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


Life To The Fullest

Napa Valley, California, USA

February 9, 2014

"Lots of people have talked about living life to the fullest. Living life to the fullest is actually a lot less remarkable than living life from  the fullest."
... Laurence Platt inspired by the ideas of  
This essay, Life To The Fullest, is the fifth in the septology Rosebud:

It's such an easy predicament to find ourselves in. It's a most human  predicament to be in: to want more, to want to achieve more, to want to live more - and then after we have more, after we've achieved more, after we've lived more, to then find out it's not enough.

I'm interested in people who do have more, who have achieved more, who've lived more. People like David Bowie. People like Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Richard Branson - not because they're both knighted: rather I'm interested in what drives them. I'm interested in what motivates them. I'm also interested in the simple baseline story of how their lives turned out the way they turned out. What interests me in particular is what some of them say about their lives, especially what some of them say about living their lives in an elevated, rarefied realm well beyond most of our wildest dreams and aspirations.

"Too much is never enough" is, for me, one of David Bowie's most endearing comments. Listen: he's not being witty or clever when he says it. For him, it's the truth. It's an accurate expression of his experience: it's not enough. Sir Paul McCartney, a billion and a half dollars of net worth fortune later, has famously and also endearingly observed one thing he's ongoingly afraid of is waking up one day and finding himself poor - or of waking up one day and finding someone has written a better song than his. People like Sir Richard Branson set themselves bigger and bigger challenges in order to experience life to the fullest. It makes me wonder: as admirable a goal as that is, is it a count-on-able access to living life whole, complete, satisfied, and fulfilled? Seriously. Is it really?

<aside>

*** SPOILER ALERT!  *** SPOILER ALERT!  *** SPOILER ALERT!  *** SPOILER ALERT!  ***
***
If you prefer not to know Citizen Kane's  ending, read no further ***


<un-aside>

And then, of course, there's the admittedly fictitious but nonetheless iconic Citizen Kane  who, at the end of a long life of vast influence, colossal accomplishment, and croesian  amassed wealth, wanted only one thing on his deathbed: his childhood toy, his sled, his "Rosebud". Evidently all his living life to the fullest didn't count for much in the end.

What is  that? What is that which flies in the face of what we assume life is all about: to have more, to achieve more, to live more, and then after we have more, after we've achieved more, after we've lived more, to find out it's not enough? What's that? Did we get it all wrong? Did Life play tricks on us?

It's not that Life played tricks on us. And as for "Did we get it all wrong?", it's probably not that entirely either, although arguably we - collectively, as a group, as a culture - misguidedly decided a long, long time ago that living life to the fullest required having more, achieving more, and living more, and it was this well‑intentioned yet misguided decision which became ingrained on our planning for what's needed to live a full life, from then on - yet ultimately, as David Bowie notes, even when such planning succeeds beyond our expectations and produces too  much, it's still not enough. It's never enough.

That's why these days, although I unabashedly admire them, I'm less impressed by mavericks who plan to build spacecraft to offer vacations beyond our Earth's atmosphere to the private sector, as I am by regular guys who are willing to tackle ie who are willing to inquire into the possibility of being whole, complete, satisfied, and fulfilled right here  and right now  exactly the way we are and exactly the way we aren't, with nothing added and with nothing taken away. For me, it's not as remarkable to consider the possibility of living life to the fullest, as it is to consider the possibility of living life from  the fullest.

Without the latter, none of the former is worth much anyway. Really it isn't. David Bowie already knows this. Citizen Kane waited too long to find out.



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