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


The View You Don't Know You Have

Schramsberg Estate, Calistoga, California, USA

March 8, 2021

This essay, The View You Don't Know You Have, is the companion piece to
Werner's work as a spectacle, as participatory theatre  if you will, has been around in one finer tuned iteration after another for fifty years - and counting. It could never have remained authentic all this time if it provided tools for its participants to ongoingly break through barriers ie impediments to transformation, without doing so itself. New ways for, and new accesses to bringing critical abstracts into reach are continually being discovered, developed, and included in all its current deliveries. In the process, new critical abstracts are distinguished as well ("The more the view clears up, the more there is to see" - it's almost an adage, yes?). In many respects, Werner's work as delivered today, bears scant resemblance to its first delivery. Yet a few critical features, distinctions, and processes remain unchanged from when they were first teased out and delivered as accesses to transformation five decades ago. They just work. They've become the bedrock  ie the boilerplate of Werner's work.

One boilerplate which requires a certain bigness and courage for us to realize and 'fess up to, is we have a fixed view  of life. We do. And we don't know that we have a fixed view. We pretend we don't. But we do. We pretend we see life the way it is. But we don't. Arrogance is when you don't 'fess up to that you have a fixed view.

I'm committed to not being the smart Aleck  ie a Mr "Know-It-All". I'm committed to listening the distinctions of transformation as if I've never heard them before  (and I've heard them before many times) because if I've "heard them before", I stick them in the past which renders them powerless. On the other hand, if I listen them as if I've never heard them before, they come alive newly, powerfully, and ongoingly. And that's the way I was listening a friend distinguishing our fixed view. He was saying (something like) "What's possible in life, is given by your view of life. And you think your view of life, is the way it is.". Sounds familiar? Embarrassingly so.

There's a trifecta  that's become axiomatic in providing an access to transformation. There's what I know  - said with rigor, there's what I know that I know. What I do with what I know that I know (like I know that I know how to drive a car) is I apply it ie I use it. Then there's what I don't  know - said with rigor, there's what I know  that I don't know. What I do with what I know that I don't know (like I know that I don't know how to run DOS  - Disk Operating System - and Windows 7 software on a Windows 10 computer) is I learn it. And then there's what I don't know that I don't know. And what I do with what I don't know that I don't know (and I don't even know that I don't know  what I do with it) is I'm run  by it. It's the latter area that's a blindspot which hides my undistinguished, fixed view of life.

Distinguishing the view of life we already have yet don't realize it's just a view we have, alters the way life shows up for us. Not knowing we're looking at life through a view, we think we're looking at life the way life is. How much aliveness  is there in discovering we're run by a fixed view of life in which we've become heavily invested! It's a realization that makes available new openings and new freedom, and an enhanced congruency with life the way it is, that's senior to our view of the way life is.

So what is  my access to what I don't know that I don't know, which would reveal my fixed view ie the view of life I don't know that I don't know I have? The access to my fixed view inter alia  and to what I don't know that I don't know, Werner's work delivers. But it's no formulaic  delivery. There are no tips, helpful hints, strategy, or fortune cookie bon mots. No, the access it delivers is one to discover for yourself. One view I didn't know that I didn't know I had, was that people can't be trusted. It wasn't a view  for smart me. It was the way life is. The cost of having that view as the way life is, was huge, its impact on my love life and intimacy staggering. I've invented the possibility of being trusting. People ordinarily wait for others to prove themselves trustworthy before they trust them. In this new possibility I don't wait.

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© Laurence Platt - 2021 Permission