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

Unconventional Education

Hawthorn Inn, Napa, California, USA

February 25, 2017

"I truly did need to be educated. And God did take me and educate me - unconventionally, and very  privately; for a long time no one, including myself, knew anything was happening."
sharing the genesis of his transformation with Professor William Warren "Bill" Bartley III, Werner's official biographer, in the foreword to "Werner Erhard: The Transformation of a Man - The Founding of est"
This essay, Unconventional Education, is the companion piece to Low Road.

It's an unconventional education which, in the matter of being human and mastering life as it's available for human beings to live, proposes that what works is being willing to allow things to be the way they are ... and  ... the way they aren't.

That's counter-intuitive. We're thrown to want to change things ie we're thrown to want to move things in the direction of the way they could  be and / or of the way they should  be, and certainly of the way we'd like  them to be. That's what conventional education says regarding what to do about the way things are. But I've been educated un-conventionally (and not a moment too soon) and I propose relating to things based on our interpretations and our opinions and our preferences, may not be all it's cracked up to be. We pride ourselves in espousing the interpretations and the opinions and the preferences we've formed about things. No, it's more than just pride actually. It's we'll unhesitatingly go to war  citing us and them's  conflicting interpretations, opinions, and preferences. Far fetched? Not so much. It's true.

We vigorously defend our interpretations and our opinions and our preferences. The trouble with this approach, is the universe (frankly, my dear) doesn't give a damn  about our interpretations or about our opinions or about our preferences. I assert we all, deep in our hearts, suspect this to be true. But we just can't bring ourselves to admit it actually is  the truth, and to include it. We're too intimidated by its domination.

In my experience of the good and decent conventional education I received, I was required to learn to think for myself, which in and of itself, sounded like a good idea. It was only much later that I discovered two inherently insurmountable problems with it. The first was: how could I ever learn to really think for myself when (if I tell the truth about it) I truly had no clue as to who (or what) this thing called "myself" really was? The second was: could I ever really (quote unquote) think for myself  when even my most rudimentary observations of my own thinking, revealed my thoughts come and go by themselves automatically, a process which required neither my participation nor my intervention? Oh wait: isn't the idea of "thinking for myself" as ridiculously ie as charmingly naïve as the idea of "raining  for myself"?

According to many esteemed studies of the human personality, everything about the "myself" that we consider ourselves to be, was formed, underscored, emphasized, accepted, and locked in place by the time we were four years old. And when it was locked in place, it didn't display or sound any warning that it's not who we really are. Nothing in this "myself" ever stands up and declares truthfully "I'm an impostor. I'm really not this 'myself' thing I pretend to be (even though I play one on TV).". For me, for the next twenty four years, this "myself" was  who I really am.

Then I met Werner. And that's when (as Elvis Aaron Presley may have said) things got all shook up.

It takes a certain unconventional education to learn to discard this bonded, riveted identification with the false "myself", let alone question its tyranny. But that's not all. What's utterly, jaw-droppingly  remarkable about this state of affairs is: until it's unraveled (or solved  if you will) we're really being little more than four year olds masquerading as adults without realizing it. Is it any wonder our lives and the world are in the shape they're in? The answer to this question is "No" - both from a conventional education's standpoint as well as from an unconventional's. The difference is this: embedded in the unconventional's, is the power to make a difference.

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© Laurence Platt - 2017 Permission