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


The Antithesis Of Resignation

Jacuzzi Vineyards, Sonoma Valley, California, USA

September 2, 2009



This essay, The Antithesis Of Resignation, was conceived at the same time as I am indebted to Mark Spirtos who inspired this conversation.



I've finally figured it out. I've been living in the question "Is there such a thing  as possibility?". Or, said another way, "In my life is there possibility?  ie does possibility exist? And if it does, is its nature permanent? ie does it last?".

This is what I've come to: when I wake up in the morning, I wake up into a world of no possibility.

Now ... if you heard resignation  in what I just said, if you heard me saying I'm resigned, you didn't get it. Neither is there one trace of negativity or pessimism in what I just said. Rather, waking up into a world of no possibility is the empowering truth  for my life. And except for the fact that I haven't asked you and every one of the other seven billion people alive today, I'd be willing to bet that's also how you and everyone else wakes up in the morning: into a world devoid  of possibility.

Why is that? On what basis can I make such a grandiose, sweeping generalization? Furthermore, on what basis can I assert there's no resignation, no negativity, and no pessimism in saying I wake up in the morning into a world of no possibility?

The basis of my assertion is if you wake up into possibility, then whatever it is, it's not possibility you're waking up into. It may be anticipation you're waking up with - but it's not possibility you're waking up into. It may be a positive attitude  you're waking up with - but it's not possibility you're waking up into. It may be hope or optimism  you're waking up with - but it's not possibility you're waking up into.

Possibility is an invented  space. It comes to be only inasmuch as I create it ie only inasmuch as I invent it coming to be. Unless I invent possibility, it's simply not there. Possibility goeswith  being invented (as Alan Watts may have said). If that's a given  (and for this  conversation it is) then it's true the world you and I wake up into in the morning is devoid of possibility. Possibility doesn't exist out there  in the world. Possibility is always and only mine for the inventing. Possibility is always and only mine for the calling forth. It's always and only mine for the granting to be.

The next cut, the next take  on the invention of possibility is this: if you invent possibility then let it be without ongoingly re-inventing it ie without inventing it again, it disappears. Sorry about that, but that's the way it is. Man! I wish it weren't this way. Sometimes I wish I could invent possibility only once, invent it really well, then leave it alone and have it always be there permanently, a full tank of gas  which, once filled, always stays full, always driving my life, never needing topping off or refilling ever again. When I get stuck in that rut of wishful thinking, I remind myself it's not only naïve - it's actually irresponsible too.

So what, then, is the space I wake up into if it isn't the space of possibility? The space I wake up into is the space of the possibility of possibility itself. It's always possible I can invent possibility. But possibility doesn't appear by itself, and it doesn't persist  once invented, by itself. And it doesn't exist by itself out there  in the world. For all intents and purposes there's no such thing  as possibility out there  in the world. If I don't invent it, there's simply no such thing. And if I don't re-invent it, it disappears, it doesn't persist, it's not permanent.

There's no resting on laurels  either in this regard. Inherent in any great act of inventing possibility is the potential for it to be the last  great act of inventing possibility. Possibility, once invented, doesn't persist. Possibility, once invented, immediately starts disappearing. Eventually it disappears entirely unless it's kept in existence by being re-invented ongoingly. In other words, possibility has a short half life. It's more than that actually. You could say if you invented possibility once and it lasted forever, whatever it was you invented wasn't possibility. The very nature of possibility requires you invent it again and again and again over and over and over ... again and again and again ... and then some more.

Once you get it, the possibility of possibility itself  will keep you up late at night and drive you out of bed early in the morning. I assert it's the opportunity to invent possibility  which is at the heart of what it really is to be a human being. With it, it's an extraordinary life. Without it, if you tell the truth about it, frankly it's not even worth being human. Without it, the best  it gets is living life like a robotic automaton, like a stimulus / response no choice  machine, like a cuckoo clock gonging and cuckoo-ing with clockwork until its spring runs slowly, inevitably, and inexorably down. Without it, if you tell the truth about it, it's just not worth it, it's just going through the motions, it's just getting by. In fact, if you really  tell the truth about it, without it you're sleepwalking  your way, resigned, through life.

Waking up in the morning into the possibility of possibility itself  is the antithesis of resignation.



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