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


One Day One Life:

A Reflection On Time

Monticello Deli, Monticello Road, Napa Valley, California, USA

March 26, 2015



"If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present." ... Ludwig Wittgenstein

This essay, One Day One Life: A Reflection On Time, is the companion piece to
  1. Endless Day
  2. One Day
in that order.

It is also the fifth in the sextology Time:
  1. Time On My Hands
  2. I'm Playing So Hard I've Got No Time To Be Busy
  3. Enough Time
  4. Moving Time Around
  5. One Day One Life: A Reflection On Time
  6. Maybe Time Isn't Linear
in that order.

I am indebted to Dr Robert Lee "Bob" Culver who inspired this conversation.




At some point (it came on gradually  in the latter third of my life) I began living my life as one seamless experience rather than as a discontiguous sequence of days - or, said another way, I began living my life as one long day ie as one infinitely  long day rather than as a sequence of component days. That's about the same time as I realized my life has always  been one seamless experience ie one infinitely long day, and that in naïvely living it as a discontiguous sequence of days (as I'd done until then), in some fundamental way I'd missed a vast opportunity. Nothing changed - yet the context in which I held it all, shifted dramatically.

The old adage "One day at a time" apprises us to live life as a discontiguous sequence of days. There's certainly nothing wrong with that. There've been times in my life when such counsel wasn't only welcome but also timely - not to mention useful. For the purposes of this  conversation however, I've realized viewing life as lived one day at a time, is really just the default  view of living life ie it's our thrown  view if you will, a view which requires no distinguishing. Furthermore, if this view ever gets lost, it works to reinstate it from time to time, especially when we're overwhelmed. In times of overwhelm, reverting to living life one day at a time (which is to say reminding ourselves of this already option) provides a certain welcome respite - even if only temporarily.

What I began to see however, is that designating the close of each day as the end of a chunk of my life (so to speak), is entirely arbitrary - if not misleading and distracting. The thing is not to replace  living life one day at a time, with living life as one seamless experience, but rather to include  living life one day at a time, within the newly distinguished broader context of living life as one seamless experience (it's a "both" - not an "either / or").

That said, living life in the broader context of one seamless experience rather than in one of a discontiguous sequence of days, allows for an entirely different class of possibility which, in turn calls forth an entirely different order of experience. Distinguishing the seamlessness of it all, is to distinguish the wholeness  of it all, the absoluteness  of it all, the infiniteness  of it all, the such-ness of it all, the thus-ness of it all. Living life only one day at a time as a discontiguous sequence of days, almost always  hides the enormity of this from me. After looking into this in some depth, it would seem to me that living life as one seamless experience, enlivens the domain of being and creativity  ie the domain of who I really am, whereas living life only one day at a time as a discontiguous sequence of days, reinforces the domain of doing  ie the domain of what there is for me to do  - regardless of whether "what there is for me to do" overwhelms me, or whether I'm taking it all in stride.

Did you get the Ludwig Wittgenstein quote with which I introduced this essay? Isn't it awesome?  When I'm concerned with (stuck in) what he calls temporal duration  (living life as a sequence of days), I miss what he calls timelessness  (living life as one seamless experience). That's neither a bad thing nor a good thing. Rather it illustrates how a simple new distinction can alter reality  ie alter experience, indeed alter what's possible. I just love the way his quote points to living eternal life in the present ie to living eternal life in the here  and now, especially given the way a huge percentage of we human beings are preoccupied with living eternal life sometime in the future, yes? Ludwig's quote's simplicity is both decisive and powerful (not to mention inspirational). I read it then re-read it more than a few times before it's full impact and what it reveals, landed. And when it did: "Wow!"  - just "Wow!".

Here's what I love about words - not just about Ludwig's words but about all words ie about all language, which is to say about the listened word as well as about the spoken word (and, to a much lesser extent, about the read  word as well as about the written word): the power they have (indeed, the power language has) to access new worlds. I love the leverage they have to reveal new dimensions, to engender new experiences, and to create new possibilities. Living life as one seamless experience within which is included living life as a discontiguous sequence of days (ie living life as that which I call "one day one life")  is a dimension, an experience, a possibility brought forth entirely by languaging. Bringing it forth by languaging, is arguably the only way something as timeless as this, could ever be brought forth.



Communication Promise E-Mail | Home

© Laurence Platt - 2015, 2016 Permission