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

Be A Hero (For Someone)

Mandalay Beach, Oxnard Shores, Ventura County, California, USA

August 22, 2020

This essay, Be A Hero (For Someone), is the companion piece to It was written at the same time as The Past Is Not The Future.

I am indebted to my son Joshua Nelson Platt who inspired this conversation, and to Marielle Adegran Rutherford who contributed material.

Photography by Laurence Platt

"Here we go again ..." ... Marielle Adegran Rutherford

Cowboy Cottage cattle pasture
East Napa, California, USA

29 miles from Hennessey LNU lightning complex fire

6:37:11pm Tuesday August 18, 2020
"How can anything be so terrifying and so beautiful at the same time?" ... Laurence Platt
It's rapidly become embedded in our popular lexicography (which is to say in our colloquial  speaking) that we live in (quote unquote) "trying times" which comprise not one "whammy", not a double  whammy, but a triple  whammy: a trifecta of fractured politics (integrity), the 'rona, and (in many western states) monstrous wildfires threatening life and property. Our very survival (on multiple fronts) is threatened. It's scary, confronting, dire.

Threats to survival invoke conditions that befog this idea: the descriptor "trying times" is an add-on. Look: it's waaay  easier distinguishing add-ons in non-threatening circumstances, yes? Make no error: distinguishing it's an add-on doesn't make it easy, go away, or even diminish significantly. But it does illuminate two truths: one, the distinction "add-on" itself; two, our being (cause in the matter). It fosters us dealing with circumstances as expeditiously and as appropriately and as smartly and as big-heartedly and as generously as we can muster.

Here's a tough conversation to consider (and an even tougher one to have): that in the middle of any disaster (man-made or otherwise), we always  have a choice as to who we're going to be  in the face of said disaster. And no matter how hard that may be to take on, it's true: we do have a choice, no matter the circumstances, no matter what the disaster (the direst of which notwithstanding). And if you've already gotten clear that you do have that choice, then it's your responsibility, your gift, your privilege to share it with others. Remember while we may have a debatable choice over the circumstances themselves, there's always  a choice as to who we'll be in the face of any circumstances. Your assignment is to share that choice with those who don't realize they have it. And that's  what really makes a profound difference (indeed, it may be the only thing that does).

A friend of mine has lived life in a way that's left him about as impervious to the current triple-whammy as a person could be, with preparation that's been pragmatic. There's nothing else left for him to do to secure his own life. And he said to me "God! I wish I could do more to help other people", to which I responded "You can.". "Like what?" he asked, "how?". "Be a hero" I offered, "be a hero for someone. Assist when you can. Set examples. Be a leader. Listen attentively. Listening transforms a helpless, hopeless conversation into one of empowering empathy. Offer services. Offer support. Even if your offers are declined, offer anyway. Never underestimate the support it is to remind people of who they really are, excepted of the circumstances (that's the true heroism that empowers - indeed, that re-empowers - people).".

In my book, true heroes are ordinary folks like you and me who relate to any scary, confronting, dire circumstances as simply "what's happening". Indeed, the direr the circumstances, the greater the opportunity to be a hero. There may also be an edge true heroes have (and I suspect all of them do): it may just be that true heroes know the futility of asking "Why me?"  when it's raining. Only a fool asks "Why me?"  when it's raining. We all know raining isn't personal. If it rains, you just grab an umbrella. And if you're kind, considerate, generous (and heroic), you also grab umbrellas for as many of the people around you as you can as well at the same time.

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