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


With You Without You

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 27, 2009



"Life goes on within you and without you." ... The Beatles, Within You Without You

"Life goes on with you and without you." ... Laurence Platt


This essay, With You Without You, is the companion piece to Mystical Connection.

It was written at the same time as


If I can be who I am when I'm not with you, then when I'm not with you, I'm with you.

I'm with you even when I'm without you when I'm being who I am.

Because that's who you are.

There are many things I'm certain  I know, many things I'm sure of, which are thrown into chaos around you. Ordinarily there's no listening  for anything thrown into chaos as being a good thing. But around you, by now I'm at least open to the possibility  of having what I'm certain about, of having what I'm sure of  thrown into chaos as being a good thing.

One of the things I know, one of the things of which I'm sure  which is thrown into chaos around you is the boundary  between human beings. Where does one human being end, so to speak, and where does another human being start?

I thought I knew. But around you I'm no longer sure. And it's not that you make me unsure, like I doubt myself or even like I doubt my experience. It's rather that you make me unsure in the sense that for a moment, for just one glorious opportune moment, I'm willing to leave behind, I'm willing to let go  what I know and see if there's another possible way of holding the same material.

Another of the things I know, another of the things of which I'm certain  which is thrown into chaos around you is my own  boundary. Where do I  start? Where do I  end? Am I really  five foot nine inches tall, about eight inches thick weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds? Or is there another possible, equally legitimate way of defining my own boundary?

I thought I knew. But around you I'm no longer sure. The first certainty  to go, incinerated in the furnace of chaos, is the boundary I've defined for myself based on my corporeal frame of five foot nine inches tall, eight inches thick weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds. When I look at my body in the general agreement of other people, what I see is my identity, what I see is my image, what I see is my physicalness, what I see is my maleness. And on some occasions which are those occasions of the most crass mis‑identification of all, when I look at my body, apparently what I see is who I think I am.

But around you when I look in the same direction, when I look at my body, all I see is prime grade hamburger. And even in the midst of chaos, one thing I'm clear about is I'm not hamburger. But if I'm not hamburger, where then is my own boundary?

I take on the second issue first: Where do I start? Where do I end? Am I really five foot nine inches tall, about eight inches thick weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds? Or is there another possible, equally legitimate way of defining my own boundary? Yes there is. There's two ways - as far as I can tell.

In the first place, the "five foot nine inches tall eight inches thick weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds" is me defined in physical reality. It's the way my physical presence is measured. That's what's real  about me by agreement. Yes it's only hamburger. No it's not who I am. But it is real.

Who I am like an experience, like a possibility  is "everythingnothing"  ie I'm all of it and at the same time I'm none of it (as Werner Erhard may have said). When I'm being who I really am, when I'm being the fullness  of who I really am, when I'm being the satisfaction  of who I really am, I'm boundless, I'm "everythingnothing", I'm everywhere, I'm nowhere.

That's pretty much it  then on my own boundary, like something finite, like something measurable outside of  ie aside from the physical reality of my body. When we're speaking in terms of being "everythingnothing", when we're speaking in terms of being everything, when we're speaking in terms of being nothing, when we're speaking in terms of being everywhere, when we're speaking in terms of being nowhere, the very notion of a boundary  ceases to be useful. It drops off. It becomes naïve, trite, even quaint.

In the second place, by declaration  I am my speaking, I am my languaging, I am my commitments. In a word, I am my word. Where I show up  for you is in your listening. If you take a closer look at this, you'll see I continue to show up in your listening even after I've finished speaking whatever it is I'm speaking. I continue to show up in your listening even after I've completed languaging whatever it is I'm languaging. I continue to show up in your listening even after I've languaged my commitments.

The clear and present implication here is this: when I'm being my speaking, when I'm being my languaging, when I'm being my commitments, when I'm being my word, I'm not bound by any physical boundary. That's extraordinary. Yet what's even more extraordinary is the implication that when I'm being my speaking, when I'm being my languaging, when I'm being my commitments, when I'm being my word, I'm not bound by any time boundary  either. In other words, when I'm being my speaking, when I'm being my languaging, when I'm being my commitments, when I'm being my word, I'm not bound by space  and I'm not bound by time.

That's set the context to take on the first issue second: where does one human being end, so to speak, and where does another human being start?
Werner Erhard asserts the trouble with the truth is when you believe  it, it becomes a lie. So I want to be quite careful with what I'm about to say next. I'm not going to say it like it's "The Truth". I'm going to say it like a "maybe". I'm going to say it like a "what if?". I'm going to say it like a possibility.

If who I really am is not bound by space and is not bound by time, then who you  really are is not bound by space and is not bound by time either. If that's what's so  for you and I, then clearly no human being  is bound by space or by time either. And that would imply the unthinkable:  there can be only one  human being. Only one.

So if I can be who I am when I'm not with you, then when I'm not with you, I'm with you. We're one.

If I can be who I am, then I'm with you even when I'm without you. We're one.

If we're one, then I'm with you without you. Because that's who you are. Because that's who I am. Because that's who you and I  really are.



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