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

Human Chameleon, Rock God

Alston Park, Napa Valley, California, USA

January 10, 2016

1) "I'm a baby boy. I'm God. In the middle I'm just a human being." ... Laurence Platt

2) "I'm a god. I'm a human being. In the middle I'm nothing." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, Human Chameleon, Rock God, is the fourteenth in an open group on People: I am indebted to David "Davy" Robert Hayward-Jones Bowie who inspired this conversation.

Photography by Maurizio Gambarini

A Reality Tour

Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany

Thursday October 16, 2003
David "Davy" Robert Hayward-Jones Bowie
There's the seminal tale of the monk in a monastery, a student of Zen who goes for an audience with his master, a very wise man over a hundred years old, and asks him "Master, do we have choice in the matter of our own death?". The Zen master looks at him with total compassion, yet just sits there saying nothing. Then all of a sudden, startling the student, he yells out very loudly "KAAAAA!"  ... and dies - just like that. And that, it's said, is one of the hallmarks of a truly great master: someone who can stage-manage even their own death.

When he unexpectedly announced he was retiring, many of his millions and millions of worldwide fans cried - tears of shock. It was a nearly inconceivable loss. Then, after almost completely disappearing for a decade, he came back, totally unexpectedly, with one of his most awesome studio albums ever, The Next Day, and the same now elated fans cried again - tears of joy this time. Then, in short order, he produced another  breakthrough album ★ (pronounced Blackstar, arguably his masterpiece) along with accompanying videos which stylishly depicted his own death, released them on his sixty-ninth birthday, then died two days later (did he yell "KAAAAA!"? I sure hope so ...) (it's OK to cry - tears of love and gratitude).

I was flipping through TV channels, not paying attention ... then suddenly I was bolt upright: "news had just come over"*  he had died. If you had been in that room with me, you would have seen and heard me groan. He never let on this was coming for eighteen months, yet had prepared for it masterfully. Ain't that just like him? 

I'm not going to repeat here everything that every newspaper and news program on the planet (print, online, and broadcast) has already copiously lavished on him. And to be sure, I'm not a music critic (I've listened most of his records - but certainly not all of them). What I would  like to say something about, is what in my view made him outlandishly  extraordinary as a human being in a genre  in which merely being extraordinary is simply the token required to get in through the turnstile.

He was outlandish in three ways. The first is very early in life, he discovered and embraced Life's creativity switch  which he gleefully threw to the full on  position, and once he had it there, he never shut it back down for one instant. The second is he always expressed his multi-faceted true nature  in the veritable tsunami  of his art which resulted. And third, to hold all of our interests (which wasn't ever really necessary since who he was  was enough to keep us mesmerized, but he did it anyway), he constantly changed the medium in which he worked from one rock genre to another, from one fashion mode to another, from one look  to another, from one role  to another (yes, stage and film acting too) and then back again, mixing and matching at will and yet totally  original. And through it all, he always managed to keep himself from getting in the way of his own creativity so that his became the creativity of Life itself, to the point where you couldn't tell the difference. He did all that ... and  ... he had an absolute blast doing it. That's what made him so awesome to so many: his was the job we all desire, yet one we resign ourselves to never having.

And as if all that wasn't enough, he was a dedicated and fiercely private family man, a very sweet person by all accounts who was also brilliant both technically and  financially with a wonderful and wicked sense of humor, a 100 watt light bulb smile, of course ridiculously  talented, and endowed with such exquisite good looks and otherworldly  poise that (as the old saying goes) all women wanted to be with  him, and all men wanted to be like  him (and some men wanted to be with him too).

Yet in the end, he was just another guy from a very ordinary background in Brixton, London who gave it all, and kept on looking for and coming up with ways to give ever more. His star was for us (if he was having it for himself, he didn't let on). I never heard him speak transformation specifically. I can only begin to imagine his vast sphere of influence if he had. Instead what he did magnificently was live a life he loved. No, clearly he lived a life everybody  loved. His was a fiercest inspiration.

Thank you Starman for coming to meet us. You didn't blow our minds: you stole our hearts.

* Line three of Five Years  (track one of side one of David Bowie's fifth album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars) 

Background soundtrack: David Bowie: Ashes to Ashes - wait for 4M download

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