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


Peace On Earth And Good Will To All People:

A Possibility

Vintage House Senior Center, Sonoma, California, USA

Christmas Day, December 25, 2012

"Simply having a wonderful Christmastime." ... Paul McCartney and Wings, Wonderful Christmastime 
This essay, Peace On Earth And Good Will To All People: A Possibility, is the sixth in a group of eight written on Christmas Day:
  1. Holiday Service
  2. Out Of My Head
  3. How To Enroll The World
  4. Holiday Service II
  5. A Game Worth Playing
  6. Peace On Earth And Good Will To All People: A Possibility
  7. Five Star Restaurant
  8. Direct Experience
in that order.

It is also the fifth in an open group on Possibility: I am indebted to Dr Martin Luther King who inspired this conversation.




It's Christmas time again. The spirit of peace on Earth and good will to all people is upon us. Let's face it: by now the tantalizing idea of peace on Earth and good will to all people is in danger of becoming just a worn out refrain in one of those carols - and not much more. We sing it. We wish it upon others. We pray  for it. We write it (or Hallmark  prints it) on our greetings cards. And all of it is just going through the motions. Even as we're wishing it upon others, isn't it only because the formality of the by now hackneyed words, are traditional to utter at this time of year? Or do they really - Listen! - bring forth a possibility?

If you sit for just a moment with the possibility of peace on Earth and good will to all people, it will ... blow  ... you  ... away. It's awesome. And as far as I can tell, we do at least three things which kill off  peace on Earth and good will to all people like a possibility.

The first is we live peace on Earth and good will to all people as a concept, as the right thing to vote for, as a bon mot  where it has no life, where it has no juice  at all, rather than as a possibility - big  difference. And if we're not living it as a concept and we're approaching  living it as a possibility (which is to say we're almost  living it as a possibility) then we're living it as if it's possible for us  (we're the good guys) but not for them  (they're the bad guys). I'm sorry, but that's the tired old paradigm of "a you or  me world" (the one half of what Werner Erhard may have said). It doesn't work. It's never worked. It won't ever  work. If you need evidence it doesn't work, turn on the evening news.

The second is peace on Earth and good will to all people can only work as a possibility for "a you and  me world" (the other half of what Werner Erhard may have said). And to invent peace on Earth and good will to all people as a possibility for a you and me world, you have to speak it coming from transformation. Why? Because if you don't  speak it coming from transformation then it's not a possibility. Then it's simply a change. Isn't it time we admitted changing the world  doesn't work, has never worked, and won't ever  work? Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose  - the more things change, the more they stay the same, yes?

The third is this: what's the deal  with earmarking only one day for every three hundred and sixty five days a year  for invoking peace on Earth and good will to all people? Only one  day a year? Only one day for every three hundred and sixty five? How petty. How stingy. How small. How mean. How smug. No wonder the evening news shows what it shows. Inventing peace on Earth and good will to all people like a possibility for a you and me world, and speaking it coming from transformation - not just for a day, not just for a year, but for life  - is what the spirit of Christmas (the opportunity  of Christmas, actually) really is.

Here's something else I'd like you to consider: saying "... not just for a day, not just for a year, but for life ..." stops too short. A possibility like peace on Earth and good will to all people, once completely invented will go on even after my life ends. It's a possibility which may not be realized before I die. So promising it is an impossible promise. It's planting the seed of a Christmas tree under who's branches I may never sit.



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