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


Legacy

Sacramento, California, USA

March 31, 2008



I was standing leaning forward, hands on my knees, toes dangling over the edge, on the high diving board squinting down into the water so impossibly far below.

As soon as I noticed it inexorably happening anyway, I stretched my arms open wide, as wide as I possibly could, wrapping my empty nothing Self like a shimmering cloak around the entire universe, and dived off, headlong into being, incarnating my infinite context like a possibility  as a human being born ... just ... like  ... that  ...

It's often said we arrive here with nothing and we'll leave here with nothing. That's partially true, yet it's also trite enough to risk missing the whole what's so  of what really happens.

I've got something to say about this. What's so is not  that I came here with nothing. It's that I came here as  nothing. And it wasn't until I'd been here for a while that it slowly dawned on me the legacy  which awaited me here, the inheritance I received when I got here is the same legacy awaiting everyone. It's the legacy of being human  with which I personally have everything to do, and with which I personally have nothing  to do. It's always personal, and it's never  personal.

In the matter of our legacy, in the matter of us inheriting the human-ness of being human, there's no choice but to accept it. There's no choice, either, to refuse it. Accepting it is the subway token for being here, it's the ticket to ride  along the road of the examined life, it's the tollbooth toll at the onramp to the highway of living, indeed it's the mandatory visa, the rubber stamp required for entering in through the gates of Planet Earth. And there's no way back out of those gates once you've entered in either. Or, said another way, the only way out is through.

We're born, then we immediately inherit the legacy. We're born to be personal, but it's  not personal, and neither is inherting it personal. It's both a relief and a surprise to discover life is never personal and it's always personal. Neither you nor I created the humanness of being human, the so-called human condition. Yet we're undeniably born into it. It was here when we got here. It'll be here long after you and I are gone. It's got nothing to do with you. Yet it's got everything to do with you. It's got nothing to do with me. Yet it's got everything to do with me.

As I surrender to this humanness, as I choose  to inherit this legacy, I know for the most part it will cost me my soul. And that's just for starters. That's just the down payment of the first installment of the total price I'll eventually pay. The choiceless choice of accepting it will keep me occupied and distracted, away from my Self, away from my true nature  almost all the time for almost all my days on this planet.

Yet the dignity and privilege of being here requires I magnanimously accept this legacy. It calls me to take it on and live it fully, because that  - not my true nature - is ultimately what's going to define my life here as a human being.

It could be said there's really only one truly original act human beings can lay claim to. It could be said the only truly original act human beings can lay claim to is distinguishing the legacy from who we really are. Indeed, it's in distinguishing the legacy from who we really are that brings forth  who we really are. Even though it's possible for each and every one of us to do exactly the same thing which is to distinguish the legacy from who we really are, even though in this regard we each have the exact same ability as everyone else, paradoxically it's still an act of true originality when any one of us distinguishes the legacy from who we really are.

Be careful. It doesn't mean anything and it's not significant that, in all moments under all circumstances, we each have the ability to originally distinguish the legacy. That's just what's so about us human beings. Yet of all the myriads of choices we can make and of all of legions of actions we can take, it's possibly the only choice we enable ourselves to make which truly touches, moves, and inspires us and Life itSelf. It's arguably also the only action we're capable of taking which really  makes a difference.



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