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


Soap Opera

Merryvale, St Helena, California, USA

October 4, 2007



This essay, Soap Opera, is the companion piece to Living LIfe As A Story: The Folly Of Being Human.



From time to time when I'm not present to who I really am, my life shows up like a soap opera. That's when I'm dramatizing, entangled in the drama, the epic saga of it all. Occasionally I'm in the audience, absorbed, watching myself in the soap opera of my life. Sometimes I'm a critic  reviewing the soap opera of my life, commenting on the plot, opining about the outcome, voting  on its authenticity and on its fairness.

Yet who I really am  is none of the above. When my life shows up like a soap opera, when I show up dramatizing the epic saga of my life, when I show up like I'm in the audience watching myself in the soap opera of my life, or when I show up like a critic of the soap opera of my life, a critical distinction  has gone soft. That's when a key context  for living is no longer decisive or present.

There's a context which, by its presence alone, distinguishes living life  from the soap opera of it. I'm committed forever to being a stand for that context. I'm committed forever to being a clearing in which that context can be distinguished. I'm committed forever to being a friend of distinction.

When you got it you got it. When you haven't got it you haven't got it. As soon as you get you haven't got it, you get it again. Can you get it and keep it forever? I'll lose it, and I'll recreate it again soon enough. As soon as I do, I get my life back even while the four thousand and seventeenth episode of the soap opera has come right back after the break  and continues to seduce its audience.

But this time I'm living my life  again and not merely back on stage acting in the scripted drama, the story, the stürm und drang  (aka "snot and tears") soap operatic circumstances of my life. Returning to this way of authentically being  becomes possible once I've redistinguished who I really am - context  - from the meaningless soap operatic circumstances of my life - content.

To one degree or another, we're all trapped in the soap opera of our lives, blindly rooted in its believability, righteously defending and justifying our role in it, unable to distinguish the soap opera from life or vice versa, unaware we're the authors of its script and not merely actors whose lives are predetermined by it.

And all the while the soap opera goes further and further into syndication and is contracted to go on forever, episode after episode, season after season, rerun after rerun after rerun.



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