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 Possibility Of Being Independent And Free

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

Fourth of July, 2016



"Nothing happens until someone says something."  ... 
"Ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country." ... President John Fitzgerald Kennedy
This essay, The Possibility Of Being Independent And Free, is the companion piece to Washington DC Words.

It is also the fourteenth in an open group on Possibility: It is also the ninth in a group of nine written on the Fourth Of July:
  1. Anticipation: Accounting For An American Love Affair
  2. Independence Day
  3. I'd Rather Be With Me
  4. Do It For Nothing
  5. The Only Way Out Is Through
  6. Under All Circumstances
  7. Word Power
  8. When There's Nothing To Say
  9. The Possibility Of Being Independent And Free
in that order.




Photography by Liz Mangelsdorf

Monday July 4, 2005
Fourth of July Fireworks over San Francisco Bay, California, USA
I love  our Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations. I love the pomp and the ceremony and the drama and the color of it all. I love what it stands for. I love all its rich components. Taken together, they offer an experience that's unmistakably and uniquely American: the sweltering heat of summer, the parades, the floats, the marching bands, the people, the barbecues, the fireworks (aah! the fireworks ...), all of it.

Yet I wonder: is this really  us being independent and free? or is this merely us deploying the symbols  of being independent and free?

If these are merely the symbols of being independent and free, then I wonder if it's possible to effectively differentiate between the symbols of being independent and free, and truly being  independent and free, so that we're clear about being independent and free like a possibility of being for human beings  ... and ... we have the mastery to bring it forth at will.

I assert it's appropriate to bring forth the distinction "being independent and free" like a possibility, then bring that possibility to bear on the Fourth of July during the sweltering heat of summer, with the parades, the floats, the marching bands, the people, the barbecues, the fireworks (aah! the fireworks ...), all of it. If we did that, we'd have being independent and free as an ongoing living, breathing, tangible reality, and not merely have once-a-year symbols of the real thing ie of the real deal.

When I'm considering what being independent and free is, I'm not considering winning a war or no longer being subject to British rule - even though those both have important ramifications for all of us. See, when we tell the truth about it, all that happened in the distant past. It's no longer present or current like a living, breathing, tangible reality. At best it's a grand memory we honor once a year on the Fourth of July. And what I'm considering as the possibility of being independent and free, is not something that comes with winning a war or no longer being subject to British rule in the distant past, but is rather a way of being  that's invented by you and I for ourselves and our lives, then lived ongoingly and continuously, not only on (ie not restricted to) the Fourth of July, but all throughout the rest of our lives as well.

And by the way, it would not only be lived on the Fourth of July by Americans  but by all people of all nationalities everywhere as well. Being independent and free is way more than just an American Fourth of July possibility. It's a possibility for all human beings everywhere. Indeed, it's a possibility of being for all human beings.

It's useful to notice that being independent and free, like any idea, was first brought forth by languaging it. Listen (try this on for size): there's no possibility  of being independent and / or free until someone says something. On the Fourth of July we honor those bastions of the United States of America who said something ie who spoke being independent and free ie who declared  being independent and free as a country. The idea of an entire country being independent and free, is profound. Yet there's an even more profound possibility than that. It's the possibility of us individuals each personally being independent and free. That's a possibility which can be brought to bear on our country and on everything in our lives. More than that, it's a possibility which is the context  for our country being independent and free.

The thing to get is this: the source of us individuals being personally independent and free isn't the United States Declaration of Independence  (or whatever your local independence charter is called). The front page morning news provides ample evidence of this anomaly - both in these United States and any other country on Earth. Rather the source is a possibility invented by each and every one of us individually for ourselves and our lives. Be careful: as an invented possibility, being independent and free isn't a function of the right  to be independent and free. Rather it's a possibility which is invented just as any right itself is invented: by languaging it.

What does the possibility of being independent and free call forth? Winning a war? No longer being subject to British rule? Really?  I assert the possibility of being independent and free calls forth being transformed. Being transformed is a stand  we take - whether we win the war or not, or whether we're subject to British rule or not. When I'm transformed, I stand independent of who I think I am, of who I'm thrown to be, and even (for the most part) of who I'd like to be - instead I'm who I really am. That's  being independent! When I'm transformed, I stand free of who I think I am, of who I'm thrown to be, and even (for the most part) of who I'd like to be - instead I'm who I really am. That's  being free! That's  a possibility of being for human beings to honor at our Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations!



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