So our job now is to work with the people of the world to create together a world that works for all of us.
O yeah? How do we do that?
We do that by creating a context. Creating a context allows for people who take positions in opposition to you to become a primary source to help you achieve your objectives—even as they appear to be the opposition! They actually assist you in your creation by being subsumed in and included as a vital part of the process in the wider context you create.
The context we are currently creating has to include things like the Donald Trump presidency, the right-wing takeover of Israel by Likud, Brexit and other awful things that are manifestations of angry lying nut cases trying to “bring back” some bullshit illusion about the past projected to work better in the future. We include and work with all these formerly unfortunate people to actually bring about the creation of a new progressive world order. Oughta be nothin’ to it, huh?
The first step is to get a distinction first pointed out by Werner Erhard in a 1977 brochure about The Hunger Project. It is about the difference between taking a position and creating a context.
The following brilliant quote is an excerpt from Practicing Radical Honesty: How to Complete the Past, Live in the Present and Build a Future with a Little Help from Your Friends. (I wrote that book. I am smart. I was brilliant to recognize Werner Erhardt’s brilliance and I am brilliant in seeing how it applies so bigly now. See! I am just like Donald Trump!)
The Story about Creating a Context
In 1977, Werner Erhard started a project to end starvation on the planet by the year 2000. He wrote a brochure. In 1978 the brochure was published, clearly defining the objectives of what Werner and the other founders had named The Hunger Project. This was possibly the best brochure written during the twentieth century. In this unlikely place- the middle pages of a brochure- there occurred one of the most brilliant syntheses of the twentieth century’s evolution of thought–in linguistics, philosophy, and the study of the mind.
A segment from that brochure follows a couple paragraphs below, and it gives us the key to dealing with all the trumped up bullshit of the regressives who are trying to take over, and who will soon (within months) wreck the world wide economy and unless we do our job, could possibly destroy the God damned world as we know it in the next couple of years.
A coalition of regressives and progressives is like a big ball of fishing worms fucking. They are all slimey and wrapped around each other and squirming and a mess that is unsortable and above all else, messy. For that reason, in this excerpt the special emphasis in italics and parentheses and color to heighten the importance of certain sentences is to slap you in the face with it… Here is Werner’s brilliant refinement of the essence of one of the most important ideas in history:
What Causes an Idea’s Time to Come?
When you know the answer to that, you are no longer a mere speck of protoplasm on a dustball hurtling through space. You know how to have an impact on the world. You know what can make your life matter. The answer to “What causes an idea’s time to come?” is what The Hunger Project is about.
The Hunger Project is not about doing something more to end hunger. It is not about doing something better to end hunger. It is not a different set of solutions to the problem of hunger. It is simply about causing the end of hunger and starvation on this planet to be an idea whose time has come. The people who enroll themselves in the project commit themselves to that. What they do will be derived from that commitment.
The question, “What causes an idea’s time to come?” belongs to a particular class of question. Its answer is not the normal and conventional, reasonable type of descriptive or explanatory statement that a mind likes, that we are used to handling. It is not an exposition, concept, or theory. The answer to this class of question is, instead, a principle more powerful than all the forces in the world.
To answer this class of question, you have to give up your normal way of arriving at answers. Rather than knowing more and then more as you go along, you will need instead to be willing to know less and then less (that is to say, to become somewhat more confused as you go along). Finally you will have struggled enough to be clear that you don’t know. In the state of knowing that you don’t know, you get, as a flash of insight, the principle (i.e., the abstraction) out of which the answer comes.
While this is work that transcends ordinary intellect, all it requires is an unusually high degree of openness, commitment and intention. You will need these qualities to get you past the impatience, frustration and confusion that almost certainly will result from the feeling that what you are reading doesn’t make any sense. In fact, the statement we are seeking isn’t sensible; it transcends the senses. One doesn’t test the validity of such a statement by seeing if it fits into one’s system of beliefs. The test is whether there is a resulting shift from controversy, frustration and gesturing to mastery, movement and completion.
