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


Future As Possibility

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, California, USA

July 27, 2006



This essay, Future As Possibility, is the first in an open group on Possibility: I am indebted to Charlene Afremow who inspired this conversation.



We sat cross legged side by side in the evening together, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees lightly touching. A rich sense of intimacy pervaded the two of us and the entire forested knoll we had climbed to enjoy. As we exchanged quiet conversation, someone spoke and someone answered and neither of us was quite sure who spoke or who answered ... as if there was only one.

Immediately behind the intimacy, like oaky tannins on the back palate of a finely crafted Cabernet Sauvignon, I distinguished a profound sense of privilege to be sitting here with this woman. She's the one who, for me, put the "i"s into intimacy. I've known many people in my life, as have we all. With some I've occasionally experienced the depths of true intimacy. With others I've experienced being close but not true intimacy. And even with those with whom I've experienced true intimacy, it's wavered, wobbled, from time to time. Now you see it, now you don't.  It's not been a perpetual, gold pad switch permanently on, always there experience.

With this woman whom I've known for nearly thirty years, thirty years, there's not been one encounter - not one - that hasn't been intimate. That's who she is. That's what she stands for. That's what she sources, and she's tireless and brilliant at what she does. Every person fortunate enough to be around her is immediately awash in that possibility of being for human being.

She asked me how I was doing. The question shook me out of my reverie.

I told her I've been waking refreshed early in the morning already anticipating what the day could bring. I don't recall when it started being this way. I just know at some point it stopped mattering what I've been. What I look forward to is what could happen, what I could  become. I said I've got no proof of nor inside information  about what could happen next. I'm neither psychic nor clairvoyant. Yet whatever not now known  which is coming next intrigues me. I look forward to it. I'm clear what I invent as a possibility for myself and my life and enroll others in my having gotten determines the next iteration of my life. It literally determines what I have and will have in my life. I told her it's more than that, actually. I said I'm noticing when I live this way, the timeline of my life is no longer the almost always unexamined past determines the future  but rather the erstwhile unthinkable future I create recontextualizes the past.

I told her my waking life has an acute sense of pleasure and privilege as if this experience is a gift from somewhere I know not where, that it feels like what grace  must feel like, that the simple excitement of wondering what could happen next  is all the entertainment I need. But not frivolously.

She listened intently, not saying anything for a minute or so. Then, just as I was certain she wasn't going to say anything at all, she shifted her gaze from the horizon and pointed the megawatt hazel green lasers of her twinkling sensual eyes point blank  into my eyes and said "That's future as possibility.".

I love the way she said it. She literally spoke my experience ... as if she was coming from inside me.

She's bang on the money. Future as possibility is obviously exactly what's coming next. The future is an anything can happen  discontiguous unpredictable possibility from which I can live with openness, joy, creativity, choice, and freedom. From time to time that is  how I live. Yet mostly there's a stop which interrupts me living that way, relegating my future from discontiguous unpredictable possibility to probable almost certain slo-mo action replays of my past.

That stop, I saw, is my own instinct to survive. But something had shifted. Until I had this conversation with her, I'd always considered the need to survive to be synonomous with the need to protect myself. But it's no longer that. To survive, I saw, is simply to perpetuate the past.

No wonder nothing new shows up. No wonder at some point it's no longer delicious to get up in the morning. No wonder the childlike "I don't wanna go to bed!"  is replaced with the yearning for opportunties  to go to bed early and to sleep in late. No wonder life starts to creep on intolerably at this petty pace  (as William Shakespeare may have said).

I declared myself to her to be the possibility of communication, transformation, and freedom.

Then I took her hand in mine and she let me hold it. I waited breathlessly for whatever would come next.



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