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 Stories We Write

Napa Valley, California, USA

August 9, 2016



"The unexamined life is not worth living." ... Socrates
"An untransformed life is not worth living."  ... 
"It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." ... William Shakespeare
"We would rather be right about our stories, than let them go and be satisfied." ... Laurence Platt
This essay, The Stories We Write, is the companion piece to Never Mind The Fairy Tale.

I am indebted to Gilles Cristini who inspired this conversation.




Most of the best-selling stories we write about our lives, aren't written in ink using pens on paper. Rather, they're written in a medium far more indelible than ink, using implements much more effective than pens, on a material that is way more enduring than paper: they are written in interpretation  using conclusions  on epistemology  (that is actually a lot closer to the truth than it sounds). Typically in the stories we write, the major plot sets out to unravel the mystery of why we confuse the way we consider it to be, with the way it really is. And the minor plot replete with its dramatic irony  on the other hand, hints that the people in them can't tell the difference.

All that said, we're thrown  to believe our stories will turn out the way we wrote them to turn out. And even when our stories don't turn out the way we wrote them to turn out, we still hold on to them, preferring to stay fully invested in them, hoping that someday  they'll turn out the way we wrote them to turn out. We are not likely to give them up, even when they don't turn out the way we wrote them to turn out ie even when they are not satisfying. If you tell the truth about that unflinchingly, it's really confronting to notice how often (it's almost all the time  actually) we would rather be right about our stories, than let them go and be satisfied (no kidding!).

<aside>

"We would rather be right about our stories, than let them go and be satisfied.".

That's a pretty damning indictment of an untransformed life right there, if ever there was one.

<un-aside>

For the most part, our stories attempt to explain and understand and justify why things in the past turned out the way they turned out, and why our pasts were never perfect. Our stories also outline how we hope and expect and dream things in the future will turn out in order for our futures to be perfect. Yet for things to be perfect, they have to turn out exactly the way they turn out, yes? And the only barrier in our way of realizing things always  turn out exactly the way they turn out (ie the only barrier in our way of realizing things always turn out perfectly), is holding on to the stories we wrote about things turning out different than the way they turned out.

In the midst of us weathering storms (which are the episodes in which the stories we wrote about the way we want things to turn out, are at odds with the way things actually turned out), two precepts are worth noting. The first is "This too shall pass.". That's the easier one. The second is "None of this is personal.". That's the harder one (when the stories we wrote about the way we want things to turn out, are at odds with the way things actually turned out, it always feels  like it's personal, yes?).

Listen: without transformation and possibility, it's all  a story. The whole shebang. The big enchilada. It's all a story. And this untransformed, no-possibility story of our lives is (to quote William Shakespeare) "... a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.". Now: you have to be willing to take on a certain maturity, acceptance, surrender, and wisdom to fully appreciate what the bard is saying, and to get how liberating it really is - especially the "signifying nothing"  part. It'll either leave you aghast at the apparent hopelessness and savage waste of time of it all ... or  ... it will leave you suddenly (and inexplicably to others) letting loose those big, booming, guffawing belly laughs, having gotten the Buddha's cosmic joke  (his cameo appearance here), which is a subtly compelling sub-text of the stories we write.



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