Answers in this class are fundamental principles; they are the source of parts, rather than the product of parts. They come as a whole, which whole can then be divided into pieces. You cannot reach the whole by adding up pieces; obviously the pieces don’t even exist as pieces until there is a whole of which to be a piece. Answers in this class (fundamental principles) can be known only by creating them.
Causing an Idea’s Time to Come
What causes an idea’s time to come? An idea’s time comes when the state of its existence is transformed from content into context.
As a content, an idea expresses itself as, or takes the form of, a position. A position is dependent for its very existence on other positions; positions exist only in relation to other positions. The relationship is one of agreement or disagreement with other positions. This agreement or disagreement manifests itself in various familiar forms. For example, your position is similar to, cooperates with, or supports other positions; it is independent from or ignores other positions; it protests, conflicts with, or opposes other positions. Positions exist by virtue of contrast, such as being different from, or more than, or unrelated to, or better than other positions. A position cannot stand by itself; it is not self-sufficient.
To come at this from another direction, we can look at content as thing, because an idea as a position is a thing. That which is without limits is either everything or nothing, and therefore not something, not a thing. It follows then that a thing requires limits to exist. These limits are expressed as the boundary of that thing. Since the existence of a thing is dependent on its boundary, and a boundary, by definition, is that place between a thing and not-that-thing (i.e., something else), the existence of a thing is dependent on something else-anything else. Therefore a thing, a content, is dependent on something outside itself for existence. Content is not self-sufficient.
Context is not dependent on something outside itself for existence; it is whole and complete in itself and, as a function of being whole, it allows for, it generates parts-that is to say, it generates content. Content is a piece, a part of the whole; its very nature is partial. Context is the whole; its nature is complete.
When an idea exists as a position (when it is a content) then it is an idea whose time has not come. When an idea’s time has not come, whatever you do to materialize or realize that idea does not work. When an idea’s time has not come, you have a condition of unworkability in which what you do doesn’t work, and you don’t do what works.
When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come.
When an idea is transformed from existence as a position to existence as a space, then it is an idea whose time has come. Now an idea as position literally requires other positions for its existence, while an idea as space is both self-sufficient, requiring nothing else in order to exist, and allows for (is the space of) the existence of other ideas. When an idea is transformed from existing as a function of other ideas to being the space that allows all other ideas, then it is an idea whose time has come.
When an idea is transformed from content to context, then it is an idea whose time has come.
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.(and people who have lists of why it can’t be done! Like, for example, “We can’t put a person on the moon and bring them back because we don’t have any metals that can stand the heat of re-entry into our atmosphere without burning up.” And our response is…”Thank you! Please take this office and $80,000 a year to keep on making that list and giving us more and more detail…)
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.
In a newly-created context the most important position is the position, “It can’t be done.” That is the first and most important content to be processed, to be realigned. Anyone who has created a context knows that context generates process; process in turn grinds up content, it changes content so that it becomes aligned with the context. (THIS IS SO FUCKING IMPORTANT TO GET!!!!! BRAD)
In the building of “A man on the moon in 10 years,” the skeptics and cynics were working on “It can’t be done” in the context of doing it, so that instead of being a threat or a stop to the goal, suddenly their skepticism and cynicism started contributing to the achievement of the goal.
All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Context generates process. A contextually-generated process transcends the existing forces; it transforms those forces. A contextually-generated process aligns the existing forces within the context. Then the aligned forces provide a condition of workability. Every action taken in a context is a fulfillment of, an expression of, and a manifestation of that context. The pessimism, the cynicism, the position, “It can’t be done,” are ground up by the process generated by the context, and are transformed into the material out of which the result is achieved. When an idea is transformed so that the apparently opposing idea actually validates and gives expression to the idea, then it is an idea whose time has come. (The Hunger Project brochure, 1978)”
The Flow From Context
I have been a member of the Hunger Project for thirty six years. Hunger and starvation are still ongoing, though significantly reduced. The number of children dying from starvation has decreased but not been eliminated.
