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


Born To Do This

Vallejo Ferry Dock, Vallejo, California, USA

October 25, 2011



"If God told you exactly what it was you were to do, you would be happy doing it no matter what it was. What you're doing is what God wants you to do. Be happy."  ... 


It's a question which, back in its day when I was a young child, was de rigueur  to ask children: "What are you going to be  when you grow up?".

It confused me, not because it's hard to understand but rather because it made me wonder "Why are they asking me a question to which they already know the answer?" - indeed, "Why are they asking me a question to which everyone  already knows the answer?". Everyone already knows the answer to the question "What are you going to be when you grow up?" is "Why, an adult  of course!".

Even if they'd asked me the more pointed "What are you going to do  when you grow up?" I might have answered "Who knows?! ..." or even "Do I have  to give my final answer now?  Can't I wait until I grow up and see what my choices are?". And even if they'd asked me what they really  meant, which is "How are you going to make a living  when you grow up?", I might have answered "Check back with me in twenty or thirty years, and I'll tell you how I worked it out.".

But I didn't answer the question those ways back in its day because I was a young child then, and so I answered the question the way a young child answers a confusing question: I made up  an answer. I made up I was going to be a veterinarian. I made up I was going to be a psychologist. I made up I was going to be the guy who reads the news on the radio. I made up anything  ... just to get them to stop asking me such a confusing question.

It wasn't until three decades later when I finally found out what was confusing about it. Whichever way the question was couched, it always implied there was something to be (or something I should  be) other than  whatever I was already being at the time. And I already knew when I grew up, I would be whatever I was being  when I grew up. The idea (as an answer to the question "What are you going to be when you grow up?") that when I grew up, I would be whatever I was being when I grew up, would have escaped just about everyone. They weren't ready for Zen.

Granted, it's a fine line. On the one side of this fine line is looking to my future.

<aside>

It's actually more pertinent to say "... looking from my future". However, to say "... looking to my future" in the context of this particular conversation, is good enough for jazz.

<un-aside>

On the other side of this fine line is the deadly impression I have to become something  (or someone) other than  what or who I already am in order to be alright with Life. So if I simply be what or who I already am and not try to figure out what or who I'm going to be when I grow up, doesn't that leave me at a disadvantage when it comes to planning my future?

Not really. Here's why:

When I'm grounded in the experience of who I am, I'm better prepared for Life - which is to say I have more affinity  with Life than when I live under the illusion I have to become something or someone before I can be alright with Life.

This isn't a trivial distinction. Rather it's crucial  to living with Self respect and dignity regardless of any circumstances and situations. And surely when we do what we're born to do, it exemplifies living with Self respect and dignity, yes?

Actually there's really only one thing I was born to do, and that's to be who I am. And since I'm already who I am, nothing else is required of me. Life is a blank canvas for me on which I can create anything, given I'm already  doing what I was born to do.

I suppose you could also say writing Conversations For Transformation is what I was born to do. You may be right. But I myself don't require this context to justify what I was born to do because there's something even more fundamental than this which I was born to do. It's something at which I've already  succeeded. It's something at which I succeeded waaay  before I started writing Conversations For Transformation. Succeeding at it set the stage for fullness and completion going forward with anything and everything I do, including but not limited to writing Conversations For Transformation. It's my success in this other  venture which makes writing Conversations For Transformation successful. It's my success in this other venture which makes writing Conversations For Transformation authentic. It's my success in this other venture which makes writing Conversations For Transformation work. What it is is completely obvious. But then again, with hindsight everything  is always completely obvious.

What I was born to do is be Laurence Platt. Period. Simple. That's it. You could say this  is what God wants me to do. And it's all  God wants me to do. Really  ... and I'm happy to oblige God. I was born to do this, and because I already am  this, I don't have to do anything at all  to fulfill on doing it. So I live my life doing what I was born to do ... and  ... because what I was born to do is already fait accompli, nothing else is required of me.

It's an enormous  freedom. Everything  I do in Life comes from this freedom. Everything I do in Life is empowered  by this freedom.

Now, having said that, there's one other facet of this particular point of view I'd like to share: coming from doing what I'm born to do as already fait accompli, allows me to live into an unencumbered future. There's no carry over of the incomplete past  into this future - which, by the way, exemplifies for me what Werner's work makes available: a future worth living into based on a complete past.

<aside>

It may be more syntactically correct to say "Werner's work makes available a future worth living into based on a completed  past.". However, to say "Werner's work makes available a future worth living into based on a complete past" is also good enough for jazz.

<un-aside>

It's a paradox. We search for what we're born to do. We search for our purpose  in Life. We search for our mission  in Life. But the truth is by virtue of being born, we're already living  what we're born to do. The truth is by virtue of being born, we've never done anything other than live what we're born to do. The truth is by virtue of being born, we've always  lived what we're born to do. Living what we're born to do is the only thing we've ever  done.

It's always right here. It's always right under our very noses. It's what we've always been doing. It's what we're always doing. We were born to do this. You were born to do this. I was born to do this. Nothing else is required of us ... nothing, other than to live it to the max, and be happy.



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