete  and total  turnaround dropping a firmly held opinion when its positionality  has outserved its usefulness, as "getting off it". Werner's "getting off it" doesn't invalidate the point of view  at the heart of the opinion. Rather, it gives up the positionality  which wants to come with opining. With positionality gone, there's a new freedom to be, which may keep the same opinion as before (but this time, as an opinion  - not as "The Truth"), or change to another opinion ... or even have no opinion at all.



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