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 Last To Go

Butter Cream Bakery, Napa, California, USA

August 16, 2018

"Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear; seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come."
... William Shakespeare embodying Julius Cæsar, Act II, Scene II, Cæsar's House, circa 1599
I am indebted to Barbara Foerder who inspired this conversation.

At the same time as it dawned on me that I have my own, independent life (the time I'm alluding to here, was when I was very, very  young), what became discernible (that is to say, what became discernible later)  is I lived it within a certain context. That context was "This goes on forever, it never ends.". By "discernible later"  I mean even though I lived within that context at that time, I didn't discern it as  a context at that time. I was too young to. Only later upon reflection, did I discern it as the context within which I lived.

During my teen and young adult years, that context (still not yet discernible as a context) expanded to include false bravados, like "I'm invincible", and "I'm bulletproof", and even "I'm invisible" too. I lived the next few years (if not decades) like that. Eventually (imperceptibly, inexorably)  another context began making its presence known. When it did, my erstwhile context for living, "This goes on forever, I'm invincible, I'm bulletproof, and I'm invisible", was slowly and steadily replaced as I confronted and came to grips with the finiteness of my life. What it was replaced with, was "How many years do I have left?". What I want to be clear about is there isn't one shred of morbidity in this. To the contrary, if you want it, it's the onset of a vast  opportunity: the opportunity to have every moment count.

Now, having established this context, it's not the centerpiece of this conversation. But it is the context in which the centerpiece of this conversation occurs. The centerpiece of this conversation (an inquiry actually) is about what will happen as I live out whatever years I have left. The truth could be I'll have very little control over how it'll all play out. That's no surprise, really. When I tell the truth about it, the way it's always been until now, is I've had very little control over how it's all played out anyway. It's always played out the way it's always played out. I don't expect the future to be much different.

Now here's the other side of that: it's I have total  control over how it will all play out. How so, Laurence? By allowing it to play out the way it plays out, I have it doing whatever it will do. And by having it do whatever it will do, I'm in total control.

As I look into the future, I wonder what components of who I am as a human being, will diminish, and which will be the last to go. They do diminish, you know. I know. Neither my eyesight nor my hearing are as acute as they once were. Minor aches and pains take longer to heal than they once did. Interestingly enough (and surprisingly), long-term memory seems much more enduring than short-term memory. So of all the components which will go (and all of them surely will), I'm curious about which will be the last  to go, when I reach Shakespeare's "necessary end". Conjecture: of all the components of who I am as a human being, I say my say-so  itself, will be the last to go, out-lasted perhaps only by my stand  that my say-so itself, will be the last to go.

Now: is that the truth?  God knows! I certainly don't. But one thing's for sure: I'll find out sooner or later. And here's the real value in it: whether it's the truth or not, what a great way to live  as it all plays out! Living this way (in other words, taking this stand), sets up the possibility of having every precious moment count.

[... being tightened up ...]

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