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 Ideal Place

Tres Sabores, St Helena, California, USA

June 25, 2021

"I've been searching for years for the ideal place. And I've come to the realization that the only way to find it is to be it." ... Alan W ("Wilson") Watts, early mentor for Werner

This essay, The Ideal Place, is the companion piece to Go To The Beach.

It was written at the same time as

I've settled in the Napa Valley in California. Interestingly enough, Napa Valley was never on my radar to begin with. I just ... kinda ... sorta ... wound up  here. Prior to this, I'd looked for the ideal place to live. I've lived in the Fiji islands. I've lived in the Balearic islands. I've lived in the Greek islands. I've lived in New Zealand, and on the beaches of South Africa. I've lived in the Austrian Alps. And I could list more ... but that selection is good enough to make my point: all those places started off as seemingly ideal in my estimation ... until they weren't ideal anymore - and I left, looking for pastures new, searching for the ideal place (it had to be somewhere else).

Life is three feet long. That part of the equation is easy. The trouble is that being whole, complete, and satisfied  with life, is only two feet, eleven and three quarters of an inch long. That part of the equation is not so easy. There's a big gap, a satisfaction  gap (if you will), a maddening gap at that, a gap of a quarter of an inch between life, and being satisfied with life. That gap persists - no matter what, no matter where. There's never enough of whatever life has to offer, to ensure total satisfaction. No wealth, no romance, no rewards, no Bora Bora  that just with its presence alone, is enough to guarantee satisfaction ongoingly, unflaggingly, forever.

We look for satisfaction everywhere. We arrange, re-arrange, and manipulate our circumstances and the people in our lives, in our relentless craving for satisfaction. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't work. But even when it works, it's only temporary. Dis-satisfaction follows hard on the heels of satisfaction. It always waits, coming soon, coming next. No matter what we try, the satisfaction that life offers is temporary at best. It starts. It ends. And we, not accepting that blindingly obvious fact, keep looking hopefully for the ideal place somewhere else (with all this manure, there must be a pony  - as James Kirkwood may have said - is a favorite refrain).

I'm sorry, but there ... is  ... no  ... such  ... place. There's no place that's ideal. And if there's a place that seems ideal, it's short term. It's never ideal in the long term. There's always some inconvenience, always some drawback, some pitfall  in each and every place. Even the most mesmerizing tropical paradises come with their own load of trials and tribulations (there's nothing quite like a hurricane or a tsunami  to upset your ideal day basking in the sun on fine white sandy lagoon beaches). We find that out, especially if we stay long enough. Reality dictates there's always something  that eventually gets in the way of any particular place being the ideal place.

It's clear even the quaintest towns are plagued with it. The most idyllic beaches have it in spades. It's perniciously present everywhere. And what I'd like to distinguish in this conversation, is what all our (projected) ideal places have in common: they simply are what they are ie whatever  they are (intrinsically, no place is ideal in and of itself). Listen: what they also have in common, is whatever experience we have with them when we're there  ie whatever experience we bring with us to them there (there's nothing ideal that's somehow embedded permanently in their geography that can't be found anywhere else, which we can only partake of when we're there).

This next distinction is critical: what they also have in common with regard to what we bring or could bring with us to them there (or what we don't  bring with us to them there) is that final quarter inch on the satisfaction scale. Without that final quarter inch on the satisfaction scale, all  places are imperfect, all places soon prove to be dis-satisfying, no place is ideal (it's deadly). And with  that final quarter inch, all places are perfect, all places are satisfying, and all places are ideal like a possibility.

Look: the final quarter inch is transformation. So the way to find the ideal place, is to bring transformation with you to it ie the way to find the ideal place, is to be it.

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© Laurence Platt - 2021 Permission