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


Straight Ahead:

A Political Discourse

Exertec, Napa, California, USA

November 21, 2010



"Laurence swims  in that space."  ... 
This essay, Straight Ahead: A Political Discourse, is the companion piece to Runaway Train.



Face in the water. Pull straight ahead  - three strokes. Face out of the water to the left. Breathe.

Face in the water. Pull straight ahead - three strokes. Face out of the water to the right. Breathe.

Face in the water. Pull straight ahead ... and suddenly out of the blue  here in this pool before dawn has barely broken on this chilly winter morning, I get swimming  as an analogy for living.

Here's what I mean by that:

In Life I'm sometimes distracted by what's on the left  - so to speak. I'm sometimes distracted by what's on the right. Both what's on the left and what's on the right clamor for ie demand  my attention. Only after I generously pay attention to the one or to the other, do I realize the price of paying attention to either  of them is too high - it's just not worth it. Paying attention to the demands of what's on the left and / or to the demands of what's on the right only distracts me from ie costs  me what's straight ahead.

You can easily tell when I'm distracted. When I'm distracted I debate  what's on the left - as if it has more merit, as if it makes more sense  than what's on the right. Other times when I'm distracted, I hold an opinion  what's on the right is better  that what's on the left. Neither is true. What's on the left doesn't have any more merit, doesn't make more sense than what's on the right. That's just the ongoing debate. What's on the right isn't better than what's on the left. That's just my opinion - or someone else's.

At first, both what's on the left and what's on the right overpoweringly distract me from what's straight ahead. When I let them both be, when I just let what's on the left be, when I just let what's on the right be  as they are without messing with either, without getting my fingers caught in either's machinery, the first thing I see after I've disengaged from both, is neither are powerful places to stand - neither the left nor the right.

Saying neither are powerful places to stand isn't an assertion coming from righteousness. It doesn't come from being right. Rather it's an observation of what's so. In fact the next thing I see is while both have no real power, both serve a purpose. The purpose they both serve is to define  what's straight ahead. They define what's straight ahead by exemplifying what's around it ie by positioning it's extremes. If all they were is powerless, I'd have no respect for either. It's only because they position the extremes of what's straight ahead that I'm respectful of them. I can acknowledge positioning the extremes  as something useful. I respect that.

The third thing about both what's on the left of me and what's on the right of me in Life which I see when I swim as an analogy for living  is both sides are the only places I can breathe. If I don't put my face there from time to time, I cease fully functioning as a human being. So I'll go to the left from time to time, and I'll go to the right from time to time because those are the milieus  in which human beings play.

But how Life is governed for me as a human being, how Life shows up for me as a human being is neither given by what's on the left of me nor by what's on the right of me nor, for that matter, by what's behind  me. How Life shows up for me as a human being is given by the future I invent to live into ie by what's straight ahead.



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