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 You Get It You Get It, When You Don't You Don't

St Helena, California, USA

November 1, 2010



This essay, When You Get It You Get It, When You Don't You Don't, is the companion piece to Can You Get It And Keep It Forever?.

I am indebted to Jon Toellner who inspired this conversation.




Getting it  ie the Big "IT" is said to be getting who you really are and the freedom and the possibility which goeswith  it (as Alan Watts may have said). When you get it ie the Big "IT" you get it. When you don't you don't.

Here's an inquiry worth engaging in. Here's a question from within which it's valuable to observe: Is it within the realm of possibility for us human beings to be  who we really are? Please notice I'm asking if it's possible for us human beings to be  who we really are as opposed to if it's possible for us human beings to get  who we really are. Being  who I really am is different than getting  who I really am, yes?

If I distinguish who I really am as Werner Erhard's "the space in which the events of my life occur", is this a space which is available for me to be  - like a living presence? Or can I only get  "the space in which the events of my life occur"? In other words, can being "the space in which the events of my life occur" only show up for me in the realm of possibility  as a distinction but not as a living presence?

Furthermore, I'm always being who-ever  I'm being at any moment in time, even though I may not be being who I really am at any moment in time. So, said another way, is being who I really  am different than being "whoever I'm being at any moment in time"?  Indeed, "whoever I'm being at any moment in time" lands as different than who I really am. Who I really am is a more core  distinction, a more fundamental distinction in the rich body of distinctions  of Werner's work than "whoever I'm being at any moment in time".

They're not the same. They're not even the same class  of distinction. The core distinction "who I really am" is the context  in which all other distinctions, including "whoever I'm being at any moment in time", can show up. What if in actuality there's no  possibility for being who I really am like a living presence? What if in actuality there's only  a possibility for being whoever I'm being at any moment in time?

Well ... what if?

I assert it is possible to be who I really am like a living presence ... AND  ... at the same time to be whoever I'm being at any moment in time. It's not the one or  the other. It's both. Like the front of my hand and the back of my hand, no matter how thinly I slice it, I can't separate the one side of my hand from the other. So in the space  of being who I really am, I'm also  being whoever I'm being at any moment in time.

The you  in who you really  are is the Self playing "you" - over there. Over here, the same Self is playing "Laurence". This is the Self.

<aside>

Actually the Self never  plays over there. The Self only plays over here. But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.

<un-aside>

While this play of Self can be gotten, it's hard to explain it. The reason it's hard to explain it is because the Self, being the Self, is what gives the possibility of explanation. The insistence on, the demand for explanation, the arrogance of denying Self, of not getting  Self unless it's rationally explained (that is to say, unless it's rationally explained to your ego's  satisfaction and approval) is a racket, a hijacking  actually, which justifies not letting Self in. In this way, who you really are like a living presence, is held at bay, is hijacked by whoever you're being at any moment in time even though  you can't have whoever you're being at any moment in time, without having who you really are like a living presence. It's more than that actually. It's the insistence on, the demand for explanation, the arrogance of denying Self, of not getting  Self unless it's rationally explained proves the existence of Self.

To continue, to drill down  deeper: the difference between who you really are like a living presence, and whoever you're being at any moment in time is intriguing, profound, raw. Here's a way to get a handle on the difference: the actor is really  Johnny Depp. But who he's being  at a particular moment in time is Captain Jack Sparrow.

This isn't a conversation for the faint hearted. You have to generate this difference as a distinction for yourself. If you don't generate the difference between who you really are like a living presence, and whoever you're being at any moment in time, as a distinction, then there's no difference  between who you really are like a living presence, and whoever you're being at any moment in time. The world provides no agreement  for this distinction ... except if you're Johnny Depp. If you're Johnny Depp, there's a lot of agreement in the world for when you're being Johnny Depp, and for when you're being Captain Jack Sparrow. The world can tell the difference. But only you  and you alone can tell the difference between when you're being who you really are like a living presence, and when you're being whoever you're being at any moment in time. Telling the difference ain't easy. If it were easy, the whole world would be transformed by now.

By the way, none  of this stuff is new although it may all be in pieces, and the truth is you already got  all the pieces. There's a pitfall, however, a pernicious pitfall  which is this: trying to make all the pieces fit. Don't try to make all the pieces fit. Try having them be the way they are, even when ie especially  when they don't fit, rather than trying to make them fit. They don't fit when they don't. And sometimes they fit when they do. I'll bet you serious money you drive yourself crazy  from time to time when you're unable to make all the pieces fit.

When all the pieces fit they fit. When they don't they don't. When you get it you get it, when you don't you don't. When you're transformed you're transformed, when you're not you're not. As soon as you notice you're untransformed again ie as soon as you notice you're being inauthentic  again, you have an opportunity to choose to be authentic  again. And here's the thing: if you don't allow for ie if you don't factor in being untransformed again, you'll surely be disappointed. You're always becoming transformed, then becoming untransformed, then becoming transformed again, then becoming untransformed again. Don't lie about it.

Because you're always becoming untransformed, you're totally inauthentic  all the way down - and there's not one god‑damned  thing you can do about it (it's the nature of human beings) other than be authentic about being inauthentic. So if you're being inauthentic, that's who you're being at that moment in time. If you're being authentic, that's who you're being at that moment in time. You're always being whoever you're being at any moment in time. You always have choice  in the matter of who you're being. One of these choices is the choice to be authentic about being inauthentic. Being authentic about being inauthentic is the access to bringing forth authenticity out of inauthenticity, which inspires being authentic as an access to being who you really are like a living presence.

Consider this: who you really are is the space in which the events of your life occur (as Werner Erhard may have said). There's nothing you did to make it this way. You were born into it. You were born into being  it. So in a wonderfully perplexing way rich with Zen, you have nothing to do  with who you really are. Really!  You don't. You can, however, notice when you're authentically being who you really are, and when you're being inauthentic about it. Give yourself love and kindness. Don't beat yourself up when you're being inauthentic about who you really are ie when you don't get who you really are like a living presence. Beating yourself up about being inauthentic is a racket. Instead be authentic about being inauthentic.

When you get it you get it, when you don't you don't. And as soon as you get you don't get it, you got it again.



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