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


Brightness On Main Street

Main Street, Napa, California, USA

October 3, 2013



"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."  ... 
This essay, Brightness On Main Street, is the companion piece to
Photograph courtesy Google Earth
Main Street, Napa, California, USA


Where else but here? Where else but here on Main Street USA? Isn't this where Mr and Mrs Everymanwoman  and their family live their lives? Isn't this where Mr Everyman and Ms Everywoman conduct their business? This  is where it belongs. Where else?

It's this very thought which occurs to me on a bright summer day as I'm walking down Main Street in Napa, my home town in northern California's gorgeous wine country:  if transformation belongs anywhere, then it belongs right here, right here on Main Street USA.

Listen: I say Main Street USA  because as an American citizen, I've become encultured  to say it. It's an expression  in this neck of the woods. It's a metonym, a figure of speech embedded in our lexicography. But when I say Main Street USA, it's really a good euphemism for Main Street anywhere. And it's Main Street anywhere where Mr and Mrs Everymanwoman and their family live their lives. It's Main Street anywhere where Mr Everyman and Ms Everywoman conduct their business. It's anywhere in the USA. It's anywhere in the world. It's anywhere there are people living their lives and conducting their business on the face of our Earth. That's  what I mean by Main Street.

I like what living Life and conducting business on Main Street connotes. During the height of the recent financial crisis, Main Street gained momentum as an expression which connotes where the ordinary  living of Life and the ordinary conducting of business, happens - as distinct from, say, the living of Life and the conducting of business which happens on Wall  Street (USA). To be sure, transformation belongs on and belongs to  Wall Street as well, just as it belongs on and belongs to Main Street. In fact, noticing the body blow to the world economy of Wall Street's devoid of integrity financial maneuverings, it especially  belongs on Wall Street. But as a background for transformation making its presence known throughout the world, I prefer the ordinariness of what Main Street connotes - that, and the fact that what Main Street connotes is vast, far flung, and far reaching, whereas Wall Street is a too confined, a too specialized, a too limited context for global transformation.

Yes, Main Street's the right place for transformation: I don't know where it's likely to go better (as Robert Lee Frost may have said). More than that, I assert transformation also goes well in my / our conversations - it's great here, and (it could be said) it starts here. It also goes well in my / our homes - it's great here too, and (it could be said) it lives here. It also goes well in my / our relationships - it's great here also, and (it could be said) it takes root here and develops here and exponentially expands from here. But beyond all of that, beyond a certain level of maturity, beyond a certain level of commitment in any adult's life, as awesome as all of that sounds, it's ... well ... too easy. It's too small.

If you're going to honor transformation, if you're going to live a great life appropriate to its powerful possibilities, if you're going to stand for transformation and make it your personal business to have it be available in the world, the right place for it is on Main Street. However, transformation won't get onto Main Street all by itself: you have to bring it here. And the thing about this is if you don't bring it onto Main Street yourself, you didn't get it in the first place (as Werner Erhard may have said).



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