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




Choosing Like Breathing

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

August 27, 2019



This essay, Choosing Like Breathing, is the third in the trilogy In The Listening Of A Heroine:
  1. An Unimaginable Commitment
  2. Created Word
  3. Choosing Like Breathing
in that order.

It is also the seventh in a septology on Commitment: It was written at the same time as
  1. An Unimaginable Commitment
  2. Created Word


I had one more question to ask her. OK, I actually I had hundreds  more questions to ask her (in this particular genre of conversation, there are lots and lots and lots  of questions to ask). But the one I had to  ask was about the unimaginable commitment she made working with Werner, once she'd distinguished "created word" as a possibility. I've been around the campus myself for quite a while now. I'm committed to working with Werner. I get "created word". And while I didn't articulate the idea in those exact same terms before she did for me, I was totally at home with the distinction even before I got it from her. What I wanted to know was how she's stayed in the game  for so long ie what she's done to ongoingly stay committed to the unimaginable degree to which she's been ongoingly committed for so long.

Had I thought it through more rigorously, I might have answered my own question something like this: we don't do  anything to stay committed. Commitment occurs in the domain of being, not in the domain of doing, although being committed will surely result in doing something that reflects being committed to that to which we're committed. So the way I would answer my own question, is "I be commitment"  ... except that mangles English even too much for my own liking, and I'm already notorious for making up my own rules of grammar and syntax if the proper ones interfere with what I want to Self-express. So between you and me when we're talking, I'll settle for the colloquial "I am committed" instead of "I be commitment" even though the latter is more apropos.

Making a commitment is, in a very real sense, choosing. To commit, is to choose. It's choosing to be committed to that to which we're committed. In her case, it was choosing to be committed to working with Werner, a commitment which she's presenced now 24 / 7 / 365 for nearly five decades. And I wanted to know something about how  she made a choice like that last so long. Now, let's be clear about this: "How?"  questions are seldom if ever transformationally powerful  questions. Yet on this occasion, having made that clear, I'll allow just that one in context. It's good enough for jazz.

What she said next totally re-arranged the pieces on the game-board for me. In fact it totally re-arranged both the way I had conceptualized choosing even beyond a breakthrough* I've had in choosing, as well as the way I had conceptualized what it is to be committed. She said choosing to be committed, occurs for her as (quote unquote) "choosing like breathing".

Automatically, I started asking another question. Then I realized I didn't have one. It was complete. She'd nailed the landing. I got being committed as "choosing like breathing" the moment she said it. Look: a commitment which has been present 24 / 7 / 365 for nearly five decades, sounds like a lot  of work. Yet owning being committed as "choosing like breathing" takes all the struggle and effort out of it. It makes her unimaginable commitment a naturally occurring, effortless concomitant of just being alive. Her "choosing like breathing" is an unimaginable commitment that's naturally and effortlessly available to you and me and all of us on the planet.


Postscript: Distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary and breakthrough* and unimaginable choosing
1) ordinary choosing 2) extraordinary choosing 3) breakthrough choosing 4) unimaginable choosing
chocolate or vanilla?

choose.
chocolate?

choose.
?

choose.
?

breathe.


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