Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More


2001 - One Year Later

Napa Valley, California, USA

December 25, 2001



This essay, 2001 - One Year Later, is the companion piece to 2001 - A Week Before.



If there ever was a year when people stopped taking the quality of life on our planet for granted, it was 2001. If there ever was a year when all countries realized their interdependence with one another, it was 2001. If there ever was a year when we all saw that our real wealth is in each other and not on Wall Street, it was 2001.

The Good Lord (it is said) works in strange ways. And in many ways, 2001 was a strange year. Even so, I notice that ultimately I am the arbiter of what is strange and what is not strange in my universe.

It's a matter of folk legend (which means it may be true or not)  that there was an experiment comparing rats' intelligence to humans'. A piece of cheese was put at the end of one of four tunnels of a maze. Rats and humans then navigated the maze to find the cheese. But once the cheese was found, the experimenters moved it to the end of a different tunnel.

The difference between rats and humans, they discovered, is once humans find cheese at the end of a tunnel, they remember that tunnel, and then they go down the same tunnel again forever, regardless of whether the cheese is there again, or not. A rat, on the other hand, is only interested in cheese. And to find it, a rat will try any  tunnel. A rat will do whatever it takes  to get the cheese - including giving up that which it already knows.

If I learned anything in 2001, it was secondarily that we as a global community need to rework what we know about the viability of life for everyone on our planet. Primarily, what I learned in 2001 is that it is an act of generosity to give up our unholy righteousness in order to create - from new - the context for a world that works for everyone.



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