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've Got Nothing Left To Do But Do

Connolly Ranch, Browns Valley, California, USA

April 7, 2016



"Living is really pretty simple. Living happens right now; it doesn't happen back then, and it doesn't happen out there. Living is not the story of your life. Living is the process of experiencing right now."
 ... 
"Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable."
 ... 
"If you don't take it out into the world, you didn't get it in the first place."
 ... 
This essay, I've Got Nothing Left To Do But Do, is the sixteenth in a group of sixteen on Nothing: It is also, with What Are You Present To Now?, the sequel to Conversations With A Friend VII.




You don't have to believe in a screwdriver in order for it to work. If you need one, you pick one up and use it. And if it breaks you get another one. You don't have to explain a screwdriver in order for it to work. If you need one, you pick one up and use it. And if it breaks you get another one. You don't even have to understand  a screwdriver in order for it to work. If you need one, you pick one up and use it. And if it breaks you get another one. That's being pragmatic about a screwdriver - and it's my analogy for being pragmatic about living, especially after divesting all cherished yet hopeless predilections to believe in and to explain and to understand living.

with Joshua - Dad's Backyard (videography by Joshua Platt)
Part of the difficulty I had with divesting my predilections to believe in and to explain and to understand not just living but everything, is I was taught to do all three. They constituted the greatest heft of my education. Arguably when they were presented, the three weren't directed at living itself. To be fair, believing was mostly directed at the religious experience, explaining was mostly directed at abstractions like mathematics, and then understanding was mostly directed at scientific phenomena. Also to be fair, those are the appropriate domains for them. But somehow I made living itself  into an appropriate domain for the three of them too - mea culpa.

Arguably you couldn't be a priest without touting belief, and nor could you be a mathematician without touting explanation. And you couldn't be a scientist without touting understanding. But as far as simply being alive on the planet goes ie as far as being a being  living on Earth goes, none of the three are required for me to be full, whole, complete, and vibrantly alive. This axiom took me (much to my chagrin) way too long in its discovery.

Just like the front and the back of the hand, being and action are distinct yet inseparable. There's really no line between them. To be alive is to be in action. To be in action, given we're alive, requires no belief, explanation, or understanding. Once you get this, there's nothing left to do but be in action ie there's nothing left to do but do. I've done all the believing and explaining and understanding I'm ever going to do. None  of it is required - even though the greatest heft of my well-intended education says it is. Now I've got nothing left to do but do.

One of the great opportunities (if not the greatest  opportunity) in life is the opportunity to share being with the world. It may work better to say "one of the greatest opportunities in life is the opportunity to share ... period"  because (you may say) "being with the world" adds not only limitation but also ulterior motive. Extraordinary experiences call for extraordinary sharing. Being doesn't work if you keep it to yourself. When you get it, you're called to share it - or you didn't get it in the first place.

Of all the things I could set up for my children to do in life, and of all the things I could set up for my children to inherit, none of them would have any lasting value or redeeming features if they don't first get being as a background against which all of it shows up. When we hike and talk, the topics come and the topics go. But our conversations aren't talking about:  except for entertainment value, I don't think that's useful. They're rather (if you will) talking from. That I think is extremely useful.



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