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 Works!

Exertec Health and Fitness Center, Napa, California, USA

August 9, 2011

This essay, Life Works!, is the prequel to Life Works! II: Life Itself Loves Me.

It's an elegant and pithy  philosophical conundrum: if a tree falls in the forest, and no one's there to hear it, does it make a sound? If Life does whatever Life does and no one says it works, does it work?

In a course titled Transformation 101, it's a given  the assessment "Life works!" is a function of me saying  "Life works!".

Regardless of what I say, at first glance it appears there's ample evidence Life doesn't  work. "Life doesn't work" (for which there's a lot of agreement as well as evidence) is an assessment made while looking at  Life. I'm not an ostrich with my head in the sand. I'm not afraid to look. Making a difference in Life demands I look at what doesn't work and address it.

How do I know what works? What's my yardstick  for assessing what works? I assert the yardstick for this assessment is: what's possible for Life? This isn't a question devoid of morality. I'm not asking what's possible for me to do in Life and get away with. Asking "What's possible for Life?" isn't based on simply doing whatever it is I dream up doing anarchistically. Rather, when I ask what's possible for Life, I'm asking what's possible for Life so it works for everyone with no one and nothing left out. That's my yardstick for assessing what works for Life. What's yours?

From where do I get what's possible for Life? I get what's possible for Life from looking at  and seeing what doesn't work. When I see what doesn't work, I get what the unfulfilled possibilities  for Life are. That's an important distinction: looking at  and seeing what doesn't work. But what's truly profound is what I see when I look from  "Life works!". Looking from  "Life works!" is counterintuitive (literally: counter to / against intuition) to looking at  what doesn't work. It's subtle. "Life works!" is a place I look from. It's comes prior to  making a difference with what I'm looking at. It's more than that actually. It's if I'm going to make any difference at all, "Life works!" must  come prior to making a difference with what I'm looking at.

At first this dichotomy is ironic. It's also a paradox: in the context  of "Life works!" (where I'm looking from), the world doesn't work (what I'm looking at). They're both present. At the same time. Seemingly opposite. Yet each is entirely valid. It's these seemingly irreconcilable opposites  which challenge religious people everywhere. The challenge shows up in some form or other of the question "If there really is a God, then why does she allow ...?" (fill in the blank with your own favorite disaster: man-made or natural).

To resolve this, what's called for is a shift in my point of view. This shift is away from being stuck in ie away from being fixated on the perfectly valid and compassionate "What I look at  doesn't work" and toward the profound "Where I look from, Life already  works".

This isn't simply positive thinking. It's not just looking on the bright side of things. The way I'm saying "Life already works"  isn't the result of empirical tests performed by scientists and found to be valid. Rather it's something to try on for size. When you try something on for size, it either fits or it doesn't fit. What I'm asking you to try on for size is the possibility Life works!  ie Life already  works. Furthermore I'm asking you to consider the possibility you've been lying about it until now. I'm asking you now to stop lying about it. Tell the truth: Life works! It's always  worked. From time to time you may have said it seems to you  as if it's not working. But it's always worked. Life is always working.

And yes, this is another paradox. This paradox is: I can't make a difference with what doesn't work until I stand in Life already  works. To be sure, I can change  and fix  what doesn't work. But the preponderance of evidence in my world shows I've tried for a long  time to change and fix things which don't work ... and it hasn't worked.

Listen: there's nothing wrong with trying to change and fix things which don't work. But to make a difference  wherever I am with whatever I'm doing, I stand in ie I come from  Life works! And it does. Because I say so.

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