(Continued from Part 1.)
Werner used to describe the Self as space and “everything/nothing.” Since contexts are generated by the Self, which is space and nothing (that is, no thing), Werner could say: “You create a context from what? From nothing.” (1) He continued:
“When you stop identifying yourself as a thing, as a position, and start experiencing your Self as the context, as the space, for your life – when you start experiencing that you are the context in which the content of your life occurs – you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for all the content in your space. You will experience that you are whole and complete and that you are aligned with other Selves, with the Self.” (2)
One such context is a world that works.
I have on a number of occasions in my life had peak experiences or transformational moments in which I experienced the Self and saw that, at that moment, everything I thought and did was contextual.
It was all fashioned from a fabric that left no one out, saw no one as an enemy, and had no interest in competing or hoarding things for myself, for my own survival. So I do know what it is that Werner’s pointing at, even if my understanding is incomplete.
When he said such things as the truth believed is a lie, he was talking about reducing context to concept, at which point it became a dead thing and resulted in simply pretense and gestures rather than action that really made a difference.
Why are these matters important? Because we’re poised to begin building Nova Earth, and we want to use sharp-edged, rather than blunt-edged, tools. Context is a sharp-edged tool, a distinction that makes a difference; beliefs, concepts and positions are blunt-edged.
We sometimes say that we wonder how we’ll go about the work of creating Nova Earth. The distinction called “context” is one of the tools we’ll use to build it. We’re counseled to avoid judgment, look upon others with universal love, and open to unitive consciousness. These are alternative ways of discussing coming from context.
Werner Erhard on Creation and Distinction – Part 1. The “rear-view mirror” he refers to is the past.
Anything less won’t work. Anything less won’t cause the alignment of people globally to spread abundance around the world and usher in the universal brotherly and sisterly love needed to end crime and war on the planet and bring world peace.
Werner was continually making challenging, seemingly-paradoxical statements. One such was that “vision is the ability to look out from nowhere and see.” (3)
But “nowhere” and “nothing” is the Self. The Self is transcendental and thus immaterial and formless. And inclusive and unitive context came from the Self. Therefore looking from the Self out into the world was looking from nothing.
As Werner once said:
“While we are often fairly successful at saying what we want to say, we don’t notice that the space in which we say it – that is, the context for what is being said – often determines the actual efficacy and the potency of what is being said.” (4)
One of the sources of our suffering and failure is that we take ourselves, who are contextual beings, and reduce ourselves to a thing, object or concept. As one of Werner’s trainers once said, we’re then “stuck with yourself as a conclusion, an assumption, a thing.”
“The truth is, who you are is everything/nothing, the context for it all. You know what happens when you misidentify yourself with a concept? You resist. And it gets heavier. The story of life.” (5)
In one training I attended, the trainer remarked: “This radiant being is caught a transient worry and now she has reduced herself to that worry. She has identified herself with that worry.” (6) Another workshop leader pointed to the reductionism in this tendency.
“Your system of knowing is reductionism: you break things down. You reduce them, and what lies at the base of things in your theories is the physical universe.” (7)
His colleague illustrated this tendency:
“The source of the problem is misidentifying yourself as a thing or a point of view. You identify yourself as your body sensations, your point of view, your story, your considerations. Get the price you pay for that in terms of your aliveness, of your ability to enjoy life.” (8)
Concepts leave us isolated and incomplete. According to Werner: “We pay dearly for that incompletion by having to live in a world that does not work, by living in a condition of unworkability.” (9)
When something truly transformative happens in the world, it does so because someone sees matters from a contextual standpoint. Said Werner:
“Every major transformation in history begins within a being – as in Human Being. People first create a context within themselves – their Selves; then they bring that context to life in the world.” (10)
We’re going to be used by something in life. “The stone which grinds us,” Werner held, “is shaped by the context we create for ourselves.” (11)
(Continued in Part 3.)
(1) Werner Erhard in The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time has Come. San Francisco: The Hunger Project, n.d., 27.
(2) Ibid., 18.
(3) Werner at the Werner Event, c1980.
(4) Werner Erhard, “A Report on the Project to Create est Anew,” Graduate Review, Nov./Dec. 1980.
(5) est 6-Day Trainer Hal Isen, 15 Nov. 1980.
(6) est 6-Day Trainer Ron Bynum, 15 Nov. 1980.
(7) est Communications Workshop Leader Jed Naylor, Oct. 1980.
(8) est 6-Day Trainer Hal Isen, ibid.
(9) Werner quoted in Joan Bordow, “Inventing the Community Workshop,” The Review, May/June 1982, 9.
(10) Werner in “A Shot Heard Round the World: A World That Works for Everyone,” Graduate Review, May/June 1980.
(11) Werner quoted in Joan Bordow, ibid.