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

Back Nine

Santa Barbara, California, USA

June 9, 2019

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." ... Thomas Stearns "TS" Eliot, Four Quartets #4: Little Gidding

"Too much is never enough." ... David Bowie
This essay, Back Nine, is the seventeenth in a group of twenty written in Santa Barbara:
  1. Santa Barbara
  2. Unbelievable
  3. Give Me Money (That's What I Want?)
  4. True Gold
  5. Getting Into Your World
  6. You Say Stop: About Resisting Transformation
  7. The Cavalry's Not Coming
  8. On This Team Everyone's The Leader
  9. Fireside Chat
  10. The Next Best Thing
  11. Full Circle, Full Spiral
  12. Truth, And What's True
  13. Snowflakes In A Furnace
  14. Something In The Air
  15. Vocal Prowess
  16. Flames In My Rearview Mirror
  17. Back Nine
  18. Chess II
  19. But And And II
in that order.

It is also the sixteenth in an ongoing collection with embedded Music Videos:

I like her. I like her a lot. I love  being around her. She'd just purchased a house, a nice home on a quiet, leafy street, kind of like the one I once owned but without the swimming pool and the redwood trees (perhaps better without: less maintenance). "So how are you enjoying home-ownership?" I asked one morning sipping iced decaf with her in our locals' village coffee shop. "Well ..." she said after a few moments pause (which suggested to me hers wasn't going to be a simple "I hate it / I love it" brief retort) "it's not like what I thought  it would be like.". "Meaning ... ???" I asked, leaning in, chilly mug in hand, eagerly interested in what she'd say next.

with Alexandra - From Now On (Supertramp)
She said she'd always looked forward to owning her own home, to the security of it, to the peace of it, to the privacy of it, to the goal  of it ("the goal of it" as in the American dream  goal of it) ... yet now that she'd achieved it, she found herself still  worried, still anxious, still struggling with it all. "It's not s'posed  to be this way" she belabored. What got her, she rued, was she couldn't figure out what was (quote unquote) "wrong".

Every so often I hike the hills at dawn with a friend who's achieved a respectable degree of fame as a recording artist. His records sell, indeed he makes his primary living selling his music (which is every street busker's dream, I'd say). He gives well-attended concerts, and he's adored by his audience and fans. I asked him what it's like.

"Well" he said after a few moments pause, "it's great ... but there's something missing"  (uh oh, here we go again ...). "And what might that be?" I asked, "could it be what's missing is fullness? satisfaction? wholeness? completion?". As if stunned, he turned sharply to face me. "How ... did ... you ... know?"  he asked, incredulous, "you just read my mind. In spite of all the dollars, in spite of all the fame, in spite of all the love, it all still sucks. It's not enough. It's not s'posed to be like this. Yet it is. And for the life of me I can't figure out why.".

"You're one of the lucky ones" I said. "'scuse me? Lucky?"  he said, curious. "Yes" I said, "you're lucky. You're on the back nine, and you found out. Now you can come home complete.". "OK, explain" he demanded tersely.

Contrary to what we believe, nothing's  wrong with still worrying, being anxious, and struggling even after we've achieved everything that's meant to vanquish all the above. It's just what we human beings are like. It's true that wealth and fame carry no guarantee of fullness, satisfaction, wholeness, or completion. That's just what they're  like. And figuring out why, makes no difference. Playing the back nine until you see it's this way, sets up the possibility of a breakthrough on the way home.

"You're saying there's no possibility of being full, being satisfied, or being whole and complete"? they asked. "No, not that" I replied, "I'm saying there's no possibility you'll get them by going about it the way you're going about it. The way you get fullness, satisfaction, wholeness, and completion, is by getting you already are full, satisfied, whole and complete. You don't get it by doing something else  in the hope that doing so, may make you full, satisfied, whole and complete. That's crazy.".

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