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


Nothing We Can Achieve

Napa Valley, California, USA

February 28, 2005



This essay, Nothing We Can Achieve, is the sixth in a group of sixteen on Nothing:

A little known fact about the universe is it has its own complaints department, access to which is available to everyone except the faint-hearted. Here's how it works.

When something happens about which you wish to complain or when something happens you deem unfair or when there are things in your life which you don't like, go outside on a starry night and tell the stars what happened. Tell the stars what you don't like about what happened. Complain to the stars how you would have had what happened turn out differently than the way it turned out.

The universe's complaints department is very, very efficient. The universe has provided millions and millions and millions of stars to listen to you complaining. Certainly it's not understaffed. Yet its real value is not its ample staffing. Its real value (and arguably its only value) occurs after you notice exactly what the stars do in response to your complaint.

The universe, it would seem, is divinely indifferent to our complaints, to our predicament, to any  predicament. In response to our complaints the universe does absolutely nothing except continue to be the universe. This is it! You complain, and "So what?!". Be careful: there's value  in noticing living life from "this is it" is a clearing for possibility rather than for resignation ie for simply giving up and getting by.

Living life from "this is it" is not your birthright. You're not born with it. You literally have to make it up, to generate it from nothing. That's the real value in complaining to the stars and getting nothing  in return. You are here and this is it. What happens next is either the probable almost certain future (which you already got: it's the sequel to whatever you complain about) or whatever you create as possibility - a discontiguous, unpredictable outcome for which you're the source ie with which you are at cause.

The difference between the universe's response on a starry night to our complaints and peoples' response to our complaints is that there's no other response  from the universe other than  "I got it - what's next?" or "I got it - what else you got?", whereas people (albeit well-intentioned) invariably add something to appease our awkwardness and discomfort at being up against the inexorability of coming up with whatever is next for us to create in life.

Creation isn't change. Change changes something which already exists. Creation is inventing something new out of nothing. So in order to create something truly new you have to start with nothing. You have to be able to create nothing and to create experiencing nothing such that nothing is OK. To appease or to over sympathize with a complaint really freezes the complaint in time, unwittingly alleviating experiencing nothing and interfering with getting "this is it - what's next?". Alleviating experiencing nothing is absolutely deadly to creativity: nothing new can happen except the probable almost certain future.

I told My Best Friend everything I don't like about my life. He listened and said nothing.

Man! How I yearned for him to say something ... but he didn't. Yet that (I realized later) is what makes him My Best Friend!  I didn't realize at the time the gift My Best Friend bestows on me by listening then saying nothing is nothing less than the divine indifference of the universe. When the stars do it I may miss it. If another person does it I may interpret that they're ignoring me or that they're disinterested or that they don't want to be involved. But coming from My Best Friend it's patently getable. He really loves me enough to say nothing. He really loves me enough to grant being to who I really am and not to my complaint or to my story. Out of that I notice that in untransformed relationships we grant being to our complaint and to our story but not to who we really are. We have it ass backwards.

The next time I complained ie after I vented the complaint, I was newly empowered to invent the next possibility for my life. When speaking results in complaint, the probable almost certain future is just the sequel to the complaint. When speaking results in possibility, the future is open.



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