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

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Homeostasis

In-Shape Health Club Swimming Pool, Napa, California, USA

February 10. 2021

"It's much easier to ride the horse in the direction he's going." ... 


Life is dangerous. Life is risky. Life is uncertain. In my youth I spent a lot  of time figuring out ways to have it be safe, stable, and certain. When it stayed dangerous, risky, and uncertain, I began fervently searching for ie I embarked on a quest to find the secret, the inside scoop  I hadn't yet discovered which I was certain  I would discover if I searched long enough and hard enough - like some kind of enlightened, karmic  way of being, in response to which life would always be safe, stable, and certain. And the more I didn't discover that secret, the more I held it as a failure to discover it on my part, so the more I doubled and re-doubled my efforts to find it.

And then one day I discovered that secret. I did. I really  did (thank you Werner!). Discovering it, blew me away. And when I discovered it, I realized that the secret that I took so long to discover, wasn't ever out of my reach. In fact it was always obvious, always hiding in plain sight  (so to speak) all the time. When I discovered it, I also realized the reason why I hadn't discovered it sooner. It's this: the secret is there  ... is  ... no  ... secret!  Life actually is  dangerous, risky, and uncertain from time to time - ask the dinosaurs ("Life is pretty groovy, isn't it Dino?", "Yes it is Fred", "Hey! Is that an asteroid  I see coming towards us?"). So the secret is there's no secret. Rather than being a failure on my part, it was just my hesitancy to grasp what I inadvertently knew all those years ago that stopped me realizing it sooner.

Our hopeless, futile yearning for life to be safe, stable, and certain, is our unconscious hankering for it to be lived (in a word) in homeostasis  - in much the same way as it was for us in utero  before we were born. These days, the best way to live life in homeostasis is to arrange to be suspended in a bath of tepid water, and fed intravenously inside of a concrete bunker. Like all of us I suppose, I once aspired to homeostasis BIG time. These days I no longer aspire to it. Indeed, now I have reservations about it, not the least of which is that aspiring to homeostasis actually misses the mark  in life. Believing life shouldn't be dangerous, risky, and uncertain, leads to the false assumption when it is, that something's wrong. And when it is, really nothing's wrong. Life just is dangerous, risky, and uncertain from time to time.

From the Cambridge International Dictionary:

<quote>
Definition
homeostasis


noun
the ability or tendency of a living organism, cell, or group to keep the conditions inside it the same despite any changes in the conditions around it, or this state of internal balance
<unquote>

Rather than hanker for homeostasis in the face of life's danger, risk, and uncertainty, what I notice now is how I'm being  in the face of life's circumstances if they're dangerous, risky, and uncertain. That's a smarter, nobler, more pragmatic use of my life than looking for ways to have life always be safe, stable, and certain ie than hankering for homeostasis. My ability to be  in the face of life when it's dangerous, risky, and uncertain, starts with realizing that there's nothing wrong  with life when it's dangerous, risky, and uncertain. I've stopped hankering for homeostasis. My circumstances haven't changed. What's shifted BIG time, is my willingness to include  any and all of my circumstances. I catch myself when I notice I'm hamstrung by "Something's wrong ...", and resume including my circumstances, whatever they are.

There's something else which I assert is worth noting about the futility of hankering for homeostasis and its static, neonatal comfort, which is this: Life itself is never static, is it? That much is abundantly clear. Look around you. Life never stays long with what's already in place ie with what's already accomplished. Life itself is always looking to see what's next. Life itself is always looking to generate what's next. In this regard, hankering for homeostasis is fundamentally at odds with the direction in which Life itself is inexorably going. It's this being at odds with the direction in which Life itself is going, which in and of itself brings with it its own raft of trouble.

I used to like homeostasis. A lot. These days I don't like it as much as I used to. I have reservations now. Going with life in the direction it's going, rather than hankering for homeostasis when things get dangerous, risky, and uncertain, is actually the smarter, nobler, more pragmatic, and easier solution.



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