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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It's Only Life Lifing, My Dear

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

November 12, 2022

"How can the light be off when it's on?" ... 
"It's only love and that is all, why should I feel the way I do?" ... The Beatles, It's Only Love 


"It (and by 'it' I mean we)  should be better than this, we should be so much  better than this" she said, shaking her head. She was referring specifically to the state of our union, of our country, of our unique brand of politics. But generally she was referring to the state of the world in which these United States' particular set of circumstances is but a mirrored reflection (ie it's our own version) of similar conditions ie of a familiar malaise being played out everywhere.

"You're probably right" I countered, "and it's kind of obvious, everyone knows it, we all  want it.". "So how do you stay so calm in the face of it?" she asked.

Hers are interesting conjecturings, I thought. They're interesting because they imply ie they hint very strongly  at there's some other  ways we should be, of which calm  is but one option. And what's ever more interesting is they imply there's another way for the world to be other than  the way it's being. And the trouble people have with allowing "the world to be ... the way it's being" is its inexorably relentless creep towards apathy when in fact it's a rock, a rock like Zen (a rock of transformation  for that matter), a rock on which to stand and do something truly profound, a rock on which to step up, to make a difference.

People of goodwill everywhere throughout recorded history (and arguably long before that) have considered what she's considering: "We should be better than this.". I don't doubt it. Who does? And all the offices, commissions, and agencies who have taken on ensuring that we actually do become better than this, are doing stalwart, sterling work in the face of almost insurmountable obstacles and resistance. So I'd like to bring something new to the table at this juncture. It's something I assert is useful to contribute, something I assert has real import. And what it is, truly occurs prior to doing all the stalwart, sterling work that's being done to ensure that we become better than this, and certainly occurs waaay  before she actually realized "We should be better than this.".

It's this: this is the way it is. Period. It's so simple. This is dogshit reality (how can the light be off when it's on?). Don't gloss over that too fast. Its simplicity renders it elusive. This is the way it is. This is the way life is lifing  (if you will). We're very good at noticing "We should be better than this.". And we're even getting a bit better at ensuring that we actually do become better than this. And yet we've hardly begun to grasp that this is the way it is, and that all this that we want to change, and that all this that we want to be better than and do better than, is just life "doing its thing" ie it's just ... life ... lifing. And we've hardly begun to grasp where we fit with life just lifing - like: what is our default relationship with life lifing really? like: how do we accomodate life just lifing?

She barely paused (I could tell she took no time to consider). "I just don't get that, you're saying we shouldn't do anything, that we should just accept  it?" she said. "No, that's actually not what I'm saying" I said, "but that is the way we're spring-loaded  to hear it. Try this on for size: 'We should be better than this' coming from 'It shouldn't be this way' has one quality of results, whereas 'We should be better than this' coming from 'This is the way it is, it's only life lifing' has qualitatively enhanced  results. It's all  life lifing (and it's only  life lifing, My Dear). So what's possible now? What do you hear that's new now?". And with that, I stopped speaking so she could contemplate this incorrigible conundrum: that we should be better than this yet aren't, is also only life lifing.


Background soundtrack: The Beatles: It's Only Love - wait for 2.61M download


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