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


I'm Playing So Hard I've Got No Time To Be Busy

Valley Of The Moon, Sonoma County, California, USA

September 10, 2010



"To do nothing means to do exactly what you're doing. That's the way to do nothing. If you do what you're not doing, that's doing something. If you stop doing what you're doing, that's doing something. But doing exactly what you're doing - that's doing nothing."
... 
This essay, I'm Playing So Hard I've Got No Time To Be Busy, is the second in the sextology Time:
  1. Time On My Hands
  2. I'm Playing So Hard I've Got No Time To Be Busy
  3. Enough Time
  4. Moving Time Around
  5. One Day One Life: A Reflection On Time
  6. Maybe Time Isn't Linear
in that order.

It was conceived at the same time as I am indebted to Sonal Rakshpaul and to Robert Paul Smith who inspired this conversation.




If you ask a child who's just come home after playing with his friends all day "Where did you go?", he's likely to say "Oh, out.". And if you ask him what he's been doing  all day, he's likely to say "Oh, nothing.".

Nothing?  Of course, you're thinking he must  have been doing something. You're wondering if he's telling you everything. You're wondering if he's telling the truth. But then you may have forgotten children never do  anything. Children only play. And when children play, they're doing nothing  - nothing, that is, in their  experience.

So when a child tells you he's been doing nothing even though  he's been out all day and so he must  have been doing something, the child has really  been doing nothing. When a child has been playing all day and says he's been doing nothing, it's the truth!

What do I mean when I say it's the truth he's been doing nothing?  I mean "doing nothing" rigorously in the context Werner Erhard distinguishes "doing nothing".
Werner says "To do nothing means to do exactly what you're doing. That's the way to do nothing. If you do what you're not doing, that's doing something. If you stop doing what you're doing, that's doing something. But doing exactly what you're doing - that's doing nothing.".

Clearly, if you're doing nothing like this, there's no effort. There's only play. If you're doing exactly what you're doing when you're doing what you're doing, you're doing nothing. In other words, you're playing. And that's  what the child means when he says he's been out "doing nothing". He's telling the truth. He's telling you he's been playing all day long. To a child, playing is doing nothing.

This is how I live my life. I'm doing exactly what I'm doing when I'm doing what I'm doing. There's no effort. I do nothing. I play all day long  - from early in the morning until late in the night. Even if I'm working, I'm doing exactly what I'm doing when I'm doing what I'm doing. In other words, even when I'm working I'm doing nothing. And doing nothing is playing. So even when I'm working I'm playing.

Listen:  be sure you get I'm speaking rigorously in the context Werner Erhard distinguishes "doing nothing". You may ask: if I play all day long, doesn't it mean I'm very busy?  No. "Busy" is a distinction in the domain of work. There's no  distinction "busy" in the domain of play. I'm never busy  because I play all the time. I'm playing as hard as I can. I'm playing so hard I've got no time to be busy.

Subtle. Profound. Also notice it takes the stress  and significance out of it all and brings freedom, unbridled velocity, and exuberance to everything.



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