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

Black Brick

Chicago, Illinois, USA

March 10, 2006
Reposted August 27, 2020

This essay, Black Brick, is the first in the second trilogy Visits With A Friend:
  1. Black Brick
  2. Wet Water
  3. On Saying Nothing
in that order.
The first trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Second First Impression
  2. Do Artists Retire?
  3. Presence Of Love
in that order.
The third trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Master Of Life
  2. Face To Face
  3. Love And Kindness
in that order.
The fourth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Personal Piece
  2. Magnum Opus
  3. Walk A Way With Me
in that order.
The fifth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Natural Expression
  2. Essential Question
  3. There Is No "The Answers"
in that order.
The sixth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Sophisticated Palate
  2. Open To Everyone
  3. Portal
in that order.
The seventh trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Meetings With A Remarkable Man
  2. Being Directed By The Unanswered Question
  3. Out Here
in that order.
The eighth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Read To Us
  2. Seven Fingers
  3. Smart People
in that order.
The ninth trilogy Visits With A Friend is:
  1. Intimacy In A Crowded Place
  2. What Goes On Internally
  3. Riding The Horse Revisited
in that order.
The second trilogy Visits With A Friend is the sequel to Eye Of The Needle.

This essay, Black Brick, is also the companion piece to

I'm loitering. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm aimlessly hanging out, watching the passing show (and it's so quiet, there's hardly any  passing show) when he appears. It's perfect. It's not that I'm in "the right place at the right time" because that would imply some kind of choice, some intentionality in the matter on my part. No. I'm here and he's here. That's how it is. That's how we meet.

His jacket has a black and white weave. It's basic black with threads of white for emphasis. He's wearing a simple black shirt, sharply pressed black slacks, and brightly polished black shoes. This ain't Romeo in black jeans. This is an adult, mature, responsible demonstration of who we really are, underlined in basic black.

In the world William Shakespeare postulates is a stage on which all the men and women are merely players, his role is speaker. He's not the narrator (that's merely the commentator, merely the relayer of the story). His role as speaker is to bring forth the entire play of life as a play  in which who we think we are at any one time, is not who we really  are ie in which who we think we are, is simply one of many choices  we have of ways to be.

His conversation reminds me of the chinese philosopher who sleeps dreaming he's a butterfly, then on waking asks himself if he's a butterfly dreaming he's a chinese philosopher. He starts the essential inquiry into who we really are, speaks it, brings it forth, teases it out, then nurtures it ongoingly. He introduces himself as an assistant, a term which creates space for people to come forth and participate. He speaks about what he knows  using the analogy of his knowledge as a wall of bricks, and he asks me to try on  that way of looking at what I know. He has it that every brick in the wall, is each given by every other brick in the wall, and by the totality of the wall itself. If something new to know ie if some new brick doesn't fit with every other brick and with the totality of the wall itself, we reject it saying it doesn't make sense.

I like his way of saying it. I like his way of seeing  it, secondarily because my knowledge as a wall  conveys the firmness, the ground of being, the security of what I know. But that's a trite observation. It's too  naïve. I like his way of seeing it primarily because it conveys my knowledge (ie what I already  know and the allure of what I already know) as a barrier  of comfort beyond which I'm not always willing to venture. This barrier shows up as a wall of familiarity and righteousness, slowing my inquiries into what I don't know, and rendering almost totally impossible even the remotest chance of getting to know what I don't know I don't know. That's bad news. But he's not known for telling good news. He's known for telling it the way it is  ...

... and ... the good news is: isolating the distinction wall / barrier  brings forth the possibility of beyond  wall / barrier, and with it, openness, freedom.

It got me looking at the entire fabric of life, not at my  wall of what I know, not at his  wall of what he knows, not at your  wall of what you know, but at the wall of all walls of what we all know. If every brick in every wall is each given by every other brick and by the totality of each of the walls themselves, I ask: what brick was / is the first pivotal brick with which all other bricks true* / align, and with which all walls true / align? When I look in my experience, I notice there's one brick in there, one black brick, which grants being to all the other bricks. That one black brick creates the possibility for all the other bricks each to be the  pivotal brick in its wall, and in the wall of all walls. In fact that's the one black brick which first brought forth the very possibility of wall  itself.

One basic black brick.

Telling me we'll meet again later, he smiles, turns, and quietly walks away, carrying his almost finished cappuccino, his black slacks rustling crisply at their sharp creases, his black shoes reflecting, playing with the light.

*   Merriam-Webster's dictionary allows "true" as a transitive verb: to make level, square, balanced, or concentric; bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form.

Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2006 through 2020 Permission