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

It's All Unfolding - No Need To Figure It Out

Sonoma, California, USA

April 24, 2015

"Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." ... Max Ehrmann, Desiderata - 1927

This essay, It's All Unfolding - No Need To Figure It Out, is the companion piece to Worry Or Not, It Turns Out Anyway.

It is also the prequel to It's Both Not Either.

I am indebted to Charlene Afremow who inspired this conversation, and to Peter Fiekowsky and to Robyn Symon who contributed material.

Looking back, I notice how much time I've spent thinking about what to do next. For the most part, it even looks like I've been pretty successful at it - except now the rules for what I need to do next have changed dramatically. This is an entirely new phase for me. It's what you may call a bittersweet  phase. It bears a syndrome known to people who've had children, as "empty nest". It's when your children are, for the first time, independently managing their own lives, their own finances, and have left the home you built for them (hence the term "empty nest") and are living in their own places. It's bitter because it's the end of a very precious time in life which will never come again. It's sweet because it's a victory, having successfully accomplished something which is by no means easy to accomplish ... not to mention the start of a new freedom.

The onset of this new phase radicalizes the way I've always thought about what I need to do next. Until now, everything I've done has had supporting my children front and center stage. Now that my two and a half decades of raising children are over (to be specific, it's the financial requirements  which are over - outside of that, I'll never stop supporting my children), the old rules of what I need to do, no longer apply. Another way of saying "the old rules ... no longer apply" is "the world no longer occurs  for me the way it used to". Now there's no need to do anything ie there's no need to do anything at all  the way there were things which needed doing when I was raising children. The future's wide open. And what surprises me is the delicious answer to the tantalizing question "What are you going to do next Laurence?" is "I don't know. I don't need to do anything.". It's true. I really  don't know, and I really don't need  to do anything. The world occurs differently for me.

That said, as I look from the question "What are you going to do next?" (which is to say after months and months and maybe a year of looking from the question), I realize something which at first seems unlikely, unbelievable, incorrigible, even impossible. It's so not  what I'm expecting to see that I discount it at first. But then it comes up again and again and again, outshining all other answers which come up less and less and less, until I'm finally left with it, and I have to confront it. What I realize is I've never  known what to do next ... yet something's always happened, so there's always been something I did next, something I couldn't ever have imagined  in advance. What I did next was I responded to the way the world then occurred for me.

That's the truth. As for knowing  what I'll be doing next, there's never been much of that anyway. What's galling about it is realizing all the congested thought, all the furtive thinking I invested in what I needed to do next, really didn't have much to do with what I actually did next. If the truth be told, it had nothing to do with it at all. I laugh wryly at myself when I consider how many megawatts of brain power I've wasted in this hopeless endeavor over the course of my lifetime ...

That may sound like there's no responsibility in it. Oddly enough, sorry but there is. There's being responsible for that it works this way.

Creating Laurence Platt and Associates  was one of the biggest ventures I've ever undertaken - if not the  biggest. It's certainly the biggest business venture I've created. Yet there wasn't once (not once ever)  when I said to myself "I'm going to create a very successful computer training company which will set me up as one of the most in demand software trainers in these United States for an uninterrupted run of over twenty years.". I never said that. Yet it just ... happened. It just unfolded by itself - organically  if you will. One thing led to another, which led to another ... and suddenly I was delivering world class software seminars to many of the Fortune 500  and Fortune 1000  companies in all but eight of these fifty United States. Yet I never set out to do any of it. I didn't know what I was going to do next. It just unfolded. It just happened. The world occurred for me as "children have needs", and that's what I responded to. That's what I did next.

Wow! What a relief  it is to recognize (or to re-recognize) it's all unfolding by itself anyway - no need to figure it out. It's always turned out. It always will. The world keeps on turning out - just as it's been doing for millennia. Our true (and possibly our only)  jurisdiction (if you will) is to invent new possibilities for being for ourselves and for our lives, against the background of the world turning out the way it's always been turning out. How awesome  it is to get that thinking about / figuring out what to do next isn't required  - as human an activity as it may be, that is to say as entrapping  a human activity as it may be. When I tell the truth about it, the best things that have ever happened for me are those that ... just ... happened. At best, all I did was respond to the way the happening world occurred for me.

But wait! Isn't that all of it?  And haven't I always risen to meet it? Rising to meet what occurs (out-here in the world) isn't the same as thinking about / figuring out what to do next (a futile exercise, if ever there was one, purely for the benefit of the voice in my head). Man! How counterintuitive is that?  It's something I'm constantly learning by unlearning. And the more I unlearn, the free-er I become. And the free-er I become, the more the vast fullness of what it is to be human, becomes available to me.


Without a transformed view, this essay may appear to skate on the thin ice of "Life happens  ..." equating to "... so I'll just sit around and wait for something to happen"  ie on doing nothing yet expecting results. It's far from that. Rather it's my intention to differentiate between the pointlessness of thinking about what to do next, as distinct from responding to the way the happening world occurs.

Another way of saying "responding to the way the happening world occurs" is "creating a future to live into ie creating a context to live into.".

Creating a context is arguably the one thing that never just happens by itself. Our natural ability to create a context is our most powerful implement for interfering with the probable almost certain future  life was always heading uncontrollably towards. It's a distinction which is developed further in this essay's sequel, It's Both Not Either.

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