An incredible number of events have resulted from millions of us holding the context: the banding together of artists and musicians and athletes and politicians, the creation of Band Aid and Live Aid, the coordination of all the relief agencies of the world and all their efforts, the growth of UNICEF, the creation of Results (the political lobbying group that grew out of the Hunger Project), the writing of books and articles, the production of television specials, and many, many other events. These results have brought us closer to our goal but we have not succeeded in the time we originally allotted ourselves. At this writing we are sixteen years overdue on the date of our projected end result.
Kennedy’s context resulted in a man on the moon in eight years. The civil rights movement, which I was active in from 1959-1964, had by that time resulted in the passage of legislation that outlawed segregation. But the overall context of equality of races is still not accomplished. The anti-Vietnam War movement, which I participated in from 1963-1972, did eventually help bring about an end to that war. Now, all these years later, there has been general acknowledgment that it was a terrible mistake, just as we said it was then. But the ongoing use of military so-called solutions like the Gulf War and NATO’s war on Serbia of recent times and the last 12 years of stupid and unnecessary war in the Middle East reflects that the overwhelmingly poisonous context of secrecy and force has not been effectively brought to an end. (There are still thirty-six separate secret services in the military and the government. And more than half of our annual budget for the United States is still being completely squandered on the incredibly stupid war mongering shit for brains multi billion dollar military industrial complex.)
As Marianne Williamson says in The Healing of America, “We shouldn’t be over impressed by terms like ‘foreign policy’, huge secretive counterintelligence agencies, and government departments that play the world like a giant chessboard and view it as no more than a game we’re trying to win. Our consciousness should drive them; their consciousness shouldn’t drive us.”
The completion of the results for any context is hard to achieve on a specific timetable, but in the minds of many hundreds of thousands of us, the time for an end to forcible solutions is long past due.
Creating a Context for the Future of the World that Allows Us All to Survive and Thrive Instead of No Longer Be Alive
The life lived, as a context within which the events of life occur, consciously created by declaration and continuing in conversation with others, is the most wonderful life possible. A life spent creating new possibilities for people that allow them freedom and power they have never known before is a vision we all can share. The context for a nation that was envisioned in the Declaration of Independence generated the United States as an idea whose time had come. That vision can be, and has been, twisted all to hell by politicians and military folks who call us forth to our mutually shared vision and then rip us off by playing adolescent war games. It is time we recaptured from those more limited folks the methodology and responsibility for actually bringing that vision into being.
So when you design your life and write your projects for this year, think big. Think of your own sweet self, the being you are, as the context in which the whole world occurs. Then, based on your memories from the past and your mind’s assessments, come up with a vision for our future that pleases you and also contributes to other people. Have whatever you come up with eventually lead to the transformation of the world! Join with others of us who are transforming the world to help us and those we are helping. It makes all the difference.
Contact and Context
When we contact other people honestly- in such a way that we get their attention and learn about what they are engaged in and committed to- we enroll them in helping us bring our vision into being. We also become enrolled in helping them bring their projects into being. A project creates a context so that creation through speaking and listening can occur.
The act of creation requires that you operate in alignment with others, and that you understand the difference between taking a position about what “should” be in the world and creating a context within which what you want to create becomes possible, then likely, and then a reality. (Practicing Radical Honesty, 2000)
You are invited to come to D.C. or to my place in Virginia, on or after January 18, to stay a few days and to march in Washington, D.C. as demonstration of opposition to the inauguration and presidency of Donald Trump and to participate in the Million Women March. I live in Virginia about two hours from D.C. We will have rides to the subways in Northern Virginia so you can get into D.C. without having to be trapped in traffic there…
Come on over. We are expecting a half a million people or so… If we get arrested a few times we will use our detention as a way to create a context that allows us to bring about a world that works for everyone!