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


We're Not Republican, We're Not Democratic, We're American

Hotel Villagio, Yountville, California, USA

October 17, 2020

"It takes enormous courage to approach living from a you and me context. It is audacious to create your life making a difference in a world that says that you don't. It takes a lot of heart - openness to your own magnanimity, compassion for yourself, for your own pettiness when it shows itself."
"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
... Jesus Christ quoted by Matthew the apostle
"It doesn't always have to be like this ... all we need to do is make sure we keep talking."
... Stephen Hawking quoted by  
This essay, We're Not Republican, We're Not Democratic, We're American, is the companion piece to Runaway Train.

It is also the eleventh in an open group World Transformed:
  1. The Friends Of The Landmark Forum In South Africa
  2. The Transformation Of The World
  3. Werner's Work Is Coming Back To Hawai'i
  4. Werner Erhard Slide Experience
  5. Werner's Work Is Coming Back To Hawai'i Again
  6. Werner's Work Is Coming To Fiji
  7. Werner's Work Is Coming To The Dominican Republic
  8. The Breakthrough That Unlocks Futures
  9. Werner's Work Is Back In Hawai'i
  10. Werner Is Coming To Stanford!
  11. We're Not Republican, We're Not Democratic, We're American
  12. Out With The Old, In With The New
in that order.

It is also the sequel to Thank You For Voting.

I am indebted to Barbara Foerder who contributed material for this conversation.

There's a pitfall inherent in transformation. Specifically, there's a danger inherent in what it takes to be transformed. There's a danger inherent in anything actually (life, if you tell the truth about it, is an inhospitable place to be - just ask the dinosaurs). The danger inherent in transformation ie in what it takes to be transformed, is that without a certain intentionality, without a commitment to a certain type of language / conversation, transformation inexorably devolves into change, a concept, a belief system, a notion, a bon mot. Look: there's no "being transformed" without standing for being transformed ie without speaking being transformed like a possibility.

Self Portrait by Laurence Platt

Hotel Villagio, Yountville, California, USA

10:01:42am PDT Saturday October 17, 2020
We're not Republican, we're not Democratic, we're American
With no speaking being transformed (not "with no speaking about  being transformed"), there's no being transformed. That's the way it turns out with these matters. A world transformed, which is to say a world which we speak into being transformed, would include everyone, with no one and nothing left out - not as just another tired old politic, but rather as the way it actually is. The world we see on the news on the other hand, is fractured along party, class, race, sex, and privilege lines. Why? Contrary to what you may have already surmised, the answer to this seemingly complex "Why?" question, is simple: because there's a preponderance of language in the world speaking it that way. That's it. That's all.

For the most part, we view the world in fractured fragments. And what we see, focuses on what we want, on what we like, on what we prefer, on what we believe ... which then justifies the faux-certainty that if we want it, like it, prefer it, and / or believe it, then it's OK to wage war for it, and maim others we perceive as in our way. As a species, this makes us little more than spiritual tantrum-throwing juvenile delinquents, petty-thieving from anyone whose politics differ from our own. The trouble is we've not yet fully grasped that if their  end of the canoe tips over, we all  end up in the water.

The solution isn't to be found in inventing / taking on yet another new brand of politics. We've tried so many of them - the right, the center, the left - and look how well that's gone for us (yes, the dripping sarcasm is explicit). Neither is it to be found in seeking out and coming up with a new identity  for ourselves. Identifying with the right, the center, or the left is (by definition) positional, and any position by its very nature  makes all other positions wrong - that is to say the solution brings the problem forward with it and exacerbates it. Try this on for size: we're not Republican, we're not Democratic, we're American. It's not just a new way of identifying who we are. It's what's known as a contextual shift.

This idea evolved from "we are not Republicans, we are not Democrats, we are Americans" to "we are not Republican, we are not Democratic, we are American" to "we're not Republican, we're not Democratic, we're American" and at some point I considered going with "human" instead of "American" (I did go with "American" in the end - it is, after all, our political drama which has captured attention worldwide, and I didn't want to avoid the responsibility). Imagine voting for what would have life work for all Americans with no one and nothing left out, rather than only voting for the right, the center, or the left! In my quiet moments I'm blown away by what life could look like if we worked with each other rather than against each other ie if we each took responsibility for the entire canoe, rather than just for our end of it.

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