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 Myth That Life Is ... Er ... Hard

St Helena, California, USA

September 26, 2003

This essay, The Myth That Life Is ... Er ... Hard, is the companion piece to Hostile Environment.

I am indebted to Dan Miller who inspired this conversation.

It's always a stretch for me to write because whenever I do, I have the sense I'm reaching into nothing. I'm so bound up in getting a payoff, in getting something back etc (and both of those I see are pure manipulation) that I'll not allow myself to write coming from that space - or, rather, I don't write until I'm sure what I have to say is none of that, and is instead simply sharing and contribution.

Recently, in one fell swoop, I read a book by Dan Miller entitled "Look With the Heart" from cover to cover. Dan was the manager of Werner's Breakthrough Racing Team in the late 1970s.

In "Look With the Heart", Dan refers to Werner on more than one occasion, and in particular, he recreates Werner's exposition of The Myth of Sysyphus, and The Bound Man.

I really got - or, rather, was reminded of - an aspect of my relationship with Werner which has been so much of who he is for me that I've been blind to it ie it's really so close up that I'd stopped seeing it.

I recall quite well when Werner expounded (that's when I heard them for the first time) The Myth of Sysyphus, and The Bound Man. But when Dan - in his book - reminded me of them, it was once again a true "A-Ha!" moment for me.

I basically got how aspects of my life - at some level I don't want to tell the truth about or share publicly about - suck. I got how in some areas of my life, nothing is big enough or good enough for me. Too much is never enough for me (as David Bowie may have said).

But I got it not like a complaint: I got it like a condition in which I live, and - in fact - like a condition in which we human beings live ie like water is to the fishes, like air is to the birds.

What shifted for me (and left me with joy and room to move) was it stopped being "Laurence, aspects of your life are too small, and that's hard!", and it became "We human beings live in a condition in which aspects of our lives are too small for who we really are, and that's hard for everyone.".

Suddenly I wasn't taking it personally anymore, like I'd failed or something. Suddenly I got (again) who I am in the matter of my own life is distinct from, is prior to, and is the context for any experience, feeling, or judgement I have about my own life. I got (again) who I am - by mySelf, prior to anything I do and any job I may have - is enough, sufficient, joyous, and complete.

... AND ... there's room to stand for, to create, and to grow into a bigger life, but not like the fulfilling of a need nor like an emptiness to be filled nor like a dissatisfaction to be gotten and then to be disappeared, but rather like an artist filling the canvas just because the canvas is there to be filled. So you fill the canvas with everything you got and you fill the canvas the best you can, and you don't have to!

In this reading of Dan's book and the reminder of Werner's exposition of The Myth of Sysyphus, and The Bound Man, I again got who Werner has always been for me on another whole, new level ie a new level for me - clearly, it's not Werner who shifted. I got not only his support of my own cosmic nature, if you will, but also his support in the matter of how I wrestle personally (and quietly and covertly) with the matter of where my own life isn't good enough for me, and how I then make the grave error of assuming I'm the only  person wrestling personally and quietly and covertly with the matter of where their life isn't good enough for them.

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