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
Napa Valley, California, USA
December 6, 2019
"Choose a problem that's worth your time.
is worth your time. Making a million dollars isn't."
... Sandra "Sandy" Bernasek (1951 - 2018),
quoted by the Pittsburgh City Paper
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
... James Thurber
"Life flows on within you and without you."
... The Beatles, Within You Without You
"It all turns out the way it turns out, with me or without me (mostly
without me). So the question is: what is
going to be about?"
Some questions have one answer. "How many hydrogen atoms are there in a
is an example. Others have lots of answers. "What is the best
ever composed?" is an example. And still others have no answers. "What
before you were born?" is an example
/ questions like these tease out satoric insights rather than answers).
This essay enables a context that empowers questions. Take "What is
going to be about?". Whether the question has one answer, lots of
answers, or no answers, I notice I'm seduced by the allure of its
answers when the real power comes from enabling a context for
What gets in my way of powerfully asking "What is
going to be about?"? That's to say, what gets in the question's way of
calling me to ask it powerfully? Two things, both of which
The first is the
of "Life is
empty and meaningless.".
The second is the
of "It all turns out the way it turns out, with me or without me.". Uh
oh! So no matter what
is going to be about, it's
empty and meaningless?
And no matter what
is going to be about, it all turns out the way it turns out anyway,
with me or without me? Against these
the question "What is
going to be about?" is daunting.
You can discover for yourself that life is
empty and meaningless.
But look: don't stop there. Consider
empty and meaninglessthat it's
That gives us an opening for full
in which we're free to choose what our lives are going to be about. On
the other hand, when I make "Life is
empty and meaningless"
mean something / signify something, I obfuscate (fog over) any opening
there is, with my own arrogance ("I meaning-maker").
Having distinguished that, I can ask the question powerfully against a
of both "Life is
empty and meaningless"
as well as "It all turns out the way it turns out, with me or without
me", now that both are simply what's so. Now I've completely
recontextualized (I love that word)
against which to inquire into what
is going to be about, and in the process I've also discovered a bedrock
on which to stand and engage in this inquiry. These recontextualized
and this bedrock
enable a context for the question so that it's no longer daunting to
grapple with it: now it's both freeing and powerful instead.
So, having reset the
and enabled a context for the question, what ismy life
going to be about?
along with me as I ask the question of myself. As I do so, ask it of
yourself too. Simply
it along with me? Of marginal interest. Asking it of yourself?
Discovering what there is to discover for yourself? Transformational.
is going to be about is making a difference (for
making a contribution (for others), generating a quality of life that's
worth living (for myself), discovering who I might really
be as a human being like a possibility, living that possibility
as fully as I can live it, and
it as widely as possible for as long as possible - not like something
I've discovered that's already "me"
and "mine" but rather like something I'm ongoingly
discovering that's newly "WE"