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

Attention To Detail

Dutch Henry Canyon, Calistoga, California, USA

April 27, 2007

This essay, Attention To Detail, is the twelfth in a group of twelve adapted from my thesis BREAKTHROUGH SKYDIVING: I am indebted to Richard Lang who inspired material for this essay.

My first experience skydiving caused a breakthrough  in handling fear. I anticipated it would. I didn't anticipate it would also cause a breakthrough in handling detail.

Even prior to the skydiving experience I was aware of the aesthetics of detail. I enjoyed the just so-ness of things. But I wasn't yet detail oriented. Although I had an appreciation for detail, there was an aspect of me which didn't want to confront detail at all or be responsible for it, an aspect which regarded handling detail as an unnecessary chore. When that aspect ruled, I'd have no attention on detail. Its credo was "Don't sweat the small  stuff.". But the trouble with that, as Life eventually proves, is it's all small stuff.

In the skydiving experience when my life was at stake, what became clear to me with regard to handling detail is there are only two mandatory measures to true* to: immaculate  and impeccable.
From the Cambridge International Dictionary:


perfectly clean and tidy; perfect and without any mistakes

Also from the Cambridge International Dictionary:


perfect; with no problems or bad parts

In the skydiving experience I noticed if I don't pay attention to detail, it could cost me my life. It's that simple. That's my skydiving breakthrough. Here's how that breakthrough. showed up for me in 1983. Here's what I observed.


What happened:

I found myself paying extremely close attention to every component particle of the parachute while its function was being explained to me during the skydiving intensive. When my time came to skydive, I was again minutely fascinated by every button, every buckle and other details of my harness and skydiving gear.


Paying close attention to detail goeswith  life working (as Alan Watts may have said).


I became aware of minute details of my equipment during the skydiving intensive - threads, specks, patterns in the weaving of the reserve parachute pack, and similarly fine details of the harness and skydiving gear when I came to put them on. So pointed did my attention become that a focus, which allowed me to notice everyone and everything around me in intimate detail, became spontaneously enlivened. It was both pleasing and refreshing, a perceptual opening, a melting away of mists from my field of vision.


If I paid as much attention to detail in my daily life as I paid to my parachute while preparing for skydiving, my life would work infinitely better. From now on, I will live as if my life depends on it.


It's a stretch, on almost every level imaginable, to step out of the door of a perfectly good Piper Cherokee 6, two and a half thousand feet up in the sky. I did, and in doing so I altered my life and how Life shows up for me.

True breakthroughs stand the test of time. In the new realm of possibility where transformation occurs, true breakthroughs don't get old or obsolete or out of date. This breakthrough in handling detail, spoken in 1983, is total, is complete, and is forever. There's nothing else to say about it or add to it. All there is to do is live its possibility: the possibility of being immaculate and impeccable.

This essay, Attention To Detail, recreates Observation 7: Attention To Detail of my thesis BREAKTHROUGH SKYDIVING which is available at

The essay BREAKTHROUGH SKYDIVING introduces the thesis.

*   Merriam-Webster's dictionary allows "true" as a transitive verb: to make level, square, balanced, or concentric; bring or restore to a desired mechanical accuracy or form.

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