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

Love Of Life

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

December 2, 2013

"In the eyes of a child you will see." ... The Moody Blues, Eyes Of A Child

This essay, Love Of Life, is the tenth in a group of twenty one on Love: I am indebted to my daughter Alexandra Lindsey Platt whose image as a baby in a photograph inspired this conversation.

At first I don't notice her, even though she's always here - I walk by her many, many times each and every day. Engaged as I am as I concentrate on doing something else, I'm not paying attention to her - but neither am I paying attention to anything else, other than the task at hand. Then I turn around ... and there she is, just sitting here. Her expression, which I've seen so many times before, immediately gets me, as if I'm only now seeing it for the first time. It's like a laser beam locked on its target, and all I can do is stand stock still looking at her, freeze-framed, motionless, rooted to the ground, gazing in wonder.

What I see when I look in the eyes of this child (she's little more than a baby, actually), is unmistakably total love. "Define 'total love' Laurence?", you could ask. Yes I could give it a shot ... but to do so would be pointless: if I did, the wordiness  of its definition would only get in the way of the immediacy of this experience. Total love is one of those qualities you recognize without question when you see it. No definition is required for that which you grok  (as Robert Heinlein may have said). And no, that "you" doesn't refer to you personally:  it means all of us  human beings recognize it without question when seeing it.

The thing is I've looked in the eyes of some amazingly powerful adults as well, and I've also seen total love in their eyes. But what gets me as I look in this child's eyes, unable to turn away, unable to avoid her look, is the pureness of her love: no sophistications, no worldliness, not having learned how to be any particular way, not having learned how to make a grand impression, not proving anything, no cleverly compensating for something, no nothing  ... but love.

Melted, and completely taken aback with her ultra-clear innocent, sweet intensity, I ask myself "Is this really total love you're seeing in the eyes of this child, Laurence ... or is this you imagining  you're seeing total love in the eyes of this child?" - you know, a transformed  differentiation (listen: the distinction isn't trivial). As I look at her, as I stand here with her, being with her experience, I realize for the purposes of what I'd like to bring forth out of this conversation (and when I let in the expression in her eyes, I immediately know there will be  a conversation), it doesn't matter. What I see is total love in the eyes of this child, which I'm careful not to obfuscate with "I'm imagining I'm seeing total love in the eyes of this child" - even if there really is an element of truth in it.

Pretty soon I begin to wonder "If she's this young and she's neither had the experience nor the time to learn to love something, anything, then where's the object  of the love I'm seeing coming from her?". That's when I realize in her case there's no object of love. That's when I realize objects of love only occur for older people. Her love, on the other hand, so pure, so sweet, so innocent, is simply the love of Life  for itself. And she, so young that there's barely been time for her to learn any of the ways of the world a human being will invariably have to learn in order to survive, in order to get along  in life, is hardly one moment away from her source, from Life itself. It's when I realize what the look in her eyes shows: it's Life's own love of itself ie it's Life's own love of Life.

If we're going to be thrown  any particular way (and given the way it is for human beings, we are), then what a stunningly beautiful way it is to be thrown: as Life itself loving Life itself. We are  that Life is our source. To be sure, that invariably and inexorably becomes covered up as we learn. And Man!  we will learn ...  Yet it's always there, always available to be uncovered like a possibility  all the time, at every moment of our lives, under any and all circumstances. If it can be discovered, if and when it's revealed, what becomes available is the always mighty miraculous, the only life worth living, the only game in town.

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