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


When This Isn't  It

Monticello Road, Napa Valley, California, USA

November 8, 2011



This essay, When This Isn't  It, is the companion piece to Getting It - The Big "IT".



Regarding the quality  of Life, and exactly what (or, better, who)  is the source of the quality of our lives, consider this - not as a rule, and especially not as "the truth"  but rather as something to simply try on for size: 

Everything about the source of the quality of our lives in the world, everything about the quality of how Life occurs  for us, and everything about the quality of what shows up  for us (and yes I do mean everything), is a function of only one of two simple choices we make - unknowingly or knowingly. And everything about the quality of our lives in the world, everything about the source of the quality of how Life occurs for us, and everything about the quality of what shows up for us, is also a function of one or two simple choices we don't  make - unknowingly or knowingly.

These two choices are:

 1)  to live Life coming from "This isn't  it" (if we make no choice about the source of the quality of our lives, then this choice is the given by default).

... or  ...


 2)  to live Life coming from "This is it!".

Choosing to live Life coming from "This isn't  it" unknowingly or knowingly, or not choosing (the default choice) is what this conversation is about. Furthermore, this conversation is about the quality of our lives as a function of where we live from  (or "coming  from", if you will) rather than as a function of what we live into  ie of what's out there  in the world.

The quality of Life which is available after choosing "This isn't  it" unknowingly or knowingly, or after not choosing, is the quality of Life which is bewailed, bemoaned, feared, doubted, complained about, and resisted. We make futile attempts to fix it, and to change it. We try to distract  ourselves from it with indulgences so we don't have to confront it. We pray  to be delivered from it. We yearn to be saved  from it. We hope  for an end to it. And then when everything else fails, we simply tolerate  it - in other words, we settle  for it. We become inured  to it.

The truth be told, we're also hopeless  at avoiding it. And do we try to avoid it? Oh boy! Do we ever  ...

Guess what? We're more than hopeless at avoiding it: we're incapable  of avoiding it. We're incapable of avoiding the dominance of Life. And we're especially  incapable of avoiding the dominance of Life when we live Life coming from "This isn't  it". Being incapable of avoiding the dominance of Life goeswith  (as Alan Watts may have said) the territory of being human. "Being alive trying to avoid the dominance of Life"  is a contradiction in terms. It's an impossibility. It's being unclear on the concept. And if the truth be told, it's not the dominance of Life which is to be avoided or which can be or should be avoided. Neither is it the quality  of the dominance of Life which is to be avoided or which can be or should be avoided. Rather, what we seek to avoid is the quality of the dominance of Life lived coming from  "This isn't  it". My thesis is it's living Life coming from "This isn't  it", unknowingly or knowingly, which is the root of all malcontent.

When I live Life coming from "This isn't  it", the world can never be right with my experience. Watch: it's not the world which says "This isn't  it". "This isn't  it" is what I say  about my experience of the world. "This isn't  it" is a structure in our epistemology. Epistemology, and especially "This isn't  it" as a structure in our epistemology, isn't what  we think. It's more fundamental than that. It shapes  what we think. It's not that we think  "This isn't  it". It's that "This isn't  it" shapes everything we think.

It's not powerful to question why  "This isn't  it" is a structure in our epistemology which shapes everything we think, or how it got there. That's a subject for another conversation on another occasion. What's powerful is to recognize "This isn't  it" is a choice, then to look at what, if anything, is in the way of choosing "This is it!" instead.

Again, notice it's not the world which says "This is it!". "This is it!" is what I say  about my experience of the world. When "This isn't  it", it's a futile, endless, thankless task trying to make the world right with my experience. That's the bad news. The good news is "This isn't  it" is simply a choice, an unknowing or a knowing choice, but a choice nonetheless, which can be un-chosen as "This is it!" in a single inspired moment out of time.



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