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




Laurence Platt 70th Birthday

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

June 8, 2020



"The only thing wrong with immortality is that it tends to go on forever." ... Herb Caen

This essay, Laurence Platt 70th Birthday, is the companion piece to Dancing With Life.

Conversations For Transformation receives its one and a half millionth view with the publishing of Laurence Platt 70th Birthday.




It's always now. And yes we live in an illusory temporality of past, present, and future. But if you look closely and rigorously from your experience, there's only now.

As such, the passage of time birthdays mark, is a largely irrelevant (if not a distracting) indicator of how life really  shows up as the eternal now. Life is always urgent, always immediate, and always point blank  (as Jose Ortega y Gasset may have said). So there's compelling cause to cease celebrating birthdays altogether - as many of my esteemed friends and colleagues have elected to do - and to a certain degree, I share their view. Birthdays after all, don't have much to do with us. I didn't create my birthday directly. I had more to do directly with my graduation  day and with my naturalization  day than with my birthday, yes? So why celebrate it at all?

For me, there's an opportunity in celebrating birthdays which becomes clear after careful consideration. For starters, it's an opportunity to be in communication (but not laxly), an opportunity to share, to be with  my close family and friends, indeed to be with all the people who matter to me. Now for the most part, "all the people who matter to me" comprises the limited group of close family and friends. Yet the bigger truth of the matter is there's a possibility of this group being limitless - so that it includes everyone ie so that it embraces humanity at large with no one and nothing left out. In this sense I've chosen to leverage birthdays, both mine and others', to celebrate who we really are ie to remind  us of who we really are, and certainly to break from the faux celebration of the one-year-older ego, and to celebrate instead the miracle of who each of us really are as everyone  (sit with this in your lap for a moment, like a hot brick: "Celebrate 'who each of us really are' ... 'as everyone'.").

I notice there's something about 70, something which calls out my youthful, zestful ignorant avoidance  of the finiteness of my life, something which has called me out for living as if I'm bulletproof, invulnerable, unaccountable, and invisible, and all the while procrastinating that which deserves my attention now, until later  when (in my dreams) there's always  more time, and starts confronting the unavoidable: that all this comes with an (as yet unknown) expiration date. It's a new appreciation of my finiteness alongside my infiniteness, one which doesn't belabor that fact but rather calls me to live it ever fuller. It's in living it ever fuller that I find out who I really am. More importantly, it's in living it ever fuller that I discover who we all really are, with integrity, beyond and prior to all our illusions, pretenses, and inauthenticities.

This essay, Laurence Platt 70th Birthday, showcases a photograph and an e-mail that's recreated below, which I distributed to include my close family and friends who celebrated my 70th birthday with me today Monday June 8, 2020 (I was born in the evening at 8:45pm BST). Now, with this sharing, I include all of you as well.


Laurence Platt 70th Birthday


Photography by Marielle Adegran Rutherford - Larkin Way, Napa, California, USA - 10:00:01am PDT Monday June 8, 2020



Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More




Laurence Platt 70th Birthday

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

June 8, 2020


Dear Family and Friends,

Thank You for showing up. Thank You for being "here" with me today, just another extraordinarily ordinary day on Planet Earth - except today marks my 70th year on the planet, something that once didn't seem it would ever come to pass, yet it did.

My day started at dawn with exercises, yoga, and a run. Then, as I was catching up with e-mail, there was a knock at the door, and I looked up to see Joshua holding a cherry pie with seven candles, and seven colored balloons, one of each for each decade. The thing is Joshua was supposed to be in Oregon! He drove down to surprise me.

What a gift! I was speechless. Both wearing masks, we went on a 3 mile hike in and around the Coombsville appellation, the Cowboy Cottage milieu. Even though I resisted an overwhelming urge to hug him (it hurt), what could be a better way to celebrate?

In the evening, the two of us in Napa, and Alexandra and her beau Harrison in Santa Barbara, Zoom-ed for dinner which they ordered remotely and had delivered to Cowboy Cottage. Dinner was capped by the pièce de résistance:  an icecream tasting of six fine icecreams which Alexandra and Harrison had also shipped here, packed in dry ice (#1? the "Lemon & Blueberries Parfait" - hands down).

I'm not tempted to mouth any bon mots  about the news of the world as I turn 70 - so I won't. But I will say it's just another tumultuous year in my ever increasing appreciation of the time you and I have together. I mean the time we have to really be  together - like this, like now - knowing that with lockdowns, deadly diseases, civil unrest, racial inequality, and financial uncertainty, the context in which it all shows up, regardless of our opinions and preferences about the way it's turning out, is eternal, unchanging. It's who I am. It's who you are. So this is love. And ours is the love affair we were born to have. It's beautiful, transformative. And if you don't pay attention, you'll miss it completely. This is the miracle of being alive.

So I'm going to say thank you for being my birthday guests today - just another extraordinarily ordinary day on Planet Earth - and I want you to know how much, how totally I appreciate you.

With my Love and Respect and Thanks,




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© Laurence Platt - 2020 Permission



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© Laurence Platt - 2020 Permission