I am indebted to Chris Lacey who inspired this conversation.
THIS ... is ... it ...
Life's turned out. It's turned out this way. It didn't
turn out any other way. It didn't turn out the way you
wanted it to. It didn't turn out the way you
needed it to. It didn't turn out the way you
hoped it would. It didn't turn out the way you
wished it would. It didn't turn out the way you
it would. It simply turned out the way it turned out.
The train is in the
It got here regardless of your want, regardless of your need,
regardless of your hope, regardless of your wish, regardless of your
regardless of your good
regardless of you being a good person.
It's not what you expected. Who you gonna call?
At this juncture, disappointment's a good option. It seems valid,
doesn't it?, to be disappointed when your expectations aren't met. You
didn't expect this ... yet this is the way it
turned out, yes? There'd be a lot of agreement out there
if you asked "Is this all there is?" and were disappointed
when you got the answer "This is all there is.". There'd be even more
agreement if you then complained "But it's not fair!".
Anger's a possibility too. You could rail against
for setting it up this way. You could also rage against
for being this way.
Here's the thing: disappointment, unfairness, and anger live inside of
a kind of
They're interimly real - for
you. But they're not ultimately real for
That's Werner Erhard's take on it. Literally.
take can be tested. You can come to your own conclusion. You don't have
to believe him. Here's how you can test it:
The next time you're disappointed, the next time you consider you've
been treated unfairly, the next time you're angry, go outside at night
and tell the stars and the universe how disappointed you are, tell the
stars and the universe how unfair things are, tell the stars and the
universe how angry you are.
That's the first part of the test. It's the second part of
the test which is the critical part. In the second part of the test,
after you've told the stars and the universe how disappointed you are,
how unfair things are, how angry you are,
carefully for the stars' and the universe's reactions.
very, very carefully.
Pretty soon you'll notice the stars and the universe are divinely
indifferent to disappointment, unfairness, and anger. They don't
care about disappointment, unfairness, and anger. They aren't
swayed one iota by disappointment, by unfairness, by
anger. They give no justice. They grant no compensation. They provide
no alleviation. Actually it's worse than that. It's that all the stars
and the universe say about disappointment, unfairness, and anger is
No matter how many times, no matter how convincingly you
tell the stars and the universe about your disappointment, unfairness,
and anger, that's all they say, that's all they
ever say, over and over and over and over again:
You're disappointed. You've been treated unfairly. You're angry. It's
not what you expected.
Who you gonna call?".
There's no way out. You're trapped. The
led you to this moment of disappointment, unfairness, and anger. But
heal disappointment? Shouldn't
rebalance unfairness? Shouldn't
quench anger? Shouldn't it? Especially if you're a
"OK!" you say, "Enough's enough Laurence. I got it. Where's the
But there's none. Gotcha! You've been stood up.
You're left waiting for your date to arrive to escort you to the prom
and he ain't
This is a pivotal moment. This incident could be woven into a lifelong
of being ripped off, a feeling of being cheated, of misery, of
resentment. After all,
led you here, but you got no justice, no
compensation, no alleviation ... which clearly proves
is against you, is unfair, isn't to be trusted. It proves
this moment is the insurmountable wall of defeat, the
shot through the heart, the final nail in the coffin,
all of the above.
* * *
That's one possible outcome. Yet on closer examination, that particular
outcome doesn't have choice in it. That particular outcome
... with a velocity, with an
irresistiblepull all of its own. I guess you could say (justifiably
so) the problem is
I'd like to consider the possibility that the problem isn't
I'd like to consider the possibility that the problem is not
exercising choice over
In this inquiry, the choice to accept the situation, the choice to
accept what is comes perilously close to
resignation, to being resigned. But it's not that. It's not even
close. It's the opportunity to choose
to choose what is as the
for disappointment, unfairness, and anger. In the moment of making that
choice, disappointment, unfairness, and anger are no longer personal.
In the instant of getting off it, they cease being the
for living. They're
Their causes become, instead, simply
At worst, they're generated by you even though they appear to be
generated by the circumstances. At best, they're insignificant and
meaningless and, like other self-defeating addictions eg to nicotine
and alcohol, can be dropped.
That's what the stars and the universe were telling you all along, ever
since you were born, in fact - only you weren't
At the end of the day, the choice to accept what is is
arguably the most sacred action a human being can perform.
Unfailingly, with that choice comes
But it's not a choice which, once made, needs never be made again. This
isn't a game show. There's no "lock in your answer" option here.
If there were, making this choice once thus ensuring
would annihilate any possibility of future onus and
Instead, it's a choice to be made over and over and over again, once
for each and every occasion when things turn out to be not what you
expected. There's no short cut. There's no easy way
the whole world
generated this way as a
act ie as a choice, is the very stuff of
those sudden discontiguous exponential shifts in life which produce
results which heretofore simply weren't possible. When I
not so much in
of disappointment, unfairness, and anger but rather in
of decisions I've made about disappointment, unfairness,
and anger, only so much is available, only so much is possible.
accepting what is so that disappointment, unfairness, and
which simply didn't exist before.
made available by the simple act of accepting what is is
the firing pin of a
What starts off as not what you expected is
through acceptance into a
for something new, for possibility. There's simply no possibility in
given by decisions made about disappointment, unfairness,
and anger. I don't know why it's that way. Sometimes I wish it weren't
that way. I notice how heavily invested I am in the
decisions I've made about disappointment, unfairness, and anger. Yet
the more I look, the more I see it's that way. Who you gonna
call? The answer's obvious.
I assert you could infer that's really a measure of how much the stars
and the universe support us. They don't tell us that when we tell them
about our disappointment, unfairness, and anger. They know how big we
really are, even when we've forgotten. They trust us to figure that
part of it out for ourselves.