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

ButterCream Bakery & Diner, 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
This essay, The Last To Go, was written at the same time as 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 (ie the time of the realization 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". 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", slowly and steadily phased out as I confronted and came to grips with the truth about 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's not a shred of morbidity in this. To the contrary if you want it, it's the onset of a vast  opportunity: the opportunity to have each 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 (the centerpiece of this inquiry actually) is: wondering what will happen as I live out whatever years I have left. The truth could be I'll have no control over how it'll all play out. If that's so, it'll come as no surprise to me, really. When I tell the truth about it, the way it's always been until now, is I've had no control over how it's all played out anyway. It's always played out the way it's always played out. So in this way, I don't expect the future to be any different.

But wait: there's another possible side to having no control over how it will all play out: it's having total  control over how it will all play out. How so, Laurence? By allowing it to play out the way it plays out, I'll have it doing whatever it does. And by having it doing whatever it does, I'm in total control. Here's my clarification of this: consider these two assertions: "I'll have the sun not rise tomorrow" - it rises: I have no control; "I'll have the sun rise tomorrow" - it rises: I have total control.

As I look into the future, I wonder what components of who I am as a human being, will diminish, and in particular, 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 enough), long-term memory seems much more enduring than short-term memory (shouldn't it be the other way around, given there's more memories over the long-term than the short-term?). 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 it's my say-so  itself, which 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?  Who 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, living from the stand that my say-so is the enduring platform of my life), sets up the possibility of having every precious moment count, and lived to the max.

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