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

Bake Another Cake

Franklin Street, Napa, California, USA

August 28, 2016

"The one thing I'm clear about is everyone is capable of being great. Not compared to someone else. I mean great for yourself. I'm committed to you realizing you're great."  ... 
This essay, Bake Another Cake, is the companion piece to Bake Your Cake (And Eat It).

There's a not so fine line between being authentically Self-driven (capital ess)  which goeswith  transformation (as Alan Watts may have said), and defiantly "going it alone" which only goeswith making it. In the latter case, a certain quality of life is annihilated when we downplay the acknowledgement of others, not allowing them to contribute to us ie when we don't allow their acknowledgement and contribution to impact us and make a difference in our lives, all in the name of being independent.

In anyone's life, there are those big-hearted discontiguous acts of true and pure Self-driven greatness which, for any individual, go beyond what's familiar, beyond what's comfortable, and sometimes even beyond what's traditional. This kind of act requires standing alone ie by ... your ... Self  and reaching deep into what it is to be fully human (perhaps that's why we sometimes refer to such an act as a stretch), then bringing forth a power and a freedom to be, a power and a freedom to be which is ordinarily deemed unusual, inaccessible, too difficult, unavailable - if not outright impossible. Such acts of greatness, of courage and power may eventually get acknowledged by others. Yet to pursue them in order  to get / expecting to get the acknowledgement of others, is inauthentic. And to deem them worthy of repeating only  if they're acknowledged by others, is being unclear on the concept of what it is to be great. This also happens to be a distinguishing meme  of this conversation.

In being great, acknowledge yourself. You know when you've done something outlandishly great - even when others don't acknowledge you. In other words, you're great for yourself (ie in your own experience) long before you're great for others. Acknowledge yourself. Celebrate!  Even when you're not acknowledged for how great you are (which is to say even before  others acknowledge your greatness), don't wait for their celebration of you to start. Bake your own cake (and  eat it too). Now.

Here's the definitive line which, when crossed, arguably makes being great possible across the board: embrace it all as it unfolds - all  of it. Include  it all. And then the codicil  (if you will) (which is so hard  to hear sometimes, yet which, when heard, makes being great a possibility) is it's not personal. None of it's personal. Yes it feels  like it's personal - to most of us at least some of the time, yes? When it starts to look like I need to do something personally ("Moi?")  to change, fix, or alter what's going on to make it better, that's also the very moment (if I stay present to the opportunity) when I can choose to take on one of the most practical, pragmatic, and truly smart  views any human being can ever take on: the view that it's not personal. And it's not "not personal" as a way of deflecting or avoiding what's going on or what I'm responsible for. No, it's not personal because it's not personal. Really it's not. Man! That's hard to hear sometimes. But if I can make that view present for myself again and again and again and again and again and again, in time what started off as just a view that it's not personal, eventually becomes law in the universe.

Having the presence to take on this martial-arts-esque  "it's not personal" is a gift which arrives somewhere between being graced, and being open to the possibility of being great for yourself. Either way, since it's not smart to wait for it to be given to you, it's a gift which belongs in that unique category of gifts you give to yourself. It's a cake you bake for yourself. It's in this sense that you can have your cake and eat it too. To extend the analogy (even if that's a bad idea, let's extend it anyway), you can bake your cake, eat it too, and then you can bake another  cake (being great is a never-ending endeavor) and eat that one too, and then another one etc etc. It's even more than that actually. It's that it's a noticeable hallmark of being great that you both celebrate and are comfortable with being great for yourself ongoingly.

If you don't stand for you being great for yourself, then who will? If I don't stand for me being great for myself, then who will?

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