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

Long Time Gone

Silverado Trail, Napa Valley, California, USA

December 28, 2009

"It's been a long time comin'. It's goin' to be a long time gone." ... Crosby Stills and Nash, Long Time Gone 
This essay, Long Time Gone, is the ninth in an open group on People: It is also the seventh in an open group with titles borrowed from Songs: I am indebted to Jerome Downes who inspired this conversation, and to Michel-Joy DelRe and to Nancy Zapolski who contributed material.

I don't need the choir of angels and the violins.

Neither of them are necessary or appropriate accompaniments or accoutrements  for me to say thank you to you, a true friend, a partner, an ally, a trail blazer, an inspiration, a giant, an ordinary human being, a teacher, a master, a student, a manager, an executive, a trainer, a graduate, a husband, a father, a team player, a leader, a warrior, and an all round great guy. In fact, they'll only get in the way.

We're somehow always caught off guard, somehow always implausibly surprised when we get the news people have gone. Speaking only for myself, I'm surprised we're surprised. I'm quite OK with this mortal coil  eventually running out of gas as it inexorably does. Really I am. I'm not bothered by it at all. I'm not saddened by it either. This is the way it is with us human beings. To not confront it or to disregard it or to ignore it is to live a life of ungrounded illusion.

Speaking further only for myself, the only time I'm bothered or saddened when I get the news a person has gone is if I haven't had or haven't taken the opportunity to express everything  there is to be said between us, leaving nothing  between us getting in the way of I Love You. I'm bothered and / or saddened when I get the news a person has gone only if there's something between us left unsaid getting in the way of I Love You  because if there is, then the possibility of relationship  is unfulfilled. And in our case, between you and me there's nothing left unsaid getting in the way of I Love You.

I'm not bothered or saddened simply because  you've gone, simply because the mortal coil ran out of gas as it inexorably does. That dishonors and disrespects the way it is with us human beings. It dishonors you. It disrespects you. It imposes my arrogance and my attachment on your freedom to go.

I know where you go when you die. Where you go when you die is into the conversations of the people who know you. I could also say where you go when you die is into the conversations of the people who love  you. That's nice, but in this context it's not required. It's too limiting to only rediscover you in the conversations of people who love you. With you, it's more than simply we'll talk about you  - and, mark my words, we will - because with you, you're a source of Conversations For Transformation. You're one of those people without whom we wouldn't be having these Conversations For Transformation at all. It's more than that, actually. It's without you, we wouldn't be talking  at all.

The punch line of the joke about life on Planet Earth says "Nobody gets out of here alive!". While laced with a certain sardonic, noir  humor, it's as close to a "the truth"  for everyone as it's possible for all of us to agree that indeed there's is a "the truth"  common to all of us at all. But if you look a little closer, if you get below the surface of it, it's not sardonic at all. It's not noir  at all. In actuality, it's outright inspiring. It's enough to drive you out of bed early in the morning. It's enough to keep you up late at night.

It's inspiring at least twofold. One, it's inspiring because it's sobering. There's only so much time to get the job of living done. Time alive is precious. It's not to be squandered. It calls for the distinction of what's important, of what works, of what makes a difference  ... as opposed to what's unimportant, as opposed to what's ineffective, as opposed to what doesn't make a difference. Two, it's inspiring because once you get it's not if  it will end but rather when  it will end, there's a clear cut opportunity to choose  what your time on the planet will be about, a pivotal moment to commit  to what your life is going to be given by.

Your life was given by a future of transformation and possibility for everyone and everything with no one and nothing left out. There's no greater calling than that. You transformed lives.You transformed cities. You transformed countries. And you never once made it significant, serious, or heavy. Every day under all circumstances, you had a full on  rocked out kick ass  great time doing it. You skipped when even the nimblest trudged.

I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met who exemplified that one individual can make a difference. I really get that from you. I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met who showed me its possible to not simply have work to do, to not simply have a job to do. It was you who showed me I can work for the company (so to speak) in a Self generated context  of owning the entire company!

I thank you for being one of the first people I ever met who taught me the satisfaction of my life doesn't come from what I do  in my life. You taught me it's what I put into whatever I do  in my life which has the possibility of making anything  I do in my life satisfying. You taught me the inauthenticity  of playing the games in which the good looking boys get the pretty girls just because of their features, with no regard to who they really are. You broke down the barriers between men expressing love for other men within a completely heterosexual context, an area of my life which was either taboo  before I met you, or confused, or both.

It was in this context you freely and generously shared with me the opportunity to have a personal relationship with your Source and Friend. For me you are and always will be the cleansed Doors of Perception  to Werner (as Aldous Huxley may have said), and if there's one thing I'll never be able to thank you enough for, this is it.

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