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




On Speed Bumps And Stop Signs

Opus One, Oakville, and Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford
Napa Valley, California, USA

September 15, 2018



"A champion race car driver is clear about the difference between speed bumps and stop signs." ... Laurence Platt

This essay, On Speed Bumps And Stop Signs, is the companion piece to Presence Of Self.




Speed bumps by Marshalls
There are those situations in my life for which I have to slow down - which is to say, which make me slow down (speed bumps). And there are those situations for which I have to stop - which is to say, which make me stop (stop signs). In this analogy there is a big difference between speed bumps and stop signs. It's a difference I matured into. Until I did, I ignored it - at my own peril.

Prior to that, I had no idea there was any difference at all between the two (which is to say in the past, I hadn't considered they were different, and it didn't occur to me that I was bringing no rigor to either) ... and then suddenly there was a difference. To live my life well, it's clear to me now, whether I'm being ongoingly mindful of it or not, demands that I get clear about the difference.

When I tell the truth about it, my epiphany of realizing just how critical the difference is, was made possible by (if not completely defined by) listening Werner Erhard speak / share the cost of out-of-integrity behavior in his own life. Upon reflection (which is to say upon discovering it for myself), I noticed ignoring speed bumps may vibrate my life, but it doesn't stop my life. Ignoring stop signs on the other hand, brings my life to a complete standstill. That's ironic since the onus is on me to stop at stop signs. Yet if I don't stop at stop signs, my life gets inexorably stopped anyway (I'll revisit the irony of this realization later in this conversation).

Both speed bumps and stop signs interrupt my natural momentum and velocity in getting things accomplished. I could ignore them both (as I did in the past - not necessarily a good option). I could treat them both the same way (also not necessarily a good option). I could also distinguish between the two (arguably the smart choice). Of everything I do (which is to say of everything it's possible for me to do), I've discovered something definitive about when I'll merely slow down, and I've also discovered something definitive about when I'll come to a complete stop (on all other occasions it's full steam ahead!). OK, real world examples please, Laurence.

<aside>

Before I provide examples, consider that all analogies fail, more sooner than later. That's the self-evident truth. So as a writer, I'm wary of using them. Generally I'll eschew them completely. In this conversation, "speed bumps" and "stop signs" are clearly analogies. These ones however, are ones I like. They could be useful. So I'll take my chances using them.

<un-aside>

Stop sign by Dornbos Sign and Safety
Not paying attention to a healthy diet, skipping regular exercise, not hydrating enough with clean water, not getting good sleep, smoking, drinking etc, are speed bumps. All of them slow my life down. If I ignore speed bumps, I can do whatever it is I do, but with less vigor, less energy, and consequently with less alacrity. My life continues, but with a lesser momentum and velocity.

Violations of integrity on the other hand, are stop signs. Ignoring stop signs, brings my life to a complete standstill. That's the aforementioned irony. There's no point voting whether they're big violations of integrity or a small violations. Any violation of integrity stops my real  life. And it stays stopped until I clean it up ie until I re-instate my integrity. A champion race car driver (my analogy for someone who lives life well ie a master) is clear about the difference between speed bumps and stop signs.

The vibration of speed bumps reminds me to handle issues in my life. I may do so now, later, or never. Whatever I do, my life continues. Stop signs, the signs of integrity violations, don't come with such a choice. They warn me to stay in integrity (or get back into integrity), or my real life will come to a stop almost immediately. Integrity is honoring my word. Stop signs warn me to honor all six definitions of my word, to keep honoring them, and to clean it up with people with whom I haven't honored them.



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© Laurence Platt - 2018 Permission