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


What Comes Up Must Come Up

Freemark Abbey, St Helena, California, USA

October 7, 2007



I am indebted to Victoria Hamilton-Rivers who inspired this conversation.



Integrity* isn't your birthright. You're not born with it. It's something you make up. You create it out of nothing. To do that, you first need to be willing to be a stand for integrity. Until then, the actions (consciously chosen or not) which comprise a life lay the foundation for future skewing - a wobbly foundation makes a tall building wobbly.

How do foundations get wobbly? Without or prior to a context of integrity, we get away with  things, we let the truth slide just a teensy  bit (we know that's the same as brazenly lying but we do it anyway). Until we've distinguished "integrity" there's no yardstick  against which to measure what's true and what's not true - only later do we learn ignorance of the law is no excuse. Then when the effects of life before integrity  are in play, we bury them by forgetting they're there.

But they're always there. Even though hidden, even though forgotten, they're always shaping, always bending, always molding, always skewing our lives. Forgetting they're there is what Werner Erhard distinguishes as our epistemology:  not what we think  but rather what shapes what we think. It's as unique as our fingerprint. Yet we just can't see it. We've forgotten it's there.

Perhaps we just get tired at some point of the weight  of being out of integrity. Perhaps we get bored with our own rackets. It could even be true in the random course of things grace  comes on us which catalyzes new life altering intentions and directions. Regardless of how the moment of revelation  is triggered, once integrity is instated all that old, buried stuff  has nowhere to go but up. So it comes up - because it must.

What comes up must  come up. When the context  for living is shifted to intentional integrity, what's buried suddenly comes into full focus not because it's in view (that comes later): it comes into full focus because until it's handled, living in integrity is about as easy as walking along with one shoe nailed to the floor.

At least one of the pillars of the skews we learn is "Stay away from integrity. Then nothing will come up which needs to be handled.".

I heard a woman justify staying away from integrity. She said "Integrity isn't worth it. Look what President Abraham Lincoln got for standing for integrity: a bullet in the brain.".

That's as extreme as it gets of being unclear on the concept.

The world, for the most part, doesn't tolerate big people. I suspect as we shed our old skins ie as we split out of the skins of our older, smaller lives, lives when integrity either wasn't in place or was avoided, stuff will come up to be handled requiring bigger adjustments we didn't have to make when we were playing smaller.

But the coming on  of integrity is like the coming on of gravity. Don't fight gravity. That's the first thing an X Games  skateboard champion learns, the foregone conclusion: in any contest between people and gravity, gravity wins. When that already bias  is violated, people get hurt. Yet that hurt heals with commitment. There's not one X Games skateboard champion who doesn't bear telltale marks of hurt, the signs of perseverance, having healed.

Consider them to be the noble battle scars of a warrior, badges of honor. People who play small don't get them.



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