Personal Reflections on Contemporary Philosophy of Transformation #3

Posted on | October 21, 2009 | Comments Off on Personal Reflections on Contemporary Philosophy of Transformation #3



Erhard borrowed from and integrated the thinking of people like Ludwig Wittgenstien and Martin Heidegger, who were philosophers probing the boundaries of language and reality at the turn of the century.  Theirs is the study of Epistemology (from steimos—to stand, and epi—on or upon, thus, ‘to stand on’);  ‘How do you know what you know?’  They also explored Ontology, the study of being.  Their basic questions:  ‘What does it mean to be an authentic being?’

The answer, for Heidegger, was that our world appears as we experience and describe it.  It is hard to translate in English, but according to Heidegger ‘the thing itself’ doesn’t actually have an independent existence apart from our language.  It is not that we talk about a thing which is ‘out there’.  The ‘thing’ actually appears for us in our languaging it. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, God says, ‘You name it!  And whatever you name it, that’s what it will be.’

What we do all day is walk around naming everything, and in that naming, we create reality.  Then we forget that we are the authors of it all, and we come to believe that our own namings are ‘the way things are.’  For Erhard, there is no way out of this ‘vicious circle’.  It is, for us, the way things are.  It is the human condition.  In that endless loop there is no possibility, no space, for anything but projections of our own world.  And that means that there is no space for anything new or creative to show up, only more of the same.   Only by creating—or I world say—discovering a place which does not now exist—a place which is outside the naming loop—can breakthrough or transformation take place.

Standing in this new place is brought about by a declaration, a promise, a word, you might say.   In this process, the circumstances are not are not relevant and are not given any weight in the making of the declaration.  Therefore they cannot detract from it.  It is a very powerful place to be, and is the place from which all true acts of creative change and transformation originate.  There are no techniques for getting yourself there.  There is only your stand to be there, living as if you were there.

This act of commitment (or faith) does not change the human condition.  It empowers us to be in an extraordinary way in the midst of the human condition, bringing forth something which was not there before.  W.H. Murray’s quote is invoked here:  ‘The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.

When that happens—when a stand is taken—the world changes.

Before her death in 1992, my then 71-year old mother declared herself to be an alcoholic, something my father never could bring himself to do.  She made a promise/took a stand/gave her word that she was a recovering alcoholic.  The world was immediately different, for her, for her friends and co-workers, for me, for the most distant star in the universe.  Talking about it, even trying hard, doesn’t create transformation.  It may produce change, but it’s that familiar kind of change that doesn’t make a difference.  Taking a stand, giving your word and then becoming your word, that changes things.

It is easy for me to see how the parables of Jesus ‘worked ‘ in this light.  They broke the loop of people’s epistemologies, just for a moment, which allowed a crack for something new to show up.  That’s when up became down, rich became poor, being first became last, death became life, and what was trapped became free (saved).


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