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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In The Space Of Possibility

Somewhere At 38,000 Feet Over Africa

February 17, 2015

This essay, In The Space Of Possibility, is the ninth in an open group on Possibility: It is also the prequel to a group of four written in Cape Town, February 2015:
  1. South Africa Leadership
  2. Wuudhu
  3. Rite De Passage
  4. The Girl Who Became A Tree
in that order.

I'm in transit. I'm traveling clear over to the other side of the planet from the amazing Cowboy Cottage in the Napa Valley, California's wine country  in which I live, primarily to visit my mother Andee and to say goodbye to her for what may prove to be our last time as she gets ready to leave our world, and secondarily to visit the rest of my family and old friends who live in Cape Town South Africa. It'll be a great, straight, no nonsense goodbye. I won't be hiring any choirs of angels, or violins.

I haven't set foot inside the cabin of any airplane in two years. As I was planning this visit, I wondered what to expect of latter day air travel, given what the popular press is saying about how flying has degraded. There may be some truth in what they say, there may not be - I wouldn't know. That which I have heard however, is troubling enough to have me expecting something arduous. What I never ever considered was what actually happened: an erstwhile frequent flyer's dream come true.

The first leg of this two legged journey, was an eleven hour all night trek from San Francisco California to München Germany. We departed exactly on time and arrived exactly on time with no lines to speak of at either end, and minimal turbulence throughout the flight. Prior to boarding, I tried to imagine what it was going to feel like sitting up all night in a cramped seat with no leg room. How-ever  ... that wasn't the reality of what I got. What I got was an entire row of four empty seats for myself to stretch out on, each one of which was enormous. There were lots of free movies with decent audio on a screen in the seatback in front of me, not the neck-cricking overhead. I watched Fury, Gone Girl, and Jersey Boys, all of which were on my wish list, and which were all well made - besides which, who doesn't love Frankie Valli?

There was WiFi on board. The food evoked a tasteful restaurant (what was it the pundits were saying about airline food?). The eleven hours flew by (literally - no pun intended). The flight crew were attentive and totally great with us passengers. One of them, noticing I was writing on my laptop, offered unasked to recharge it for me in the galley if my battery ran flat. Even though the battery in my new Lenovo L440  will outlast an eleven hour flight, his generosity wasn't lost on me. I told him so.

Outdoors, München airport was cold: one degree below zero, snow covering the concourse except the well used runways. But indoors I was comfortable in shirtsleeves looking out onto the inclement weather. I had a five hour layover for the München Cape Town leg, the second eleven hour long haul in a row on Lufthansa. After I got caught up on e-mail (München airport has blistering fast free WiFi), I took a long walk on the hour every hour through its many vast halls - might as well get exercise.

And now we're up in the air again, and I'm just sitting here enjoying the moment, staring out through the porthole onto the inky black African sky. I've got nothing going on. The air is pregnant with possibility. The space  up here is  the space of possibility. I have the space for anything to come of this venture - anything at all, and nothing at all. I have the space for anything to happen here with anyone - including me. As the wise man has said "Anything can happen ... and probably will.".

There's nothing else left for me to do. My being here  completes it for me. I have no expectations about what can and / or what will happen in South Africa. Listen: if there's ever been a country which has literally defied  expectations, it's South Africa. Here's an example which illustrates this well: I was there both on the day Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, as well as on the day he was freed from prison. If you want a perfect dictionary definition of what simply wasn't  possible ie if you want the perfect dictionary definition of that which was never going to happen ever and yet which defied all the expectations and happened anyway, I assert that epitomizes it.

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