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




Bye Bye Baby

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

February 13, 2019

"Suppose you had no past. That would be an interesting place to be in." ... 
"Bye bye baby baby goodbye, bye bye baby don't make me cry." ... Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Bye Bye Baby 
"Childhood's joyland, mystic merry toyland; once you pass its borders, you can ne'er return again." ... Doris Day, Toyland, sung to infant me as a lullaby by my mother Andee Platt

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." ... 1 Corinthians 13:11

"When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." ... Clive Staples "CS" Lewis
This essay, Bye Bye Baby, is the twenty first in an open group with titles borrowed from Songs: It was written at the same time as This Is What I Do.




This essay is, like all my others, a conversation for transformation. Yet like only a subset of all the others, it has a background soundtrack. This one's is Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons' perennial classic "Bye Bye Baby". Its lyrics showcase a married man nipping a blossoming extramarital affair in the bud (so to speak), realizing if it continues, his family will be irreparably harmed. I've designated the group of essays with background soundtracks (there are twenty one so far) as essays "with titles borrowed from Songs".

Music was omnipresent in my childhood. The home(s) in which my parents raised me and my siblings, had a swathe of musical genres playing in the background at any given time. My mother, the protagonist in this regard, could play her vast musical collection of vinyl "LP"s, CDs, and reel-to-reel tapes 24 hours a day for a month or more, without playing the same opus, piece, or track twice. That's how my love affair with music began. Music seduces me. It romances me. It heals  me, perhaps even more than it entertains me, and it certainly does more than entertain me: it transports  me. When I first discovered myself transported by music (which is to say when I first realized music had vast halls, portals, and chambers in which I could lose myself), I hadn't yet distinguished who I really  am. So something  about me was transported by music. What it was exactly, I didn't yet know. But as a matter of distinction, it wasn't who I really am.

Thus when I say I listened to music and I was transported by it, it's probably closer to the truth to say I was sublimely reactivated  by it. And the component (if you will) of me that was sublimely reactived, was something I distinguished later as the "machinery". What I got as I matured inexorably in my conversations with Werner, is the machinery doesn't have to be fully present to be reactivated, even if sublimely. Yet who I really am must  be fully present if I'm going to generate conversations for transformation. Now that's  a distinction worth making. Try this on for size: when you make that distinction, the process of really growing up begins. See if it fits.

This essay, Bye Bye Baby, with its title borrowed from the song of the same name, isn't about ending an affair. Yet it's similar to the song in that it's also about saying goodbye: it's about saying goodbye to childhood, and growing up. In the same way as not saying goodbye to a blossoming affair harms one's family, not saying goodbye to childhood ie not completing  childhood, harms one's adult life. Ending an affair, leaves the mistress where she is, given the adult reality of the situation. The song refers to the mistress as "Baby". In this essay, "Baby" is (aptly) childhood and childish things, left in childhood, given the adult reality of the situation.

CS Lewis' observation (above) puts the situation in clear perspective. Growing up isn't what's characterized as developing a "stiff upper lip" and / or "thick skin". Those are just two more ways of being a child - or they're concepts of being an adult in ways a child conceives of being an adult. Neither is it to act "grown up" (see if you can let go of all the ways you're s'posed  to act grown up). In CS Lewis' view of growing up, it's the willingness to put away childish things; in Werner's parlance, this is to put the past in the past. In CS Lewis' view of growing up, it's not trying to live up to what makes you look grown up; in Werner's parlance, this is to keep the future empty and open (from which something wonderful can be created). I assert it's also a good idea to clear yourself about the foibles of putting the past into the future:  putting the past into the future (the very condition of not  growing up) accounts for the upper ninetieth percentile of all our personal and planetary malaises.

Let the past be in the past. Grow up in the real  sense of the phrase. Be who you really  are - with a completed past (bye bye baby) and an empty and open future.


Background soundtrack: Franki Valli and The Four Seasons: Bye Bye Baby - wait for 2.35M download


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