I’ve done some crazy things in my time, and for a while there flying to Abu Dhabi on my own to be in a course with Steve Zaffron and Werner Erhard seemed like it may go to the top of the list.
But if I had had the opportunity to get in a room with Martin Luther King, or Mandela would I have got on the plane? I hope so, and l don’t say it lightly but having been in a room with Werner off and on for three days now I can totally see him in that category. Lucky I trusted my intuition and today will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life, no doubt.
Today we dropped deep into the concept of ‘tranquilised obviousness’ , a term coined by Martin Heidegger who was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century.
Zaffron and Werner carefully laid it all out for us, allowing us to discover that we are largely unconscious most of the time, we’re on autopilot – our brains running the show. We gradually tune out to reality around us as it gets familiar, losing our natural experience of life and ending up existing in a conceptual abstracted world – analysing everything, at the expense of a true experience of life. This will be punctuated by occasional peak experiences (to borrow Abraham Maslow’s terminology).
What I saw from today is that as a society we are so obsessed by our thirst for knowledge that we don’t get ‘Out Here’ in the world and actually experience it much any more.
You only have to look around at everyone jacked into their phones these days to see how obsessed we are with ‘knowing’ what’s going around us, living in a virtual world instead of looking through our eyes and being in the world. It’s like we let go of what’s available through our senses in favour of a model of reality which is less bright or real than what’s right in front of our faces. To be fair I am one of the worst for this, i’m practically wired into the internet most of the time.
It’s not like the nature of human consciousness hasn’t been considered and experimented on for 1000’s of years, people have been searching for a higher state of consciousness since time immemorial, through the use of rituals, religion, chemicals, yoga, mindfullness – pick your favourite flavour.
Today I witnessed first hand that the peak experience described by Maslow is something that Zaffron and Werner have not only mastered but can even give to others, pointing a way to it purely through linguistic phenomena. It’s out here they say, can’t you see it? You wonder what on earth they are going on about as people’s faces around you light up – then Bam you’ve got it too – your context changes and you can see what’s been right there in a new way. Its so simple when you ‘Get it’. There’s no voodoo involved but it takes a lot to let go of the conditioning that’s drummed into us from day 1.
I can totally see how Werner and Zaffron have impacted the world in such a monumental way in their lifetimes. I guess anyone who hangs out with Stephen Hawking and runs a physics conference in his spare time must know a thing or two about reality by now.
I’ve stayed up far too late again – tomorrow we have a day off, so I am going to visit the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque, which is apparently the third largest mosque on in the world.
Tune in for day 4 in a few days, same time same channel..