The quality of life isn't rooted in situations. You and I have
the ability at all times under all and any circumstances to
the quality of our own lives, of the lives of others, and of Life
Without this as a foundation, things may get better but they're almost
guaranteed to get worse. There's more to do. We've more to manage.
There's more to attend to. Things get more expensive. We get older.
Things get harder and more arduous. They require more time and more
energy. There are more people and fewer resources. We pollute the
environment. We wage war. We damage the ecological balance in the name
of economics. And when we do each of these, we do them because we think
they'll solve a problem in some unworkable situation. Instead each of
these solutions creates their own legacies of many more unworkable
I notice when I give up the fancy that things will get better, and
instead get into alignment with Life exactly as it
rather than how I picture it ought to
there seems to be more room to breathe, more power to be with
indeed more unerring ability to impact
and to make a difference, and less becoming caught up with and getting
stuck in the
There's deep, profound happiness requiring nothing in particular.
There's the possibility of being completely satisfied simply by being
alive and awake.
In other words, when I give up the fancy that things will get better,
But for the most part, the future of the untransformed world seems to
be like a runaway train: careening along its tracks, unable to brake or
even to slow down, ending up who knows where with
knows what consequences.
When Werner Erhard distinguishes taking a stand for the future,
he creates the analogy of the world as a runaway train. I enjoy his
analogy so much I'm recreating it here to share it with you. The
scenario is Werner's. The words are mine.
There are passengers on a train going somewhere. They're enjoying the
scenery as the train chugs through beautiful countryside. They begin to
meet and talk with their fellow passengers. Everything's fine on this
Almost imperceptably the train begins to go faster. At first the
evidence of this is little more than a shorter time between each
clickity clack as the wheels go over the railroad ties.
But then the train starts to shudder. And soon the passengers become
more than a little alarmed as it goes around bends.
Then the runaway train starts to lean precariously and rock from side
to side, and a visceral sense of danger becomes palpable for everyone
on the train. Clearly something's very, very wrong.
A woman stands up and takes charge.
She says "Everyone sit on the left side.".
It doesn't work. The train doesn't slow down. Neither does it balance
more securely on its tracks.
Then a man says "OK. Sitting on the left side doesn't work. Everyone
sit on the right side.".
But it doesn't work either.
Now, clearly they're in dire straits. All the passengers take turns
giving their opinions about the predicament they're in. When they've
finished giving their own opinions and they've heard and understood
everyone else's opinions, they notice the runaway train still hasn't
slowed down. It doesn't seem fair. It doesn't seem right.
So they all vote about the fairness and the rightness of the situation.
When they've all finished voting for what's fair and what's not fair
and for what's right and what's not right about their predicament, when
they've counted all the votes and declared a winner, they notice the
runaway train still hasn't slowed down. So they try
Albert Einstein said "The significant problems we face cannot be solved
at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.".
Finally when they've tried everything, when they've tried it again,
when they've tried it some more, when they've tried doing it better,
when they've tried doing it differently, they realize as long as
they're trying new things within the confines of their
thinking and listening,
absolutely nothing is going to work, absolutely nothing is going to
stop that runaway train.
Then slowly, very slowly at first, it dawns on them - each passenger
individually, one person at a time very, very privately and very, very
intimately: what they're going to have to do is get out in front of
that runaway train and lay some new track.