The project to put a man on the moon by the end of the Sixties is an example of creating a context, which transcended the forces ranged against it, and brought about the result.
The use of a deadline allows for an orchestration of efforts which would not be possible if we left the goal of our action to a vague timeframe such as “some day.”
Werner Erhard, The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come. 1977, at http://www.wernererhard.net/thpsource.html
Creating a Context: Putting a Man on the Moon
Contexts are created by the Self, out of nothing. 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.
When you experience your Self as space, you create contexts from which you can come into the world. One such context is the end of hunger and starvation on our planet within two decades.
You are probably not yet clear about what context is (at least, not how it works) so we’ll use an example. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy initiated a context when he told Congress: “This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”
By creating the context, “A man on the moon in 10 years,” Kennedy transformed space travel from merely a good idea (which had not succeeded despite considerable attempts, the feasibility of which had been questioned, argued, and discussed) into an idea whose time had come.
The result of what Kennedy did can be understood by analogy. It is as if he created a building named, “A man on the moon in 10 years,” and inside that building he put offices for all the various ideas, positions, notions and people that had to do with space flight. The first office inside the front door of the building in 1961 would have been called, “It can’t be done.” This office would have been inhabited by the skeptics and cynics.
A content or position is threatened by any opposite position. Given two opposing positions, only one can survive. On the other hand, a context gives space to, it literally allows, it even encourages, positions that are apparently opposite. In fact, the most important position in a newly-created context is the position which appears to oppose the context.
It is important to get that opposing positions actually contribute to establishing a context. In the case of the civil rights movement during the 1960s, for example, all those people who opposed civil rights for blacks actually contributed to creating a national dialogue that demonstrated to the country that the issue could no longer be ignored.
Every government official in the South who stood in the doorway of a school and prevented black children from entering had been a cause, a part of the persistence, of the problem, of the oppression. After the creation of a context (“equal rights and dignity for blacks”) the very same action that had been a part of the problem’s persistence became an action contributing to the end of legal discrimination against minority races.
Then, every such action contributed to an increased awareness of the issue, to the passage of civil rights legislation, and to the gradual change in attitude that ultimately evidenced itself in the recognition that civil rights was an idea whose time had come.
(To be continued tomorrow)